The Consumerization of HR: What Does It Mean for the Performance Management Process?


At the end of a long day, when you collapse into the couch and prop your feet up on the coffee table, isn’t it just the best when Netflix serves up a menu of “Because you watched…” options that are custom picked for you? It’s like Netflix just knows you. The days of mindlessly clicking through hundreds of channels just to settle on some rerun of “Friends” or an infomercial are over, my friend.

What’s wrong with this glorious world of picked-for-you media? Well, unfortunately the rest of the world hasn’t caught up with this personalization quite yet. Which can become especially disappointing when you get used to your TV, social media accounts, and Amazon profile learning about your interests and preferences, and serving up tailored options for your consideration.

Because when you show up for work in the morning, the office doesn’t recognize you. It doesn’t know how you like your coffee, what kind of temperature and lighting settings you feel most comfortable in, or what type of assignments or tasks you most enjoy working on.

But it could.

The movement towards personalization in the workforce has been coined the “Consumerization of HR,” and describes the idea of creating a social, mobile, and consumer-style employee experience.

What is the Consumerization of HR?

Workplace futurist Jeanne Meister described the Consumerization of HR in Forbes, saying, “The new objective is to create one employer brand which provides a seamless experience for current employees, potential employees, and consumers… to create the type of memorable employee experiences we associate with extraordinary customer experiences.”

This concept will mean something very different for every company. It requires companies to think holistically about the choices they make, for both their customers and employees, and creating a consistent and immersive experience with the company. It is the ultimate expression of business values, identity and culture. It involves looking at every aspect of a business from this perspective, including:

    • Human Resources
    • Real Estate
    • IT
    • Marketing
    • Communications

By focusing every aspect of a business on creating an intended experience, companies will ensure they can remain competitive in attracting, recruiting and retaining top talent.

How Consumerization of HR Affects the Performance Management Process

What will the performance management process look like when HR begins to embrace the concept of consumerization? While there is no single answer to this question, there are several strategies that can help inform and shape workplace consumerization:

    • Foster regular communication: Personal and professional conversations can boost employee engagement, while continuous 360-feedback enables ongoing growth and adjustments.
    • Establish flexibility as a strategic imperative rather than an employee perk: Whether it’s remote work options or fluid scheduling, flexibility is a priority for today’s competitive employers.
    • Employ gamification strategies as an employee engagement tool: This emerging trend uses gaming concepts to help with recruiting new candidates, employee appreciation, and learning and development.

Human resources teams that begin to think about their roles as creating an employment experience, rather than structuring employment, will be on the leading edge of consumerization in the workplace. The result will be past, present, and future employees who have the same experience and perception of a company’s brand as its customers do. This holistic concept uses technology and data to develop personalized environments for employees and consumers alike – those that see us as individuals with our own goals, preferences and interests, and help us to create the career and life that we want.

If we can achieve all of that, the result may just be sky-high engagement numbers and a workplace that feels an awful lot like a “home away from home”. 

Get the tools to help make performance management easier and more effective for all of your employees. Click below to deep dive into Quantum Workplace’s performance management apps.

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Published April 23, 2017 | Written By Natalie Wickham