We live in an age of instant gratification. Anything we need–to buy, eat, watch, read, listen, commute, and so on–is available on demand, anytime anywhere. It’s the wave of “consumerization”, which is today sweeping across industries, redefining products and services. As individuals’ daily lives continue to get transformed by this unprecedented wave–powered by various disruptive digital technologies including mobility and broadband–they increasingly expect similar experiences at their workplaces too.
If Netflix can recommend new movies based on users’ viewing patterns, and Google Maps can suggest optimal driving routes factoring in earlier commuting routes, then why can’t they get similar experiences at their workplace? That’s the new game in town, as far as employee expectations in the 21st century are concerned. Put simply, people of all ages–particularly, the millennial generation–want an atmosphere at work that’s similar to the one back home, in terms of convenience, access and choice.
This radical shift in the employee mindset has major implications for the way in which the human resources (HR) function operates. Organizations across sectors are becoming more diverse, global, mobile, and social. And, in order to successfully fulfill the wishes of this impatient workforce, HR will have to fundamentally redefine and overhaul its service delivery mechanisms.
Consumerization of HR
The central focus of any such transition must be to craft a compassionate, empathetic, and empowering environment that delivers truly consumer-grade service experiences for workers. Digitally empowered employees demand social, collaborative, self-learning and self-service tools, and HR will have to deliver that. In short, HR will have to be consumerized.
The business case for organizations to consumerize HR is quite compelling. Enterprise productivity and workforce satisfaction can increase significantly if employees are able to swiftly and easily access the HR services they require. Also, enabling employee self-sufficiency and automated case management, among other things, would give HR the bandwidth to focus on people, and not processes. In short, HR would be able to focus more on strategic, rather than tactical tasks.
Making this shift from a traditional HR to a consumerized one will not be easy, however–for three major reasons:
- First, the existing architecture of most HR management systems is not flexible enough to accommodate the growing diverse working arrangements of multinational staff across different locations. The typical HRMS design continues to create service complexity for many HR departments.
- Second, conventional HR service provisioning setups tend to depend largely on asynchronous communication, leading to miscommunication between HR and staff, and in turn, longer turnaround time (TAT) for issue resolution.
- Third, the rigid workflows and business processes prevalent at several organizations make it difficult for HR to effectively address the emerging service expectations of employees.
How HRSD can help?
This is where HR service delivery (HRSD) can come in handy, and enable HR to truly consumerize itself in various ways. Organizations can use HRSD to roll out a consumer-grade self-service portal for employees, as well as to automate the processes relating to out-of-the-box request and fulfillment. For example, an HR service catalog could be provisioned where employees can access pre-defined services like employee relations, items and benefits. Once workers submit their requests through this catalog, the cases would be automatically assigned to the concerned HR team for fulfillment.
Let’s take up another instance of process automation enabled by HRSD that can enhance employee service provisioning. The onboarding of new employees can be streamlined by instituting predefined rules that would trigger automated workflows. HR can also customize these turnkey processes, and design new ones from scratch using various templates. Organizations can leverage similar catalogs for automating workflows pertaining to employee information change and employee off boarding.
For the 21st century organization to evolve into a workplace full of enriching and enabling experiences, HR service management will have to be reimagined. And, consumerizing the employee service experience will be a win-win scenario for both workers and companies. It’s time for enterprises, big and small, to embrace the change, and harness technologies to reach that end state.