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Cutting Costs While Improving Morale With B2E Management

Despite lip service paid to the idea that employees are a company’s greatest asset, too often they are sacrificed in the name of cutting costs and boosting efficiency. But that does not have to be the case. Intensive research by Boston Consulting Group’s Morten Hansen and Michael Deimler reveals that the Internet technology that brought us B2B and B2C is now bringing us B2E: business-to-employee management. By cultivating employees the way it cultivates customers, a company can develop a more satisfied, more productive work force, achieve greater productivity, cut costs and beat its competitors.

Hansen and Deimler identify three components in a comprehensive B2E program: online business processes, online people management and online services to the company community. The mode of delivery is the integrated enterprise portal, which provides employees with the tools they need to access information and services at a single location.

When business processes are moved online, both the company and its employees gain benefits springing from reduced interaction efforts. Flight crew at Delta Air Lines, for example, bid for shifts and receive their schedules online, which saves the company time and is more convenient for the employees.

Online people management is driven by self-service and mass customization: Employees can manage their own training, tailor their own health-care packages and take care of introductory human-resources formalities online.

Online community services are driven by the somewhat counterintuitive notion that allowing employees to accomplish certain personal business online at work will make them more productive. The online marketplace offered by Coca-Cola Co. is popular with employees and management alike.

To design a successful enterprise portal, companies should follow the model of the online store: Supply features that customers (in this case, employees) want first, and then add features that the company wants the employees to use. Building a portal can be expensive, and it requires a high level of expertise, but the results can transform the company.

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