Digitization is revolutionizing how organizations should think about and act on driving outcomes from their most important asset – their people. Mobile and social platforms are impacting the entire approach to interaction and communication, and workers now expect their interactions at work to mirror the technology actions in their personal lives.
A shift in mindset is needed. Whilst organizations continuously strive to adapt to the changing demands of their customers, the same approach is required for their employees. Yet, in our experience, HR systems and processes in the Middle East are lagging behind. According to our research, 25% regional millennials believe their HR programs help create a positive work environment, compared to 41% baby boomers, which suggests that the systems in place are rapidly becoming less relevant as we see a generational shift in the workforce. Equally, just 54% have a clear understanding of the various HR policies at their organization, which leaves almost half of employees seeking better modes of communication.
What can HR do to enhance the employee experience?
It’s not just about investing in the latest, most expensive technology and platforms. Effectiveness and efficiency is achieved through rigorously planning for talent outcomes and driving agile linkages between programs, technology, platforms and analytics:
Mirror the consumer experience in the working environment.
HR need to bring customer engagement tactics into the workplace, essentially, mirroring the consumer experience that individuals now demand and expect in every-day life. This can be done by facilitating on-demand access to information, greater collaboration; social learning and a direct linkage to ones aspirations. If there is a user-friendly platform that provides ease of self-service and easily available analytics for managers to take better people decisions, HR becomes more effective. Needless to say, efficiency is a great byproduct as well.
Move from integrated to unified talent management platforms.
Technology progression has made it possible for us to have single ‘unified’ platforms based on one technology, one user experience and one data model with a focus on tracking progress of employees, rewarding them appropriately and giving them the tools they need to become successful. Our research suggests that existing systems are not meeting the expectations of employees and managers in the region, as only 42% of managers believe they have the tools and training to provide their employees with opportunities to grow in their current job. Savvy organizations are investing in SaaS HR platforms, which are arguably more cost effective in the long term, help drive efficiency and enable the streamlining of work processes to enhance the end-user experience. However, it is important to note that the principle of GIGO (garbage in garbage out) still applies to HR systems. To get the best value, organizations need to have the basic processes and talent and HR data in place.
Adopt an analytics lifestyle.
HR departments should go beyond just measuring and benchmarking against past data, to more predictive capabilities to help drive future business results. For example, analyzing the capabilities of high performing employees will help inform recruitment and selection practices. Additionally, employee engagement data, performance and leadership feedback data can be combined to build the profile of leaders that are generating the highest discretionary effort and productivity from their people. These insights will improve the overall quality of future investments in leadership recruitment and development.
Overall, HR needs to incorporate the habits and attitudes of their employees into their existing working culture. They need to create an experience that meets the expectations of individuals in today’s digital world, make the technology investments necessary to aid this, and start using data not just to reflect on the past, but to shape their strategy for future success. By failing to adopt a digital mindset, organizations are at risk of being left out in the race to attract, retain and engage their employees for sustainable competitive advantage.