The world is bitten by the consumerisation bug, and the corporate world has caught up rather swiftly. Simply put, consumerisation is reorientation of products and services of an organisation to focus on the end user as an individual consumer. In this context, several functions of an organisation are also consumerised, but what consists probably the toughest challenge is the constant changes in regulation, technology, demographics and social norms, that constantly redefine who the consumer is.
It is important to delve one step deeper and understand that the ‘change’ that is defining who the quintessential consumer is not one dimensional. Hence, who the consumer is as important as where he/she is located, how they consume, and very importantly why they consumer what they consume.
These changes, when applied to consumerisation of the HR domain in specificity, can be noticed very easily. For example, now-a-days, recruiters sell a career and just a job, and how L&D programmers are increasingly gamified and personal and mobile, and how, workplace culture and work-space are increasingly adopting to consumer based engagement.
At Vodafone India, a segmented approach is applied to rewards and benefits which uses quantitative data like usage behaviour, demographic, attrition analytics and churn prediction, alongside qualitative data of perception and beliefs, lifestyle and preferences. The categorisation happens on the basis of role/skill, life stage and demographic parameter and rewards and benefits are according to them. The key primary variables in this segregation are attrition/functional premium, business critical role, and the secondary variables are individual factors, performance and potential of the employee, and pay competitiveness. These categories helped in dividing the employees into different sections, and then identifying and designing benefits that would be the most relevant.
Vodafone India also realised increased flexibility in benefits to allow employees to have a greater say in areas like pay components, home and personal loan variables, retirement and tax policies etc. is a better approach to help them understand the value of the benefit conferred to them.
Furthermore, flexibility was brought in policies to balance professional and life stage needs of the various segments through programmes like Break Flex, Time Flex and Week Flex, wherein flexible sabbaticals, work arrangements and work –load, respectively, was provided to employees. Additionally, health and safety of employees – a core value at the organisation – got simplified when insurance programmes and policies were updated and evolved.
Lastly, the Annual Rewards Statement, which is sent out to each and every employee, helps them understood the tangible value of the benefits given to them. Hence, the most optimised results of incurring the benefits conferred to the employees were achieved when they were understood for who they are, what their aspirations and expectations are, and how they behave outside of the office space.
The future holds exciting prospects in this domain, as consumerisation spreads to even micro-segments, employees get more bargaining power, pay becomes transparent, employability becomes flexible and contingent and customers and peers have an increasing say in recognition and performance. Being relevant, customising and diversifying benefits, with the right Product-Mix, which caters to all employees, along with having an integrated and holistic benefits approach will be critical in deciding rewards going forward.
(This article is based on the session ‘Masterclass: Consumerization of Total Rewards: Superhero’s Toolkit’, held at the Total Rewards Conclave 2017, on 19th January 2017, with Sanchayan Paul, Vodafone India.)