Personalisation has become a feature of our everyday lives now due to the advancements in technology, data and analytics. Businesses in every industry are making the consumer experience more personalised and now we expect it. A study conducted by Agilone of 3,000 U.S. and U.K. consumers revealed that 70 per cent of people say they expect personalised experiences when they interact with brands. So, why is personalisation so important to us? A study from the University of Texas found that one of the reasons is because it helps reduce information overload. Every day we are bombarded with information; be it emails, messages, or social media – everything is competing for our attention. However, through personalisation, we have better control of what we see and what is shown so that it suits our tastes and preferences.
If consumers demand personalisation when they buy from brands then they also demand it in the workplace. They want their employee experience to be personalised as well. Personalised tools in the workplace are critical because data-hungry millennials and Generation Zs, who together make up 60 per cent of the global workforce, are “wired differently” to previous generations. As younger generations arrive in the workforce this demand is only going to rise. Given the poor retention rate in the younger generations this could be a key factor to boost employee engagement and retention.
What is Personalising the Employee Experience
A workforce is full of a diverse range of people. Therefore, it would be impossible to think that designing an experience to suit everyone would be feasible. There isn’t an average worker which we can use. Each employee will want something different from their employee experience. Whether that is opportunities to travel, flexible working opportunities, health and wellness programmes, free snacks, discounts at cinemas or whatever else is part of the employee experience. Given all these different preferences it would not make sense to have a company-wide structure that applies for all. What is needed is a personalised employee experience. This means that companies take the time to understand each and every one of their employees. They then create the experience around that. Just like brands are doing for consumers now, companies need to do for employees.
What Can Companies Do?
Companies are spending vast sums of money to improve the employee experience which is why company perks have become so prevalent. It makes it seem like it is a great company to work for when they have Kombucha on tap. However, whether this actually improves the employee experience is a different matter. When only 20% of employees like Kombucha this is not a very good return on investment. So how can companies get a better ROI?
They take the time to understand the preferences, desires and interests of each worker. The only way to personalise the employee experience is by first of all understanding each employee. With the use of technology and analytics this process can be even more profitable as you can discover things that the employee doesn’t even know about themselves.
For example, when I hire Tom I take the time to find out as much as I can about him. I find out that progression motivates him, he does his best work at home, he loves meditation and he benefits from constant feedback. I also use technology to find out his personality type. This is simplistic however I now know what I need to do so that Tom has everything he needs to perform at his best.
I would set up a plan to show how he can progress. Let him work from home when he wants to. Give him a free membership to Headspace and have a way to constantly give him feedback. Tom would appreciate that I took time to understand him and then put policies in place to suit that. Tom now has everything he needs to enjoy working at my company therefore his performance will be better and i am more likely to keep him. However, this is not a one-off event. It requires continuous feedback and learning to keep providing a better experience and the use of technology allows us to do this.
As technology allows consumers to have a more personalised experience, the same should be the case for employees. In fact it is even more important. Employee engagement and retention levels are very low especially for younger generations. I believe a key factor to this is the lack of personalisation of the employee experience. We are all so different and we are constantly changing therefore require completely different things. The results of personalising the employee experience will only be positive. Workers will feel valued and appreciated and have the best conditions to perform at their best. The future is personalisation in all industries and we can now do this with technology. Companies are lagging behind which is part of the reason why employees keep changing companies. In the coming years, companies need to leverage technology with a commitment to care for their employees to ensure the best employee experience.