Technology is a very big part of the employee experience, but one that isn’t top of mind for employers. Quite rightly, they prioritize issues such as company culture, the organization’s purpose, mission and values as well as ways to boost staff engagement and satisfaction.
Yet, talent management has become significantly more complex as organizations try to tackle everything from performance management to well-being, productivity and beyond, especially in our current climate. Technology has a valuable role to play here, enabling companies to design personalized employee experiences at scale rather than simply provide a blanket approach to all initiatives from benefits and rewards to learning and development (L&D).
This situation is truer now than it has ever been following the digital transformation that has taken place among employers due to Covid-19 lockdowns around the world. Digital working has been redefined and workplaces are being reimagined, in many instances, as a network of physical and virtual locations rather than a single office headquarters sitting at the heart of company life.
As Rebekah Wallis, director of people and corporate responsibility at Ricoh UK, reportedly told The Hive: “We in HR have almost ‘had’ to do [digital transformation], and employees have ‘had’ to accept it too — it’s like everyone has suddenly got permission to embrace the sorts of technologies that were previously being resisted, or waited on.”
In a workplace context, this has resulted in the technology focus switching away from human capital management systems that control internal processes and procedures toward experience platforms that are aimed at improving employee satisfaction.
Providing A Consumer-Grade Experience
This switch in focus is important because organizations that fail to create a positive employee experience today will put themselves at significant financial, operational and reputational risk tomorrow. To attract, retain and keep talent motivated requires employers to provide a consumer-grade experience as the default.
But to deliver this consumer-grade experience, it is vital that employers have a sophisticated ecosystem of HR applications in place that cover the entire employee lifecycle, ranging from onboarding and career management to L&D and even right through to potentially exiting the company.
Today’s employee arrives in the workplace armed with technological expectations. Employees are familiar with the ease that technology enables in their personal life and expect their employer to possess a similar capability. And this is amplified even more today, with meal and grocery delivery services, virtual celebrations of weddings and birthdays and to contactless shopping at our favorite retailers. In fact, organizations that fail to innovate and transform their HR systems by putting workers at the center of everything they do will put themselves at a significant disadvantage.
This is why the most effective HR technologies increase the value felt by employees, in turn improving the day-to-day experience of work, while simultaneously minimizing the time spent in the tool. AI-driven chatbots are an excellent example of a technology that can quickly add value to employees, answering queries and moving them quickly on to the task.
However, while there is currently no single “joined-up” platform to manage the entire employee experience from end to end, we are increasingly seeing the development of both systems that look after constituent parts of employee experience, as well as apps (e.g., ServiceNow (an EY product) and Mya) that sit atop these systems and integrate experiential data to build up a better, more data-driven picture of the workforce.
Putting Employees At The Center
By collecting data around issues like employee sentiment and well-being, it is possible to evaluate the impact on employee experience that a number of touch points, or moments that matter, such as performance evaluations and promotions, have on individuals. This means that a combination of business rules, data science and machine learning software can take the employee experience data and analyze it.
Mapping these results onto operational information would enable leaders to derive meaningful insights into the short- and long-term engagement levels of employees following experiences. Such insights are invaluable in that they enable HR professionals to make data-driven decisions on how best to enhance the employee experience by basing their action on insights into what it actually looks and feels like for employees.
With this, people leaders can make more effective policy decisions and design better experiences from which the entire workforce can benefit, thereby enhancing the organization’s ability to adapt and change by truly putting people at the center of everything it does. Bottom line: People at the center drive business results when talent is viewed as an asset and value is placed on employee experience.