The widespread adoption of mobile and cloud technologies are ‘consumerising’ Digital Experience within the enterprise and driving the reinvention of business.
Organisations in every sector are benefitting from, and seeking to take advantage of, new technologies and models that were developed in the consumer space, rather than in the enterprise sector.
It’s changing the way we work. This ‘digital dexterity’ is driven by information intensity and the desire to share and collaborate. We’re all used to an on demand experience in our personal lives – we order a movie on Netflix, it plays immediately; we order a taxi on Uber, it arrives within minutes; we order food on Deliveroo, or an item on Amazon, and both will arrive within the hour.
Many of these services learn from our interactions to deliver a more relevant and appropriate experience, and this is something we’re coming to expect from every interaction with technology. According to Accenture, by 2020, 51 percent of consumers and 75 percent of business buyers expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions.
So why should the tools and services we use in the workplace be any different? Employees want to be connected with their colleagues and processes across multiple devices during their workdays. Workers expect enterprise tools for searching, sharing, and consuming information to be as ‘smart’ and compelling as those they use in their personal lives. They want information and analytics to be contextualised, based on their work, and delivered when they need it. In short, they want to be enriched.
Yet Human Resources is one sector that has fallen behind in terms of adoption of consumer grade technology. Despite being the part of the organisation that deals with people, it’s also the part that’s most affected by legacy systems and processes. HR professionals are often working with outdated tools and information that lacks context, as well as being targeted on ‘keeping the boat steady’, rather than driving change.
But the digital workplace offers significant potential for organisations strategically prepared to re-engineer processes around how employees currently work and engage each other. Organisations need to take advantage of interconnected trends that Gartner identifies as the ‘four factors in the Nexus of Forces’ – mobile, social, cloud, and information – which reinforce the digital workplace with a sense of responsibility for all stakeholders: consumers, the workforce, shareholders, communities, and the environment.
Work is no longer somewhere you go, it’s something you do at a time and on a device that is most appropriate to you in the moment. With the work-life balance becoming ever more important, it is incumbent on employers to proactively maintain the health and happiness of their employees. But to do that, HR professionals need the right tools and so do the employees. For example, an increasingly remote or mobile workforce struggles to feel a sense of community without social interaction and recognition.
Legacy HR tools are equivalent to an itemised phone bill – they deliver information but they don’t tell HR professionals the full story, because the tools often exist in silos. Many organisations will claim to have a well-being strategy, but it is one that has evolved piecemeal, with a benefits tool and an EAP in separate systems that don’t talk to each other.
Wellbeing needs to be delivered as a holistic approach, covering physical, emotional, personal, financial, and professional wellness, because all elements are interlinked. As the World Health Organisation defines it, health is “the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of diseases or infirmity.”
So, with the consumerisation of employee benefits, instead of rigid organisation-oriented offerings, the focus shifts to the individual employee. This allows each employee to customise their own experience with personally relevant benefits and make the maintenance of their own well-being more convenient.
By consumerising employee well-being, employees have the freedom to evaluate and choose their own benefits – using employer-provided money. It makes sense for both parties that the money spent on the employees is spent to the benefit of the recipients. This is where LifeWorks sits – at the intersection of the people and the business solution. And what’s more, a healthy and happy workforce can help companies save money and turn a profit.
So be aware that consumerisation is coming and it’s not a ‘strategy’ or something to be ‘adopted’. As Gartner says, consumerisation can be embraced and it must be dealt with, but it cannot be stopped. It will also become so entrenched within business that employees will gravitate towards employers that offer the best well-being experience and away from those that are lacking.