Oracle Launches Oracle ME to Customize Employee Experiences
Enterprise technology giant Oracle today announced the release of Oracle ME, a new employee experience software platform aimed at helping organizations improve employee engagement and boost satisfaction by creating personalized, immersive experiences.
Part of the Austin, Texas-based company's Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management suite, Oracle ME connects a set of existing and new Oracle tools and technologies that HR and business leaders can use to communicate with the workforce, build customized workflows that guide employees through tasks, and improve retention.
Employee experience has become a key component of HR's work over the last couple of years as they help organizations grapple with the challenges of the pandemic at work, said Chris Leone, senior vice president of Oracle HCM, in a presentation launching the new application on April 13. "Employees want to feel a sense of belonging," he said. "They want to feel that their voices are heard in the organization."
While Oracle ME grew out of the challenges of the past year, Oracle has been on the road to developing an integrated employee experience suite for the last four to five years, said Nancy Estell-Zoder, vice president of product strategy for Oracle Cloud HCM, in an interview with Reworked. The company launched Oracle Journeys in 2021 to give HR teams tools to create step-by-step guidance through key workplace events such as onboarding, promotions and returning to the office. Estell-Zoder said Journeys was one of the most rapidly adopted products in Oracle's HR history.
The aim of Journeys, and now Oracle ME, is to provide personalized guidance to employees based on who they are and where they are in the organization, she said. “Everybody’s talking about hybrid workforce but we all know there are changes to responsibilities in jobs," Estell-Zoder said. "It’s not the same as it was two years ago.”
At Oracle customer Hilton, the last two years featured temporary closure of hotel properties and the corporate office followed by a fitful reopening that required the company to approach the employee experience in a different way, said Eric Cohen, senior director of HR and payroll systems at Hilton, in a live presentation announcing the news.
"The pandemic produced an unforeseen circumstance within the hospitality industry and our team members' experiences all became personal," he said.
What's New With Oracle ME
Oracle ME includes two new features:
- Oracle Touchpoints: An employee listening feature that allows managers to capture, track and act on employee sentiment and promote an inclusive work environment. Touchpoints accesses insights from pulse surveys and delivers recommended actions, such as scheduling a check-in, providing feedback, or acknowledging a memorable moment. Employees are also able to suggest check-in topics, review meeting history and provide feedback.
- Oracle HCM Communicate: A new employee outreach feature to design, send, monitor and measure the impact of communications. HCM Communicate is connected to workforce data in the Oracle Fusion HCM suite, so HR teams can target communications to specific groups, measure engagement with the content, and send follow ups or set up ongoing campaigns.
The new features are bundled with a set of existing HCM products, including:
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- Oracle Journeys: An HR workflow software product to create step-by-step processes and personalized guidance to help employees navigate activities such as onboarding, returning to the office and career advancement. With the ME release, Oracle added enhancements to provide "contextual" guidance by delivering personally relevant instructions, training and analytics. There’s a component of Journeys that is configured and managed by the organization, Estell-Zoder said, but managers can also adjust it. “They have the ability to personalize those experiences, and include things like team lunches and specific resources to make sure [employees] understand that I'm there for them," she said.
- Oracle Connections: An interactive workforce directory and organization chart employees can use to search for and connect with others across the organization. Employees can import LinkedIn profiles, record video introductions, highlight skills and accomplishments, and share feedback with each other.
- Oracle HR Help Desk: A service request management feature workers use to search for content, submit inquiries and open help tickets through multiple channels including a digital assistant, SMS, email and social platforms.
- Oracle Digital Assistant: An HR chatbot that provides a conversational AI-based interface for employees to get answers to questions and complete transactions through voice or text. Oracle Digital Assistant has 90 pre-built transactions and can be extended to support new processes or requirements.
HCM Communicate, Connections and Journeys are available now and Touchpoints will be available in the second half of 2022, Estell-Zoder said. Connections and Digital Assistant are included in the cost of Oracle's Core HR product and Journeys is included with Cloud HCM. HR Help Desk, HCM Communicate and Touchpoints will be available at an additional cost.
A Booming Employee Experience Market
Oracle joins the growing list of big software companies making employee experience a key part of product strategy. Microsoft debuted Viva, the company's employee experience platform in February 2021, and SAP SuccessFactors has been honing its approach to what it calls human experience management since 2019. More recently, HR software firm UKG unveiled its approach to what it called "life-work technology" as its product strategy going forward.
The idea is to create "a more human-centered work environment and experience, supporting employee’s individual life/work journeys,” said vice president of products and innovation Cecile Alper-Leroux in a statement on the company's website.
For HR, employee experience has become a key tactic in their efforts to retain and attract employees in a competitive job market. They face a significant challenge, however, in bridging the divide between employers' view and that of workers. Recent research by Willis Towers Watson indicates the vast majority of employers (92%) are prioritizing employee experience, but that's not matched by a favorable view in workers' assessments of their efforts. One survey found that only 38% of workers in the U.S. believe their organization assigns a great deal of importance to employee experience.
Clearly, there is room to close the gap and companies like Oracle plan to offer up the technology to help companies do that by creating a personalized and customizable experience layer over the top of their core HR technology.
“With our solutions, because we’re a native HCM solution we’re actually able to target the very specific tasks within a journey to make sure they get requests for data and give them guidance to be successful in a particular aspect of their job based on the data that resides in HCM,” said Estell-Zoder.
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