The dynamics of the global workforce are changing. In this new marketplace exemplified by the successes of Uber, Airbnb and Etsy, no Uber driver is ever directed on “where” or “when” to work. Here, the promise of flexibility engages a next-generation workforce, which might not necessarily be on a company’s payrolls, but is always available on demand. In fact, a Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that in 2017 there were roughly 20 million workers who had either “contingent” or “alternative working arrangements” in the U.S.
In this next-generation workplace, how can human resources managers bring together the efforts of a diverse workforce that engages with an organization in different ways? I believe the solution lies in the two-way flow of information in today’s always-connected world that enables organizations to create targeted, customized and hyper-personalized employee experiences. Just as companies such as Facebook, Starbucks and Amazon have already delivered hyper-personalized user experiences that build loyal customer relationships, I believe hyper-personalization will both transform how organizations engage with employees and signal profound implications for organizations of the future.
As an HR leader in the information technology industry who has participated in the emergence and evolution of the global IT services industry over the past three decades, I know that today’s technology offers us a unique opportunity to transform how organizations engage with employees. It is indeed the “next” in the personalization of HR services.
Applying Hyper-Personalization To A Diverse Workforce
Today, global HR leaders manage a diverse workforce — with Generation Z, millennials and Generation X all rubbing shoulders. I believe retaining skilled talent from this diverse mix is important. I expect that hyper-personalization of HR services across the employee life cycle within an organization will address this challenge. Let us consider how it can be introduced across multiple organizational touch points — in employee engagement, learning and career advancement — to select and retain the best employees.
A top priority for global HR leaders is effectively engaging their diverse workforce. A 2018 Gallup study indicates that only 34% of U.S. workers are actively engaged in their workplace. Clearly, hyper-personalization offers organizations a real solution that begins at recruitment and continues throughout the employee life cycle.
I anticipate that a growing number of organizations will increase the efficiency of recruitment processes through hyper-personalization by approaching the right candidate at the right time with a customized recruitment strategy. Leaders can also use data to create work environments for a changing workforce. For instance, should your company invest in a new car park, flexible work policy or pet-friendly office?
Subsequently, I believe how companies measure and manage employee satisfaction will also change. It could finally be time for us to bid farewell to the cumbersome, annual employee engagement survey. A hyper-personalized approach implies that organizations would monitor employee satisfaction on a regular basis, so consider implementing one-minute surveys when they log into their systems in the morning. This way, you’re creating agile organizations that are in tune with employees’ concerns and can deliver fast responses.
Organizations are focusing more keenly on learning and development than ever before. Industry reports even indicate that in 2017, U.S. companies spent over $90 billion on training, a 32.5% increase from previous years. The emphasis is also shifting to lifelong learning. For instance, AT&T has been focused on upskilling its employees and providing its workforce with the skills needed for new jobs. Imagine if your organization could also proactively recommend the most suitable training for its employees, based either on its past learning or future projects. That’s what I believe learning in a next-generation organization should look like: automatic notifications that invite customers to make purchases based on their past history.
Personalization Of Compensation And Benefits
With hyper-personalization, I believe there is a huge opportunity to personalize compensation and benefits to match the needs of employees based on their life situations. Empower your employees to collaboratively structure their compensation by determining their risk and investment in the company or choosing to be compensated in either equity or cash. Similarly, offer benefits that are most suitable for their life situations. For example, some organizations already have flexible components for childcare, wellness or even pet care, which can be built into compensation structures based on an employee’s lifestyle. But the challenge would be to build systems that provide for such flexibility. In next-generation organizations, I believe systems would have to be built or altered to provide such flexibility, such as incorporating an algorithm that can enable organizations to offer employees a customized compensation and benefits structure.
As some companies redesign their performance management systems, the approach to performance management faces a paradigm shift. A 2016 survey found there is a quest for career personalization within the next-generation workforce. Hyper-personalization could reward performance with promotions that genuinely match employees’ aspirations. In my view, another pressing concern in organizations with high attrition rates is the threat of a leadership vacuum. Now, hyper-personalization offers organizations the opportunity to proactively identify leaders of the future and offer them a customized training program, personalized both to their needs and the ever-changing requirements of the industry.
For all these reasons, I believe that hyper-personalization offers organizations a real solution that addresses employees’ changing expectations in a digital world and enables organizations to stay ahead. It drives the “next” in talent management by facilitating engaged, motivated and committed employees while using information to aid decision making.