Just as business and talent have gone digital, talent management also has to go digital to attract digital natives. In a Round Table organized by People Matters in association with Microsoft and Ramco Systems, Ravi Shankar Natarajan, a thought leader and advisor to HR startups with over 30+ years of experience in this field, led the workshop to give a detailed insight into how to retain the digital natives and provide employee satisfaction.
In the opening session of the workshop, Ravi elucidated how the HR needs to move beyond just providing the human touch but rather focus on creating an employee experience akin to a delightful customer experience through new technologies. The whole idea is to bring those technologies of customer experience management into employee experience management by putting employees at the center of the design thinking of the HR experience.
This can be done by creating a three pillar experience focussed on employees to create a happier culture and retain more employees:
- How awesome a company is,
- Ultimate convenience and
- On-demand service.
Ravi added that today, it’s the HR’s job to manage the employer brand, which it can do by creating a WOW candidate experience. This requires the HR managers to put on the marketing hat and step up as employer brand managers. One practical way to do could be to use the power of hashtags to create a brand.
Similarly, the HR is also responsible for creating a WOW candidate experience through ultimate convenience. One way of doing this is to improve the employee experience by allowing the person to upload all of their documents before joining the company. What would also help is that instead of a person logging into multiple systems, everything relevant for a new employee is on a single platform.
Employing next-gen technology to create a WOW employee experience
The need of the hour is to move towards the second generation of technology that includes Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, bots, self-service apps and predictive analysis to predict the performance of employees. Next-gen HR systems also need to go that way.
One example of this is enabling NFC based attendance for employees working in remote projects and employing frictionless entry with face recognition tools to enable employees to mark attendance, eliminating the need for biometric fingerprints or punch cards. Similarly, there is a natural transition from apps to bots for facilitating processes like applying leave or managing expenses and the future will move see Voice emerge as a major medium of engagement.
Ravi also added that today HR is dealing with an exhibitionist generation. So one way of leveraging that in the feedback process is through a performance journal (introduced at Ramco) which allows employees to exhibit his/her performance on a monthly basis and tag people. So rather than everyone scratching their heads over what to put in their self-appraisal at the year-end, the performance journal allows them to keep track of their performance on a regular basis, all through the year. One could also allow him to publish it on LinkedIn as well.
Overall the thrust is on facilitating a quick feedback process or a speed-back and easy appraisals rather than depending on the yearly cycle.
A sneak peek into HR Tech in action
In the second session of the workshop, Vedantam S Ayyangar, Associate Vice President, Ramco Systems, further shed light on the next-gen technologies which can be employed by the HR to enhance employee experience. Vedantam spoke about HR Tech in action, giving a sneak peek into the employee experience of tomorrow.
Though digital is becoming all-pervasive, HR needs help in understanding employees. One of those areas is employee engagement where HR can leverage new age technology to understand if the employee is engaged or happy with the company.
Citing an instance, he explained how Ramco employs a tool which asks an employee to share his mood the first thing he logs into his system and also when he logs out in the evening. Data so captured over a period and analyzed can give an idea to the CxO about his employees’ happiness without asking many questions. This helps the HR in identifying teams which are stressed and co-relate to overall productivity too.
He then further shed light on how Ramco employs chatbots for an employee to easily mark attendance, take approvals for leave, or submit travel expenses. Not just that, over a chat with the bot, the manager will get a complete team view - where all his employees are on a particular day for training, associates celebrating birthdays, and also an overall snapshot of the key team members, thus allowing personalization.
The open house discussion-focussing on real-life challenges by HR heads
The third session of the workshop involved an open house discussion where HR heads from Punj Lloyd, Samsung, and Bausch and Lomb shared case studies regarding the typical challenges faced by today’s HR.
The challenges revolved around recruitment and retention in the face of technology. The first challenge was about the role of HR in the new context of tech development especially when it came to recruitments and employee branding. The discussion focused on how it is going to change, and whether algorithm/AI/ML will take care of employee learning or does the manager still get to play an active part?
The participants advocated the following for the same-
- A focused and personalized learning plan using machine learning
- Making the learning a part of goal enhancing skills
- HR needs to play an active role in coaching and mentoring
- HR needs to be involved in the monitoring of development plans, the quality of programmes, and easy accessibility
- HR also needs to create pull factor by making it mobile based and creating competition
In order to improve employer branding, the group advocated the following-
- The need for easing out the application process
- A system to weed out duplication of resumes
- A system to handle high volumes of resumes
- Employing AI
The third challenge focussed how can HR build a positive adoption to any technological change among employees? For driving this change, the group advocated the following points-
- Providing the right technical support
- Pushing involvement at all levels
- Making the employee understand what’s in it for me
- Leveraging brand groups for driving any change
- The ownership between HR and employees needs to be joint
- Making employees understand how will the new technology make life simpler
- Correctly translating the vision through the technology
Overall, the workshop concluded that in order to attract and retain next-gen employees, employers need to align their HR thinking with employees at the center, for a perfect company culture and a holistic view of the employee. Also, today’s HR needs to be in sync with today’s next-generation technologies to attract and retain employees, allow flexibility in operations to employees in the multitude of economies today, and focus on maximizing employee experience.
(This article is based on the conversations during People Matters – Ramco Roundtable discussion on “Re-defining Next Gen Employee Experience”)