How to manage the employee journey in the digital age

The ongoing global skills shortage means companies are struggling to attract and retain top talent. According to a recent survey by Manpower, 40 per cent of employers globally are having difficulty filling positions. Globally, we are seeing the highest talent shortage since 2007. There is a war for talent and employees, fully aware of their market value and what other companies can offer, are demanding a new relationship with their employers.

Employees, many of who are used to the best technology experiences in their everyday lives, are also disillusioned with some of the processes that many companies continue to use to manage their people. These systems, many of them paper-based, are clearly not fit for purpose and are hindering organisations from gaining the best understanding of how to empower their people.

We caught up with Paul Burrin – VP, Sage People to see his view on how to manage the employee journey in the digital age.

Companies must adapt

“The nature of work and the workforce itself has also changed drastically in recent years and companies must adapt accordingly. For example, relying on paper-based process for your people management is not only going to impact efficiency and collaboration, it also poses the threat of alienating the new generation of digital native employees that are becoming more prominent in the workplace


Add in issues that surround the everyday employee experience such as pay and benefits and it can be tricky to find a balance between profitability and keeping people happy. Setting a fair compensation package is key to starting the employer/employee relationship on the right track – but this is not the be all and end all. Based on recent research employees rate feeling valued and recognised over quirky benefits and in-office gimmicks.


Managing these challenges has never been easy but it is certainly more difficult than ever today. How do businesses deliver great workforce experiences to engage their employees in an age of the empowered employee? Here are our top tips on how to make sure your processes are set up to get the best out of your employees.


The emphasis needs to be on employee experience. 

Everyone makes a big deal of the customer experience and how much they are trying to find out how best to serve their customers but that principle isn’t always the case with employees. In fact, almost half (47 per cent) of respondents in a survey said they’d never been asked by their employer how they can improve their working experiences. Only 12 per cent were asked on a regular basis.


HR’s most trusted tool for gleaning employee opinion – the annual survey – is no more than a tick-box exercise for many. To keep today’s workforce engaged, organisations must be proactive about engaging employees. It’s more than buying a new ping-pong table or pizzas on Thursdays (as excellent as these are). It is about listening to employees’ concerns and acting on them to effect positive change.


Position HR as a business unit. Not the office police!

 Too often HR is seen as those guys that only come out for the performance review or when someone has done something wrong. The HR team also sits away from the rest of the office, unwittingly creating a barrier between themselves and everyone else. But this shouldn’t be so. HR and People teams should play a significant role in driving culture and influencing growth.


Access to information on performance, recruitment and payroll, for example, puts HR in a unique position to deliver real and tangible benefits to the business and employees. Just like every other business unit. This will move organisations from the old world of transactional HR to the new focus on people, creating a generation of People Companies; organisations that use people data, insight and HR automation to see what their people need. And then use that to create great workforce experiences where their workforce feel engaged and are at their most productive.


Encourage employee ownership

Another longstanding HR practice that’s becoming increasingly redundant is the position that employee information is locked away from them in HR’s vaults. For today’s employees, many of who bank, track their health and do their shopping whenever and wherever they want on their mobile phones, the suggestion that they cannot access their own personal information or perform basic tasks because the HR person is on their lunch break just doesn’t make sense.


With the prevalence of mobile and digital technologies, organisations can empower employees to own their workplace experience. Employees can access performance information, work schedules and incentives at their own convenience, without interrupting anyone else’s workflow.


People are the most important asset to any business. Invigorate, energise and inspire them and you will build a People Company. Combining inspired employees with effective processes, organisations can position themselves to ensure satisfaction across the board. Keeping employees happy will not only be beneficial for them. At a time when over a third of employees admit to being productive for less than 30 hours per week, it could lead to outstanding business growth. Especially as according to 78% (92% for the younger generations), a positive work experience has a huge impact on productivity. Everybody wins.”