A positive employee experience sits at the heart of HR management strategies today, and with good reason. The latest research from Gallup found that just 34% of employees in the US are engaged at work, leaving two-thirds of the workforce either not engaged or, worse, “actively disengaged.” So it makes sense that business leaders are looking for more effective ways to engage workers — and that they’re turning to a strategy that has proven effective among customers: personalization.
As companies learned with customers, for a personalized approach to be effective, it must do more than use first names in emails. When you’re talking about personalizing an experience that makes up nearly a third of someone’s life, as their job does, initiatives need to go beyond buzz and statistics to create real value.
The Payroll Point of Contact
Accurate, timely global payroll delivery is essential to creating a positive employee experience. If payroll isn’t right, employees are unlikely to be impressed by free snacks or performance perks. Yet, the payroll function is often overlooked when HR leaders are exploring engagement initiatives.
As the one interaction on which all employees regularly rely, payroll should be one of the first considerations of a proactive engagement plan. Beyond meeting the minimum expectations of employees, payroll offers unique opportunities to personalize interactions and connect with your workforce on a regular basis.
Providing an employee self-service portal is an excellent way to empower workers to get involved in the management of their information and preferences. Today’s self-service tools let employees update their details, download payslips, submit time-off requests, and much more — features that not only let employees participate in the process, but relieve payroll and human resources of the need to ensure that information is up to date.
Self-service functions also provide companies with a direct line of communication to workers throughout the employee life cycle. Many tools help workers navigate onboarding and professional development plans, and some incorporate goal-setting and performance review capabilities. Each interaction presents an opportunity to communicate directly with individual employees to personalize and enhance their user experience.
The majority of employees may be accustomed to seeing notes on their payslips that clarify payment information, such as "Easter not a public holiday; normal rate paid." Although that information is important, it doesn't do much to boost employee engagement.
However, the ability to include messages on employee payslips offers a unique chance for employers to speak to their workforce — one that could be used to promote corporate programs, recognize a cultural event, or celebrate a company milestone. For example, a payslip message could invite employees to complete a survey about their work environment, encourage them to follow the company on social media, or announce an award the company received. Or it could be used to simply wish employees a Happy New Year.
From hot lunches to transportation passes to gym memberships, employer-subsidised voucher programs are an often crucial element of compensation packages. In many countries, the provision of meal vouchers or food during working hours is a well-established benefit on which employees rely. Particularly in areas where travel to and from work can be a challenge, whether because of traffic or distance, companies may provide discounts for public transportation or subsidies for alternative travel, such as bike-to-work schemes.
As the way we work becomes more diversified and individual, valuable perks like these are becoming more personalized as well. Business leaders are understanding that one-size-fits-all models for benefits are less attractive for an evolving global workforce that now includes five generations and is increasingly defined by the unique needs and perspectives of millennials. Some employers now offer programs that provide a set benefit amount that can be applied to employees' choice of perk, which can make all the difference for individuals in remote work locations, for example, who don't benefit from an office canteen, the gym next door, or a subway card.
The Payoff of Personalization
Business and HR leaders today have a range of options and resources to help them offer a more positive experience for their workforce. And as the war for talent continues across an ever more digitized, globalized world, the benefits of greater employee engagement justify more creative thinking and a personalized approach.
Recognizing the role of payroll in the overall work experience is an important step toward a more rewarding relationship with employees. From maximizing communication opportunities to offering perks that actually benefit workers' personal lives, employers can use more personalized payroll to better connect with and support their workforce. Such an approach also benefits talent acquisition and secures the kind of competitive advantage employers need to attract the talent and skill sets needed now and into the future — a goal that any business leader can personally get behind.