This thought piece will build on the ideas I brought to the table in Would you be willing to let a machine take your job? and The transformative power of automation in HR. In these thought pieces I called out the rise of automation and its impact on the employee journey, here I will look wider and consider the importance of being able to knit it all together in the most seamless and engaging way as possible for the employee.
In January of this year CGI ran an event consisting of both thought leadership workshops and an expo to showcase The Future of Employee Journey and the technology which can support both the employer and the employee. The Expo brought together clients, partners, industry thought leaders, practitioners and propositions to put the future of the working life firmly in the spotlight. The day covered many different areas of the employee journey speakers talked about skilling and reskilling, the digital revolution and the ethics of moving to a world of work with more artificial intelligence and automation. Topics weren’t constrained to technological solutions and their potential impact, questions of organisational wellness programmes and how to go about achieving Top Employer status were also unpacked.
At CGI we believe technology no longer just enables change; it drives it. You can make a good case to say that technology has evolved from being a support function to being core to business and operations. Yet, as technology becomes more important, CGI also believes that the people, will continue to be our organisations key assets and as such the journeys and experiences that people undertake when they work will remain of paramount importance.
In our world of Human Resource Solutions (HRS) we care about the employee’s journeys and experiences, along with the technology, solutions and services that make it possible for them to seamlessly navigate the various policies and processes they encounter. This starts at recruitment and travels through induction onboarding, working arrangements, the potentially thorny subject of rewards and bonuses, performance management, the growth area of wellbeing as well as the exit stage of work.
I called out in my first thought piece (Would you be willing to let a machine take your job?), the concept of the 100 year life and how the world of work and careers for us and our clients has changed. People no longer learn for 20 years, go off and work for an organisation for 40 years and then spend the next 10 years spending our company retirement pension. It isn’t the case anymore that the majority of recruitment only occurs for young people and that businesses and employees only have to worry about exits and pensions for people later on in life. As the implications of this phenomena are beginning to be seen and felt, the idea of a career norm is going out the window. Careers are fragmenting into highly individualised journeys that contain tangential moves to different sectors as well as containing parallel chapters as the ‘side hustle’ becomes more prevalent.
Employees come and go within an organisation, at different life stages with increasingly individually customised arrangements (e.g. part-time, full-time, student, working from home) for ultimately a longer employee life span. If one also considers that some World Economic Forum forecasts predict that half the world’s service workers will be freelance by 2030 that presents quite a change on the horizon for employers and employees. Another telling insight comes from some research done by life insurance firm LV=, who found that in 2017 a UK worker will change employers every five years on average. Imagine just keeping track of the pensions and payrolls of this increasingly complex aspect of work, and this, some people will tell you is the easy, commodity stuff that anyone can do when it comes to technology solutions.
CGI don’t think that at all, and with a specialist knowledge base of the UK HR and Payroll market spanning over four decades, we believe we are well placed to bring innovation and change to all aspects of the workforce employment journey. This could mean using our payroll platform ‘ePayfact’ through to Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence.
Expo in a modern-day home of sports high performance
At our Employee Journey Expo at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, we brought together a portfolio of technology, solutions and services. This was the chance for attendees to hear, touch, feel, play and get under the bonnet of the technology. It also offered the opportunity to hear first-hand from the practitioners and delivery teams on what works, what doesn’t and what to watch out for.
A full day of insightful workshops and guest speakers as well as exploring of expo stands and was had by all in what is a phenomenal and highly innovative location in London. Whatever your team preference, you are going to be hard pushed not to be impressed by the stadium and how Tottenham Hotspur have considered everything possible to deliver high performance at work. This is a perfect example of using every aspect of marginal gains to empower and enable your employees.
As noted above the employee journey includes several different components from recruitment to retirement. How an organisation tackles each component can very well be the difference between being recognised as a preferred employee of choice. This could be tackling the challenge of finding that best fitting candidate without the knowledge loss when transferring an open position from one recruiter to another and doing it in a digitally engaging way. Another example could how can organisations use personalised personal digital assistants or chatbots to guide and prompt the employee through the daily interactions of office administration. Everyday organisational friction of managers having to plough though and correct errors or chase employees for expenses, timesheets and training can be reduced through introducing a personalised digital assistant.
Another massive piece of the empowering and enabling employees puzzle is the people analytics, or the data-driven approach to managing and supporting all aspects of work. Our Expo attendees also got the opportunity to hear from HR thought leader Dave Milner. Dave shared his view on the future of HR and the importance of teams and departments becoming commercially minded and supported by their people analytics.
Also, very legitimately employees just as much as when they are customers want to make sure all their personal data is secure. Attacks are becoming more sophisticated and can cause financial loss, reputational damage, theft of business critical information or regulatory fines. Building cyber security into your organisation’s world can create a competitive advantage for the organisation and its employees.
It may also sound old and traditionalist, when people talk so often about the constantly innovating world but one of the fundamental components of delivering the employee journeys of now and the future is the ability to pay and reward your people with the right amount in the right currency at the right time. Nothing is going to turn an employee off faster, than the organisation messing up paying them their expected wages. So, this part of your employee journeys often has a danger of being overlooked by what is perceived as the sexier side of things. CGI’s flexible Payments Service processes over £1 billion of credit transactions per month. It has been successfully managing the entire electronic payments process for some of the UK’s largest organisations for many decades.
For me and I believe for my clients too, the key takeaway from the Expo was that current employee journeys and those of the future are diverse, ever changing and will increasingly involve a range of attractive technologies that offer all types of benefits. The ongoing challenge will be knitting all this together in a seamless way that actually enables and empowers the employee rather than turns them off. Solving this complex equation isn’t new and is one that we here at CGI have been solving for over 40 years.
If you would like to know more about any part of the employee journey Expo or want to discover how the CGI HRS approach focuses on every engagement with one objective in mind; to help clients succeed, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.