The talent crisis continues to place enormous pressure on HR teams. The goal is not only to recruit and retain skilled employees but also to ensure each individual maximises their potential to deliver value to the business for as long as possible.
In a hybrid working environment, the quality of the digital experience now has a significant impact on those key employee lifecycle moments, from initial onboarding through on-going learning and development and extending their time in the business. As Dave Page, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Actual Experience explains, HR has a compelling need to ensure the quality of each employee’s unique digital experience throughout their lifecycle.
Recruitment processes have become ever more rigorous in recent years, as companies leverage a raft of new, intelligence-led and often digital processes to improve selection and entice talented individuals to the business. But how are companies adapting to the digital dependence of knowledge workers to transform the key moments throughout an employee’s lifecycle?
There is growing recognition of the power of digital technologies to improve onboarding, using a mix of video and virtual meetings, alongside face-to-face interactions, to fast-track access to both colleagues and key business information. The initial productivity growth curve has been condensed through the use of webinars and online training, while on-going career development can be tailored to meet the employee specific learning and development needs.
This optimised employee experience is hugely valuable. It provides the chance to maximise productivity while also minimising the risk of the employee disengagement that presages a drop in performance and a letter of resignation. This experience is also, however, increasingly dependent upon the quality of each individual’s unique digital workplace – so what happens to employees struggling with any form of digital friction?
Grasp the Moment
Employee expectations have changed. With knowledge workers now spending 60% to 90% of their time using digital technologies, providing a contract and start date are no longer enough. Pre-employment engagement is essential. Individuals want to know how the onboarding process will work both digitally and face to face – and they don’t want to wait until day one to start setting up their digital workplace.
Switched on firms that proactively engaged with new recruits in the run up to the start date, providing laptops, screens, VPN access, even home office furniture, can enhance a new recruit’s perception of the business and set the scene for long term relationship. But companies also need to ensure individuals have a good digital experience. Ensuring any areas of digital friction are highlighted and addressed ahead of day one will minimise the risk of problems – from glitchy video calls to an inability to stream videos – that could fundamentally undermine the onboarding process and compromise the new working relationship.
Enhance Productivity and Avoid Disengagement
The onboarding process sets the scene for any new recruit – and the right approach will play a key role in increasing their confidence and business commitment. As individuals then build their business knowledge and increase their productivity, the quality of the digital experience is again paramount. Every business wants to maximise the length of employment for each employee, especially given the investment in learning and development and the rising recruitment costs. Productivity and business value can be further enhanced throughout the lifecycle through the use of training, learning and development. However, with the constant evolution of the IT infrastructure, it is vital to continually assess each employee’s unique digital experience to avoid problems that could lead to disengagement.
Has a software upgrade suddenly created a problem that is making one individual’s working experience untenable. Is a new recruit’s inadequate digital set up now compromising an entire team’s productivity? Understanding and intervening to create an optimal digital workplace experience for everyone is now key to boosting both productivity and retention.
For knowledge workers, the quality of the unique digital workplace experience is playing an ever more critical role at every stage of the employment lifecycle. If the quality of digital experience is not good, every step, from onboarding to getting up to speed and becoming truly productive, will take much longer – and their disengagement will arrive sooner. In contrast, those businesses that commit to delivering a great digital experience from the moment a contract is signed will set the scene for a positive, fruitful and productive working relationship.