By Duncan Casemore, CTO and Co-Founder, Applaud
User-experience experts map out customer journeys down to the minutest of details; which colour ‘buy it now’ buttons result in more purchases, when is the best moment to flash up a customer testimonial and what will result in the smoothest end user experience. Traditionally, it has been hard for HR departments to delve into such detail and replicate a similar experience in the employee sphere. In fact, only 27% of organisations offer consumer-grade HR services.
Best in class HR tech solutions typically don’t play nicely together. This has resulted in a disparate, broken experience for the employee, who is often required to log in and out of multiple platforms in order to complete different HR tasks and find HR services.
However, employee expectations are rising, and HR leaders are increasingly looking towards digital employee experience platforms to provide an integrated, one-stop-shop HR experience. The focus of these platforms compared with traditional HCM solutions is centred around the employee, providing intuitive navigation that improves employee engagement and, subsequently, productivity. It is estimated that disengaged employees are costing the UK economy £70bn every year in lost training and recruitment costs, sick days, productivity, creativity and innovation. Here, the increasingly tech-enabled HR function is also leveraging technology to come up with novel ways to keep employees motivated and productive in spite of changing work circumstances.
Role of HR
New-age HR tools are offering employees a very similar experience to what they would expect from their consumer platforms; simple to use, hyper-personalised and built for agility. These platforms achieve this consumer-grade experience by adopting an employee-first mindset, mapping out personas and journeys, and leveraging a blend of back end systems. Very similar to the philosophy behind our favourite consumer apps. But with less than 10% of organisations offering hyper-personalised digital experience platforms, there is a long way to go.
Businesses that have adopted a ‘the simpler the better’ mindset, as in customer experience technology, are already making strides in improving the digital employee experience. By having one integrated, personalised HR platform that prioritises information relevant to the user, they are already seeing productivity gains. This is similar to what one would experience as a consumer, where complexity occurs behind the scenes and multiple systems are interlinked without disrupting the user experience. If you liken this to Amazon, the consumer searches for a product and purchases it, it arrives the next day – you don’t see the stock levels in the warehouse, assign a product packer or a delivery driver.
When employees are searching for HR services they should expect this same level of simplicity. If they want to change their name after getting married, for example, they should search for the form, fill it in and hit submit. Not contact payroll to update their banking details, IT to get their email switched, etc. We have seen workforce experience layers really spearheading this change.
But it’s not just simplicity that HR should be mimicking. HR has traditionally been slow to execute ideas to digitise their workforce, and recent events have revealed that agility is critical as our working environment can change overnight. The faster you can update employees, the faster you can reduce anxiety levels and the lower disruption your business will experience. Consumer-focused platforms were quick to adapt, for example to the rise in eCommerce: pivoting advertising and stocking products to suit customer needs.
Throughout the pandemic this has been invaluable, as employees have seen the government announcements and questioned, does this apply to me? Am I expected to head into work tomorrow, etc. This is especially important, following recent figures that revealed 37% of working adults in the UK who are given less than a week’s notice of their working hours.
Some of the best examples of this are ‘borrowed’ from the tools consumers are already using day-to-day. For example, an enterprise contextual-based search engine – think Google for an organisation – can enable knowledge to spread rapidly and give employers immediate answers to job-related questions that can inform urgent decision-making.
In today’s rapidly changing work environment, HR is under more pressure than ever before to deliver the best employee experience. Much should be learnt from the everyday consumer platforms we use everyday, and then applied to HR platforms. This will ensure employees stay updated, productive, and motivated. Ultimately, this will help offer employees a more consumer-grade experience in their working life.