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Employer Takeaways in the Digital Age

Employers must incorporate appropriate technology tools and determine what works and what doesn’t

Lorrie Ray //March 28, 2018//

Employer Takeaways in the Digital Age

Employers must incorporate appropriate technology tools and determine what works and what doesn’t

Lorrie Ray //March 28, 2018//

Employers are being thrust into the digital age along with everyone else. This comes with a steep learning curve as employers adjust and determine what works and what doesn’t. There are three areas where this is particularly relevant:

  1. HR Platforms
  2. Recruiting + Onboarding
  3. Benefits Operations


A broader view of what an HR platform is beginning to emerge. Historically, employers took two to three years to create an HR software platform. Inevitably, the platform would not fully integrate with all the systems promised or desired. Employers are finding this an option that they cannot exercise any longer.

A new approach is to view HR as the platform from which information is distributed to employees, applicants, leaders and managers. HR becomes digital by implementing a variety of best-in-class software for different applications. It also tests applications and other user-friendly digital platforms that employees can use from their phones and other devices.

This dissemination of information is changing the way employers communicate with employees. 

Some employers are letting their teams know their salary in comparison to external benchmarks and allowing employees to comment on the employer’s decision making. Others are allowing employees to have access to metrics for turnover, hiring speed and engagement metrics. These employers believe allowing employees to know more and remark on it, helps the employers make better decisions faster.


Everyone seems to accept that the application process is partly online and therefore digital.  Still, this is an area where employers are learning the hard way it is important to have a positive experience for applicants. More and more applicants expect to have a positive experience, and they will let their social media community know about their experience through Facebook, Glassdoor and similar message boards.

Successful employers are using technology to help with the mundane tasks and focusing their time on connecting with recruiters. This is the proper strategy, as the best aspects of job searches leading to a positive view of an employer are the personal interaction during the process and having a favorable reaction to the recruiter the applicant worked with. This positive impression is important. A Randstad US 2017 study found that 33 percent of those applying for a job will not do so again if they have a negative impression, and they will not refer friends or family to the employer either

One interesting use of technology is chat-bots to help with the application process. Chat-bots are chat features that use algorithms to ask routine questions of applicants. Younger applicants, familiar with this technology are very comfortable with it, while older applicants might need help to get the hang of it, they are finding it useful as well.

Employees who become accustomed to good interpersonal and digital interaction during the recruiting process also enjoy this during the onboarding process. New software options are making this easier. Again, it’s important not to ignore a strong relationship between the new employee, the employee’s manager and other leaders in the organization.


Employers are going digital with benefits in two areas:

  1. Measuring the use of benefits
  2. Providing assistance with benefits. 

In large organizations, employees are studying employee’s use of unique benefits – pet insurance, for example – to see if the benefit is actually being used by the employees. If it isn’t, benefits managers are more likely to substitute it with a new benefit more quickly. 

There are more and more apps and other online assistance tools employees can turn to in order to help them interact with benefits providers and help them use their benefits. Many insurance companies offer these platforms for employees, and help employers guide employees to them.  Some employers are able to have advocates for employees dealing with benefit issues, as an example of the high touch that workforces appreciate. Employers are also delivering information across multiple channels: emails, webcasts, calls and intranet sites.

We live in an age where people expect transparency and the ability to provide feedback. More and more, HR professionals, accustomed to guarding this information are wondering if allowing employees to know more about what is driving benefit decisions and allow them to comment on those decisions is the way to go in the future.

Remember the bottom line: Connecting with employees is the key to retaining good ones. Technology enhances but can never replace the human connection.