Despite the rise of technologies such as robotic process automation and artificial intelligence, for most organisations, business growth invariably involves workforce expansion.
But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to attract and hold on to top talent in today’s tough job market, particularly if your workplace doesn’t mirror the values and expectations of today’s digitally-savvy, mobile-enabled, socially-active employees. Let’s face it – many growing businesses are so preoccupied with understanding and engaging their customers that they overlook the imperative to understand and engage their own employees.
Forget Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials – employee expectations are more to do with digital maturity than date of birth. Whatever the generational composition of your workforce, digital employees’ wants and needs tend to be broadly similar:
- Fair salary and benefits, and rewards for good ideas
- Egalitarian organisational structures
- Tools that help the pursuit of goals and simplify routine tasks
- Regular acknowledgement of a job well done
- Opportunities for personal and professional development
- Supportive managers, not faceless bosses
- A sense of belonging and purpose
Your company may tick some of these boxes, some of the time, for some of your employees. But if you’re still employing on a patchwork of human capital management systems, you may often have to rely on the discretion and diligence of individual managers and HR leaders to do what’s best for the business and its people. However, to fulfil these attributes consistently, company-wide, requires the kind of visibility, tools and channels that many growing businesses lack, having prioritised technology spend on customer-facing initiatives.
For example, “fair” compensation can’t be determined arbitrarily – you need to be able to align your workforce to your business strategy and have a clear view of employee compensation, performance and succession information. Annual reviews don’t provide a reliable feedback mechanism in today’s rapidly changing business conditions – employees prefer instant, more frequent and informal recognition from colleagues as well as line managers, akin to a social media experience. When people can manage their lives outside work online in a few clicks, taps or swipes, why shouldn’t they be able to manage their personal information at work with similar ease?
It’s not just about your existing workforce. How can you win the battle for talent with traditional, sluggish recruitment processes, while more progressive competitors are using social channels to attract candidates, or seamlessly onboarding new hires to create a great first impression and shortening their time to full productivity? Can you offer a compelling workplace and employee experience that will keep your new people engaged and productive, and encourage stability of tenure in an era of fleeting loyalty?
To attract and retain the best and brightest digital talent and give your business the freedom to grow, your HR organisation needs to be the change it wants to see. That means embracing a joined-up, digital-first approach to managing the employee lifecycle as attentively as your commercial team manages the customer lifecycle, and empowering your people to engage with your services on their own terms.
Written by: Alexandra Anghel
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