In the same way that organisations have shifted their focus to the overall customer experience, HR teams must devote greater attention to the overall employee experience.

Companies that are competing to attract and retain the best talent available are adapting to societal changes, brought about by advances in consumer technology.

Just as in consumer marketing, where businesses are changing their methods of communications to embrace digital technology, HR teams need to do the same. Outside work environments, we’re all now used to levels of customer service where instant communication is available on whatever device we prefer to use. This has heightened expectations in all aspects of life – and the service we expect from HR and payroll teams is no different.

The way organisations tackle this challenge can provide a crucial differentiator for employers. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends report, 80% of executives now rate the employee experience as “important or very important,” yet just 22% say their company is excellent at providing one which is differentiated.

With employer review sites becoming increasingly significant in a candidate’s decision making, this is no longer an issue that can be easily ignored. This is posing a challenge, but here are four ways organisations can take to address this new reality:

1.Give employees more control

Organisations can now offer employees much greater control over the basic aspects of their employment, such as requesting an absence or flexible hours, using digital technology. According to research by YouGov, the ability for staff to manage their work/life balance is becoming increasingly important for younger employees, and one in five 25-34 year olds are said to be unhappy with their work/life balance.

These workers don’t want to miss out on getting those coveted festival tickets or cheap flights because they’re not sure whether they can get the time off work. Enabling workers to request and book holidays at their convenience via desktop or mobile device can, however, speed up the process and remove a dependency on time-consuming, paper-based administrative processes.

2.Remove sources of frustration

The ability to manage time and attendance with tools that are integrated within HR and payroll systems can also reduce possible sources of frustration with an employer.

Imagine a factory worker who has worked overtime in the run up to Christmas.  Before buying presents for his kids, he will want to check what pay he will be receiving. With the right tools in place, he has the ability to view his timesheets, and, if he notices the hours recorded do not accurately reflect time worked, request an adjustment. This would go a long way to building good relations between staff members and their employers, and prevent a potential dispute.

3.Integrate the employee experience

According to Deloitte’s report, “Employees look at everything that happens at work as an integrated experience that impacts daily life in and outside the workplace.” They want to feel that everything they do at work is joined up, rather than separated off into different processes managed by individual systems.

If employees were able to manage all their workplace fundamentals in one place, it would go a long way to improving that experience. Whether they want to clock-in or out, check what annual leave days are still available or ask for time off to visit the doctors, it would clearly be preferable if one system could control everything–this would ideally be managed by an online self-service portal.

4. Manage health and happiness

When time and attendance data is integrated with HR systems, it also allows managers to spot absence or lateness patterns which could signify a greater problem – a potential health issue, such as stress, or a family issue.

This could help organisations to take positive actions that help employees overcome these issues. For example, an organisation could suggest flexible hours so a dad can drop his kids off at school or managers could review current workload to alleviate strain.

Taking these four steps will help to both empower employees and improve the relationship they have with their employer. When processes are integrated with HR and payroll systems, it’s also easier to take further steps the improve the employee experience and look after their wellbeing generally.