Modernisation is already been done, today’s buzzword is digital transformation. Sceptics often ask: “what does it mean?” While the question really should be: “What does it offer?” Research of the HR Trend Institute shows most companies are not consciously occupied with digital transformation, let alone the transformation of HR. There is still a long road to take, maybe/possibly a never ending road, but one that offers multiple solutions and possibilities over the status quo; losing the war on talent or the battle in favor of retention.
After my previous articles I started to wonder if there was a way to help accelerate the process of the digital transformation towards a better Employee experience on a strategic and operational level. I promised to dive deeper into how HR can take the lead in something that is quite unfamiliar as technology and data, without becoming an Hipster HR.
On my search I was inspired by the four steps of the digital transformation according to The New Reality: the mindset, the people, the process and the tools.
The mindset I covered in “Forget about 2018. Is your HR ready for 2020?” which points out the need of a personalised (Millennial-friendly) Employee Experience. The Employee Experience is the context of the employees. The strategy to improve this is the responsibility of HR and HR Tech can support that process as much as any other HR-related process.
The article “HR Tech is evolving rapidly. Can HR keep pace?” adds a view on the evolution of the available HR-technology. Bare in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect tool, only perfect usability in favor of your desired outcome. A perfect tool which is not used correctly or not at all can not generate the data you need to base your decisions on or visualize your analytics, let alone be predictive.
The key to succeed in a digital transformation of HR towards an Employee Experience that can be run without discomfort lies in the process and therefore within the people.
According to SAP-news only 17% of the companies have the personnel with the skills necessary for the Digital Transformation. Now there is a challenge for L&D.
“In the end, the mindset, let alone somewhat vague term ‘culture’, and approach we need is one of continuous optimization, holistic improvement and a focus on what people need, far beyond the digital context.” - i-scoop.eu
On the job learning - instant learning - and creating a culture of engagement can help to set up most employees mindset and improve your Employer Brand.
Scaling up their skills and owning their career gives employees the chance to excel in a hidden talent. When considering this, embedding a talent mobility strategy could be an asset. After all, there is no change without a process.
Combining the execution of the new digital HR strategy in favor of the Employee Experience; the implementation of the right tools, the education of the employees, the engagement of the workforce (or “end users”) to guarantee good results and accurate data, will be challenges that must be tackled by HR.
As said earlier, inside these challenges lies the opportunity of creating a culture of learning and engagement, an attractive Employee Experience and predictive analytics.
To quote Tom Haak: “HR can learn a lot from Marketing”.
HR can definitely learn from Marketing. Not that everything should be about branding and sales, but when it comes to customer experience and community building HR can learn quite a bit from their colleagues at Marketing.
- Where customers are called personas by Marketing, HR should also think of the employees as personas. This means that every single person can have an individual approach which is mapped, used and updated - to create a personal communication which can be used in all stages of the Employee Experience or Talentmanagement.
- Individual employees inside a company and/or their department form a community, because they all have at least one thing in common: their employer(brand). A community can be built, maintained and strengthened. As HR is the department between execution and business, it already handles the community management and support (compliance) of the workforce. The differences with Marketing are merely the audience, the content and the strategy. There is still a lot of potential for HR in this area during the digital transformation of the organisation.
Since digital transformation of HR starts at the top, it is nevertheless a bottom up process that some Human Resource Departments are not very familiar with. So it starts at a strategic level, where business, IT and HR meet each other.
But how do you discuss something strategic in a new language, that you know little about, that you can only facilitate but not control and is crucial for business?
I’ve found my inspiration by reading Sara Coene’s postings on design thinking and agile strategic design. She pleads for a new strategic design and has covered the main differences between the old strategic planning and the new strategic design in the graphic below.
The new strategic design does not make little adjustments or improvements, it creates the future ideal - something that does not exist yet. This I really like, especially in today's fast evolving economy where 5 year old software probably is outdated, many different tools are being used in a non compatible way and legacies are hidden in the basement.
Instead of a top-down exercise on management level, it is about a bottom-up experience; co creative and company wide. No more convincing employees through powerpoint presentations or excel sheets, but showing tangible solutions and generating feedback. Which is all perfectly possible with today’s (HR-)technology.
According to my experience it is better to involve employees or ambassadors in the process of selecting the tool you need, creating commitment and ensuring results that can be used for predictive analytics.
Designing your Employee Experience with HR Tech
Visualisation is one other aspect of agile strategic design that works very well in meetings, presentations or in this case; an article. Let us take a look at the building bricks (categories) that HR Tech can offer and make them the different stages of an Employee Experience. I must admit I have been inspired by Heleen Mes of hpbbnews.com and her postings.
The six steps an employee has to undertake to become an engaged member of your organisation - according to me- are:
- The first contact will be made by your brand. Perception is everything, the future employee has to feel attracted to your company. Following this the first step is called branding and you probably can find plenty of technology to support that, but do not use it without a clear strategy.
- The next step falls under recruiting; either the candidate spontaneously sends you his resume as a response of a job offer on a job board, or the candidate was sourced by a job hunter or a job hunting tool. The focus here should be on the first contact with the company or its liaison.
- Talent acquisition will determine either the candidate will be contracted by the organisation. Depending on your strategy there are several tools available to support this step; gamified assessments, video-assessments, digital questionnaires, etc.
- Engagement & culture are crucial for an attractive Employee Experience. This topic deserves an article on its own considering the subcategories I can imagine. From compliance to talent mobility, HR holds the pen to write that story. Nevertheless the technology to support and encourage your employees to be committed and performant are within reach. The focus lies on user-experience. When employees like to use the tools and sees them as an asset - not as a burden - results can be booked.
- Learning & development has a double role to play. One in the digital transformation of the company and one in the digital transformation of HR towards an attractive Employee Experience. When you search for educational technology, you will be amazed of the digital possibilities.
- Employee Advocacy is something I like. This process turns engaged employees into Brand ambassadors and therefore strengthens the engagement AND the Employer Brand. The technology to support this is often miscategorized as marketing technology, because it often contains the use of (inside) social media, but it just as well is HR Tech.
If you are from Belgium you might want to take a look at the map of HR Tech Valley.
From my point of view the ultimate measure for retention is permanent onboarding. When your employees want to stay onboard they are engaged and committed, but there is more to it than that. These steps are not about the tools, it is all about the employees and the Employee Experience.
Employees have to use the tool to ensure HR and business receives the right amount of data, therefore they have to be involved in the process of implementing several steps/tools into the Employee Experience, again creating engagement. Agile Strategic Design and new ways of collaboration offer support to succeed with this implementation.
For each step there is a process inside the community, it is up to HR to manage this, but inside-HR does not have to do it alone. Do not hesitate to collaborate.
Finally in this new year - with new goals and new plans.. and some old habits, like my curiosity - I am wondering:
How does your HR use HR Technology to create an engaging Employee Experience in 2018?
Hans Mangelschots is a freelance HR-consultant and -trendwatcher, who has more than 10 years experience as Youth Employment Consultant and until recently co-owned a startup in HR-Technology.
Being an entrepreneur who is passionate about HR-technology and the digital transformation of HR he is always eager to share his knowledge, inspiration and vision on this topic.
Recently he started to share his insights in a personal blog, on a mission to spread inspiration and accelerate the digital transformation of HR towards a Millennial-friendly Employee Experience.
Twitter @ https://twitter.com/mangel_H