The digital age has introduced new technologies to consumers, and in doing so, has changed expectations for companies and brands. We use our phones to check the weather, buy online, read emails or video chat with a friend across the world. And then we get to the office expecting a similar digital experience. "Unfortunately, despite HR’s current focus on supporting employee needs, less than 30% of employees agree that HR effectively helps them perform better,” says Lauren Smith, Vice President and Team Manager, Gartner.
“ The best HR functions ensure that their products and services help employees have quality interactions with HR that meet their needs”
To meet employee expectations for consumer-like digital experiences in the workplace, some organizations are using personalization to create relevant, individualized interactions based on personal and behavioral data to enhance the experience of employees. Adhere to some key principles to improve your ability to personalize HR services effectively and improve employee experience.
Prioritize helping over “wowing”
Some employers focus on trying to delight their employees with personalization — providing unique experiences to “wow” them. They use all the different avenues technology offers to differentiate HR services and create enjoyable experiences for employees. For instance, employees may receive a personalized message from HR on their birthday. However, just wowing employees fails to improve the employee experience. For personalization to be effective, the best HR functions ensure that their products and services help employees have quality interactions with HR that meet their needs while simplifying their workflows and enabling a productive and engaging workplace.
“ Create a tailored experience by understanding what different employees value and delivering the solution when, where and how they need it”
Similarly, HR leaders have increasingly focused on personalizing the experience of job candidates. One vendor, for example, creates personalized career sites to attract top talent. The career site doesn’t contain any features vastly different from other sites. Instead, the vendor uses artificial intelligence to learn candidates’ intent, character and persona through each online interaction. It uses this data to provide personalized job recommendations or adapt content based on candidates’ skills, experience, interests and behaviors. Although recruiters would still need to ensure the right content is tagged to the right segments, candidates save time and effort and are reassured they are applying for the right job.
Consider prioritizing personalized delivery
HR leaders can use two strategies when leveraging technology to personalize HR services: Personalize the design of HR’s various offerings or personalize how those services are delivered. Both approaches have merit, but HR leaders must consider when and how to invest in each. Personalizing the design of HR services can be costly and time-consuming to build for each employee segment, and more difficult still for individual employees. HR leaders should therefore consider first personalizing the delivery of offerings — that is, the way in which HR solutions are communicated and used across channels to make it easier for employees to access and consume them. “Though the design of HR offerings may be the same, HR leaders can still create a tailored experience by understanding what different employees value and delivering the solution when, where and how they need it most,” says Smith.
“ 42% of employees would rather speak with an HR specialist than use self-service HR systems”
One example is how some progressive HR leaders now deliver learning content. Most organizations have already invested in modern, cloud-based learning management systems and in an array of digital content. However, with today’s constant pace of change and information overload, employees don’t always remember or know what and when they need to learn. By using adaptive algorithms, microlearning providers can help employees fill in their individual knowledge gaps with the relevant digestible bits of personalized information they need to perform better at work. HR leaders looking at tools to personalize learning experiences for employees should be aware of the ways training content can be delivered and, more importantly, how the system determines the best mode of delivery.
Humanize the digital experience
In their eagerness to offer a digital experience for employees, HR sometimes eliminates important human interactions. It is important to determine when employees would prefer person-to-person contacts. For example, when employees must interact with HR due to a sudden short-lived event such as a death in the family, severe weather or a minor injury at work, 42% of employees would rather speak with an HR specialist than use self-service HR systems.
“ Personalization of HR offerings should be agile and ongoing with HR leaders regularly collecting data”
Although HR functions aren’t always able to respond quickly with human interactions, automating processes and creating compelling digital experiences allows time for quality human interactions where they are most needed. HR leaders can leverage technology to determine whether a human or a digital interaction is best suited for different workforce segments. Additionally, to add a human touch to digital interactions, organizations are crafting digital experiences that mimic human interactions via the use of chatbots and virtual assistants. Ultimately, personalization of HR offerings should be agile and ongoing with HR leaders regularly collecting data — both about how employees are using HR services and products and how their preferences and needs are changing. This will enable HR leaders to successfully improve the employee experience via personalization.
Learn more: 3 Key Roles HR Must Play to Drive Digital Transformation