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The Employee is Always Right

  • Jean-Baptiste Blanc, Paul-Gabriel Sauvage
  • March 01 2002, 1:00am EST

Today, companies need to leverage data to gain strategic advantage. Their objective is to be able to make accurate decisions and take automatic action through any real-time channel. Consequently, these companies use, or plan to use, digital intelligence (DI) solutions to integrate, store and analyze information, thus transforming it into real business value.

Currently, a specific focus is put on the customer relationship management process. Indeed, the value of an enterprise and its ability to differentiate itself from the competition often depend more on its ability to retain its customers than on price or technology.

While the industry as a whole acknowledges the value that customer relationships can leverage, the impact of DI processes on the employee relationships is generally not fully assessed.

However, experience shows that the DI process brings huge improvement in employee retention and acquisition. (In other words, companies should deploy the same kind of efforts to retain and acquire employees that they do for their customers.) DI solutions offer a degree of freedom that organizations must leverage to keep their leadership and gain competitive advantage.

Employee Retention

Everybody knows it is far easier to retain a good employee than to hire a new one. DI solutions can greatly decrease turnover rate by increasing the detailed understanding of each employee. Would Peter Smith rather have more holidays than lunch vouchers? Is Craig Jones more sensitive to compliments and recognition than financial rewards? Employees' profiles could be tracked daily in an employee- centric database, and companies could proactively offer the best possible personalized rewards.

Employee Acquisition

The goal of any human resources department is to acquire the best resources at the best price.

DI tools will allow organizations to know which resources are the best fit, which specificities they have and the provisions of their job contracts. Also, employees will find it easier to look for an employer that perfectly fits their needs. They will be able to receive real-time information on the best organizations answering their job requirements and then apply automatically in accordance with predefined rules. Consequently, the best resources will be more difficult to acquire, as they will be tracked by the quickest, most avant-garde and most rewarding organizations.

One Employee, One Budget

With DI solutions such as corporate portals, employees spend less time looking for the right information and are better informed. This major change impacts each employee's sense of responsibility.

DI induces a re-appropriation of decisions at each level of the organization. Why not also give employees a budget and objectives so that they can endorse their new responsibilities and manage them on a project mode? Each of their actions would be in line with the enterprise global strategy and the impact would be measured accordingly.

Information Access

With information being made accessible to more and more people, hierarchies maintained by restricted access and broadcast of information tend to be jeopardized. Information is no longer confined to enterprise silos. Employees should be aware of all internal and external information relevant to their positions. In return, they should make valuable information available to other employees. DI solutions help organizations that are democratizing by transforming the old-school managers into meritocratic and charismatic ones who gain respect by sharing this information with their teams.


People need to optimize their carrier paths, and networking is key. The Internet is the easiest way to keep in touch with your network. However, DI gives even more as it allows you to automatically obtain information on who you want.

Telecommuting & Decentralization

DI will allow us to optimize time ­ flexibility will be the key word.

The information that we need to perform our work will be digitalized and made available automatically everywhere in push-mode. Companies won't need permanent offices anymore. Instead, they will utilize lounges rented on an hourly basis.

The critical challenge won't be to be in the right place at the right time any more but to have access to the right information and to the right people at the right time.

Consequently, decentralization will occur. DI will provide the degree of freedom that will allow companies and millions of employees to leave over-populated urban areas for more serene areas.

Hopefully, DI will enable us to enjoy great career opportunities and at the same time enjoy life opportunities. To reach this situation, however, we must realize that the biggest roadblock is found not in the technology but in the required changes to corporate habits and the implementation of digital processes.

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