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Six Key Ingredients of Digital Employee Experiences (Part 2)


After they’ve taken measures to create a rich and relevant digital employee experience, organizations must unlock the virtues of the virtual workplace. Here’s how to get started. (Second of a two-part series.)

As the opening installment of this two-part series reveals, digital employee experience is a big deal because it proactively addresses the needs of incoming digitally savvy workers. But to really deliver on digital’s promise for a collaborative, frictionless and rewarding experience, HR executives need to master the following six areas.

Figure 1

Talent acquisition. 

From digital recruiting to employee onboarding, modern talent optimization begins at acquisition. Beyond choosing the right tools and recruiting channels, shrewd team-building involves a comprehensive talent acquisition strategy aimed at attracting the right candidates, even before the organization needs to hire. Organizations that wait for a vacancy before considering candidates will fall behind.

For example, digital natives are well-versed on mobile technologies and social media. They tend to multi-task and prefer collaborative work. For this reason, talent acquisition must acknowledge and support a multi-channel engagement model, along with a keen understanding of the pulse of talent. More than just posting an opening on job boards, this can be achieved by building a presence on social media. Organizations can start by creating content that satisfies candidate demand, such as articles offering advice on getting hired or  reports on a trending industry topic. Doing so drives clicks and improves search visibility. 

Other considerations include building an attractive corporate brand, involving top management in the recruiting process, and understanding successful recruiting practices used elsewhere.


Compensation can serve as a true differentiator and is one of the main reasons for long-term retention. As revealed in part one, however, attitudes toward compensation are changing. Forward-thinking organizations are moving away from 9-to-5 hierarchical compensation structures to more flexible, potent and lifestyle-friendly approaches, sometimes referred to as wirearchies.

Organizations need to ask some introspective questions when it comes to the right compensation approach: Have you recently (and objectively) analyzed why employees sign on and stay with the company? How do benefits affect outcomes? Does your overall rewards strategy distinguish your organization from the competition? Can your employees articulate what your corporate compensation philosophy is? Can you?

To reach a better understanding of what employees value, maintain an ongoing dialog with them, using surveys, roundtable discussions and monitoring of internal social networks. Offerings such as SAP SuccessFactors, Cornerstone OnDemand and SumTotal are among the more popular solutions that can deliver real-time talent management data through the use of dashboards.

Talent development. 

Challenging employees and advancing their skillset is another factor in ensuring their loyalty and keeping them switched-on. Key development areas include career development (including leadership), understanding employees’ personal goals, conducting manager and co-worker performance reviews and succession management. 

According to a poll of more than 15,000 employees cited in the book Love ‘em or Lose ‘em, “career development” was the second most frequently stated reason employees gave for staying with a job, second only to “exciting work and challenge.” MTV later confirmed this notion in its workforce study “No Collar Workers,” in which 89% of millennials emphasized the importance of “constantly learning on the job,” and six in 10 said they expected to switch jobs in five years due to “lack of engagement.”

Centralized talent development, or “HR in the cloud,”supports a common language for discussing job requirements and provides a platform for managing and filling performance gaps. It also speeds the frequency and number of performance reviews, giving both HR and employees a more accurate status of their development. 

When you consider that it can cost up to one-fifth of an employee’s annual salary to replace them, talent development not only increases the value of the workforce but also protects the investment made in it.

Social collaboration.

As digital natives overtake the workforce, virtual networking and information-sharing have become commonplace, endorsed or standardized by employers. For this reason, companies should adopt a social collaboration mindset and embrace the technologies their employees find most convenient to stay connected and increase productivity. In fact, “talent optimization” was the number-one business objective this year, according to one leading benchmarking firm

Social collaboration may be the most effective way to increase employee engagement and productivity. To get there, businesses must rethink the common perception that the cost and change required to implement an enterprise social network (ESN) is not worth the rewards. An ESN can greatly enhance the transparency, flexibility and responsiveness of a business. Indeed, there is rising demand for it; 38% of workers feel there is not enough social collaboration in the workplace, according to recent research

When employees can communicate and connect conveniently with each other, it increases employee engagement and team-building, tightens coordination on projects and adds significantly to bottom-line results and employee satisfaction. 

Workforce analytics.

To make better human resource decisions, your organization needs statistical research, data processing and a system from which to glean insights. Using workforce analytics, organizations can factor historical evidence and accurate forecasts into their plans on areas such as talent acquisition, compensation, development and the details surrounding these areas (e.g., time-to-fill, cost-per-hire, retention rate, etc.). By going beyond guesswork, companies can eliminate false steps, reduce waste, improve organizational performance and  align human capital management with the business. 

Admittedly, workforce analytics have only begun to reveal their impact on business outcomes. Moving forward, however, we believe early adopters will gain a significant competitive advantage.

On-demand human resources.

No discussion of the digital employee experience would be complete without business process as a servicer (BPaaS), an emerging concept in which a diverse array of traditional business services, from accounting through digital asset management and talent management, are delivered remotely via cloud-based applications. (To learn more, read Cognizanti journal, Volume 6, Issue 1.)

As such, BPaaS is significantly changing the way HR is managed and is growing in acceptance because it replaces costly investments in hardware, software, support and training with a more scalable, consumable, pay-as-you-go model. Additionally, human resources as a service promises increased mobility, bring-your-own device support, faster scale and time-savings. 

Depending on the process, BPaaS providers charge by transaction, using a declining rate as employees move to self-service tools. Typical service level agreements for BPaaS include call wait times and first contact resolution, along with other client-specific measures to ensure quality and continuous improvement. 

As companies experiment with other sourced HR processes, including compensation as-a-service and succession planning as-a-service, it makes sense to consider the benefits of BPaaS in the transition to a digital workplace. 

To learn more, read Elevating the Digital Employee Experience or visit our human capital practice

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