The Consumerization of HCM: It’s Real and It’s Happening

15 June 2017

Remember the days when an employee who needed to make changes to their benefits or had questions about any of their personnel matters had no choice but to visit or call the HR office or attend a classroom-type instruction session? Making matters worse, those appointments and programs were usually scheduled at the convenience of the HR staff, not the employee.

For most companies, those days are gone, at least to a very large degree. Today, HR technologies allow employees at most companies to use online HR resources that cover the expanding employee life cycle — interactive tools for everything from applying for a job, to enrolling in benefits, to managing their retirement account after they leave the company. And they can do all of that using any device they desire, at whatever time suits them, from wherever it’s convenient for them to take care of their business. Smoother onboarding, instant employee feedback, and on-demand collaboration are other examples of how HR technology is becoming more consumer-like. The results are heightened employee engagement and lower turnover.

We agree with the perspective of HR thought leader and writer Jeanne Meister in Forbes earlier this year. With the consumerization of HR underway, she said, “the next journey for HR leaders will be to apply a consumer and a digital lens to the HR function creating an employee experience that mirrors their best customer experience.”

What does that mean? What does it look like for the employee — and for the HR leader?

Above all else, as Meister points out, the consumerization of HR means focusing on creating a compelling employee experience. Creating an online experience that attracts, engages, and motivates user participation is crucial not only for your employees. It also becomes increasingly critical in how you interact with job candidates and your future employees, especially as the battle for top talent gets more heated. For example, a study by The Future Workplace and Beyond.com, found that 83 percent of HR leaders feel "employee experience" is either important or very important to their organization’s success, and 56 percent were planning to enhance their employee experience last year by investing more in employee training and development. Mercer has meanwhile predicted that 90 percent of employers globally anticipate more competition for talent.

Drilling down a level, leveraging social media practices is key to helping HR and HCM technology create the new, consumer-like employee experience. From social job-recruiting and sourcing, to social-centric engagement programs, social media is becoming increasingly important to HR and the company overall. This requires more than simply buying premium access to sites like LinkedIn or Glassdoor to improve recruiting, for example. To leverage the power of social media, you need a unified HCM platform. Because what you really want is not only to promote opportunities and tap into your employees' personal and professional networks for talent. You want a platform that helps evolve and continually polish your employer brand, that helps you develop and distribute engaging content, and that refines your message to candidates and employees.

The conclusion is clear: By thinking of the workplace as an employee experience — and applying that to HR and talent programs at each step of the expanding employee life cycle — companies can embed their culture and values in the workplace. The results: better recruiting and retention.

The answer to all four concerns is an HCM technology from a vendor that meets HR needs to remain competitive and be cost-effective while appealing to their employees from their very first touch with your company. WORKTERRA believes that means working with an HCM technology provider that is continually innovating to stay current and meet the changing needs of both the company and your employees. It also means working with an HCM technology partner that has the technological flexibility to expand its offerings for the entire employee life cycle, and have the HR and HCM expertise to know how that all fits together for companies of any size.

To meet the two irreversible trends of the consumerization of HR and the expanded employee lifecycle, your HCM technology needs to be truly unified and cloud-based. Those are the only ways to ensure that as you pursue strategies such as enhancing your focus on social channels and creating a more user-friendly online experience, you also can depend on a single source of data entry and regulatory compliance handled by updates that take place behind the scenes. In the case of WORKTERRA, a unified, cloud-based platform, it also enables companies to tap into recruitment and pre-hire solutions thanks to our relationship with CareerBuilder.

A unified and cloud-based platform with a user experience that is intuitive and consumer-like for HR and employees are critical for any HR leader at a company of any size who doesn’t want their company to lose out on consumerization of HR.

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