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No, really. It’s time to modernize your employee experience

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By Michael Tyukodi | October 05, 2021

Most organizations still aren’t communicating effectively with employees, but it might not be HR’s fault.

In 2017, I wrote a blog on how HR can modernize its employee experience through timely and thoughtful personalized communication. Almost 5 years later, most HR departments still haven’t taken the steps needed to modernize their employee experience.

This is starting to feel like déjà vu all over again.

In fact, most organizations still aren’t communicating effectively with their employees, according to our Willis Towers Watson 2021 Global Benefits Survey. Seventy-five percent say they plan to embed personalization into their digital experience. Another 65% plan to integrate wellbeing into their employee experience. This data comes on the heels of our 2021 Employee Experience Survey: 94% of employers said enhancing the employee experience will be an important priority in their organization during the next three years.

Clearly the market is showing the importance of presenting consolidated, personalized content that can flex over time and highlight something that is extremely important in today’s environment — like wellbeing.

Where has HR gone wrong in the past 5 years? The short answer is, it might not be HR’s fault. In many organizations, IT controls the employee experience narrative and forces the implementation and use of mega HCM systems that promise to handle all of the transactions, workflows and employee journeys while still creating a personalized experience all in one place.

The promise of one system that “can do it all” had to be tried and a proven failure before adding yet another resource to the digital ecosystem. At the same time, the number of third-party vendor systems that employees have access to exploded. Josh Bersin says employees now have to connect with dozens of downstream and third-party systems.

So, our 2021 survey results aren’t surprising. In fact, they’re expected. Employees need a simplified employee experience to connect dozens of disparate systems in one place. An experience that delivers the right information to the right people at the right time. And that isn’t personalization for personalization’s sake.

The best employee experience uses personalized data and targeted messages that:

  • Simplify access to tools and resources – present timely and personalized links to systems for managers and employees to become more efficient with their process workflows.
  • Nudge desired behaviors – use personalized data to nudge employees to make changes to their benefits plans, save more to retirements savings programs, or to complete a pulse survey to get their voice heard within the organization.
  • Highlight programs that are unique – connect personalized content with the moments that matter to employees. Use targeted content to show employees how your total rewards programs connect to them, when they need it the most.

The good news is, my 2017 prediction of robots that proactively solve water heater issues did not come true. And the employee experience platform market has started to mature. Today there are options for employers to brand their experience and extend it beyond current employees — to potential candidates, pre-hires, spouses, retirees — and move the needle across many areas of the employee experience and the moments that matter.

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