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Combat Commoditization of Your Workforce

Andy Campbell
HCM Strategy Director at Oracle

Businesses are fighting tooth and nail to attract and retain the best employees. Company culture and employee satisfaction are the key battlegrounds in this talent war, so businesses that can’t motivate or engage their employers are at a huge disadvantage.

Most organizations will say they’re committed to their people, and many business owners do make employee engagement a priority. However, that’s only part of what differentiates leading companies.

Being able to measure and improve engagement is equally important, and yet Oracle’s research has found that many businesses fail to measure workforce engagement with any degree of sophistication. Companies still rely on staff surveys to gauge employee satisfaction instead of using modern tools such as data analytics to get an accurate picture of engagement and its impact on the business.

Digital and mobile devices, HR tools, and social media platforms are all great data sources for measuring employee happiness, but they are also incredibly powerful tools for engaging with workers in the first place.

Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce, and these digital natives expect to communicate with their colleagues and line managers via the technologies they use in their personal lives. And yet only 15% of employers believe that using the latest digital and mobile technologies is important to driving employee engagement. Astonishingly, only 3% say social media platforms help boost engagement, despite how inextricable they have become to millennials’ daily lives.

At the same time, employers wax lyrical about the benefits of teamwork, collaboration, flexible working, training, and professional development, all factors that are greatly enhanced through the use of today’s digital technologies.

Given the choice between a workplace where technology is frowned upon or actively discouraged and one where it is embraced to deliver a better working environment, a talented young worker is faced with an easy decision. 

It’s important to remember that just implementing digital technology for its own sake, or merely to placate the demands of a young workforce, has little value. To be effective, these tools should not be standalone entities but deeply embedded within existing business processes to enable workers to connect with any and all HR processes. Rather than being add-ons, mobile and digital technologies should become natural parts of employees’ day-to-day work.

Digital technologies also help build engagement between workers and managers, as does ensuring that line managers can effectively communicate with their employees. Oracle’s research found that half of employees say poor communication from managers is the most frequent cause for them feeling less engaged at work, so it’s never been more important for employers to make the most of their communications technologies.

It’s easy to pay lip service to the ideals of employee engagement, but to effect real change HR teams must instill a high-level culture of engagement throughout their organization, from the managing director down to line managers and their teams on the front lines. A good HR team will take ownership of the business’s engagement strategy and ensure that line managers have the attitude, tools, and data required to ensure their employees are productive and happy. Here are five lessons to learn on motivation and performance. 

If a business seeks to differentiate itself and avoid becoming a “commoditized workplace,” it must commit to exploring new ways of training, appraising, and engaging with its workers. Those that do not will find themselves losing some of their best talent to rivals that can provide a unique place to work.

Other content: 

What is a Cloud-based System for HR? 

Get Your Hands on Oracle HCM

The Evolution of Talent Management - Why Engagement is Key 

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