At our ReimagineHR summit in London on Thursday, CEB (now Gartner) Principal Executive Advisor Clare Moncrieff led a session on creating a common vision of digitalization for the business and HR. After examining hundreds of trends, our research councils serving chief HR officers and chief information officers have identified six deep shifts in the business environment that will result from digitalization. These shifts should act as the framework for heads of HR to:
- Ensure talent conversations with the line are grounded in business context
- Identify the current talent implications of these shifts, project future implications, and partner with the line and C-suite peers to prioritize and respond to each
- Improve their teams’ business acumen (to underscore the importance of this, 58 percent of HR business partners indicated in one of our surveys that building business acumen was their top development goal in 2017)
(The case studies we link to below are available exclusively to CEB Corporate Leadership Council members)
1) Demand Grows More Personal
As customers seek personalized products that align with their preferences and values as individuals (rather than as segments), companies will rely on digital channels and digital innovations in logistics and customer service to achieve personalization at scale. Customers will continue to expect lower-effort, nonintrusive service.
This could, for example, affect how HR functions look for new talent. Attraction of critical talent now requires differentiated, customized branding and career coaching. Candidates will demand a more effortless, personalized application experience. AT&T approached this shift by creating a more personalized “Experience Weekend” to show the innovation of its brand to campus candidates and make top talent more likely to accept job offers.
A study published recently by the Dutch HR consultancy Randstad found that a whopping 82 percent of job seekers found heavily automated recruiting processes frustrating, especially if they never hear back from employers about the status of their online applications. SHRM’s Aliah Wright highlights the report’s key findings:
- 95 percent said technology should be used to assist the recruiting experience, not replace it.
- 87 percent said technology has made looking for a job more impersonal.
- 82 percent said the ideal interaction with a company is one where innovative technologies are used behind the scenes and come second to personal, human interaction. …
Too much technology with too few recruiters has hurt the process, said Dave Marko, managing director, On-Demand Analytics Solutions and Information Management for Acumen Solutions in Washington, D.C. Increasing automation without increasing staff creates an imbalance “that forces people to be less personable.” Every touch point that an organization has with candidates is significant, he said. “The goal is to increase candidates. But with all the technology, there’s not enough [recruiters] to make that human connection.”
These findings jibe with another candidate survey conducted a year ago by the American Staffing Association, a staffing industry lobbying group, which found that over three-quarters of respondents preferred some human interaction in their job search.
cunaplus / Shutterstock.com
Lenny Sanicola at WorldatWork predicts that among the major rewards trends in the coming year, more employers will be using big data to target their benefits communications:
In order to further engage employees in their benefits and drive certain behaviors, both the approach to messaging and delivery will continue to evolve. We will see more employee segmentation with the goal of creating more targeted, personalized messaging that is delivered among a variety of social media platforms. Some companies are leveraging interactive communications and incorporating gamification elements to enhance messaging and drive engagement. Others are exploring the use of data mining and analytics to create relative and timely targeted messages to employees and family members.
Indeed, benefits communicators are presented with an ever-growing mix of communication options, as well as an increasingly “competitive” communication landscape in which employees are receiving more messages from more sources than ever before. Benefits teams then face important questions about how to use the right content and channels to communicate benefits, often with scarce time and money.
This year, the CEB Total Rewards Leadership Council surveyed over 10,000 employees globally to identify which of the many options employees are most responsive to—that is, which options have the greatest positive impact on their perceptions of rewards—and found that channels that mimic a “human touch” are the most effective.
The challenge for organizations is that delivering personalized communications can be costly and easily overdone with no real impact. The key to managing this challenge with a tight budget is personalization at scale: Organizations can often take advantage of channels already present in the organization, which employees already use, and that can be made to feel personal.
At Workplace Insight, consultant Mark Eltringham thinks through what he calls the “pendulum swing between aesthetics and wellbeing” going on at many organizations, particularly as it pertains to “clear desk” policies, which are meant to enforce tidiness and maintain an orderly and uniform work environment, but may do so at the cost of greater employee creativity, permanency, and overall comfort and productivity. In the end, he comes down on the side of letting employees express themselves with their own desk organization schemes, or lack thereof:
Consider that, as individual space continues to decrease in favour of shared space – communal areas, meeting rooms and shared hot-desking areas –what little that remains on and around the desk has become of even greater importance to the individual. The desk, in fact, is the one solid block of space, the single physical aspect of office life, that can actually be rooted in the personal.