2015: The Year of the Employee and More
By Jayson Saba,VP of Strategy and Industry Relations at Ceridian.
Earlier this week, I blogged about the buzz we saw this year in HR Tech. But what’s coming in 2015? As HR continues to embark on the journey to the holy grail of proactively enabling business and vendors stay the course to data-driven insight-based decisions, there will be another shift happening. That shift will be closing the gap between company and employee. I predict that 2015 will be the year that this shift will start being most noticeable.
From a process standpoint, simplification will continue. Companies will be looking to vendors to help them do the right thing for their employees. Take hourly employees for example: 60 percent of the US labor force according to the BLS, and recent issues with hourly employees succumbing to the burden of bad scheduling process in an already fast paced customer facing environment. Legacy workforce management (WFM) software was built for compliance and profit. These systems enabled companies to adhere to labor regulation (overtime, meal breaks, etc.) while optimizing deployment to customer demand — right person with the right skill at the right place and time. But what did it do for employees? Besides ensuring accurate pay? Relatively nothing. There are countless stories of employees closing stores only to come back the next morning to open the store (aka: clopening), and short notice schedules forcing them to miss critical time with their families or, sometimes futilely, reorganizing their lives around their jobs. Companies with thousands of locations and tens of thousand of hourly employees rely on their technology to fix these issues.
Workforce Management solutions need to take into consideration employee preferences — life demands — and enable companies to enforce posting schedules at least one or two weeks out. Now technology is ensuring the process is working for both employee and company. Letting employees take incremental time off, 15-30 minutes at a time, without losing hours and still tend to family life is another practice becoming more common. Offering wellness programs with proper communication and training can also help balance life and work. For hourly and salaried office employees, we also need to understand regular feedback, career-pathing, and education. I believe more companies will formalize processes that incentivize managers to develop employees and provide them with programs to retain them.
User Experience Matters
From the technology perspective, vendors will put huge emphasis on the user experience. Research from Brandon Hall shows that 55% of companies consider self-service a critical aspect in selecting human capital management technology. What employees see in their desktops will look very familiar if not identical to what they see on their mobile devices. Candidates will feel that their experience is very similar to that of onboarding, growing and developing. More interaction will start taking place with the system of record. What if the system of record felt like your favorite social media application; and instead of data on friends and updates, we have constant feedback from managers and colleagues, things we have to do for HR, alerts about company events and more. And for HR, imagine a dashboard that contains data and alerts about key performance indicators, where, for instance, if you are an HR business partner, you get notified if turnover has crept up for a certain number of periods in a row, a succession bench has gotten thin, average compensation for a specific role has lagged below industry benchmarks, or time to hire has stretched beyond what is acceptable for your organization. I bet everyone would be interacting with that system more often, and just like a sales person engages with the customer relationship management system, employees, managers, HR executives, and practitioners will do the same. We are not far off from this happening.
I’ve stated that 2015 is the year of the employee, but in essence it’s more. It will be the year of the employee, candidate, administrator, manager, and practitioner. To this point, just like Personnel Management and Personnel Administration functions were replaced with HR and Talent Management, these will evolve to employee experience management — and recruiting is covered because candidates are employees waiting to happen. Whether we’re an HR generalist, Payroll, Benefits, Talent, Compensation, or Recruiting professional, our job is to focus on the employee experience. At some point, we should officially call ourselves Employee Experience Managers, Directors, Vice Presidents, or Chief Employee Experience Officers. This is what we have been doing and trying to do since the dawn of time. Unfortunately, until now we haven’t had the tools to relieve us from cumbersome tasks or data to guide us. Then, not only will technology close the gap between company and employee, it will enhance engagement for everyone.
Jayson Saba is VP of Strategy and Industry Relations at Ceridian. Prior to Ceridian, Jayson was an analyst at Aberdeen Group’s Human Capital Management practice. As the lead analyst for Core HR, Workforce Management, and Outsourcing, Jayson published over 100 research papers and reports about technology and best practices. Jayson is a frequent contributor to industry and trade magazines including HR Executive, PayTech, HROToday, Workforce Management, Talent Management, CIO and The Economist. He regularly presents at HR conferences and trade shows. Follow him on Twitter @JaysonSaba.