Personalisation in 2023: How the Employee Experience Will Be Impacted by Increasing Personalisation at Work
In 2023 organisations of all sizes are competing to, not only attract and retain top talent, but to also create a work culture that encourages employees to work to their best abilities. While salary and benefits are crucial factors, they are no longer enough to create a compelling work environment.
In the post-pandemic world, employees have had a chance to reflect on what truly matters to them. And their employers have had to become increasingly inventive to get, grow and keep their very best people. The employee experience has become a critical differentiator, and personalisation is key to making it a success.
Personalising the employee experience means understanding and catering to the unique needs, preferences, and aspirations of each employee. It involves tailoring wellbeing, training, and development opportunities, work environment, and work-life balance to suit the individual. As observed in the World of Work Trends Report 2023 personalisation has become a necessity for organisations that want to create a productive workforce.
What are the benefits of emphasising personalisation at work?
The personalisation of consumer needs has been a challenge for organisations for some years - and now employees expect to be treated as “internal” customers. The rise of individual employee needs will have much further to run in 2023 – what has been until now been “people centric” will become “person centric”. As such organisations have been able to see a positive relationship between this personalisation and their employee’s experience of work.
Personalisation can bridge the gaps between different generations in the workforce, such as Gen Z and boomers. For example, offering flexible working hours can be beneficial for Gen Z employees who value a better work-life balance. On the other hand, providing stability and recognition programs can cater to the preferences of boomers who prioritize stability and opportunities for advancement. By embracing these personalised approaches, organisations can create a more inclusive and harmonious work environment that accommodates the diverse expectations of different generations. In addition to the generational aspect, there are several key benefits of emphasizing personalisation at work:
- Positive Work Culture: Personalisation helps organisations create a positive work culture. It does this by prioritising the unique needs of each individual employee, allowing organisations to create and maintain a sense of belonging and inclusivity. Organisations that personalise their employee’s wellbeing and communication efforts will be able to see a noticeable improvement in their overall company culture. That is because employees who feel seen and appreciated are more likely to stay with the organisation and refer others to join. This can help reduce turnover and recruitment costs while also improving the quality of candidates.
- Employee Engagement: Another benefit of personalisation is increased employee engagement. This is especially important as many organisations struggle to keep engagement rates high as they find new ways of working after the upheaval of the covid-19 global pandemic. Prioritising employee experience is relevant for all companies because when employees feel seen, heard, and valued, they are more likely to be invested in their work and the organisation. Engaged employees are also more likely to be motivated, productive, and willing to go above and beyond for the company. This can lead to higher quality work, increased attraction of new employees and increased retention of talented employees for prolonged periods.
- Performance Management: Another benefit of personalisation is improved performance management. Personalised feedback and coaching can help employees identify areas for growth and development, leading to improved job satisfaction and career growth. By personalising training and development opportunities, organisations can also help employees acquire the skills they need to succeed in their roles, leading to improved job performance.
- Well-being and Support: Personalisation empowers organisations to address employees' well-being needs on an individual basis, leading to significant benefits. By gaining a deep understanding of each employee's specific well-being requirements, organisations can create tailored support systems, offer targeted resources, and implement initiatives that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This personalised approach demonstrates a genuine commitment to employees' welfare, making them feel valued and supported.
- Autonomy and Flexibility: Lastly, another benefit of personalisation is an improved sense of autonomy for the employee. Personalising an employee’s ability to choose where they work from, whether that is fully from home, always in the office or hybrid allows employees to feel that their organisations trust them to do their best work. That feeling of trust is important as it allows employees to feel as though they are not only a part of a company but rather that they are a trusted member of the organisation. Additionally, allowing employees to personalise their work schedule gives employees a chance to work when they are at their best rather than the tradition 9-5.
What makes for a great personalised experience for employees?
When it comes to increasing personalisation at work we can see that certified Top Employers are leading the pack. If we look at how Top Employers personalise the employee experience the answer is clear. They embrace conversations with employees and allow them to choose and shape their experiences. Personalisation is used most prominently in the evolution of flexible working practices, including remote and hybrid working, in Top Employers’ offerings in wellbeing, compensation & benefits initiatives. And in the development processes, especially careers, onboarding, and leadership development.
The growing availability of a highly digital employee experience creates the opportunity for a far greater degree of personalisation. This personalisation does not need to start from when the employee is hired but for many organisations they can incorporate personalisation from the talent attraction stage.
How technology and digital tools can assist in personalising the employee experience.
The widespread use of technology is being put at the service of employees, with the data it provides used to act and improve each employee’s experience. IT systems used by organisations must be designed around the needs of employees if it is to contribute positively to their experience. In 2023 83% of Top Employers conduct regular assessments of HR technology and 78% of Top Employers are personalising their HR technology. There should be regular assessments of HR technology to make sure that any features that remain unused or do not contribute to the user experience are removed, with employees given the power to self-manage, control and edit their environment based on their preferences.
While AI offers tremendous benefits in HR, it is important to note that human oversight and ethical considerations are essential. Transparency, fairness, and privacy should be prioritized when implementing AI solutions in HR to ensure that employees' rights and well-being are protected. Organisations and their leaders, along with individual employees, will still need to define a clear vision for the role of digital HR within the entire organisation. We can already see this for certified Top Employers as 78% of them have a vision on the role of digital HR in the overall employee experience.
When the vision and direction is clear, the hard work on the employee experience begins. Organisations will need to go through the employee’s entire journey map, from the latter’s perspective. In 2023 year we will see a commitment to detailed employee journey mapping, in order to leverage the employee experience.
Employee journey mapping is a valuable tool for continuous improvement. It highlights all the touchpoints and experiences an employee will go through, designed from their subjective experience, alongside the information the organisation collects from various channels. The aim is to trigger a process of continuous improvement at every stage and across an employee’s digital and non-digital experience.
How Top Employers around the world are prioritising digital personalisation.
Our research among certified Top Employers worldwide shows that the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions are leading the way in digital personalisation, with significantly wider implementation of practices, compared to the rest of the world. This fits with other more widely available data showing an accelerated investment in digitalisation when compared globally.
There have been two factors at work here. Firstly, in the drive to mitigate the adverse impacts of the pandemic, many businesses adopted digital technologies rapidly, effectively creating a digital “Big Bang”. And secondly, for a young and tech-savvy workforce, the expectation of a flexible and personalised digital experience has become a priority for their everyday employee experience.
In the realm of digital HR, there is a recognition of its significance in shaping the overall employee experience. It is great to see that 76% of our Belgium Top Employers have a vision for the role of digital HR in the employee experience. This indicates a positive understanding of the importance of leveraging digital solutions to enhance various aspects of the employee journey, from recruitment and onboarding to career development and well-being initiatives.
Personalisation of the HR technology platform is another area of focus, with 67% prioritising this aspect in Belgium. While organisations have already recognised the importance of personalisation, there is still room for improvement in creating a more customized experience within the HR technology platform. Organisations can better meet the diverse needs and preferences of their employees by leveraging advanced technologies.
Personalising the employee experience is a strategic imperative for organisations in the modern workplace. It goes beyond simply implementing digital tools or technology-driven solutions. It requires a deep understanding of employees' needs, aspirations, and preferences, and a commitment to creating a work environment that values and respects individuality. It helps create a happy and engaged workforce, a positive work culture, and improved performance management
As we move forward, the role of technology in personalising the employee experience will continue to grow. Technology can amplify our efforts to create personalised experiences that meet employees' ever-evolving expectations. In conclusion, personalising the employee experience is not just a "nice-to-have" but a strategic imperative for organisations seeking to thrive in the future of work. It requires an approach that combines technology, data-driven insights, and a genuine commitment to addressing employees' individual needs.