In the modern age, digital platforms continue to change our lives for the better. Certainly, technology has made a notable impact on a number of industries and human resources is seemingly no exception. Previously concerned exclusively with working in the background for a company, it is conspicuous that the practice of HR is moving toward a focus on connecting with and catering to individuals in a more consistent and digital way. Many commentators have dubbed this shift “the consumerization of HR.” Consumerization in this context, according to HR Tech World, refers to the way in which enterprises are affected and changed by digital platforms that cater to a consumer. In essence, the consumerization of HR refers to the process whereby HR departments are utilizing digital platforms and becoming more connected with both prospective candidates and current employees as a result. The growing communication in this space has led to an increased sense that employees and candidates are consumers of an organization and not merely workers. There are a number of notable ways in which this shift has occurred:
1. Social media screening/connection
An increasing number of employers are using social media to not only screen applicants, but also to connect with individuals that haven’t necessarily applied for the job in question, but who they believe might be a good fit for the role, Callosum stated. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter are commonly used by companies when reaching out to people online. This shift, whereby it’s common practice for a company to reach out to an individual first, represents a move toward a more consumer-based relationship. The company has to promote itself to the desired candidate, whereas in the past the roles have been reversed. As Forbes argued, the line dividing HR and marketing is becoming increasingly blurred.
The use of social networks also enables companies to more effectively vet the candidate’s qualifications and background, gaining a more detailed understanding of the person in question, prior to the interview.
2. Phone apps could be the future of recruitment
According to Callosum, just 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies have some form of site that can be used on a digital app. This is despite the fact that around two-thirds of Americans now have access to and use smartphone technology, a survey from Pew Research Center outlined. Consequently, it’s clear that smartphone apps are the next frontier in terms of HR teams marketing a company and open job positions. Apps which match employers and an employees, in a similar vein to platforms such as Tinder, are taking off, and job hunters are looking for even faster and more convenient ways to connect with employers and apply for jobs. Therefore, in the near future, it’s likely that a number of companies will develop a job application app for smartphones.
3. The importance of a digital office
Technology isn’t just being employed by HR teams to recruit new talent. As Forbes detailed, HR executives are becoming more concerned with creating a “workplace experience.” What this entails, HR Tech World elaborated, is increased digital communication between employers and employees. C-Suite leaders have recognized the need for establishing a more concrete relationship between an employee and the company they work for, in essence, by treating the employee more like a consumer or “customer.” Increased communication has taken place in a number of ways – emails, instant messaging apps, company portals with updates and information and even mass online training sessions. A digital office is a more connected office and HR is playing a greater role in establishing a more effective office IT infrastructure.
HR Tech World predicted that in the future communication between HR teams and employees will become even more digitalized. They suggested that companies may establish instant messenger or text services that could be utilized by employees to give feedback about the company or their experiences working in the office.
4. Creating brand advocates
As Forbes detailed, a number of HR teams are now promoting advocacy programs within the office. This entails requesting employees to promote the business on their personal social media accounts. The practice enables employees to, again, feel more connected to their company – they are playing the role of active consumer. It also helps to attract new business, as well as prospective candidates. Indeed, Forbes elaborated that social media content pertaining to a company that is shared by an employee is re-shared 25 more times on average than the same content when shared by the company’s official channel. This is because the information is widely regarded as being more trustworthy if it comes from the employee and not the employer themselves.
“90 percent of American companies now offer remote working options.”
5 Flexible schedules
A corollary of the digital office, more workers are demanding remote working options and HR teams are listening, Forbes observed. With a comprehensive digital infrastructure, including instant messaging, company portals and the cloud, the need for workers to be physically present in the office is less necessary than ever before. HR teams understand that employees with a more flexible schedule to work remotely tend to be happier and more productive. Furthermore, the option to work remotely will enable an employee to feel more empowered and connected to the company. According to a recent study from Polycom, 90 percent of American companies now offer remote working options to at least some of their workforce.