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What Is Personalization in HR?

Human resources leaders manage highly diverse workforces spanning generations, cultures and backgrounds. One key to keeping people connected is the personalization of employee experiences.

The notion of tailoring work to individuals comes from consumer experiences at companies like Amazon and Pandora. Now employees can customize their experiences in the workplace with similar flexibility. The concept promises benefits for both employees and employers.

According to a 2018 Gallup study, only 34% of U.S. workers are actively "engaged" with their job. Personalization may be the solution to improving engagement by offering more compelling experiences, geared to individual needs throughout the employment life cycle. This consists of more employee input and customization of career paths, compensation and benefits packages, professional development, work arrangements and spaces, and software and communications tools.

Customized Employee Development

Technology accelerates change, which requires employees to continually advance their understanding of new technologies and associated best practices. The current (September 2019) low unemployment is forcing employers to invest more in professional development. Many are taking a personalized approach, letting employees choose learning experiences based on their competencies and ambitions. This level of personalization improves employee motivation and retention, job satisfaction and succession planning at all levels of the organization.

The one-size-fits-all approach to work arrangements and environments is losing its appeal with today’s workforce, especially younger workers. Employees no longer want to be forced into situations that conflict with their obligations outside of work; instead, they want the flexibility to telecommute or work different shifts.

They no longer want to work in siloed cubicles or open floor plans; they want the flexibility to customize their own spaces, tailored to the privacy and focus they need for any given project. An employee may work from 9 to 5 on Monday in open offices and meeting rooms, from home on Tuesday, and from 1 to 9 in a closed office for the remainder of the week.

Open and Customizable Software

Employees are increasingly able to choose their own suite of software applications, but a centralized software ecosystem is coming that integrates chosen applications and features in a personalized feed. Apps will interconnect seamlessly, through an open system that serves customized company updates, messages from colleagues, pertinent work information and functionality across software packages for each individual employee.

In the short term, personalizing the employee experience will continue to be an advantage in talent acquisition and retention. In the long run, personalization in human resources may yet revolutionize the employee experience, creating a world in which employers and employees enjoy a more reciprocal and rewarding relationship. 

Learn more about Pittsburg State University's online Master of Business Administration in Human Resources.


Projections: 2018: Personalization Trends in HR

HR Technologist: Why Personalization Is the Future of the Employee Experience

Forbes: The Hyper-Personalization of HR Services

Gallup: Employee Engagement on the Rise in the U.S.

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