Why you need a Digital Employee Experience Design

digital employee experience design
Illustration: Studio Fee Overbeeke

Digitisation is everywhere, whether you like it or not. It disrupts the way we live and the way we work (together) – sometimes even subconsciously.
Like in every change process there will be resistance, that might feel like it is delaying what needs to be done. However, when you can convince your toughest opponents, they will become your best allies. In this article,  I will share my views on the potential of the digitisation in the workplace, especially for HR.

The workforce is changing rapidly

  • According to a research from Kenan-Flagler Business School from 2008, by 2020 almost 50% of the work population worldwide will be millennials, the generation born between 1976 and 2001. More than 80 million individuals who grew up in times of digitisation and will have an impact on the way we work (together).
    millennials in the w
  • According to Bruce Tulgan the generational shift is taking place in waves. Diversification of the workforce in age and skills (and personalities), started slowly after the first wave of millennials had entered it. It gets a huge change-boost with the injection of a second even more digital wave of this slightly different generation when it comes to attitudes and expectations.
    generational shift

The War on Talent is a fight for skills

  • The “The War on Talent” also is a driving factor for HR to embrace HR technology, according to McKinsey. Almost 30% of senior leaders mention finding talent as their most significant managerial challenge. The predicted shortage of high skilled workers by 2020 is 10%.
  • The same research mentions that an amazing 82% of the Fortune 500 executives doesn’t believe that their company attracts highly talented people, a mind-blowing 93% doesn’t believe that their company is able to retain high performers and only 3% believes that their company develops people in an efficient way.
  • The Future of Jobs Report from The World Economic Forum predicts that 35% of skills that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed by 2020.“By 2020, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will have brought us advanced robotics and autonomous transport, artificial intelligence and machine learning, advanced materials, biotechnology and genomics.”

top 10 skills

The war on talent thereby is not only about a shortage of candidates, it is also about skills and mindset. 
A shortage in candidates can be tackled by using the right branding, technology and/or  by paying high salaries. The right kills and mindset can be developed by HR’s learning and development strategy, where educational technology (edtech) can be an asset.

Learning & development is an absolute must. Only 17% of the companies seems to have the personnel with the skills necessary for the digital transformation, according to SAPnews. They also tell us that 73% of business executives lack the technology skills necessary to develop a digital transformation strategy.

Engagement and retention are a big deal

  • According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their work. This means that 85% does not have invested emotionally in the use of their time, talent and energy, in adding value to their team or in promoting the initiatives of the organisation. In addition, 50% of the starters secretly looks for a better job within their first year. This is costing the USA over 550 Billion dollars a year!
  • For the UK, CBfinancial speaks of a productivity loss of between £ 52 and £ 70 billion a year, which also mentions that an uninvolved employee costs their employer between £ 3400 and £ 10,000 a year.


HR needs innovation to maintain/generate growth in business; to attract, develop, engage and retain talented people. HR innovation is about people and tools tackling the issues discussed in this article (changing workforce, future proof skills, engagement and retention), by automating and collaborating beyond existing structures and procedures.

HR managers and their organisations have the habit of tackling one problem at the time. The market of HR technology has segmented itself to that demand, which is based on solving a problem – not creating an opportunity (that could solve multiple problems).

When matching the issues from above with the different phases of the Employee Journey of the HRTech.Community, the following matches can be made:

  1. The workforce is changing rapidly -> HR Tech category: Exploration
  2. The “War on Talent” is a fight for skills -> HR Tech category: Growth
  3. Engagement & Retention are a big deal -> HR Tech category: Onboarding & offboarding
hr tech communitySource image: www.hrtech.community

In addition, HR can co-create the HR experience – automating their administrative processes and leading the dance for a “Digital Employee Experience Design” – by handling a bottom-up approach. This approach has many benefits:

  • assuring accurate data by promoting involvement of employees and usability of the tool;
  • ROI by (predictive) people analytics, because employees are involved and engaged;
  • the potential to use gamification, automation and AI in all of HR’s processes

employee experience designThis is why a “Digital Employee Experience Design” is needed. So dear HR manager, are you up for it?





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