This post is excerpted from our white paper, What’s happening with HR portal technology? which looks at enhancing the HR function by treating employees as consumers.
You can download the full white paper here.
Just as employees’ use of technology in their own lives has changed, business drivers for technology have changed. Employers want to identify possible applications of data that deliver greater workforce intelligence, which in turn drive better returns on investments. Accurate information accessible in a timely fashion creates the opportunity to effectively measure progress against stated goals, as well as to pinpoint discrepancies, to best align your workforce with business initiatives.
New HR technology offers an alternative or supplement to static employee surveys done annually on pre-set topics, allowing dynamic information gathering that prompts your employees to provide feedback on issues as they arise. A comprehensive HR portal that continually gathers data provides ongoing insight into the programs your employees actually use and value, giving more immediate feedback for a communication campaign’s success, from corporate news to benefit changes.
And if your business goal is to move towards a culture of shared responsibility, involving your employees in making effective decisions for their health, wealth and career—rather than relying on a paternalistic model that’s no longer valuable to employee or employer—you will find that more and easier access to data gives you the information essential to understanding your employees’ choices and helping them assume increased responsibility.
“These tools enable employers to personalize information without extensive efforts by HR to revise from scratch.”
Better understanding of workforce dynamics
Data analytics also creates a new opportunity for insight into your geographic and cultural needs. Understanding the multitude of voices in a diverse or distributed workforce allows you to tailor your message and HR offerings to meet real needs and improve employee engagement throughout your organization. For instance, finding out there is poor utilization in healthcare screenings in a particular demographic lets you design responsive and more effective wellness campaigns. Or if you have geographic cost or access issues, those can be identified and addressed using available data, which HR technology both provides and interprets.
“What is useful at work can be applied at home as well, to enable employees and their families to track, manage and achieve their personal goals.”
You can examine your HR data to identify different motivating factors among the various employee age groups, from Baby Boomers nearing retirement to the currently emerging Generation Z. Understanding each group’s preference and needs also allows you to “push” or “pull” information through directed and interactive messaging. By tracking what is viewed and used via your portal, you can both identify and anticipate, through predictive analytics, what is working and what business or societal demands you might face in the near future. Data provides information to appropriately tailor messaging to address specific employee issues, such as chronic illness, tobacco cessation, weight loss, financial education or career planning.
Coordination with personal data tracking tools to augment the “quantified self” is also something employers can consider. Those who use wearable sensors are increasingly expecting this data to coordinate with other health information that the organization provides. Of course, integrating it requires a high degree of reassurance that the information is only used for individual benefit—not organizational.
Reduced effort to keep employees informed
Advanced, consumer-focused HR portals help make information accessible across varied platforms, with data available via mobile or Web-based solutions. Today’s “employee as consumer” expects increasingly personalized communications, including the ability to ask questions or create customized information based on selections made.
This willingness to engage technology is also a positive for HR programs that share educational information about wealth, health or career choices. What is useful at work can be applied at home as well, to enable employees and their families to track, manage and achieve their personal goals related to health, wealth or career targets. For example, you can create pre-scheduled, automated messages accompanied by relevant syndicated content, tailored to identified topics or areas of interest. Technology facilitates the design and implementation of on-demand or “just-in-time” decision support tools and educational materials that help your employees make choices that meet specific preferences.
Redesigned and simplified HR processes
An effective portal provides the data to allow your HR staff to respond strategically rather than reactively or transactionally. Enabling greater self-service by employees reduces the need for interaction with HR staff, and that opens the door to process review and improvements.
Delivering the experience
Data analytics, mobile and cloud technology, predictive analyses, self-service portals—the sometimes bewildering developments in HR technology have a real impact on employee satisfaction, HR cost reductions, and improved business outcomes.
Our consumers are expecting a richer, more tailored HR experience. We can all benefit by delivering it to them.