“The only unique assets that a business has for gaining competitive advantage over its rivals are the skills and dedication of its employees. There is no other sustainable advantage in the modern, high-tech, global economy.” —Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor
The post-recession labor market faces a paradox: Worldwide, more than 200 million people are unemployed, but to sustain economic growth by 2030, Western Europe will need to add 45 million workers with specific skills while the US will need to add more than 25 million workers.
The issue of talent scarcity isn’t just a problem for recruiters. When companies can’t pursue market opportunities or have to delay strategic initiatives because they don’t have the talented people they need to execute plans, they can’t compete and grow.
By 2025, millennials (born between the early 1980s and early 2000s) will make up about 75% of the global labor force. To meet market demands and the expectations of the C-suite, understanding their perceptions and influences is vital.
Most of them have grown up with instant access to Facebook, Google, and Amazon. When they start new jobs, their expectations of the systems and tools they will use are already hardwired from their experiences as members of a digitally native generation.
Candidates and employees want a compelling work environment that provides a great experience, which includes their dealings with human resources. HR has commonly delivered employee services based on standard processes that are accessible only in person or by phone during office hours. HR services weren’t designed to make employees enthusiastic about HR or reward them with an engaging experience.
Instead of a model based on scale and efficiency, modern HR must be designed for effectiveness and convenience so that employees can choose when and how to engage. Employees want to choose the time, place, and channel to interact with HR.
Being able to do this makes them enthusiastic about their next HR interaction. They know they work for an organization that understands how they want to get things done. Modern HR leaders can differentiate their companies in the competition for talent by providing a consumer-grade experience for their candidates and employees.
High-value, talented individuals are savvy and have high work-life expectations. They want to know that they are positioned for success. When the workplace is driven by social interaction and optimized for connectivity on the go, employees will have the peace of mind of knowing they work on the cutting edge of operations for a company that has their best interests in mind.
Those who do not feel this way will explore their options. The demand for talented individuals has resulted in a highly competitive hiring environment, and even the hardest-working employees will start to look for new jobs very quickly if their current employers don’t deliver the experiences they are looking for.
There really is no point recruiting and investing in top talent if businesses can’t hold on to the great people they already have. Hiring and retaining a high-performing workforce over the next 10 years will require focus on the quality of employees’ experiences and the tools they use every day at work.
While most CEOs are quick to say their employees are the company’s most valuable asset, many are failing to provide HR teams with the tools they need to ensure the best workers are able to perform to their full potential. HR systems need to be the following:
Usable: Instead of sending multiple emails back and forth, employees want applications that are as intuitive as Facebook.
Desirable: Employees want clean and easy-to-use interfaces, along with the ability to gain instant feedback from the application and find exactly the information they need when they need it.
Accessible: Employees want access 24/7, from the office, the coffee shop, or the shop floor.
Valuable: Employees feel rewarded when they make smart decisions that impact their livelihoods. For example, just as retail websites use purchase histories to suggest other products, modern HR systems track employee activities to suggest training.
The #1 reason HR leaders choose a new HR system is to improve the user experience. Modern HR lets stakeholders and clients help themselves and connect as part of a community. In a survey performed by CedarCrestone, HR functions that are part of easy-to-use, complete human capital management systems are regarded as twice as effective and efficient as systems that don’t offer this advantage.
Using such systems lets executives transform HR from a system of record to a system of engagement and deliver consumer-level experiences that treat employees the way savvy brands treat their customers.