The role of HR in the future workplace

22 February 2018

In the new age of digitisation and the millennial takeover, forward-looking companies are aware that top talents are looking for more than a job with a good salary and benefits.

Business owners and Human Resource (HR) managers can no longer con­tinue to operate according to old paradigms. They must now rethink their practices in order to attract the right talent.

Employees are brand advocates

Who knows your brand and business the best? Your employees. Many businesses place a huge emphasis of their branding efforts largely on marketing campaigns, but one of the most powerful brand assets is the people.

Employees are organic sources of promotion and effective brand evangelists. In fact, 41% of us believe that they are the most credible source of information regarding a brand and business, gaining more public trust than the company’s PR department or CEO.i

"You have to champion employees because they are the greatest asset any company can have," says Angeli Recella, People Operations Head of STORM technologies.ii

Consumerisation of HR

Just as companies focus on creating an extraordinary customer experience, HR should be looking to achieve the same for employees.

Notable brands such as Starbucks and IBM have cultivated the best practice of employee buy-in before a product launch. When your entire company is talking about a product, the amount of buzz it can generate will spark a ripple effect through every employee’s network.

We witness the consumerisation of HR whereby a social, mobile, and consumer-style experience is created for employees.iii There is a need to create one consistent branding and value proposition to build a strong and aligned brand identity, both internally for employees and externally to consumers.

The workplace as an experience


The result is a “workplace as an experience” environment where the elements of work – physical, emotional, intellectual, digital and aspirational – are interweaved to deliver a seamless working experience.


83% of HR leaders said "employee experience" is either important or very important to their organisation’s success, and they are investing more in training (56%), improving their work spaces (51%), and giving more rewards (47%).iv

“At Airbnb we are focused on bringing to life our mission of creating a world where you can #belonganywhere, by creating memorable workplace experiences which span all aspects of how we relate to employees, including how we recruit them, develop them, the work environment we create with them, the type of volunteer experiences we offer them, and the food we share together,” says Mark Levy, Global Head of Employee Experience. The outcome is an engaged pool of employees with 90% recommending Airbnb as a great place to work.v

Experiential organisations, such as Facebook, Adobe, Microsoft and Accenture, reaped more than 4 times the average profit and doubled their average revenue. They were also almost 25 percent smaller, which suggests higher levels of productivity and

Employee experience consists of three factors:


If the company is a human, the culture would be his personality. Culture “can account for 20-30% of the differential in corporate performance when compared with ‘culturally unremarkable’ competitors.”vii

Culture could refer to the company’s values, attitudes, beliefs. Some define it as the leadership style, and others believe it’s the mood and feeling of the organisation. Whichever your take on corporate culture is, it is the invisible force that that drives the company. It can motivate, encourage, or suffocate us.


With the growing community of digital natives stepping into employment, having a digital-forward setup is a must. But it’s a bigger step forward to utilise technology to your full advantage.

HR can now access human capital analytics and insight in order to strategise and add value in employee engagement. Digital Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions also ease up their paperwork and administration work, allowing them to shift their focus into transforming the company culture and bring about organisational change from within.

Physical workspace

Studies have shown that a workspace that encourages collaborative working results in 15% increase in productivity.viii

A great example is Pixar’s office design, which is a manifestation of Steve Jobs’ legacy. Originally, different departments were housed in different buildings but Jobs’ vision was to create a space where unplanned encounters would take place. The office now includes a large atrium space that serves as a central hub.

“Steve’s theory worked from day one,” said John Lasseter, Pixar’s chief creative officer. “I’ve never seen a building that promoted collaboration and creativity as well as this one.”ix

Workplace flexibility is also becoming one of the key considerations in a job search. Workers are slowly moving away from the 9-6 work life. Instead, we see an increase in graduates opting for career choices that are part-time or on a project basis.x The new measure of productivity lies in the ability to work anywhere, anytime on a smart device. Employers need to cater to this demand through offering flexible working hours or work-from-home options.

Applying a consumer approach to your talent retention strategy is much more than just incorporating new solutions in HR. The boundaries of HR are breaking down. HR is no longer about a team of executives attracting, developing and retaining talent. Being employee-centric is about adopting a new mindset, and aligning the entire organisation to deliver a seamless employee experience.


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