It is music to my ears to discuss the consumerisation of HR, yet still wonder why the two; consumerisation and HR, were not always considered as one and the same. Put simply, organisations are brands, employees are their (internal) consumers and creating meaningful experiences has forever been the overarching approach to engaging with people.
Meaningful experiences require meaningful change, and so the office sweets jar or cake on your birthday just would not cut it in 2018. Leaders need to be prepared to re-invent their organisational structure, break down HR silos and integrate them into other departments within the business. IT (data), internal communications and marketing team collaboration will build the foundations towards transformational working. Like Marketers, HR will need to tap into the importance of involving the employee (consumer) in shaping what this looks and feels like. Since the rise of digital/social media, it is no surprise that 47% of Marketers rely on user-generated content (Digital Doughnut, 2018). Therefore, employers should borrow this insight and empower employees to cultivate change.
In a CIPD article (Towards Maturity, 2017) analysing Peter Senge’s ‘learning organisation’ theory, reference was made to a ‘new world of work and workers’: Where digital brings along complexity, resulting in matrixed organisations. In addition, internal millennial consumers are increasingly demanding, as arguably more is expected of them. Therefore, receiving a 9-5 pay cheque at the end of the month is superseded by the need to find a sense of belonging, flexibility, empowerment and pure happiness at work. In this regard, HR is dead, but the consumerisation of HR is well and truly alive.
Consumerisation of HR – Enhancing the Employee Experience –
By: Stella Agyenim-Boateng
The way we work is constantly changing. New technology, competitive business models and strong socioeconomic forces are transforming the world in which we work.
As HR Practitioners, how are we expected to ensure that our people are always engaged? Consumerisation is the new approach, where HR views employees as customers and serve their needs, resulting in stronger employee bond, commitment and loyalty to the business. HR must adopt this approach against the backdrop that it is employees who serve on the front lines of customer service and represent the company as brand ambassadors. It is also the employees who help meet business objectives and are ultimately responsible for the organisation’s success- they know that customer experience is at the heart of the business and expects that in a similar vein, their fair share of such experience would not elude them.
To get employees exceptionally engaged and meet their increasingly sophisticated needs, there is the need for HR practitioners to factor consumerisation in all facets of HR activities including Recruitment, seamless onboarding experience, Performance Management, Learning and Development, Communication, Reward and recognition, among others. HR must promote an exciting career journey for each employee.
There is also the need for a new kind of HR strategy that is aimed at attracting and retaining the next generation of talents. Only then will HR become integrated across our organisations, forging new partnerships and building new capabilities along the way. This way, employees will be capable of reaching new levels of engagement, satisfaction, and performance with a wonderful experience.
HR must work as a ‘commercial’ entity selling its services to prospective and current employees. To ensure that HR services are attractive and acceptable to all categories of employees, we need a paradigm shift, where we should not behave as if we are doing employees a favour. We must repackage our HR ‘products and services’ and serve our customers – employees with a smile and an emotional connection. Just as a commercial entity would seek customer opinion through surveys before products are designed and redesigned, in the same manner, we should seek employee feedback before we review our policies and processes to serve them better. Employee surveys must support us to make informed decisions.
Our HR decision making must not be controlled by our whims and caprices but must be evidenced- based, using HR analytical tools to determine what will make us win the hearts and minds of our consumers – the employees.