The HRTech Conference Las Vegas, one of the largest gathering of HR practitioners and vendors, was a must attend event for me in 2014. I always keep an eye out for occasions like these as they give me a chance to sense the global pulse of HR Technology.
The clear standout at the conference was the growing trend of using Technology & Analytics to engage and retain employees. This is a remarkable shift from reliance on conventional ways like birthday celebrations and team outings to drive employee engagement. Reactive measures like matching the salary if the employee receives a competitive offer or providing better perks are being looked upon as ideas of the past. I came across some simple and interesting applications of technology that are rapidly gaining popularity overseas for retaining employees. I already see some of these trickling in India:
Gamified Onboarding: There’s a large focus in reducing early (infant) attrition. Organizations are engaging with the employees from the very beginning. Instead of boring onboarding manuals and documents, companies are using games and widgets to introduce the company and colleagues to the new joinees. In the process, they also capture regular feedback to detect dissatisfaction in the first few weeks of joining that are very critical.
Real-time Mood: Traditional annual engagement surveys are being supported by real-time insights on what each individual in a company feels every day. Companies are doing analytics regularly on the mood of the workforce. The focus is on preventive action instead of damage control.
Purpose: This was a revelation for me. The GenY and Millennials place a lot of importance on doing meaningful work that aligns to their personal goals or larger purpose in life. Companies are using social platforms to understand and contribute to the purpose of the large part of their workforce. Regular Analytics is run to see the alignment of the business initiatives and the social responsibility projects to the Purpose of their people. This goes a long way in retaining talent.
Social Recognition: I came across numerous examples of how employee engagement and retention went up by simply enabling employees to appreciate the work of their colleagues on a social platform so that everyone could witness it. The philosophy is to encourage good behavior and build networks of trust by recognizing good behavior on a social platform.
Wellness: The GenY and Millennials are very conscious of their physical and mental fitness. Especially, with the Internet of Things and wearable technology, I saw a lot of companies including a Wellness component in their employee engagement effort. Encouraging & rewarding workouts and healthy diets through a social platform seems to be the latest trend.
Networks of Trust: People in organizations have different kinds of working relationships with different people. There’s increasing usage of Analytics to understand the kind of relationships people enjoy with their peers, subordinates and seniors. The focus here is for the management to visualize the organization as a network of trust vs. just a hierarchical structure. Once you know the relationship dynamics of your workforce, you can implement organizational movements without much friction (or attrition).
I feel one of the key focuses on 2015 for Corporate India would be retention. Apart from racing to get new talent, companies will be increasingly focusing on retaining not only their best but also the next best talent. I think it’s high time that we predict Retention and increase engagement as much as we focus on predicting Attrition. Analytics and Social Technology is to our aid!