As we emerge into the Vaccine Economy, one of the new priorities for organizations is an improved employee experience when using enterprise applications. This is particularly important when workers can no longer turn to their neighbor in the office to ask for help when they get stuck. It's also part of the new awareness of the importance of staff wellbeing and job satisfaction, which is top of mind for CHROs as they look to manage the transition to new hybrid working arrangements. For those organizations using Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM, today's launch of Oracle Journeys provides a more joined-up experience for a variety of HR processes.
On Friday, I spoke to Yvette Cameron, who joined Oracle late last year as SVP of Global HCM Product Strategy, about the new capability and what it means for organizations. She believes the personalization and automation built into the technology will help HR leaders build employee trust and engagement. She explains:
I think as a CHRO, as I deploy these journeys out into the organization, I will see and I will be developing a much more engaged, a much more trusted relationship across the workforce that drives better productivity at the end of the day ... It's about trust and connections and personalization.
HR teams can use Oracle Journeys as a no-code platform to build personalized, step-by-step guidance for employees as they move through tasks and key milestones such as return to work, relocation, taking up a new position, or dealing with illness or injury. Employees can access these journeys from desktop or mobile, via chat applications, or the Oracle Digital Assistant chatbot, and what they see is automatically personalized using their profile information and AI recommendations. The platform consists of three main components:
- Journeys LaunchPad — a portal where employees can find journeys tailored to their needs or shared by colleagues.
- Journeys Creator — a no-code console where HR teams and managers can create and assign journeys, either from scratch or by modifying a library of pre-built templates.
- Journeys Booster — an extension capability to integrate HR processes and other business functions across Oracle Fusion Cloud with third-party systems and external applications such as DocuSign and HireRight. This uses the process automation capabilities of Oracle Process Cloud, with some limited coding needed.
HR as "the center of innovation"
While the emphasis is on HR taking the lead in creating journeys, they can also extend into other applications or be used for non-HR processes, such as product launches or financial closing. Cameron believes HR teams will work closely with business managers to deliver journeys that are tailored to the needs of the business, down to individual teams. She sees this as an opportunity for HR teams to take a leading role in helping their organizations deliver an improved employee experience as they adjust to new ways of working. She explains:
HR becomes the center of innovation. Suddenly, they have the tools and the capability to create these components. But it's also been democratized down to managers, and eventually to individuals, to fully take control and create those communications and connections and transactions and knowledge sharing that we need across the organization, to grow and drive our businesses forward.
Individual employees don't currently have access to the journey creation tool — that's reserved for HR teams and managers — but they can share existing journeys with colleagues if they feel they may be relevant. The ability to modify or create journeys may come later — Cameron is keen to see individuals take more control over their experience. This was core to her previous role before joining Oracle, when she was Ecosystem Lead for Velocity Network, which is building a blockchain-based system to speed and manage the checking of workers' credentials such as qualifications and experience (she has also held roles at SAP, Saba, Gartner and Constellation Research). She says:
Individuals and managers can take that ownership and create the experiences that they want, and not be subject to that white-tower thinking of, 'Here's how you will do it.' Those days are gone ... Individuals are expecting greater control over the experiences that they have in and outside of work.
That's exactly what we are delivering here with Oracle Journeys — control and flexibility, intimacy and personalized experiences that ultimately help each individual, whatever role you have in the organization, to control and manage better experiences.
There's no doubt that the watchword of employee experience and engagement is all the rage among HCM vendors at the moment, and we've seen a number of announcements from various players. While some are highly focused on measuring employee sentiment and wellbeing, Oracle Journeys has the very practical aim of improving employee experience by eliminating the wasted time and frustration of unfathomable processes. This is hardly a new aspiration — simplifying complex processes such as onboarding has been a goal for all of the 25+ years I've been writing about enterprise HCM software. But the addition of AI to automatically retrieve and act upon relevant information, along with the maturity of modern no-code capabilities, means that it's perhaps now within closer reach.
The drawback of having so much freedom to create tailored journeys is the risk that organizations will overdo it and end up with even more confusion than they aimed to solve in the first place. Harnessing these new capabilities requires careful planning and a willingness to build and test journeys collaboratively before they are rolled out widely. But helping people navigate complex enterprise processes faster and with less frustration is certainly a noble aim, and one that will be much needed in the coming months as organizations move to new patterns of hybrid and safe working.