In digital era, here’s why managing an employee’s journey is critical

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Published: April 24, 2017 5:57:16 AM

Managing employee journey has become a complex but a critical success factor in attracting and managing talent for most organisations.

This mode of outsourced services has been considered by some of the large organisations for their domestic operations in India too. (Reuters)

Managing employee journey has become a complex but a critical success factor in attracting and managing talent for most organisations. In the digital era where there are multiple touchpoints to be strategically designed and managed for every milestone in the employee lifecycle, even large businesses equipped with large pool of HR professionals have begun to reengineer their processes and assess their capabilities to cope with the emerging expectations of the employee journey.

In the past, these organisations would manage the core dimensions of HR function internally and work with consultants periodically to supplement their efforts in areas such as recruitment or training or access external expertise in specialised areas such as setting up of assessment centres or competence mapping. However, the time has come for organisations to pivot HR function similar to other functions of the organisation which are used to holistic outsourcing and examine how HR function could become more agile and support businesses to achieve their ambitious goals of expansion via a fresh approach.

Outsourcing of some core and several non-core services related to HR function to low-cost destinations with access to excellent talent has been implemented by several multinational organisations in either their captive global centres or with third party vendors. As a result countries such as India have benefitted by setting up back office operations and servicing customers remotely.

Digital technologies and seamless internet services have enhanced the effectiveness of such services manifold and over a period of time outsourcing firms have managed to add significant value through reengineering of processes and automation leading to cost reduction to their customers. This mode of outsourced services has been considered by some of the large organisations for their domestic operations in India too, but this has been restricted so far mainly to services such as customer contract services, housekeeping, security and digital marketing.

Small and medium sized companies have not ventured much into this arena as they have felt the cost of contracting these services would be prohibitive and not customised to their needs. There is a strong rationale and a case for maximum outsourcing of HR function by both large and MSME companies in the emerging business scenario. The underlying advantages being the specialised digital expertise required in every dimension of HR function, the feasibility to contain costs even when the scope of HR services is expanded, easier access to cutting edge innovation, speed to market and focus on core capabilities in the context of significant growth opportunities on the anvil.

There are multiple factors which provide the positive impetus by drawing upon external services. In the digital era where seamless communication, effective collaboration and ease of access to expertise in the extended virtual organisation have become feasible, the challenges faced around attracting and expanding the talent pool in the locations where it is required for the business is a compelling starting point for organisations to consider outsourcing of services even in the hitherto not considered functions.

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It is not just the possibility of accessing lower cost talent in large numbers from lower cost centres in the country but the niche expertise scattered across the country as well as drawing upon the rich talent of the retired personnel as well as women willing to work from home consolidated by boutique outsourcing firms that would be attractive to businesses. Increasing requirement of myriad forms of statutory and legal compliance related services that have become critical even for MSMEs can be accessed on demand at affordable costs. Monitoring and responding to posts of social media sites in a timely fashion is necessary to signal responsiveness to employees and also contribute to the ability of the organisation to manage its reputation and attract the right talent.

While many organisations may be using social media sites and specialised portals for recruitments, imaginative digital interventions would also help in conversion of initial curiosity of potential hires to active interest to join the organisation. Such specialised high quality services as required should be possible to be accessed by firms as and when required through a combination of virtual and in person services at modest budgets.

Processes that require specialised expertise such as competence matrix, assessment centres, developing training strategy, custom content development, exit feedback, employee engagement survey, etc., which have been feasible for large businesses by either creating these capabilities internally or by tapping the services of consultants externally, have now started becoming important for MSMEs. This is because talent development and continuous HR engagements have emerged as significant pre-requisites for their survival.

With employee engagement having become a key measure for effectiveness of HR function, it is possible to consider total outsourcing of HR services and an external agency taking total ownership for delivering enhancement in employee engagement defined by predefined metrics. The service provider has to gear up to become the extended arm of the business for practically all dimensions of employee lifecycle management.

The millennials who form a bulk of the workforce thrive in the digital world and their expectation is for HR function to adapt to the digital culture and cater to their career aspirations as much as there is the need for the organisation to align them to its goals. This would call for continuous research and upgradation of systems and processes that would make the employee journey delightful and fulfilling.

The writer is CEO, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company

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