Consider this: productivity and engagement are considered two of the biggest differentiators of high performing companies. But if "be more productive" and "engage your employees" were such easy tasks, everyone would do them!
The reality is, it's a big hill to climb. HR today is already facing more people-related challenges than ever before:
- How do we reduce the number of distractions so employees can focus on the task at hand?
- How do we make sure that our employees have the skills they need to achieve their career goals?
- How are networked, team-based structures impacting our employees' experience?
- How do we compete for, and retain, highly skilled workers?
- How do we manage employee expectations for a consumer-grade experience?
These are just a few of the challenges to overcome when considering what kind of experience you want to offer your employees.
So what exactly comprises the employee experience? Think of all the interactions an employee has with her employer while she is working there, then think of how she feels about and perceives all of those interactions.
I think that the hill just got a little bigger.
Here are some critical elements needed to create a great experience for your employees:
- They need clear and meaningful goals so they can stay focused and understand how their work contributes to the success of the business
- They need access to the right learning content and opportunities so they can grow and develop
- They need ongoing feedback and coaching so they can reach their highest potential
- They need recognition and reward to stay motivated, committed and willing to go that extra mile
- They need simplified workflows and processes so they can make progress in their work
That's a lot to put together, and in light of an unprecedented pace of change, technology, and expectations, how can talent management practitioners climb this hill to success?
One size does not fit all
Once the elements of the optimal employee experience are identified, the next section of the hill is arguably the steepest one: the challenge to create an employee experience that meets the needs of all employees.
A one-size-fits-all approach certainly isn't going to cut it. You may have up to 5 generations of employees working together. Within that diversified set, you have to further consider the different ways people learn, communicate, and tackle goals. And let's not forget that today's workforce is apt to consist of several different employment categories: full-time, casual, contingent, apprentice, trainee.
So how do you navigate all of these challenges and complexities? If you're going to succeed at creating a successful employee experience, you're going to have to get personal.
All goal activities are available in one personalized view, supporting productive and holistic performance conversations. 1:1 meetings provide an easy and centralized forum to track and collaborate on goals, exchange feedback, and ensure employees have the learning and development they need to achieve their potential.
Now let's make it personal
The path to the top of the hill requires HR to apply a personalized approach to create an end-to-end employee experience that taps into passion and purpose, and removes inefficiencies and barriers.
"Leaders have to think about everything from culture to well-being to purpose and meaning -- and make it all come to life in a personalized way for employees, both in person and through digital channels." Ryan Pendell, Gallup, Oct 2018
Personalization sends a powerful message to your employees. It says:
- I know what challenges you face in your role, and what skills you need to overcome them;
- I know what your career aspirations are; and
- I know your preferences - how you best learn, how you want to work, how you like to be recognized, what your hobbies are, even how you like your coffee!
Saba Talent Profiles are filled with information about your skills, knowledge, preferences, needs and anything else your employee wants to share. All this information can feed into the creation of a personalized employee experience. Receive smart recommendations from TIM based on your profile on courses you may find useful, people to follow, skills development and relevant workspaces.
When you have this level of personalized understanding about your employees, you can approach the employee experience as a designer would. Design thinking means that you study what people are actually doing at work, then design the work environment to support their success. Personalization is at the heart of this approach, and tackles the barriers that are getting in the way of accomplishing work. It's all about identifying and segmenting behaviors.
Once you've segmented the behaviors it's much easier to deliver tailored, relevant content to each employee. For example, many companies have already invested in learning platforms that help your employees quickly find content or register for a class. But personalization takes it a couple of steps further: now you can factor in what they're searching for, what classes they've actually taken, or what discussions they're having with colleagues that have similar interests. Similarly, employee experiences can be personalized to exist in a particular employee's "flow of work," removing barriers to participation and demonstrating that all-important commitment to tailoring experiences to the employee, instead of the other way around.
Saba Pulse allows you to collect real-time engagement insights anywhere your employees frequently work - whether that's a CRM, a communications or productivity tool, or company intranet.
AI plays an important role here by creating "smart" personalization through predictive analytics and adaptive learning. It goes beyond providing a suggestion based on other learner's, to recommending learning that will improve a skill that will help you achieve a goal. For example, instead of, "a lot of people are taking this course, you may want to as well", it becomes "I see you have a goal to become a better leader - check out this course on how to develop your communication skills."
"When you think about employee experience as a holistic problem, you'll design better solutions." Josh Bersin, HR Technology Market 2019: Disruption Ahead
Personalization is the key to productivity and engagement
Personalization means you know your employees' challenges, preferences, and aspirations. It provides you a path to tackle the barriers that are getting in the way of getting work done. You're able to offer tailored learning content, and accurately identify the skills your employees need to accomplish goals and grow in their careers.
The payoffs are big: every individual is working at the peak of productivity, and fully engaged, and that means your business can join the ranks of top-performing companies. Getting to the top of that hill has never felt so good.