HR Tech...What can We Learn from Consumer Technology?

John Healy, VP and Managing Director, Kelly Services

John Healy, VP and Managing Director, Kelly Services

The HR Technology marketplace has been sized at $148 billion globally, and it is flush with fresh investments from, what CB Insights has declared, 145+ startups reinventing Human Resources. Yet despite all of this investment and disruption, when you spend time with hiring managers and talent alike, the sentiment is the same: the hiring process is not working well as it could be. Consistent market feedback says there’s an over-deployment and under-utilization of talent, coupled with a failure to leverage human-centric design in products and processes.

If we all accept that running away from the technology is not the right answer, where can we turn to identify a better approach to achieve the business outcomes we are after? At Kelly, we chose to explore an area where technology adoption is increasing at exponential rates and where user experiences are constantly challenged and improved – consumer technology.

The way we as consumers interact with technology is changing in a positive way, and the expectations we have of the brands whose products we purchase is also changing.

In the workplace it’s no different.

As a workforce solutions provider that has operated in global markets for over 70 years, we believe that if companies view their workforces as consumers with complex behaviors and evolving demands, then they would be better positioned to gain competitive advantage in attracting and engaging talent.

So, we took a deeper look. First, we engaged the right research partner. Stylus combines in-house trend expertise with bespoke research and incisive insights from a network of global experts to put us inside the minds, lives and intentions of tomorrow’s consumers.

Second, we established three core beliefs:

• Tomorrow’s workers will be more demanding. Future employees will expect their employers to deploy all of the flexible, personalized and collaborative behaviors of their favorite brands and services. Companies will have to find new ways to understand talents’ motivators and enable their passions.

• It’s no longer enough that technologies and digital services work well. Consumers expect them to work seamlessly from the beginning, and to work together, wherever they are.

• Increasingly mobile and fluid lives mean that engagements with brands and services have to work across multiple devices and respond appropriately based on context and location.

…and one critical question to answer:

• How will changing consumer trends affect the world of work?

In working through the research process, we were able to identify eight specific consumer trends that, when understood collectively, can help companies identify what actions to take to improve their brand positioning in front of their internal consumers – their workforce!

"We believe that if companies view their workforces as consumers with complex behaviors and evolving demands, then they would be better positioned to gain competitive advantage in attracting and engaging talent"

Eight Key Trends:

1.Search for Purpose
2.Multiple Me
3.The Understood Self
4.Algorithm-led Discovery
5.Seeking Experiences
6.Embedded Assistance
7.Third Spaces
8.The Connected City

Through a detailed analysis within each of these trends, we have identified three opportunities where organizations have taken action and are yielding value as a result of this research:

1. Organizations are maximizing their existing investments.
They are engaging with Diversity & Inclusion and Marketing teams – the latter of which oversee B2C relationships and can facilitate fantastic learning opportunities to understand the consumer better. So, leverage them. Capture the stories of the consumers inside your organization – your Talent Acquisition team is likely doing it already – and share them internally and externally.

2. Organizations are co-creating.
Employers and service providers alike have had to learn and adapt to the rise of the gig economy as more talent opts in to non-salaried roles that better suite their lifestyles. Don’t be afraid to curate communities and encourage people to opt in! Communication is key here.

3. Organzations are tapping into data strategy and collection.
Start working with algorithms to test your hypotheses about how your workforce wants to work. Once you’ve captured demographic data, ensure that you are also capturing sentiment data that will allow you to recognize new behavioral patterns and make personal connections with talent.

I hope you’ll join us as we unpack each of the Eight Key Trends of the research we’ve conducted with Stylus. If you are interested in learning more about the research or have stories to share about how you are engaging your workforce in the same ways that you engage your consumers, please comment below or engage with us on LinkedIn.

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