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The consumerisation of HR (HR Trends 2017, 1)

9th, January 2017
0 Comment
by Tom Haak
in  Trends in HR


Employees are expecting an experience at work

In her excellent article “Consumerization of HR: 10 trends companies will follow in 2016” Jeanne Meister captured all the trends she describes under the label “Consumerisation”.

People are more and more expecting an experience at work that is comparable to the experience they have at home. Netflix knows their movie taste and makes good recommendations. With the help of Tinder they are able to find new partners, and all their devices at home are connected through the internet. What most people experience at the workplace is still far from ideal. The percentage of people who are not very happy at work is still remarkable high. Where is the algorithm that has suggestions for new opportunities? (“You like these type of assignments, you might also like …..”). The “Employee Experience” is very much related to this trend. The organisations that consciously design a positive employee experience, for the complete life cycle of an employee, are still scarce.

How can I use this trend?

Some suggestions on how you might use this trend for your benefit:

  1. Use innovative HR tools

    – Tinder like recruitment apps, such as Cocoon and Switch.
    – Explore the possibilities to use gamification in HR (recruitment, selection, onboarding, training)

  2. As HR, work closely with Marketing

    Marketing and HR are growing closer together. HR can learn a lot from Marketing.
    It is easy to start with some joint projects, e.g. around employer branding.

  3. Treat your employees as you treat you clients

    It is a worthwhile exercise to compare the way you treat your customers with the way you treat your employees.

  4. Treat your employees as individuals, not as members of a segment

    Marketing has stopped a long time ago with crude segmentation. In HR,  today most organisations still segment in simple ways. Young versus old, Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z, Managers and non-managers and so on. Many untested assumptions are used to design policies and career tracks. “Gen Y wants more work-life balance”. “People above 55 want to slow down”. With big data analysis and with sophisticated algorithms, it has become easier to detect and predict individual preferences of employees, and organisations can act on the insights with tailored programs and interventions.

  5. Use social tools in the workplace people are used to in their private life

    Do not rely on e-mail only to communicate with your employees. Use the social tools people are used to in their private life. The preferred communication channels will most likely differ for individuals. An important issue is that you must deal with security issues. Fortunately, there are look-alike solutions that can meet high security standards (e.g. a WhatsApp solutions for doctors, ShareSmart).

  6. Measure the employee experience

    There are numerous modern tools that can help you to gather feedback on how the employees experience working in your organisation (ref. Employee Mood Measurement Trends). A simple instrument as the net promoter score can help you to get feedback in near real time.

Additional Reading


Illustration: Studio Fee Overbeeke

Trends in HR series:

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About the Author: Tom Haak


Tom Haak is the founder and director of The HR Trend Institute. Prior to founding the HR Trend Institute in 2014, Tom held senior HR positions in companies as Arcadis, Aon, KPMG and Philips. The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organizations, and also in adjacent areas.