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Consumerisation of HR from a standard to an individual approach

Consumerization of HR refers to creating a social, mobile and consumer-style experience for employees inside the company: Chitra Narayan, Head – Human Resources, A.O.Smith India Water Products Private Limited

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Photo Credit : A.O. smith,

The age old business mantra “Customer is King” has been accentuating the importance of customers in every business. Traditionally it was about providing the best service to “External customers”. With further evolution of workplace, the term “Internal customers” emerged and this was the first step towards treating employees as customers or consumers.  These times marked the early stages of Consumerisation of HR.

With the advent of technology we are just short of reaching the peak of consumerization of HR. Technology had a huge impact on our business processes but the biggest impact has been on our behaviors. The world has moved from doing things as a group to going “Solo” which has reshaped the HR’S approach towards employees. The standard approach is still applicable but the needle has moved towards providing individual focus.

In today’s time, shopping, banking, watching television or movies, you name it and it is all at individual level. At work too HR has experienced subtle demands from employees about going solo. Consumerization of HR as a concept probably started when organizations created Rewards and Recognition programs with the basic objective to appreciate individuals and thank them for their efforts. Now, consumerization has impacted all aspects of HR starting from recruitment to performance management to talent management. This has led to creating memorable experiences for employees at individual levels in all these critical HR verticals, and actions which were exceptions have now become norm:

Consumerization of Recruitment – Consumerization in the area of recruitment has a strong linkage to employer branding. It is all about selling your brand to prospective employees. This has blurred the line between HR and marketing. Today recruitment is not about getting Cvs, it’s a matter of marketing and creating individual candidate experience. It has become imperative for organizations to develop and execute recruitment and employer branding strategies that supports the organization in meeting its business objectives

There is a huge demand in the market for high talent. Organizations who are looking at hiring quality talent need to connect with the them at individual level, irrespective of  the fact that they are active or passive jobseekers. Social media has become a key tool. The individual attention to the high talent results in faster engagement and closure.

Meanwhile from a Recruitment technology perspective also things have changed at a very fast pace. The online recruitment process has come a long way, today it is about giving individual experiences to employees through various technological advancements like mobile applications.  The way consumers research online and check reviews before making a purchase, today job seekers do the same. They need information about the company, its financial status, employee reviews etc before making a final decision. The employer needs to be prepared to provide this key information to prospective job seekers

Consumerization of Performance Management – The expectation of employees now is to get individual focus on their performance. This has resulted in regular communication between supervisor and employee through formal or informal channels at both personal and professional level. It has forced HR and supervisors to know their people closely.

Performance management now is not a once in a year activity. It’s a continuous communication and engagement at individual level. Agile performance reviews, coaching and performance consultancy is on a rise. HR is no more a facilitator for the organization.HR along with the has to wear multiple hats of a coach, guide and performance manager.HR has to provide personal attention. Today’s millenials need instant gratification and cannot wait for an year for their performance reviews.

Consumerization of Talent Management – Consumerization has made the employees impatient. The employee today wants to have a clarity on career path and development programs that would make the journey to the top easy and quick. This has also resulted in employee having the say to design the career path with HR and supervisor. They need clarity at individual level and the absence of this attention can have its own consequences. The workplace is undergoing demographical shift too with millenials getting ready to occupy critical roles. They are the smart, intelligent, and impatient lot and expect individual attention. Progression and career development are top of the list of priorities, and will require tailoring and customization for a personalized experience.

Consumerization of Training and Development – In today’s age where things change at a fast pace it’s important for organizations to ensure that employee skills are upgraded time to time to ensure high productivity levels. This particular vertical in HR has been highly impacted by Consumerization. Earlier trainings were mostly in groups as classroom trainings or outbound programs. Today in addition to the traditional way employees are spoilt for choice through You tube, Google, online websites and other web based sources for trainings. Like consumers, employees have the option to pick and choose. Training and Development professionals will have to develop hyper-personalized content for learners. The training content and technology should marry in such a way that it not only caters to the individual’s training need but the need of getting individual attention

Consumerization and Employee Engagement – Today Employee Engagement is synonymous to consumerization. Higher the consumerization, better the employee experience and better the employee engagement. HR will need to champion the creation of memorable customer experiences for employees. Similar to google, where based on individual’s past browsing history it creates its own alogrithm, HR is expected to provide a simple yet engaging experience to employees

The workplace set up has changed, the change has been rapid and it will continue to evolve. It has become increasingly technology driven, virtual and highly consumerized. HR as a function needs to be on its toes all the time to adapt to these changes quickly. HR has progressed from being process-led administrators to vital strategic partners. Consumerization will result in continued growth of HR to embrace additional skills, spanning knowledge of people analytics, branding and technology. This is an exciting phase for HR professionals and will allow them to explore various solutions and to be creative. This will also give them the opportunity to work with individuals and treat Humans as real resources.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house



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