Co-worker engagement and retention: the new digital experience

We came across two interesting articles by Hans Mangelschots, owner of, Panel Expert at the HRTech.Community and contributor at the HR TrendInstitute. In these articles, Hans primarily focuses on co-worker engagement by providing a digital experience to new recruits and co-workers. He then explains what this could mean for HR. The below is a summary, combining his two articles.

Co-worker engagement is being used by Human Resources for several years now, to promote productivity and performance. Today that focus is expanding to influencing retention and employer branding. Partially through designing a co-worker experience without discomfort. Due to the digital Transformation and Industry 4.0, this will increase the importance of internal communication and technology.

Rapidly changing workforce

According to a research from Kenan-Flagler Business School (pdf) 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 workplace

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.

Millennials in the workplace

The War on Talent is a Fight for Skills

The “War on Talent” is another 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%. This 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.

Top 10 skills 2020

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.”

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. HR’s learning and development strategy can develop the right kills and mindset. Educational technology (EDTech) can be an asset here.

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. So where does that leave you as an organisation when on top of that, engagement is a major issue?

Co-worker engagement and retention are a big issue

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 £3,400 and £10,000 per employee per year.

Employee Experience completes the Employee Engagement Strategy

Today, experts talk about addressing the entire Employee Experience, giving more dimension to that culture, to the processes and indicators that determine whether an employee is (and remains) engaged – throughout his career from before the start. This overall process is called The Employee Lifecycle.

Co-worker engagement and experience

A digital experience design to enhance co-worker engagement

Due to the Digital Transformation, there is a significant increase in the market supply of tools and technology to support the entire employee experience process. This includes the employee engagement process, giving the T in ICT a new dimension.

This blurs the line between internal communication and other departments, such as Human Resources, which needs to reinvent itself. HR can tackle multiple HR-related issues in one strategic and operational plan and should design a digital co-worker experience.

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.

This way, co-worker engagement can be optimised during a time of digital transformation. Not only by giving employees the tools and training they need, but also by giving them a say in implementing the right technology for the right job and using a more personalised approach during their lifecycle.

Read also:
Do we prepare Millennials and Gen Z to lead?
Learning as a strategy: the secret to organisational success?
Learning to learn; it’s a journey
New L&D business models (with video intro)
If you can answer one of these learning questions with yes, this is for you
See the full articles here, and here.

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