Almost every aspect of daily living now involves digital technology. You can hardly make a morning cup of coffee or change the temperature in your home without interacting with digital technology somehow. This trend has also extended into the workplace, forcing companies to consider new methods for engaging digitally savvy employees.
Workplace expectations have shifted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation. In the US alone, April saw more than four million people quit their jobs, according to a Department of Labor summary. Tangible benefits and salary alone are no longer sufficient to differentiate the employer brand and employee experience. Employers need to create a stronger emotional connection with employees to ensure they are engaged and connected with the organization.
‘LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2020 Report found that employee experience is one of the top four workplace trends that are changing the way companies hire and retain talent.’
One way HR teams can improve the employee experience and boost the company’s employer branding and retention efforts is to leverage personalization through technology.
As personalization becomes ubiquitous, HR has been quick to embrace an array of innovative tools to make the employee experience seamless. Here are three ways HR can leverage technology to enable more personalized experiences for employees:
Personalizing The Talent Acquisition Process
A robust applicant tracking system (ATS) can help talent acquisition teams automate their recruiting process, target employees with specialized skills and weed out unqualified applicants, making the overall hiring process faster and more efficient.
However, with standard ATS, there still needs to be a person at the other end to stimulate the human conversion with candidates and employees.
To better support this, talent acquisition teams can optimize their ATS using HR chatbots. These AI-powered chatbots function as virtual assistants by interpreting and processing conversational information and sending appropriate replies back to the sender.
IBM’s Digital Customer Care In The Age Of AI Report stated that chatbots can help companies save time by handling as many as ‘80% of routine tasks and customer questions,’ ‘leading to as much as 30% decline in customer support service fees.’
In a survey conducted by SilkRoad and CareerBuilder, ‘When applying to a job, more than half of employees (55%) will give up and move on if they haven’t heard from an employer within two weeks of applying.’
In addition, ‘31% of those candidates expect a customized message, which chatbots are capable of curating as they leverage existing data, machine learning, and natural language processing to make interactions personalized.’
Talent acquisition teams should use HR chatbots to automate and personalize processes that generally require employee attention to make HR operations more timely and cost-efficient while getting more qualified applicants in their funnel.
An increasing number of companies are adopting AI-powered technologies to streamline their recruiting efforts. A 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Survey, found that ‘33% are already using some form of artificial intelligence (AI) applications to deliver HR solutions.’
Companies and talent acquisition teams can use HR chatbots to curate and personalize the candidate and employee experience, such as onboarding, answering employee questions, new hire check-ins, employee engagement, and internal mobility to improve engagement.
Leveraging Learning and Development Tools
Companies that offer professional development programs can empower their employees by giving them a chance to continually upgrade their skills that enhance their experience at work and improve the talent pool in the organization.
Digital tools such as learning management systems (LMS), particularly mobile learning systems, are popular among employees since they offer the freedom to learn from anywhere. They also divide educational content into short modules that are easily understood.
For example, platforms like Linkedin Learning allow employees to customize their learning journey and leverage tracking, personalization and assessment capabilities to ensure that learning progresses smoothly.
However, more and more organizations have been adopting coaching programs for their employees in recent years as part of their learning and development efforts. According to the International Growth Centre, companies that invest in developing soft skills such as agility and resilience saw a 256% return on investment.
Digital coaching tools such as CoachHub use artificial intelligence to help employees choose and match them to the right coach based on their personality. Coaches and coachees start the mentoring process by planning their coaching session meetings and defining the goals they hope to achieve over time.
After assessing the employee’s strengths and areas to improve, the coach creates a learning and improvement strategy plan for the employees. The progress is then tracked and measured based on defined milestones and outcomes.
Personalized learning and development tools such as coaching and mentoring programs play to an employee’s specific strength and improve their weaknesses by empowering individuals, increasing employee engagement, improving individual performance, encouraging deeper learning, and ensuring high employee commitment.
Curated Communication Methods
With most companies operating in a hybrid or remote model, today’s workforce is more fragmented than ever. While there are obvious benefits of remote work for employees and employers alike, there are also some challenges. Communication is often chief among them.
Nowadays, everything from streaming services to e-commerce sites has a personalization element. Employers must rethink how they communicate with employees in light of this trend. These sites use algorithms to curate personalized content and recommendations based on a person’s online behavior, history and preferences increasing user engagement.
The Ark Group Strategic Internal Communication Report stated that ‘almost 95% of the CEOs surveyed chose effective internal communication’ as critical. However, ‘only 22% thought it was being delivered effectively in their organizations.’
Companies can leverage targeted communication using the communication tool provided by their benefits administration tool as a starting point. For example, they can curate and tailor messages according to various teams and divisions, seniority levels, countries, or even those with specific company benefits.
To build on this, the next step of personalization can be achieved using AI-powered employer branding and copywriting tools such as StoryBuddy to craft email and notification message templates. This helps companies write faster, saving time and quickly scaling their efforts.
These templates can then be fed into the benefits administration system so that the AI can personalize messages with the information it has. These customized messages make employees feel seen, heard and taken care of, increasing employee engagement and employee loyalty.
Creating A Fine Balance
While HR tech has made huge strides in recent years and is a great tool that allows for personalization which improves the employee experience, it is only a part of the solution.
Managers also need to play an active role by listening to and understanding the different needs of the employees on the ground. These HR tech tools should enable managers with the right mindsets to curate an employee experience that is inclusive and attentive.
Technology serves as an enabler in employee engagement, not the end game. For example, having a human connection and personal touch such as personalized handwritten thank you notes or timely one-to-one physical check-ins can greatly motivate employees and make them feel appreciated. That can go a long way when it comes to increasing engagement levels.
Companies that can leverage technology to curate personalized employee experiences together with strong human connections in the workplace that drive collaboration, nurture healthy working relationships, and promote knowledge-sharing will be able to retain a robust talent pool that is highly engaged.