Human Resource Outsourcing
Hyper-personalization in HR tech is here
First, we had branding and brands. This was the ‘persona’ a product or service presented to the world. The Americans led the way in building brands as the 20th century dawned. Garden variety health foods got recast into becoming power breakfast cereals, for instance. It worked like a charm. Those companies that branded themselves laughed their way to the banks.
As marketing matured, so did branding. Corporate brands extended to consumer avatars, finally touching that most important aspect of running a business – its people. Supported by HR technologies, employer branding has taken on a life of its own over the last several years, as companies vie to attract, and retain, the cream of the crop. After all, the quality of the people determines the quality of the products and services, and ultimately, the heft of the bottom line of the company.
As any successful HR leader will aver, building a successful employer branding has multiple dimensions – employee engagement, learning and development, compensation and benefits, and career advancement opportunities being the most important of these. Personalisation of such HR dimensions assumes vital importance and can be the differentiator between success and failure of any HR initiative.
Technologies that support personalisation abound in the marketplace. Think learning management systems (LMS) that personalise learning pathways based on employee aptitudes and capabilities. Think compensation and benefits platforms that tailor offerings to employees based on their life situations and specific investment needs. Think employee engagement initiatives that analyse EVP (employee value proposition) survey inputs and decide the top three benefits that your teams would like to see at the workplace: pets at office? Check. Work from home at least twice a week? Check. Quarterly offsite? Check.
It is now the era of hyper-personalisation. Such suffixes may leave old HR hands scratching their heads. Is it ‘hype’-rpersonalisation perhaps, some may ask. Not so, new age technologists clarify. Hyper-personalisation refers to using technology to personalise your organisation’s employee experience in very individualised and customised ways. At the core, it involves leveraging big data and analytics to understand every employee's preferences, behaviours, and needs, and then tailoring HR processes, communications, and benefits to meet those specific needs. As is inevitable in this era of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), HR hyper-personalisation platforms leverage AI/ML technology.
This hyper-personalisation capability can also extend to the recruitment process. Here, AI-powered tools can help match candidates with job openings based on their skills, experience, and preferences. This in turn can help to streamline the recruitment process and ensure that the candidates you are considering are a good fit for the role and the organisation.
Let’s understand this advancement with a few specific use cases that have gained traction in the marketplace:
- Among others, IBM Watson Talent has built an AI-powered platform that enables HR teams to personalise their employee experience through customised learning and development programs. The platform uses data and analytics to identify each employee's learning needs and preferences, and then delivers personalised training and development content through a variety of channels, such as mobile apps, chatbots, and virtual reality simulations. Via a personalised learning experience, IBM Watson Talent aims to improve employee engagement, retention, and productivity. The platform has been adopted by several large enterprises, including Carrefour, Vodafone, and Siemens.
- Sapience Analytics is a workforce analytics platform that uses AI to personalise the employee experience by analysing an employee's work patterns and habits. The platform tracks every employee's daily activities, such as the time they spend on specific tasks, their communication patterns, and usage of software applications. It then provides personalised recommendations for improving productivity, achieving better work-life balance, and for general well-being. The platform has been adopted by many large organisations such as Capgemini, Tech Mahindra, and Wipro.
- BetterUp is a coaching and development platform that uses AI and human coaches to provide personalised career coaching to employees. The platform offers tailor-made coaching programs based on an employees’ career goals, key strengths, and areas for improvement. It uses data and analytics to measure progress and provide ongoing feedback. Airbnb, Chevron, and Mars are some of the companies that have adopted BetterUp.
These use cases serve to illustrate the tip of the iceberg that is the opportunity in HR tech: in essence, people at work in an organisation (and those aspiring to join an organisation) generate an enormous amount of data in the ways they work, interact with each other and with technology. HR technologies also capture collateral data from employees’ commutes, life situations, social media posts, aspirations and ambitions. Making meaningful analysis of this data affords organisations to ‘serve’ their employee base better, leading ultimately to organisational success.
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