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Keeping Up with Employee Expectations in a Digital Age

Posted by EmployeeChannel on 4.27.2017


Traditionally, employees spent hours shuffling through endless corporate intranets to find important benefit information. For many, this maze of information created a lack of personalization, and employees quickly grew disinterested.  

However, the rise in medical care costs and insurance premiums, fear surrounding new health care legislation, and the multigenerational workforce are causing employees to want greater involvement and information about their benefits.

But this involvement is limited due to outdated technology, which prevents employees from engaging  with HR in a way that best suits their individual needs. In fact, a recent Bersin by Deloitte study found 47 percent of companies have HR software that is over seven years old.

This disconnect between HR leaders and employees is leading to a lack of personalized communication. Not to mention, the continuous advancements in HR technology can further complicate the process by providing an overwhelming amount of tools.

As such, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to give employees a personalized experience in the age of HR tech.

Here’s what your employees expect from HR communications in a digital age:

Employee expectation: instant gratification.

Evolving technology has made all  information immediate. And employees expect this same kind of immediacy when it comes to HR-related information, like benefits management. They want to find benefit information and contact HR leaders the moment they think of a question -- not at the end of the week during a scheduled face-to-face meeting.

The reality: Many companies continue to rely on outdated technology, which stunts the growth of personalization. With a growing number of employees using their smartphones as a resource, it’s important they’re incorporated into your communication process.

In fact, a 2016 Nielsen report found adults in the United States spend about one hour and 39 minutes each day on their smartphones -- this number is up 60 percent from 2015.

The solution: Customize your HR leaders’ information by adding whatever form of contact they’re comfortable sharing. This could be via phone, text, email, Skype, or even instant messaging. You can ensure everyone’s information is easily accessible through an app like ours.

Giving employees the opportunity to contact you quickly and via multiple channels makes them feel their experience with you is personalized just for them.

Employee expectation: self-service.

Some employees would prefer not to contact you directly with every question or concern. It all goes back to their desire to access information as quickly as possible and on their own time.

Think of restaurants that have self-ordering and checkout kiosks at the table. These self-service options allow customers to order and pay in their own time. This adds to their communication with servers and heightens the customer experience.

Today’s employees crave the same type of personalization from their HR communications.

The reality: In an attempt to make processes easier for both HR pros and employees, many companies use technology to completely replace HR communication, rather than improve it.

The solution: Take some of the pressure off your HR team and give employees control over their own experience.

Use a mobile app for communication to help employees find guidance on topics that require privacy and immediacy. Giving your team the ability to search for personal information on their schedule and from their preferred device will allow them to be more self-sufficient.

But don’t forget to keep HR’s personal touch directly within the system by having a one-touch contact button within the app. This way, employees can easily reach out to an HR team member if their questions and concerns remain unanswered.

Employee expectation: human connection.

Employees regularly seek guidance on topics that require privacy, immediacy, and personalized responses. HR communications merge an employee’s professional and personal life, so employees want to know HR is there for them as a unique individual, not just an employee.

The reality: HR technology, when not used properly, has a habit of taking the ‘human’ out of human resources. This leaves employees feeling their issues aren’t unique or being handled with care. When human connection is removed, employees grow disconnected and disengaged.

The solution: To keep HR’s connection to employees personal, train your team on how to identify scenarios that are best for in-person discussion. Because every employee’s situation and communication preference is different, it’s important to have HR pros assess concerns on a case-by-case basis.

For example, if an employee is struggling to fill out the proper enrollment paperwork, let them know you’re available to chat in person to help them get their documents filled out and submitted. Or when an employee asks for family sick leave, communicate your concern and support for their well-being in a private meeting or through a direct message.

No matter what forms of communication your HR team chooses to use, make sure you stay true to your company culture. Know what your employees expect from your information, how frequently they want it, and what form of communication they prefer. Only then can you keep HR communications personal in a digital age.  

Topics: employee experience, employee communication, HR communication

Human Resources Today