Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference. It was a jam-packed event full of research and insights into the future of human resources (HR) as we reimagine what’s possible.
While the event theme was HR digitization—the conversion of HR information and programs to a digital format—it became clear right from the beginning that HR digitization cannot happen unless people are engaged—in an organization’s brand, in their mission, in their personal role and with others.
CEOs and CHROs alike noted employee experience as one of their top five priorities around talent in the coming year, according to Gartner research.
Here’s a list of seven key takeaways after attending the event:
- HR leadership is evolving their focus to address the broader employee experience versus looking at how to get employees to be present or engaged in their work. While engagement assesses discretionary effort of an employee, their willingness to stay and development/leadership resources and opportunities; an employee experience approach takes a holistic view of all related perceptions and feelings across interactions with action plans designed to improve communication, process, technology, people, policy, benefits, etc.
- With discretionary effort of employees on the decline since 2013 across the globe (from 20% in 2013 to 14% today), we need to create a 9–5 that is like our employees’ 5–9 when they aren’t at work to increase engagement. Employees expect to have improved experiences in their employment journey. While technology will play a role in this, don’t stop with technology—helping employees connect to their work and personal identity within your organization will be key to attracting and retaining talent.
- Hearing the voice of the employee is an integral part of the employee experience design—and modern employee-listening involves communicating with and listening to employees across their journey—from recruitment, onboarding and work anniversaries to ongoing key organizational transition points. While annual engagement surveys are a good start to hearing the voice of employees, employees are open to more frequent surveys to provide their thoughts and feedback. And, when it comes to tracking employees’ fitness data, facial recognition, or chipping—that may be a part of our future but very few employers are actively consuming this data at a personal level today.
- Personal identity within an organization and role is emerging as a leading engagement indicator. To drive different business results in our ever-changing world, we need to complete different actions and expand our identity to shape our belief, thoughts, feelings, actions and results. We must shift the level of the conversation from “what do I get paid to do” to “who am I as a part of this work and how can I leverage our network and tools to create power and influence?”
- Creating networks of people in your organization beyond organizational hierarchical teams provides the freedom needed to move faster and to innovate. Empowering employees to innovate is a good step towards driving modernization. According to Gartner research presented by Michael Hanrahan, intentionally helping employees define who they should work with to build their social network can boost an innovation index score by 12%. Similarly, giving guidance on how to use social networks can increase the innovation index by 22%.
- New hires are increasingly regretful of their decision to accept positions, up 50% from 2008, and about one-third of new hires leave within six months. To combat this, it’s important to understand the changing candidate journey and to create an attractive job-related employer value proposition, focusing on the needs of the candidate.
Inclusion is top of mind with CEOs as a strategic way to drive business results. Inclusion starts with training on these issues, but needs to evolve to address how to be inclusive, with inclusion nudges initiated to reduce biases. Inclusion nudges include things like:
- Having communications campaigns around leaders’ stories, emphasizing vulnerability around when they were not able to offer their best
- Leading meetings with inclusion moments
- Dissecting processes to find ways to embed diversity and inclusion
Not mentioned but top of mind is the ongoing war on talent, and it doesn’t look to be improving in the near future. Emerging themes as we reimagine HR include personalized, inclusive experiences that allow connection to purposeful work and meaningful networks to create positive moments.
There is no better time than now to be talking and planning your employee experience design.
This will build emotional connections between employees and your organization, driving loyalty, longevity and advocacy. Ultimately supporting the attraction and retention of the best talent for your organization.
Ready to address the employee experience at your organization? Read more about the key considerations to account for when optimizing and reinforcing consistency throughout your organization’s employee experience.