From the Frontlines: A Conversation with Trevor Schueren on Fragmented Employee Experience Tech
Welcome back to From the Frontlines! In this series, Harri highlights members of our team who are up to big things and have inside insights into the hospitality industry. This week we chat with Trevor Schueren, Senior Account Executive here at Harri. In this episode, we discuss fragmentation in employee experience technology and how brands can approach employee experience frameworks internally.
Thanks for joining us again! The employee experience is definitely a hot topic in hospitality right now. Are brands just talking the talk, or are they following up with actions?
The problem is, although COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the employee experience, not all brands are approaching it holistically. We’re still seeing poor management and bad company culture in the industry. Technology is a big asset here, but can’t fix the problem on its own. Many groups are missing that additional layer of humanity which leads to low company-wide adoption rates. If your teams aren’t adopting, you’ll have no way to measure employee experience KPIs.
So it sounds like you’re seeing a lot of fragmentation. Why do you think that is?
There’s two parts to this. First is how the employee experience sounds good and feels good, but unfortunately doesn’t always equal up to the customer experience. That’s because there are hard numbers, like sales, attached to the customer experience. Whereas it’s easier for us to chalk up a bad employee experience or high turnover as “part of the industry.”
Another part of this boils down to many technology incumbents taking a mile-wide and inch-deep approach. This serves to create a layer of friction for employees when many technologies are at play. At Harri, for example, everyone from sales to our CEO has a restaurant background and incorporates this into our interactions with clients and prospects. Ultimately, we bake those first-person industry insights into the product to address specific pain points and enable teams to focus on their employees.
How can tech better assist employee experience strategies?
Technology must facilitate foundational changes rather than act as a band-aid solution. If it’s not being used by people that want to commit to a better culture, employee-experience initiatives will be fruitless. Are you looking at employee shift feedback, or are you looking at shift feedback combined with shift times, the manager on duty, and who that employee was working with? The dots need to be connected.
It sounds like it’s a matter of letting these businesses know their current setup might not be the best for their teams.
Exactly. As a member of the go-to-market organization, it’s my job to help change industry leaders’ perspectives on that. If you’re struggling with retention, look internally — I’m sure you’ll find eye-opening statistics. I’ve seen a direct correlation between higher retention rates and groups who are actually committed to the employee experience.
Is there anything else that hospitality brands can do internally to facilitate an employee-first mindset?
Managers need to be challenged in a way that has them step up their game. Team feedback alone isn’t the best option, executive teams and regional managers need to work with unit-level leaders to create better management styles and ensure everyone is held accountable. In the future, we’ll see groups come together holistically –finance, operations, HR, and compliance– to create an employee experience that keeps folks in the business. Like I said earlier, it’s about connecting those dots.