Identifying Moments that matter – SAP approach to elevating employee experience

The latest article “HR braucht eine Evolution” of Lars Thiwissen, summarizes it perfectly: There is the need for an HR transformation – a shift from HCM to HXM.

In order to successfully conduct this transformation process, the question pops up where to start? What experiences are actually most relevant to your employees? On which HR processes should you focus first? In the following article I would like to give you an idea on how we at SAP started this journey – the journey in identifying SAP employee’s “Moments that Matter”.

Moments that Matter – Everybody has a story

When you are asking colleagues, employees and work friends about stories or anecdotes from work, they will come up with an incredible amount of different stories. They will tell you stories about their interview experiences when they applied for a job, they will tell you very probable about their first day, how different life events happened, or how they got promoted. They will tell you what really mattered to them, what stuck to their memory. They will tell you their Moments that Mattered.

Besides the vivid descriptions of the stories you will also notice that those Moments defined the perception of the company. Employees directly connect handling their Moments that Matter with how they see the company. And, in return, this influences their motivation and retention. This alone should be motivation enough to strive for the best possible experience.

How we did it

The biggest effort in working with Moments that Matter should go into research. A clear identification and understanding of Moments for your employees builds the foundation for everything. Interviews with employees which represent your company in its totality should have the highest prioritization. Only looking at operational data or surveys alone will not give you the depth of understanding. The latter might also focus too much on operational improvements rather than real Moments. Likewise, it also does not work if corporate functions define those Moments without any input or validation from employees by themselves.

At SAP, we took great care of selection a representative sample of employees globally to reflect the company in the best way possible. We organized either individual interviews or organized story listening workshops in groups. This enabled us to identify and cluster the company‘s Moments that Matter and having confidence in their validity. The sessions themselves were structured openly and followed a natural flow of conversation. Besides capturing demographic data (which was anonymized and recorded separately from any interview results), we started those session with the question „Tell us your story and your Moments with the company“, and asked follow-up questions along the way.

What were the results

After initial doubts that this broad approach would lead to an innumerable amount of very individualized Moments, it became clear very quickly that there were certain „hot spots“ for Moments across the company. Besides specific Moments around the employee lifecycle as described in the beginning, we surfaced also some more SAP-specific Moments, which are more tailored to the company‘s culture. This is also another important argument for doing your own research and making sure to capture your company‘s own Moments.

What comes next

Moments are an integral part of our HR work and are being redesigned and rethought in cooperation with all parts of HR and connected corporate functions. It is by no means the sole focus but working on Moments that Matter became an integral way of thinking about strategic HR work, of a future employee-centric HR work.