I remember that the weather was so beautiful for February. I had just finished a strategy session in Nice, France, where I had the chance to refresh and strengthen some personal relationships. I was looking forward to heading back home, but little did I know that this would be my last trip for a very long time.
At Accenture, the pandemic didn’t change things all at once. Employees were given the option to work from home if they didn’t feel comfortable traveling into offices, so they stopped traveling gradually, before official lockdown orders were issued. Most of the company was already used to working remotely, although 100,000 people in our delivery centers did experience a massive shift from working in the office to working on their kitchen tables.
Since our own transition to remote working went a little more gradually and smoothly, we were better able to focus on our clients. While many of them already provided remote work options, the scale of the change overwhelmed available resources. In the beginning, virtual meetings would start 5-10 minutes late, because someone would be having technical problems. Our clients reacted swiftly, with care for employee needs, and we helped them through the tremendous cultural shift.
Making the most of a new virtual ‘moment that matters’
For years now, Accenture has focused on transforming HR operations – both internally and for its clients – to deliver on key moments that matter for employees, managers and other workers. By redesigning HR organizations and systems to revolve around worker’s needs, we can deliver a consumer-inspired experience that enhances the satisfaction and productivity of employees, contingent workers, candidates, managers and Human Resources.
Since we already had a solid foundation in place when the pandemic struck, supporting workers in the massive shift to work-from-home became another moment that mattered. It’s great to see this work recognized by industry experts and clients. In their recent Multi-Process Human Resources Outsourcing (MPHRO) Services PEAK Matrix Assessment, Everest Group said, “Clients appreciated Accenture’s agility in transitioning people to the work-from-home model, its responsiveness and its digital tools ecosystem which made the process more transparent and ensured minimum disruption during COVID-19.”
Supporting positive virtual moments requires digitization. It would have been much harder to do this without our Employee Experience Platform (EEP). EEP supports and enhances the experience throughout an employee’s or worker’s journey, seamlessly combining people-focused human and self-service interactions, available through whatever device is preferred. The Accenture EEP guides and inspires staff from hire to retire, working together with trusted HR advisors. As Everest Group put it, “expertise in both transactional and judgment-intensive HR processes allows Accenture to take on complex transformative HR operations across the ‘hire-to-retire’ cycle.”
Accelerating HR’s digital transformation
For most organizations, the past year has forced far more rapid technology adoption and digital transformation than anyone thought possible. EEP’s ability to deliver seamless employee services also requires an integrated operating model that coordinates multiple processes and systems, including HR, Finance, Procurement, IT Facilities and others.
Our clients were able to move faster because of SynOps, our business transformation approach that Everest Group notes “orchestrates not only data, multiple digital assets, and deep domain and industry expertise, but also brings together human and machine orchestration to impact business outcomes across end-to-end HR services.” It’s the secret sauce that jump-starts the journey, but also creates agility in the way we and our clients are able to adapt to ever-changing business needs and unexpected situations.
Delivering great HR experiences
The past year has highlighted how important it is for HR to take on a more strategic role in how they plan, attract, hire, develop, retain and support their workforce through change. I’m proud of the work that we did with ourselves and our clients, adapting to the changing situation while still supporting workers and improving their now-remote experience. I’m not sure when I’ll get back to Nice, but at least I’m still able to support my team and our clients, there and around the globe.
What was your experience in 2020? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
By Jill K. Goldstein
About the author: Jill K. Goldstein is Talent and HR Business Process Services Lead for Accenture