Ivan Harding, Chief Executive Officer, Applaud

Though the way we work today is a huge departure from what we would have considered ‘normal’ pre-pandemic, we’re still very much in a period of adaptation. Businesses are trying to configure a working model that bakes in flexibility and remote working whilst ensuring their employees feel connected to the business. With this has come a pressing need for technology to bridge this gap and support the changing needs of employers and workers.

New hurdles for employers have emerged as a result of these changes such as rising employee burnout and resignations, with research revealing that four in ten employees (38%) in the UK and Ireland are planning to change roles in the next six to 12 months or once the economy has stabilised. The risk to businesses is that - at a time where they need to retain staff and ensure they are growing and thriving in the new normal - they stand to lose employees with valuable skills and knowledge.

The employee experience has suffered as a result of this shift in working patterns and many HR departments are hopeful that by implementing a hybrid (digital and in-person) experience strategy they will be better placed to meet growing employee expectations. Existing digital HR platforms have been thrust into the spotlight as businesses question the role they play in keeping employees engaged, motivated and updated or if it’s time to implement fresher technology more aligned with consumer expectations.

Today’s Employee Experience

During the pandemic, businesses upgraded their HR tech stack to ensure they were still providing a positive employee experience while workers weren’t in the office. In the UK, 84% of businesses now have between 6-15 HR systems in place, demonstrating this boom in offering for employees. These upgraded tech stacks enabled workers to adapt to the new normal while continuing to do their job effectively.

But the more technology added, the more complicated workers found it to navigate, taking more time away from their jobs at hand. The need for simplification and personalisation is clear, but currently, less than 10% of businesses offer a hyper-personalised digital experience platform to their workers.

Taking a Holistic Approach

A holistic approach encompassing both the digital and the in-person employee experience is the trend most HR leaders are leaning towards when it comes to restructuring their people operations. Bersin recently outlined how companies can consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from the perspective of a worker looking to feel empowered and productive at their job. At the bottom of the pyramid, we would see aspects like salary, job security. Higher up the pyramid, we’d start seeing components introduced such as successful management, empowering technology.

Using this more holistic way of approaching the employee experience would help to put trust, transparency, inclusion and care at the heart of what organisations deliver for their employees, improving their overall experience. But factors such as transparency are hard to achieve when workers are jumping between different HR platforms, so keeping the technology together with one digital workforce layer can help businesses transition to people-centric ways of operating.

The Possibilities Offered By No-Code Architecture

One of the big historical challenges with HR technology, and business technology in general,

has been the level of IT input required to implement, connect and manage the array of systems. Thankfully, the trend towards low and no-code applications is breaking down technology barriers for non-technical people, enabling organisations to set up and use technology faster.

Having a no-code workforce experience layer gives non-technical HR leaders the flexibility to move at their own pace. This means that in times of crises as we have recently experienced, they can be agile, react in the moment and communicate different information to different employees without needing to go via IT or expensive coders.

No-code also reduces the time to value and puts department heads in the driver's seat so that they can build and evolve the technology they envisioned for their team. In turn, employees are on the receiving end of the information they need to continue working effectively, without interruption. These time-saving techniques allow employees and department heads alike to have a positive employee experience when using the digital workforce experience layer.

How Can This be Future Proofed?

Once companies put in place these changes, they will need to future-proof the infrastructure if they want to continue to reap the benefits. Protecting these systems will make sure the time and expense spent on putting them in place will continue to be worth it for both employees and employers. By baking in constant evolution, organisations are making the necessary changes to ensure their tech is fit for current employee demands.

Businesses need to empower their employees to work effectively in this new era of work. A digital workforce experience layer can bring together a well-rounded HR tech stack into one personalised offering for employees, and give them ease and agility like they have never had before.

Implementing this will help businesses not only retain talent but make the lives of their workers and HR professionals easier. This shift to employee-centric HR that adapts based on worker’s needs has the potential to take companies to the next level of the digital employee experience.

Ivan Harding, Chief Executive Officer, Applaud

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