In brief

In brief

  • As companies adapt to massive disruption, they must move quickly to redefine workforce strategies and reimagine the employee experience (EX).
  • The pandemic flooded the market with talent, but there’s a shortage of desired skills, forcing companies to reassess employee value propositions.
  • Organizations that focus on building their “EX Factor” will attract and retain top talent, reduce cost to serve and enhance operational agility.

Employees as customers

Companies with “EX Factor” treat employees like customers, infusing a sense of purpose into the experience. Seventy-six percent of executives agree that organizations need to dramatically re-engineer the experiences that bring people and technology together in a more human-centric manner. Co-creating experiences with employees based on their increasingly liquid expectations completes the EX play and creates a greater sense of brand loyalty within the workforce. Eighty-one percent of HR leaders have already rolled out or are piloting various technologies to improve the employee experience. Those that successfully activate a purpose-led EX create a community of valuable brand stakeholders all working together to shape the next era of engagement and competitiveness.

Employee engagement has taken a significant hit over the past few months, dropping to an all-time low, with 54% of employees disengaged and 14% actively disengaged.

Disrupt to deliver

Of course, treating employees like customers to deliver high-value experiences is easier said than done. It’s difficult to provide differentiated EX when skills or tools exist outside of single functions. And 93 percent of companies note their very existence is jeopardized by operating models that can’t keep pace. COVID-19 has accelerated the need to self-disrupt and reorient teams to be more flexible and resilient, leveraging an expanded talent and technology ecosystem. By reimagining HR, finance, IT, and Global Business Services (GBS) into employee services, companies eliminate functional silos and reset cost structures to self-fund and deliver EX at scale.


of business leaders agree that current operating models will be unrecognizable in the next five years.

More EX for less

Developing new, highly-valued employee experiences does not necessarily require more investment. One way to get more EX for less is to leverage the organization’s existing GBS organization to accelerate speed to value when it comes to crafting employee experiences at scale. GBS creates the agility needed to adapt to shifting needs for both employee and employer, repositioning the functional teams and experts (sourced from liquid talent pools within and outside of the organization) to leverage tools (automated onboarding, digital assistants, employee and manager self-service) that drive greater user experience, workforce productivity, and issue resolution. And consider this: as technology ecosystems mature, automation and artificial intelligence initiatives scale operational cost benefits by up to 30 percent and improve time-to-market from 3x to 10x.

Putting EX in the Op Model

Winning the war on talent means pumping up your EX factor. Here are three ways to start:

Co-create the experience

Customers are regularly engaged to enrich or redefine their desired experiences. Companies must do the same with employees. Instead of telling employees what they value, functions need to invest in co-creating the experiences and outcomes. Consider three lenses to orient the approach: human, physical and digital.

Reimagine the model

Companies can no longer rely on just traditional levers, including compensation, attractive benefit packages, or in-person training to gain loyalty and drive retention. To bring the operating model to life, single owners must be established and made accountable for all of the people, processes, experiences, and tools delivered to achieve the desired outcomes.

Empower humans + machines

To deliver the new model at scale and address variable workforce or business needs, companies need to exploit the power of human + machine. Expanding the ecosystem—through a curated network of strategic partners, adaptive or liquid talent pools—can accelerate this evolution and unlock new sources of value through innovation.

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The ROI of EX

When all is said and done, boosting the employee experience isn’t just about attraction and retention. Although for star performers, those are more important than ever. EX is all about ROI. Companies with highly-engaged workforces see a measurable bottom-line impact, significantly outperforming their peers and making their organizations stand out during a time of disruption.

Shammak Banerjee

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Talent and Organization

Aneel Delawalla

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, CFO & Enterprise Value

Paul Jeruchimowitz

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Global lead Intelligent Operating Model

Kent McMillan

Managing Director – Global Lead, Organizational Development and Europe Lead, Intelligent Operating Model


Nicholas Bobich

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy​


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