We trust our wearables to give us real time updates on our fitness and health. We believe in a shared economy with rentals becoming more financially viable than assets. Almost all our whims can now be immediately gratified at the touch of an app - we easily locate and join communities of interest; we have platforms to showcase (and monetize!) our skills and talents; artificial intelligence and analytics are helping us choose which movies to watch on Netflix, who to be friends with on Facebook, books to read on our Kindles… the list is ever increasing. In other words, our experiences as consumers are increasingly defining our lifestyles, needs, and motivations.
It then becomes not only natural but increasingly important for organizations to focus on ensuring that employees find congruency in their experiences within and outside their workplaces. Investments in technology and digital for enhanced employee experiences are imperative for any talent strategy today. In this note, we explore a few evolving (and some, altogether real!) scenarios on how technology can be effectively leveraged and disruptive approaches be seamlessly adopted, within organizations, to positively impact employee productivity and engagement.
Wearables for instantaneous reinforcers
Fitness bands, digital watches and, smartphones are now capable of keeping us aligned to our health goals - tracking our sleep patterns, keeping count of the steps we’ve taken, the calories we’ve eaten - and thereby, pushing us to stay motivated through the day with byte-sized milestones. Wearables offer a tremendous opportunity to enable real-time feedback and frequent incentives and reinforcers, especially for driving employee wellness programs. The holistic wellbeing of employees is essential for meaningful engagement and productivity strategies.
On demand economy
We now have the luxury of comparing options online and ordering products and services from any part of the country. This exact concept of marketplaces and last mile delivery is today being adopted by some organizations to enable on-demand talent and skills. An additional factor is a generational shift towards multiple careers, online education, and career aspirations which do not extend to 9 to 5 jobs anymore. The current entrants to the workforce want to multi-task, paying equal importance to their careers and other interests… in doing so, they are increasingly looking at selling skills for a limited time, as opposed to full-time jobs. For organizations (and HR), this presents a fantastic opportunity to tap into talent they want at a given point in time, for the time they need it.
In this day and age of instant gratification, filling lengthy forms and waiting for multiple approvals is not only archaic but also criminal. Organizations need to increasingly explore streamlining requisition processes and enable people to choose and order work-related assets, submit information and carry out other personnel and talent related administrative tasks - all of them, of course, within clear pre-defined constraints. For HR it implies a need to simplify policies and templates - put them onto Apps or easily accessible media - and allow employees to own their data and its administration.
Increasingly, virtual networks like Quora are being used by individuals to request for and/ or share real-time information. Platforms like Udemy are enabling people with a global marketplace to teach their area/s of expertise. This presents an exciting opportunity for specialists to showcase their expertise. Organizations can draw upon these best practices and create an online collaborative space for employees to share, teach and learn from each other.
Community decision making
Gone are the days when you’d call friends to know about which place in town served the best coffee. Now, there are sites with ratings and reviews galore. This concept can be extended by HR to have employees review career movements and jobs, benefits programs and even learning courses - enabling them to choose their careers and related benefits.
Artificial intelligence led choices
Artificial intelligence is helping consumers make informed decisions. Analytics now drive personalisation and is helping businesses present relevant choices to a consumer, thus increasing the probability of consumption or purchase. Similarly, employee insights can be tapped upon for HR to hyper-personalize the employee experience and recommend suggested career paths, learning programs etc.
While the scope for adoption of HR technology is immense, it is important to keep the human at the centre of the design and focus on meeting the aspirations, needs, and goals of the employees. Technology is not an end in itself, but an enabler for organisations to offer more meaningful experiences to their people