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Smart Disruption and the New Employee Experience

Friday, May 12, 2017
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This is part of a special advertising section featuring forecasts on navigating changes and challenges.

How will HR need to adapt to meet the growing challenges that come with operating in a business environment that's increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous?

As workforces around the world experience radical shifts, and organizations reevaluate the ways they engage their increasingly dispersed, multigenerational employee populations, HR leaders must have an open mind and a willingness to shake up the status quo. Smart disruption is the future of HR.

This disruption starts at the workplace. Major issues impacting businesses today continue to center on declining employee engagement and productivity -- the U.S. recently saw its longest worker productivity slump in four decades. While many factors affect employee engagement, business leaders are increasingly recognizing that the lack of authentic, intentional culture-building has a significant impact on business performance. Inconsistent, top-down culture has created a fractured employee experience, which is in desperate need of repair.

And yet, it's increasingly critical. In its recent 2017 Global Human Capital Trends research, Deloitte highlighted employee experience as a top priority for businesses, indicating that nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee experience very important (42 percent) or important (38 percent), but only 22 percent reported that their companies were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience. In the months and years ahead, HR will be charged with closing this gap.

Delivering a differentiated employee experience is about empowering employees to bring their best selves to work, every day. It's about delivering personalized experiences that help employees to learn, grow, advance, achieve and maximize their success. An exceptional employee experience -- one that focuses on employees' physical, mental, emotional and financial well-being -- offers organizations the opportunity to connect with employees in a direct and proactive way that demonstrates how much they are valued.

With data increasingly validating the connection between employee health and business performance, organizations are investing in and embracing well-being as a strategic business imperative. In Virgin Pulse's recent State of the Industry Report, 78 percent of organizations said they view employee well-being as a critical component of their business strategy and 74 percent of employers with strategic, holistic well-being programs saw improvements in employee satisfaction and 65 percent saw improvements in organizational culture. In addition, in a recent survey from Buck Consultants, 74 percent of global organizations surveyed say a strong culture of well-being is a key element of their value proposition.

Personalized well-being programs do much more than empower and prioritize employees. Through responsive technology and daily experiences, personalized well-being programs allow organizations to scale culture while helping HR leaders meet an ever-expanding set of goals and responsibilities -- people management, talent optimization, employer branding and culture-building -- within a single platform. All of this combines to create an employee experience that inspires and motivates.

How can you drive a stronger employee experience through well-being?

Make it personal: Advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning have provided unprecedented ways for well-being programs to learn and respond to user behavior in real-time, offering up tips, suggestions and programs that are uniquely selected for each individual employee. In addition, integrations with popular devices like Amazon Alexa allow well-being to be fully integrated into existing routines and workflows, making it seamless and easy to interact with.

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Use it daily: Research proves that personalized well-being programs that infuse competition and fun into the experience engage users day after day, both at work and at home. In fact, over 50 percent of Virgin Pulse members interact with our technology at least five times per week -- often on nights and weekends. That's a frequency on-par with consumer apps.

Create healthy habits: Long-term behavior change is achieved through small, actionable steps that become ingrained over time. Well-being programs that are built upon a proven habit formation methodology  have a strong record of success. That's because positive behaviors spread through groups and inspire grassroots culture among employee populations. In this way, individual actions translate into organizational results.

And when culture is driven by employees, engagement and productivity follow. Across Virgin Pulse's book of business, 46 percent of program members say they are now more engaged at work, 64 percent say they are proud of their company culture and 49 percent say they are more productive because of their well-being program.

These results have transformative implications for HR. Tools, technology and daily experiences that help employees achieve their goals, develop positive behaviors, and spread culture, provide a powerful, scalable platform for driving growth, engagement and success. Imagine your employees joining together both online and in-person to do their best work, give back to their company and contribute to the organization's culture, each and every day. This is the HR of the future.

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