Could you walk us through these imperatives and help us understand each one?
We start with inclusion. We know organizations that innovate, serve customers, and deliver critical outcomes better than their competitors have employees who feel a deep sense of belonging and commitment. Unfortunately for many organizations, outcomes have not matched intentions.
According to a June 2020 McKinsey report, almost half of the survey respondents do not feel very included in their organizations. That same report found that most employees, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, said they encountered barriers to a sense of inclusion.
Inclusion is about creating workplace principles and practices that nurture a sense of belonging and psychological safety where all people can do their best work. We actually developed a new approach to ensure this happens at Workday. It’s called VIBETM : Value Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity. It’s about embracing everyone and making sure they feel valued and included.
We’ve learned that when people feel included, they’re more willing to take risks, which lead to innovation and contribution. In the research, we see the opportunity to use digital technology to increasingly personalize and curate talent practices and programs that meet all people where they are. So the key question is this: How do we help enable people, first and foremost, by making sure they feel a deep sense of inclusion, belonging, and what the literature calls psychological safety?
The “D” is for digitalization. What does that mean in the context of HR?
Scaling this level of personalization requires the next level of application of digitalization. While we have digitized information, processes, and practices, we have only begun leveraging the democratization of data with the power of machine learning to automate and augment talent practices so that we can elevate essential human capabilities.
How do we use bot technology? How do we use machine learning and other types of behavioral nudges in the flow of work? We want our employee experiences to echo our consumer experiences, which are about nudges, whether it's Amazon, Google, Netflix, and so on. It’s the idea of predicting the insight, learning, coaching, role, or connection that's relevant to helping enable your success and curating that content in the context or flow of your work.
And enabling experiences?
This is the idea of engineering experiences that unlock and unleash employees’ contributions, connections, capabilities, and career to deliver remarkable results. Just as our consumer experience has evolved, the digitalization and democratization of data now positions us to reinvent the enabling experiences we need to provide to employees. Increasingly, employees will apply their consumer experiences to the workplace, expecting to be surprised and delighted with a learning recommendation, mentoring connection, or internal gig assignment that will help them grow their highest-priority skill.
They will expect us to enable their performance with alerts, recommendations, and reminders. They will expect us to coach, inform, and enroll them in programs based on their job, skills, and experience level. They will expect to ask a question in real language, not HR speak, and get an answer. They may even expect their HR system to ask them questions to help them. Similar to our consumer experience, this experience will be both push and pull, considering both organizational and individual needs.
Another big part of this is moving from measuring activities to measuring outcomes. At Workday, for example, we survey our entire company every Friday, on what we call “Feedback Friday,” asking them a few questions that take about 30 seconds to complete. This employee feedback helps us understand what a people leader needs to do to create or enable performance for their team, and was essential in enabling our employees following the pandemic.