How to cater to needs of Employee Consumer ft. Arul Pinto

Q: What do you think about Employee Centrism?
Arul Pinto

Let me quote a Gartner report that I read sometime back. So the data is not really, you know, current it's, it's a bit old, but I think it's still relevant. So I was reading Gartner report and, you know, while all organizations claim that, you know, employees are their greatest assets, you know, it's not really the fact on the ground. So, you know, Gartner was saying that, you know, the amount that company have spent between HRMS, or, you know, HR management tools and customer management tools is somewhere between the difference is 11 million for HRMS and 41 billion US dollars, for customer resource management. So CRM tools. So you see, there's a huge difference between employees spending and customers spend. I could talk to you about, you know, probably 55 reasons or 55 things that companies could do, you know, to change this, but I'm gonna today speak to you only about five things.  

So the first thing that I believe is know, we need to look at employees as individuals, you know, we hate mass marketing, you know, you, and I would definitely not want, you know, something pushed across to us, you know, which is not relevant to us. Trust me, you know, if I ever get something on email or something on WhatsApp or any social media that is not relevant to me, the first thing I go do is I block it. So, you know, it does not come again to me. I just want to make sure that whatever comes to me is relevant to me. And it's the same thing with employees. Employees want things that are relevant to, they want things that are personalized, that, you know, cater to their needs, they want HR to be able to address their concerns rather than, you know, address very generic concerns.  

So people want their employee place or their you know, their workplace to be very similar to probably a restaurant that they go to or probably, you know, onsite shopping that they go to. So an e-commerce side that they want, so very, very critical is, you know, to cater to employees, individual needs and something that I really hate, you know, is this whole concept of one size fits all. That is very, very prevalent in HR. The second thing that I think of is, you know, we need to look out, so we need to look beyond, you know, HR and look at what the employees require. Look at any of the initiatives that you take. You know, look at employee self service, look at performance management. They are always directed internal. What are we doing when we, when we launch an employee self service tool, we are trying to address an HR issue.  

We are trying to solve an HR problem. What are we doing when we are developing a new performance management tool, we're trying to address an HR problem. We're trying to address, you know, something to make our lives easy. You have vendors coming to me, talking to me about, you know, great HRMS tools that they have great ESS tools that they have. And they're all the time talking to me about addressing an HR problem.

They're all the time talking about, you know, how it's going to be convenient to me as an HR, and a leader. They're not talking about how it's going to be convenient to the employee. So that's very, very important that we look outside rather than we look insight. The third thing that I believe, you know, is we need to start looking at strategies that are going to impact employees daily or short term, you know, be it incentive plans, be it bonus structures, be it, performance management plans, things that are going to impact employees today, things that are going to impact employees in the immediate future, not things that are gonna happen over a period of a year or even longer than that.  

So this whole concept of annual performance appraisals, you know, quarterly appraisals really don't make sense. It's too long. It's too far. And you know, people don't have the time for that. You know, on the same lines, I believe that, you know, we need to be more transformational than transaction. So the, the minute you do a survey and you know, then you know, you take corrective action. It is reactive it's transaction. So you did a survey, you got some reaction, you took action on it. We need to be transformational. We need to be, you know, on the ground, we need to be talking to employees on a daily basis. We need to be able to stand what they require. We need to be able to cater to those needs. We need to be able to cater to those needs. Now not cater to those needs six months on the line.  

You know, you went to a restaurant, you wanted something, the restaurant was not able to cater to you. You are not going to keep going to the restaurant, hoping that, you know, one year down the line, they're able to cater to you. You're gonna stop going to the restaurant immediately and say, Hey, you know, this is not something that I enjoy. This is not something that I like. I didn't have a great experience. Let's look at something different. You're not gonna give them a year and say, you know, okay, I've given them feedback today. Let me wait for one year.

Let me see, you know, what they're going to change. And if they don't change, then I think of changing the restaurant. You know, you're gonna stop going immediately. So we need to be foot. We need to measure satisfaction. So, you know, we need to measure employee satisfaction, just like we measure consumer satisfaction and we need to do it on a frequent basis.  

You know, I love something about, you know, this part of the world is that you know, you go into a mall thanks to technology. They know you come to the mall, you come back home, you've got an email or, you know, you've got a WhatsApp saying, you know, could you rate your experience? What's very interesting is that, you know, if you put something that you're not very happy or you're not satisfied about you immediately get a call from them to talk about.

And what you see is that, you know, there's some action taken place. So the next time you go to the mall, there is a difference, you know, you can see that they have taken your feedback seriously. And I think the same thing needs to happen in HR. The same thing needs to happen in organizations.  

Feedback should be taken frequently. You know, I hate this concept of annual surveys, you know, feedback surveys or annual satisfaction surveys that happen because by the time you do the survey, by the time you collate the results, by the time you put a presentation together to the senior management of the CEO, and by the time you take action, it's already time for the next survey. You know? And so it looks like you're doing nothing. You know, it needs to be very, very frequent and people need to see that their feedback is valued. Their feedback is changed.

Their feedback is celebrated and, you know, things that they want to change are changing rapidly. And the last thing, the most critical thing for me as a person is engage managers. You know, I believe that a success of an organization or a failure of an organization is based on how they engage their line managers, you know, in most organizations, unfortunately line managers are the most ignorant first of all, you know, in most organizations they're promoted without even realizing or without even making sure that they're capable of doing what they're promoted to do.  

So, you know, line managers get promoted based on their technical skills rather than their people management skills. And once they're promoted, there is nothing done to help them or support them to growing that role of theirs. The other important thing that I believe is that, you know, you need to involve them in all the strategies in all the initiatives that you're taking there in an organization, because I believe that line managers have the largest impact on changing, you know, or bringing about a positive change, even more than leaders and senior executives.

So, you know, all said and done. I think there's a lot that we, HR need to learn from functions like sales and marketing. You know, we need to be constantly in touch with our consumers. In this case, our employees, we need to be able to get feedback from them on a regular basis.  

We need to understand their needs. We need to be able to cater to their needs. You know, we need to be able to understand that, you know, we need to cater to the individualized needs we need to get over this whole concept of one size fits all, you know, maybe all the time trying to roll out policies that are going to, you know, work with marketing, with sales, with operations, with back office it does not work well. So our approach on, you know, how we capture the employee's attention is something that is very, very good.

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