GNcareers, from Gulf News

Region’s HR processes could do with digitising

Research suggests that in relation to overall HR costs, the best employers spend about 60 per cent of what the average organisation does, but achieve significantly higher people results.Image Credit: Supplied

The last decade has seen a radical shift in the way the world works. Digitalisation is revolutionising how organisations should think about — and act — on driving outcomes from their most important asset — their people. M According to our research, 25 per cent of regional millennials believe their HR programmes help create a positive work environment, compared to 41 per cent among baby boomers, which suggests that the systems in place are rapidly becoming less relevant as we see a generational shift in the workforce.

Equally, just 54 per cent have a clear understanding of the various HR policies at their organisation, which leaves almost half of employees seeking better modes of communication. In a world where technology enables such clear and fast access to information, why isn’t HR embracing these advancements to create a more valuable and positive employee experience?

It goes beyond investing in technology

It’s not just about investing in the latest, most expensive technology and platforms. Aon Hewitt’s research suggests that in relation to overall HR costs, the best employers — those organisations that stand out as having the best in class people practices — spend about 60 per cent of what the average organisation does, but achieve significantly higher people results.

Effectiveness and efficiency is achieved through rigorously planning for talent outcomes and driving agile linkages between programmes, technology, platforms and analytics.

So what can HR do to enhance the employee experience?

Mirror the consumer experience in the working environment Use of good technology is not just about driving efficiency. To become an employer of choice, HR needs to go beyond this to bring customer engagement tactics into the workplace, essentially, mirroring the consumer experience that individuals now demand and expect in everyday life.

This can be done by facilitating on-demand access to information, greater collaboration; social learning and a direct linkage to ones aspirations. If there is a user-friendly platform that provides ease of self-service and easily available analytics for managers to take better people decisions, HR becomes more effective.

Needless to say, efficiency is a great by-product as well.

Move from integrated to unified talent management platforms The old approach of having good stand-alone systems for performance management, rewards, learning and development, succession planning, etc, is no longer meeting requirements. Although these systems may speak to each other, they don’t create a unified experience for the employee, nor can they create decision-making insights for the business.

Today technology progression has made it possible for us to have single ‘unified’ platforms based on one technology, one user experience and one data model with a focus on tracking progress of employees, rewarding them appropriately and giving them the tools they need to become successful.

Our research suggests that existing systems are not meeting the expectations of employees and managers in the region, as only 42 per cent of managers believe they have the tools and training to provide their employees with opportunities to grow in their current job. Savvy organisations are investing in SaaS HR platforms, which are arguably more cost-effective in the long term, help drive efficiency and enable the streamlining of work processes to enhance the end-user experience.

However, it is important to note that the principle of GIGO (garbage in garbage out) still applies to HR systems. To get the best value, organisations need to have the basic processes and talent and HR data in place.

Adopt an analytics lifestyle

HR departments typically sit on huge amounts of employee data, gathered at various stages of the employee lifestyle from the recruitment process through to engagement surveys, performance validation studies and more. They should go beyond just measuring and benchmarking against past data, to more predictive capabilities to help drive future business results. For example, analysing the Overall, HR needs to incorporate the habits and attitudes of their employees into their existing working culture.

They need to create an experience that meets the expectations of individuals in today’s digital world, make the technology investments necessary to aid this, and start using data not just to reflect on the past, but to shape their strategy for future success.

By failing to adopt a digital mindset, organisations are at risk of being left out in the race to attract, retain and engage their employees for sustainable competitive advantage.

Source: Dr. Markus Wiesner, Special to Gulf News

The writer is the CEO of Aon Hewitt Middle East and North Africa