An Interview with Rephael Sweary on Employee Engagement



“Many organizations in the last few years have focused on embarking on a successful digital transformation journey, which means that they must maximize the use of their digital assets. Digital transformation is a significant evolution for any organization because it also involves a culture change from within.”

In this interview, Rephael Sweary, President and Co-founder of WalkMe talks about employee engagement and the role of technology in optimizing productivity in the increasingly digital workspace. Here is his take on the significant HR technologies of 2019 and the future of software in transforming the way employees interact with technology.

1. How have you seen mid- to large-sized companies evolve their approach to employee engagement in the last several years, given that employees at all levels and age groups are becoming increasingly digital?

As HR platforms continue to rapidly evolve to keep pace with the growing demands of the digital workforce, it has become common for organizations to implement a variety of digital tools and processes that help improve employee onboarding, training, engagement, and adoption. Thanks to advancements in AI/machine learning, real-time analytics, and automation technologies, companies can understand individual users’ behaviors and requirements to contextually guide and engage them on how to navigate various enterprise applications – and even intelligently auto-complete fields.

By using the latest innovations to better support employees as they use a growing number of business apps, organizations can eliminate time-consuming tutorials and other static training practices – what we call “zero-time onboarding.”

2. What opportunities are employers missing when it comes to optimizing employee efficiency and productivity in the omnichannel, always-connected world?

One of the biggest challenges that organizations face is how to ensure that the systems they implement are being used effectively by their employees. Many organizations still apply the “one size fits all” approach, yet employees have different digital IQs and need to deal with constant technology updates. A digital adoption platform can better understand and address employees’ roles and requirements in real-time, as well as automate routine tasks. By leveraging a digital adoption platform, organizations can ensure that employees gain mastery and are efficient when using any system – even if they have never encountered that system before.

3. If a mid- to large-sized company CHRO was just starting out on a structured employee engagement strategy, what should she prioritize and what would be the key milestones in that journey?

It’s critical for a company CHRO to address and fully understand the pain points and tedious problems its employees experience when faced with various enterprise applications on a day-to-day basis. CHROs should prioritize making the user experience as easy as possible across every application an employee touches.

Applying real-time analytics can help track user engagement, identify pitfalls, and ensure that data-driven actions are taken based on these insights. CHROs must also review this information in the context of the overall engagement measures that matter to the business.

One way to establish the right employee engagement approach is by creating a specific role dedicated to understanding how employees use technology. At WalkMe, we recently created such a role internally – a digital adoption manager, who is dedicated to understanding the efficacy of each solution, measuring the ROI of these applications and ensuring that employees consistently have an optimal user experience.

4. How have you seen the HR leadership attitude toward HRTech – the use of technology to enable, scale and optimize HR business outcomes – evolve? How can HR leaders of mid-sized companies build a business case for investing in technology to execute HR strategies such as recruitment and onboarding?

Many organizations in the last few years have focused on embarking on a successful digital transformation journey, which means that they must maximize the use of their digital assets. Digital transformation is a significant evolution for any organization because it also involves a culture change from within. HR leaders have increasingly become more involved in spearheading this journey, as many of the technologies that employees first experience when joining an organization often start with the HR department (payroll, benefits, etc.). Since every employee comes into contact with an HR system, HR leaders can then make a case for greater investment in a broader suite of solutions, particularly if they are leading digital transformation efforts.

5. Tell us more about the soft skills gap and why you believe that AI/automation will help close the soft skills gap?

Whether it’s communication traits, social skills, or emotional intelligence, employers today are reexamining the skills that matter most to them. Core soft skills matter as they build a strong foundation for employees over the course of their career. Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center found that 85 percent of job success comes from having well-developed, soft and people skills, while only 15 percent of success comes from technical skills and knowledge.

By using AI/automation to complete manual and tedious tasks, managers and mentors can focus on prioritizing building soft skills with their employees, rather than employees spending extra time trying to figure out how certain enterprise applications work. At WalkMe, we bridge the gap between what a system can do and what the user knows. By reversing the relationship a user has with technology, enterprises can provide an optimal user experience and maximize the use of their digital assets, and spend more time focusing on not only soft skills but more strategic and critical initiatives.

6. T-Mobile, one of your customers, announced their UnCarrier CX initiative in August 2018. One of the components is their promise to have real people take customer service calls. What happened behind the scenes with training and engagement to give them the confidence to make this announcement and who were the key stakeholders? What lessons can other enterprise-sized brands take away from it?

One of T-Mobile’s core beliefs is that digital transformation starts with its employees and its company culture. While T-Mobile is better suited to discuss its initiatives, based on our conversations with our customers, we see that companies that invest in underlying user adoption technologies can improve the overall employee and customer experience. This ultimately leads to other flow-on-benefits, including greater user satisfaction, technology ROI, productivity, and growth within the organization.

7. What metrics, insights, and analytics can HR users get from using WalkMe solutions? In what areas would they be able to best demonstrate the business impact of the investment?

WalkMe provides granular insights into how an employee uses any business solution – whether it’s a web-based application, mobile app, or website. We can provide insights including user characteristics (such as location and job title), session time and length; user flows within the application and many other details. Based on this information, organizations can anticipate and improve the overall digital experience, which can lead to unprecedented time and cost savings.

8. What technologies and trends are you tracking in HRTech as we go into 2020?

AI and automation continue to be significant technologies moving into 2019 and beyond. Ultimately, our vision is for software to transform the way users interact with technology, just like navigation systems (GPS) changed the way we drive. At WalkMe, users no longer need to learn or recall how to use any software, application, or website, and as organizations undergo their digital transformation, we want to serve as the backbone of the future of work.

HRT: Thank you for these insights into employee engagement and HR leadership, Rephael. We hope to speak with you again, soon!

About Rephael Sweary 

Rephael Sweary is the Co-Founder and President of WalkMe, which pioneered the digital adoption platform. Previously Rephael was the co-founder, CEO, and president of Jetro Platforms, which was acquired in 2007. Since then, he has funded and helped build a number of companies both in his role as entrepreneur-in-residence at Ocean Assets and in a personal capacity.

About WalkMe

WalkMe pioneered the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) to transform the user experience in today’s overwhelming digital world. Using artificial intelligence, engagement, guidance, and automation, WalkMe’s transparent overlay assists users to complete tasks easily within any enterprise software, mobile application or website. Founded in 2011, WalkMe software is used by nearly 2,000 enterprises globally, including 30 percent of Fortune 500 companies. For more information, visit

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