(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is sponsored by TalentMap, a firm specializing in employee engagement solutions. They help organizations measure and improve employee engagement through action-centric employee survey programs. Enjoy the post!)
I don’t believe it’s a surprise to anyone that technology has changed the way we do business. Regardless of the industry you’re in, technology has impacted who does the work, the methods we use to work, and how fast we work. Think about the fact that ten years ago, these products didn’t exist: iPad, Google Chrome, Kickstarter, Android, Lyft, Square…just to name a few. And now, some of these aren’t just nice to haves but essential tools for us to get work done.
But if technology is going to continue to move this fast (and there’s no reason to think it won’t) then business leaders and HR pros have to stay on top of digital trends to attract, engage, and retain the best talent. Organizations cannot afford to fall behind when it comes to technology.
4 Digital Trends that Can Impact Your Organization
While organizations do not have to adopt every single technology trend, they do need to be aware of trends and evaluate their potential impact. For instance, here are four digital trends that organizations should be looking at. For each, I’ve included how each of the digital trends impacts the workplace, along with a way to use the trend to help build better employee engagement.
TREND #1: Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way work is designed. We’ve been talking for well over a decade about the rise in the knowledge economy. It’s time to take it one step further and think about the digital economy. Knowledge workers need to become digital workers.
In order for this transformation to take place, organizations – and specifically, human resources professionals – have to design work with technology in mind. I know it’s tempting to start freaking out about the articles saying AI is going to take away your job. But before companies start doing that, it could make some sense to discover how AI can reduce boring work for employees, making their jobs more attractive. Good job design allows companies to attract the best talent and retain them.
TREND #2: User experience (UX) is giving way to the candidate and employee experience. I ran across a quote in a Forbes article that really justifies the investment into user experience. It’s from Robert Pressman’s book “Software Engineering: A Practitioners Approach”. “For every dollar spent to resolve a problem during product design, $10 would be spent on the same problem during development, and multiply to $100 or more if the problem had to be solved after the product’s release”. What this means is, for every dollar invested in UX, the return is between $10 – $100, indicating that the most cost-effective way to address a problem is from the start.
Now, use the same philosophy on the workplace. Nearly 60 percent of candidates have a poor candidate experience. Seventy-two percent (72%) of them choose to share that fact online or with someone directly. Organizations need to make investments in the employee experience beyond a competitive compensation and benefits program. To get a high return on your recruiting and hiring investment, survey employees regularly for feedback about what they like and want to see changed.
TREND #3: Technology is paving the way for agility and innovation. A great example of how technology is ushering in change and innovation is the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s a computing concept where everyday objects are connected to the internet and can identify themselves to other devices. Examples that you might be using right now include fitness trackers and smart thermostats. The IoT industry is expected to grow to over 50 billion connected pieces of technology by the year 2020. This means organizations have to think beyond their internal sources for intelligence and knowledge management. It’s simply impossible to have all of your intellectual bandwidth in house.
One way that organizations can embrace the IoT trend is by preparing for the emergence of “app culture”. Individuals are accustomed to using apps in their personal lives for everything from adjusting the lights inside their home to banking to keeping their passwords secure. It’s not farfetched for employees to expect the same. If you want to attract and engage employees, think about where and how they spend their time.
TREND #4: Digital capabilities are creating greater opportunities for telework and contingent work. According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s research report “The New Talent Landscape: Recruiting Difficulty and Skills Shortages”, 68 percent of HR pros are experiencing recruiting challenges. It only makes sense for organizations to invest in areas where current employees can stay engaged and retained with the organization.
Two areas where surveying employees could bring huge results are freelancing and telework. Granted these might not be for everyone, but the benefits could outweigh any perceived costs. For example, 57.3M people freelance and they contribute $1.4T to the U.S. economy. Using a contingent workforce and help reduce stress during busy operational times. It’s also possible that former employees might be willing to take a few gigs on the side. And when it comes to telework, 64 percent of employees would opt for a lower paying job if they could work away from the office. While reducing employee pay isn’t the goal, it’s important to note the popularity of the telework.
Digital Transformation Involves a Culture Adjustment
All of these digital trends point to more than just adding a couple of employee programs. They involve redesigning work and the workplace. Digital transformation needs to be considered as part of company culture. That’s how organizations will attract, engage, and retain the best talent.
P.S. If you want to learn more about how to bring digital transformation into your organizational structure, join me and TalentMap Founder Sean Fitzpatrick on Thursday, November 16 at 1p Eastern for a conversation about “Digital Transformation and the Future of Employee Engagement”. And if you can’t make it, sign up anyway so you can get the recording sent afterward. It’s sure to be an intriguing conversation.
P.S.S. Oh! And one more thing, TalentMap has a special offer for HR Bartender readers. If you would like a copy of their book “Employee Engagement and Action Planning”, just use promo code HRB2017. It’s a hard copy book (not a download) and filled with practical advice on implementing an engagement strategy. I particularly liked the section in Chapter 4 where it talks about dealing with senior managers who haven’t embraced the plan. Definitely worth checking out.24