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Creating an Employee Experience Focus in a Shared Services Environment


As companies continue to mature in their approach to Shared Services in such important ways as geographic design, integrated services, and advanced technology, it is critical to ensure the staff finds their work fulfilling and that the workplace is one in which they look forward to participating in each day as the team works toward achieving common objectives.   How to best approach that can be a challenge to determine, with a variety of tactics and strategies available that can be effective, depending on the overall culture of the company.

Company Experience

During a recent Peeriosity PeercastTM a global company with over $25 billion in revenue and more than 50,000 employees, shared their recent ongoing efforts to create an enhanced employee experience in Shared Services that is both holistic and fun.   The focus of this particular PeercastTM was on their European Employee Services organization, which supports more than 25,000 employees in 17 countries.

While traveling on business recently one of the leaders of Employee Services discovered a book by Jacob Morgan called “The Employee Experience Advantage”.  She was so impressed with it that she immediately had some other HRSS leaders get a copy and read it as soon as they possibly could.    Some of the key tenets of this book include:

  • Future facing organizations today are changing priorities, focusing on people, and bringing humanity and experiences into their organizations.
  • Having ‘real-time’ insights into the experiences of their employees allows them to create an environment that brings out the best in people adds real value and enables growth. They retain the best talent.
  • These organizations use people analytics to drive change. They listen, respond, and re-measure.

The Employee Experience is about having people really want to come to work because they enjoy the experience.  It focuses on culture, technology, and the physical workspace and how those three things effectively come together.  The company also has a well-defined vision that is continuously referred to as part of its overall employee engagement efforts.

To get a good measurement of the success of their efforts and how the employees are feeling, a pulse survey tool was implemented that is available all the time for the employees to provide input and feedback to the leadership team.  Consisting of 17 questions that are related to the three environments of culture, technology, and the physical workspace, the real-time results are continuously available for the center leaders to clearly understand where they stand and in what areas they need to focus.  While utilizing these survey results, rather than having specific performance targets, they prefer to focus on the trends of the results and what those are telling them.

Some of the lessons learned so far in the employee experience focus journey include the following:

  • Recruiting the right people is key
  • Listen to understand and ask more questions
  • Importance of a Shared Services mindset
  • Be patient
  • Celebrate more

For more details regarding this company’s experience, Peeriosity members should visit the Peercast Results section of the Peeriosity member website.

iPollingTM Results Review

A poll regarding creating a positive work environment for employees was recently developed in conjunction with this PeercastTM using the iPollingTM technology.  The first question looked at the motivation of Shared Services leadership in creating this type of environment, and the results are interesting, with 38% of the companies indicating that they compare their efforts to be one of the best places to work to other companies.  This is followed by an additional 38% of the companies responding that their motivation is primarily related to the retention of their best employees.  Finally, 24% responded that they want to be one of the best places to work within the company, rather than comparing themselves externally.

iPolling: best description of motivation of shared services | Employee Experience Focus

The second poll question explored the biggest challenge companies face in creating a positive experience for Shared Services employees.  The issue of providing a wider variety of options and experiences to employees due to an expanded diversity in the workforce was cited as the greatest challenge by 27% of the respondents.  This was followed closely by 18% who indicated that having a fast-paced environment that leaves little time for creating a positive employee experience was the greatest challenge.  The response option related to a decline in company loyalty negatively impacting overall employee attitudes in the workplace was cited as the greatest challenge by 14% of the responding companies.

iPolling: biggest challenge you face in creating a positive experience

Some of the poll comments made by Peeriosity members include the following:

Financial Services Member: Difficulty moving into Shared Services is engagement with the shared services concept vs. the opinion of why am I here and not in the department I came from.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: One thing we’ve done to promote a better work-life balance and a positive working environment is we developed a Well-Being Program that treats the whole person rather than just one aspect of an employee’s life. We considered the employees’ needs both at work and outside of work.

Retail Member: We find the end-to-end Finance career progression is limited by our scale and scope, and providing depth to experiences is important to maintain engagement and motivation to retain.

Wholesale & Distribution Member: Making sure we have the right leaders in place that can drive great results, as well as create a positive team member experience.

Retail Member: Whilst we do look across other companies, our biggest immediate challenge is to continue driving the “brand” and “value” of jobs within Shared Services against other opportunities within the business.

Consumer Products & Services Member: We continue to evolve our GBIS (Global Business Information Services) culture and continue to have GBS/IT leadership support. As we continue in our journey for a positive work environment, there are times we need to align our activities with other business partners before proceeding. This would not stop our progress, but could potentially slow it down.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: We outsource to India and the Philippines, and those locations are notorious for head-hunting employees from other companies.

Consumer Products & Services Member: Ensuring we have the balance among business needs, personal needs, skillsets (digital skills for the future), appropriate business fluency (many in our service centers have not worked directly on the commercial side of our business) and career progression in a relatively flat organization provides unique opportunities to provide fulfilling work.

Computers & Electronics Member: It is important to always look at competitive recruiting recognizing areas of risk for attrition. We strive to have a culture where employees feel respected and valued personally & professionally to drive retention and optimally recommend others to work for us.

Consumer Products & Services Member: Our Shared Services group has been very intentional to engage our employees, and, overall, has had very positive success. This is due to the commitment of our leadership, which is a critical ingredient to a positive experience for the employees.

Closing Summary

Our feature company is still in the early stages of developing the employee experience they desire for their team, but they have already made great progress in this area.  They expect to have much more success in the coming years in creating an environment in which both the employees and the company can thrive. 

What type of focus does your Shared Services operation place on the employee experience?  Is it time to take another look at this critical aspect of your organization?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPollingTM.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

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