What is a company’s most precious resource?
There can be many answers to this question. For example, your customers, of course, are a precious resource. So is your top management, who must be efficient, enlightened, and innovative. The company mission and the brand reputation, which comes from marketing and customer service actions, is also essential. But there is something that is even more important, and without which everything else loses its meaning. We are talking about employees and collaborators: they provide the first real added value of a company. In other words, it’s essential to be able to attract new talent to the workforce and, at the same time, to know how to retain the loyalty of your existing workforce, maintaining a healthy but low turnover.
At first glance, all of this can seem almost obvious. But this is not the case, especially in the current landscape. Today, in fact, the labor market is increasingly open, fluid, and hyper-competitive. People change roles and companies with speed and simplicity that until yesterday was unthinkable.
This scenario is the result of epochal and profound changes at the political, social and economic level; and it is a trend accelerated by the technological innovations of digital transformation, which have affected all production sectors, at all levels. It is impossible to think of contrasting this revolution that is now our reality. On the contrary, we must learn to ride it. And, in this way, try to succeed when it comes to the challenge of corporate retention.
The question remains—how?
Strategies can be – and should be – different, but all must aim at a single objective: to put the employee at the center of the business, to learn to communicate with him (or her) in an increasingly tailor-made manner, to involve him or her in the choices and objectives of the company, to make him or her feel part of a community. It’s about treating employees not as one among many, but as individuals with unique characteristics, needs, and responsibilities.
In a word? The challenge is won by personalization.
The key is customization
The B2E (Business to Employee) is an approach that focuses on employees, namely on the Employee Experience and corporate engagement; the final objectives are to increase productivity and increase the retention of their workforce. We focused extensively on the topic of B2E in this article.
These strategies must be multiple and must be combined. Elizabeth Dukes, co-founder of iOffice makes a solid point: “You don’t make assumptions about what your customers want in your product or service, right? Then don’t make assumptions about what your workforce wants or needs. Ask them what types of resources, technologies and spaces they believe are critical for success and then make sure they have them. No one knows how to upgrade the employee experience better than your employees themselves.”
After all, the secret to improving engagement, experience, and retention is about putting your employee at the heart of the business, and doing so in a variety of ways, from attention to the work environment, flexible hours (including smart working), benefits and special offers, to training opportunities … all aspects to be customized to the highest degree. In short, it is no longer merely a question of salary.
As proof of all this, according to a Fidelity study, younger U.S. workers are willing to accept up to $7,600 less per year in exchange for a higher quality working life.
Another increasingly central aspect is the need to initiate new communication strategies for sharing and internal dialog, and this requires really knowing employees, their characteristics and their needs, and learning to communicate with each in a way that is simple and tailored. Even when the number of employees is very large, thanks to digital transformation (and by utilizing data), you can increasingly aim for a personalized and interactive approach.
In short, it is clear: classic intranet systems are no longer enough. The focus of such systems, in fact, is the organization itself; however, the most advanced and multichannel B2E portals put a focus on the individual. A really central difference. We’ll return to a concrete example of personalized communication, which uses video and reaches very large audiences, later in this post.
But first, we’ll focus on the three basic elements of any personalized B2E strategy that focuses on retention: the Employee Experience, employee engagement, and – finally – advocacy.
From the best experience to advocacy
Let’s start with a figure from Deloitte’s 2017 ”Global Human Capital Trends Survey,” which involved over 10,000 business leaders and HR managers from over 100 countries around the world. In this survey, about 80% of respondents identified the employee workplace experience (at all levels) as “important” or “very important.”
Analyses like this explain better than many theories why almost all companies are increasing their focus on B2E systems and platforms.
Elizabeth Rosenzweig (an expert in information systems architecture, a consultant on User Experience issues at Bentley University in Massachusetts, and the author of “Successful User Experience: Strategies and Roadmap”) wrote: “… user experience is arguably even more strategically important inside the enterprise than out.” She continues: “Consider the digital tools people use in your company every day to track time and expenses, check their email, manage travel, and conduct hundreds of other routine tasks. These employees are trapped, forced to use your company’s software systems regardless of UX quality, and relegated to spending hours on the phone seeking help if they don’t understand it.”
Much of the quality of people’s working life is played out here, and we have seen above how much this is valued, especially by young levers and young talents (who are also the most valuable). It is important to underline that the link between the Employee Experience and employee engagement is very close: “highly engaged” employees tend to change jobs with 87% less than “disengaged” employees (according to Corporate Leadership Council data).
Finally, by combining improvement in the quality of work with the increase in engagement, perhaps the most sought-after result for all companies, companies can transform employees into partners, their first marketing agents, who can provide active and positive testimonials on the business. It is the so-called employee advocacy, the almost spontaneous promotion of a company by its employees and collaborators.
This is a factor that contributes decisively to improving a company’s image and the brand itself, which can trigger a chain reaction that attracts new talent to the company, increasing the sense of internal community and engagement. Finally, it can also generate consumer confidence and increase revenue. This becomes a virtuous circle that is triggered by a win-win perspective on all fronts: from top management to employees, to external collaborators and, finally, to potential customers.
How does this virtuous chain of positive consequences start?
Once again, it begins with personalization, which must initiate even further upstream, starting from a new way of communicating with your employees. If we are talking about large numbers of employees, digital is the only way forward, and today, there is no digital communication tool more effective than video.
The communicative power of video
As we wrote above, companies have to re-learn to communicate with employees, who are the first resource of any company and the first added value. We must do this through the tools of the digital revolution, and the most powerful of these tools is video.
To demonstrate this last point, let’s take a look at some data:
- 55% of people pay more attention when viewing videos than any other type of content (source: OmniKick).
- When viewing a video, the average user retains 95% of the message; this percentage drops to 10% when it comes to text (source: Wirebuzz).
- Over a billion hours of video are watched on Youtube every day.
- 78% of online users watch at least one video every week. 55% watch one every day (source: HubSpot).
- By 2020, videos will account for more than 80% of total online traffic (source: Cisco).
It’s clear that video is one of the most effective and functional communication tools available. Even more powerful is combining this communicative force with personalization. It can be done, as we’ll see in the next example.
A concrete case: Doxee and Poste Italiane
Doxee is a company that puts the customer-oriented, interactive approach at the center of its business, where it serves a variety of sectors.
Here, we will focus on a campaign based on personalized videos, created for Poste Italiane, and thereby addressed to a large number of employees. Each Poste Italiane employee received a personalized video that presented three corporate benefit options that employees could choose from.
With this tool, individual employees were able to quickly and immediately choose their benefits in just a few clicks, through a clear, interactive, and user-friendly platform, saving time and avoiding delays.
This example is a concrete case for how to make life easier for your employees, to meet them where they are and to transform them from a satellite to a proactive center of your business … even for businesses with large numbers of employees!