Other parts of this series:
- Ready or not, digital disruption is coming for your HR organization
- Digital power to the people
- HR must take ownership of its own digitization agenda
- HR organizations must change how they think about change
- Mastering analytics could turn HR into a strategic powerhouse
- Putting the employee at the heart of the HR experience
- A new role for the HR department: champion of digital change
Thanks to Amazon, Netflix and Uber, consumers have become accustomed to on-demand customer experiences that are based on their individual needs. One of the next waves in HR is about personalizing the employee experience—from performance management to rewards and benefits—to meet the needs of each employee in much the same way.
Just as we talk about customer relationship management, so should we be talking about employee relationship management. I’ve mentioned several times in this series that HR in the digital era will need to behave more like marketing. Technology transformed marketing by enabling customization of products, services and marketing messages, with the goal of creating the market of one.
Likewise, it is transforming HR by empowering it to offer highly customized talent practices that optimize each employee’s performance. Think of it as the workforce of one. Such tailoring is not about creating a messy series of one-off deals between managers and employees. Instead, it’s about building a platform for customization that is scalable, controllable and fair.
This customization can be built on standards that exist on top of a common process and information system platform—standards that allow for flexibility rather than sameness. For example, companies can simply offer a greater variety of standard practices—such as different compensation, development or performance appraisal processes tailored to different employee segments. Or, they could let employees choose from a menu of predefined, standard options.
Advances in technology, especially analytics tools, have made it possible for banks and insurers to personalize their people practices in much the same way as they do their marketing practices. They can, for example, learn more about individual employees on everything from demographics and behaviors to communication or e-mail patterns, up to performance appraisal choices or training and development interests.
Financial services organizations can leverage this information to offer their employees customized offerings, including learning and job opportunities and targeted, personalized messages. They can also use the data to predict where workers may perform best in the organization or to inform decisions about their readiness for a new opportunity.
Employees and their managers are becoming more inclined to adopt IT-enabled talent processes as well—from time and attendance, employee relations, and learning, to performance management, and leadership development. Financial services companies that deliver great, personalized employee experiences through these platforms will be able to drive more productivity and create agile new ways to work.
To succeed in this shift, HR organizations might need to create altogether new roles (such as those focused on understanding and supporting specific segments of the workforce), new activities (including collecting and mining data to determine employee segments or preferences) and new organizational models.
These changes demand that the HR organization conceptualizes itself less as an administration department and more as one that delivers slick, personalized experiences to internal customers. In so doing, it can provide the board and top leaders of the business with vital support as they transform the business for the digital age. More on that in the next, concluding post in this series.