Karen Minicozzi vice president, HCM product strategy, EMEA, Workday
What Workers Want
Recent research by the CIPD found that more than a quarter of UK employees are actively looking for new roles. This means that the pressure on businesses to keep employees engaged and motivated continues to increase. I believe that there are three main ways in which HR and business leaders can create a better working culture, which will empower employees to take control of their own careers and ultimately keep them engaged. These are:
Let employees control their own destiny
More than six in 10 digital natives recently told Deloitte that their “leadership skills were not being fully developed by their employer.” While you can’t stop an employee of any generation from leaving, you can make them feel like they’re in control of their own career trajectory and give them the tools and information to understand the areas where they need to grow.
Traditionally, in most organisations, data has been kept in the hands of the few rather than the many, and getting access to it could be a long, painful process using tools which were not user-friendly. HR and its business partners should be thinking about how they can open up and democratise data across their organisation, using tools based on the consumer web which push access to information to the front lines where employees will be looking to use it.
Culture and opportunity should go hand-in-hand
Employees are increasingly looking for new career opportunities that fit their own personal interests and which deliver fulfilment and purpose. For this reason HR should think about what we at Workday call a ‘culture of opportunity.’ This means being less stringent about policies or old-fashioned career paths, and being more transparent about new opportunities that exist within their organisation. Crucially, in the spirit of democratisation this means giving employees the tools to provide a personalised view of these opportunities, such as understanding which other employees held similar positions in the past and what trajectory their careers took, and then creating interpersonal networks so that they can connect with one another.
Employee feedback should be a loop not an annual event
Today’s employees want to be heard, and the ability for HR to quickly gauge workforce sentiment via digital tools can be an easy way to capture sentiment and to understand the concerns of employees so that they can be addressed. This is not always evident at some companies, particularly with the annual performance review, which is fast becoming irrelevant. Due to the speed at which employee roles change and how projects evolve, having an annual check-in becomes increasingly insufficient. Having a single annual review can be demoralising, while restricting feedback sessions to only one or two sessions per year can be equally demotivating, particularly when there are performance issues to be addressed.
Measuring an employee’s performance, whether stellar or pointing to areas for improvement, should not be carried out in isolation. The tools now exist that allow HR to capture, measure and aggregate information in real-time, creating an environment which drives regular, ongoing feedback and puts the process in the hands of the employee so they can actively participate in their development. Providing regular check-ins rather than annual reviews means that the discussions are timely and relevant, and therefore more effective.