By Ajay Trehan, Founder & CEO – AuthBridge Research Services Pvt. Ltd
If you are wondering why Employee Experience Enhancement is suddenly a hot topic in 2020, here’s something to chew on: talent is scarcer than ever. Rising global unemployment trends might indicate towards a war for jobs, but as far as employers are concerned, theirs is going to be the war of attracting and retaining the right talent that can impact the bottom line. Research suggests that top talent will be eight times more productive whereas “failure to attract and retain top talent” is the number-one issue today for CEOs.
Even as the importance of Employee Experience Enhancement becomes clear, it’s not easy to get it right simply because organisations are slow or reluctant to spend time, money and effort in understanding what the talent today wants. It’s a pity because trillions of dollars worldwide are spent in understanding customer journeys vis a vis sophisticated tools and technology, but employee journeys receive little attention, if at all. Diana Dosik, Partner at the Boston Consulting Group, revealed in her Ted Talk that business leaders spend less than 5% of their time in understanding what really drives talent. This is despite the proof that happy employees lead to happier customers. Gallup, a Washington-based analytics and advisory company, reported that employees who are engaged are more likely to improve customer relationships, with a resulting 20% increase in sales.
Because there is a limited understanding of what talent really wants, most organisations working in the direction of employee engagement enhancement mistake it for:
What does talent really want?
People’s experience at workplaces today is a crucial factor contributing to their overall happiness. This contrasts with baby boomer, who primarily expected their work to make their ends meet and pay the bills. Millennials and Gen Z expect their workplaces to match their consumer experience i.e. customized, user-friendly, seamless and meaningful. Like customers look beyond the product/service to a brand’s reputation and reviews, social media presence, supply chain; employees too pay attention to wider needs. In contrast to before, employee-employer relations today is a two-way street where both parties want the best for themselves and expect the other to meet them midway, at the least. Talent really wants employers to recognize, facilitate and even celebrate the moments that truly matter in its journey, starting at recruitment and ending with separation.
What’s working for organisations known for great employee experience in 2020?
It is not surprising that the top trends around improving the experience of employees today are digitalization and technology led. Organisations are relying on data and analytics-driven decisions to not only attract the talent that is the best fit but also to nurture long-term relationships with the talent they lost to competition. Employer branding initiatives by many forward-looking companies target prospects with strong brand messages at platforms candidates best engage with. This is to generate awareness, interest and eventually consideration. Falling under the umbrella of Recruitment Marketing and Candidate Relationship Management, these initiatives rooted in technologies like AI and ML are killing two birds with one stone. They are leading to better workforce planning, skills gap analysis, assessment and retention and are saving costs big time.
Digital Onboarding – Making first few experiences count
For the tech-oriented generation of today valuing convenience highly, the first few interactions with the brand impact the overall brand impression. Interviews, form filling, background checks and onboarding are all processes during which a candidate’s mind registers many impressions and derives multiple conclusions -consciously and subconsciously.
Employers today are working with verification partners who can generate instantaneous authentication results across most parameters of identity, profile and behavior. This ensures that candidates can be onboarded as soon as possible after they say yes to a job offer. Digitally onboarding new employees so that all departments are on the same page and all actions associated with hiring are defined, allocated and completed in time is working miraculously to affect employee retention. A 2019 report titled Trends and Applications in Employee Onboarding revealed that organizations with a clearly outlined onboarding process enjoyed 82% higher new employee retention as well as a 70% uptick in productivity. This makes sense when one considers that filling fifty forms before they get to their workstations isn’t exactly the kind of beginning today’s talent anticipates at a new job. Additionally, by relieving the HR and hiring managers from the manual and laborious tasks associated with onboarding, one can allow them to create more customized and personal welcome experiences for employees.
Aligning an organisation’s learning and development agenda with its employees’ needs is bound to fan the feeling that employers ‘get’ their aspirations. This is especially true in today’s time when skills are becoming obsolete in a matter of a few years. Because they realize that meaningful work matters to talent, successful organisations today communicate and substantiate clearly how an individual’s job directly affects the bottom line.
The crux of the matter is…
Rather than looking at the enhancement of employee experience as a liability, organisations will be best served to see it as an opportunity to work with highly motivated individuals who can make a difference. It’s also crucial to understand that while a great employee experience today might be technology-driven, it really is about making our workplaces more humane. Since every individual is designed to work in their own best interest, it makes sense for organisations to uncover these interests, water, feed and align them to organizational objectives so that they contribute to the growth of individuals as well as employers.
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