Consumerised service for the new age workforce

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Organisations can understand their customers better by studying the habits and preferences of their employees.

Can you remember the last time you wanted to make an online purchase? You probably did a preliminary search on Google and read some online reviews, just the way 1.66 billion users (number of digital buyers worldwide from 2014 to 2021) have done so far in 2017. While you were still in two minds, you saw a digital ad that was specifically tailored and retargeted to you. This ad clinched the decision-making process and convinced you to go ahead and make the purchase on Amazon. You then rated the product and started browsing recommendations thrown up by the seller.

Now, think of the last time you were at your workplace and logged in to your company intranet. Was the experience just as intuitive or memorable? In all likelihood, it wasn’t. That’s because only about 13 per cent of employees log in and participate on their intranet on a daily basis. That leaves organisations with very little motivation to improve such portals to deliver the best experiences.

However, an engaged workforce is a more productive one, so there is no better reason for companies to start immediately.

At the heart of this deployment though, are the changing expectations of the 21st century workforce. Today, there are about 2.3 billion smartphone users in the world and hundreds of millions of apps.

So, it is fair to say that there is literally an app for everything. All these apps provide a level of personalisation and hyper-segmentation that have exposed users to intuitive services that just know what they want. Now, there is no reason for these users to not have the same expectations from their enterprise-grade applications as well.

Debasis Dutta

To deliver the very best consumer-grade experiences, organisations need to adopt machine learning algorithms that study workforce behaviour and adapt accordingly.

We expect the same level of targeting, intuitiveness and UI-focussed design from our company’s communications. Facebook-like timelines, Google-like search results and Spotify-like people management are the standards we use to judge our enterprise-grade applications. For companies, this presents a unique blend of opportunity and challenge that can ultimately help them improve their offerings to create a loyal and productive workforce.

No company can deny that their employees are their greatest strength. In a world dominated by social media, every employee can provide an accurate reflection of the buyer personas and customers of the organisation. By studying the habits and preferences of their employees and by shaping their services around them, organisations can truly begin to understand their customers better. So, when it comes to things such as training, talent management, internal communications and workflow management, companies are aware that their employees now expect consumer-grade experiences.


 

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To deliver the very best consumer-grade experiences, organisations need to adopt machine learning algorithms that study workforce behaviour and adapt accordingly. This includes the adoption of push models that display recommendations to employees, either on their phones or on their workstations, about the tasks they should be participating in. This is in stark contrast to the previously dominant pull model, wherein an employee would have to actively seek out information as and when required. These machine learning algorithms enable organisations to learn all about the likes and dislikes of employees to display the most relevant information at the right time.

For instance, when new employees join an organisation, they can be given access to a centralised dashboard that shows all the designated training programmes for their level, reporting structures, compensation details and several other helpful references. As they complete their allocated training sessions, they could earn badges and receive further recommendations for continuous learning. Such an interactive system will enable employees to choose their own learning models, based on recommendations. This can help them chart out their own development plan, and achieve professional goals sooner by enhancing their job fitment.

So how can companies go about provisioning personalised, intuitive experiences to their employees? The solution is for organisations to undertake hyper-segmentation through interactions analysis with their employees, much like how they do with their customers. By doing so, they can boost proactive and predictive engagement for all activities and set engagement patterns for the existing and future workforce. By offering hyper-personalised applications, organisations can thus provide worker-enabled applications that meet consumer-grade expectations. Consumerised enterprise software ultimately provide great user experience founded on goal-based gamification. The end result — enhanced productivity, reduced attrition and greater user experience — can prove essential for every single organisation.

(The author is VP & GM – Product Management at SumTotal Systems)

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