Technology is a way to drive talent engagement in these days of disgruntled employees. That was the message from Buck Consultants at its “Click. Connect. Engage. The Future of HR Technology” presentation, held Nov. 17 in Toronto.

“How do you drive engagement, making people feel like where they are is the right place for their future?” asked Scot Marcotte, managing director, talent and HR solutions, with Buck Consultants.

He noted that there are three areas in which employers can help to engage employees—career, health and wealth—through the use of technology. By helping employees with one or all of these issues, employers can reduce absenteeism, combat presenteeism (employees coming to work while sick and/or disengaged) and create a more effective workforce, Marcotte said.

Engaging talent is a science, he explained. And employers can consider various tactics from this discipline. They can look at persuasive technologies, for example, behavioural economics (i.e., what motivates people to make a change); predictive analytics (the way people behave in aggregate); ethnography (behaviour); and social media/gamification (using the wow or fun factor).

Marcotte indicated the three technology trends that are on the rise: the HR portal, the virtual environment and mobile apps (tablets and smartphones). He explained how employers can use each trend and included a few questions about what they need to consider before any kind of implementation can be done.

HR portal
The HR portal can be that single place where employees go to find out about their health, wealth and career, said Marcotte. Employers can tailor a portal to a particular demographic (e.g., baby boomers) and bring in imagery, context and text, and include message highlights and quick links with information pertinent to that demographic.

Think about

  • How personal does the portal get? How personal is too personal? For example, do you have a link specifically for employees with diabetes?
  • Who should own the portal—IT, internal communications, HR—and why?
  • Should this highly personalized portal sit within the organization or as a separately hosted system?

Virtual reality
Employers can also think about HR-related services through a virtual environment. For example, a user could find out what it’s like to work at a company with a “walk-through” of the organization, or she can listen and watch audio/video to find out about the benefits the organization offers.

Think about

  • What HR functions would benefit most from a virtual environment?
  • Is the virtual environment a stand-alone site or is it integrated within the HR portal?
  • Which employees (e.g., age, type of job) would be the most enthusiastic users of a virtual landscape?

Tablets and smartphones
The biggest movement in HR technology is mobile, said Marcotte. “Services need to be delivered through handheld devices, especially when you have field employees. Mobile is a way to get to them.”

With these devices, employees can have reminders about upcoming appointments in their personal and business lives, and can store information about themselves and their dependents and family, such as emergency contacts.

Think about

  • Can your current portal be re-rendered to work on tablets and smartphones?
  • How many companies have WiFi in their offices?
  • With tablets expected to outsell laptops in 18 months, do you have a strategy in place for this shift?

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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