It is no longer a challenge to calculate the cost of losing an employee (we have all seen the stats and the percentages and the return on investment, etc.), and that has shifted the spotlight onto the importance of employee engagement and retention. No matter company size—small and medium, midsize, multi-national—winning the battle by hiring that one much-needed person will not win the war for talent. The promise of long-term tenure and wait-your-turn advancement is no longer a hook for anyone.
No one, no matter their age, wants to work at what is perceived to be a dead-end job. If an opportunity for advancement is not apparent, your hard-won talent will walk right out the door. And if one person triggers a flood of resignations and/or two-week notices, you will be forced into an endless "burn and churn" cycle, which will increase costs as new employees work to obtain the knowledge and reach the productivity levels of the people you lost.
The skills gap continues to grow, and it is fueling skirmishes, where the HR department is right on the front lines. Talented and skilled employees (of any age) now expect the information they need to be instantly available, whenever and wherever they need it, from any device. This is not a millennial issue or a Generation Z issue. The proliferation of cloud software, mobile devices, chatbots, ecommerce, etc. in everyone’s daily lives has raised expectations in the workplace. If I can converse with a chatbot about my bank balance, why cannot I do that to inquire about vacation accruals?
In addition, yearly performance reviews are looked upon with disdain by employees everywhere. They eat up precious time and, in many cases, are not actionable. Think about it, when you were in school if you only got to know your grade at the end of the semester could you pivot or change course or do anything differently to improve the grade (if need be)? Probably not. It is the same with a yearly performance review. Engagement requires feedback. Productivity requires feedback. Companies need the human capital management (HCM) solutions that can support monthly, weekly, or even continuous feedback reviews. There is a lot that companies need to do to accommodate these (and more) expectations.
Employers are getting excited about the potential of using data to make better decisions. The power of being able to model “what” if scenarios when it comes to promotions and their impact on an organization is something that HR executives have not had before.
We have had the Industrial Revolution, the Internet Revolution, and now the Data Revolution. Data is king. All companies have it; they just have to figure out how to use it. And this is where modern HCM Cloud systems add value. With the right HCM solution, a manager could instantly react if the data can show that a highly-skilled employee is at risk for leaving, allowing HR to look out for the business and work hand-in-hand with the line of business managers.
Everything that we have discussed in this blog supports one initiative—improving the employee experience. The bottom line is that technology cannot be used for technology’s sake (well, it can, but it will provide a lousy return). It needs to be used to create an experience that will support your employees’ entire career path. And your efforts on improving the employee experience cannot just be pointed at younger generations. A recent study from the Pew Research Center has shown that the idea that millennials and Gen Zers are (on average) less likely to stick around than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers is a myth. It has more to do with life and career stage that generational factors. When we talk about averages, it behooves us to dig a little deeper. Employee reward and retention programs need to be targeted to all employees, because, at our core, we all want the same thing. We just may express that need a little differently. So investigate how artificial intelligence, chatbots, machine learning, mobile solutions, and social collaboration platforms can simplify work and make it more enjoyable and engaging.
And there is data to back this point up. In the 2016 Oracle Global Engagement study, employees told us what they needed to be successful:
However, only 44 percent of employees felt their companies used the latest technology to support their work. So ask yourself, are you making things easier or harder for your employees?
But it is just not about throwing technology at employees. Cloud technology (such as Oracle Talent Management Cloud) is indeed helping companies hire (and keep) the right talent. But other HR cloud applications help by cutting waste, as in the number of forms and number of steps for a variety of HR processes. Human Resources is, after all, a “human-focused” department. When HR professionals spend less time on the administrative aspects of the job, they can spend more time on what matters most. Employees are not only taken care of with pay and benefits but have human interactions that are unique and meaningful to each of them as well. And that also boosts employee retention.