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How a vending machine can help CIOs shape a workplace that attracts and retains young talent

How a vending machine can help CIOs shape a workplace that attracts and retains young talent

Credit: Coca -Cola

Gartner estimates by 2025, centennials or Gen Z and millennials will comprise 91 per cent of the workforce.

These groups value personalisation, self-serve options and unique experiences compared to the previous generations, it notes.

Meanwhile, demand for emerging technology skills is higher than the current supply of workforce talent.

So how can CIOs shape a workplace that attracts and retains this critical talent?

Business technology and digital leaders can take ideas from the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, according to a new report by Gartner. 

Coca-Cola Freestyle is a touchscreen soda fountain introduced 10 years ago by the drinks company. 

The machine features more than 165 different Coca-Cola beverage combinations, compared to other beverage dispensers that offer between six and eight drink choices. Some of the flavours are not available anywhere else.

Not every option is listed on the home screen, and users are instead guided through an intuitive interface to customise their drinks. 

The authors of the report, Gartner analysts Michelle Duerst and Leigh McMullen, note how Coca-Cola took personalisation a step further by offering customers a free mobile app that lets them create and pour Coca-Cola Freestyle mixes, access rewards and experiences and more, on the go. 

Credit: Coca -Cola

The machine also collects customer choices and other information from the mobile app and uses it to further personalise customer experiences, notify customers of new flavour combinations and offer special rewards. 

Duerst and McMullen list how CIOs can apply the following four rules of personalisation to employee experiences: 

Make it modular: Beverages are grouped into four primary categories in the Freestyle machine. The customer selects a beverage type from a set group (all drinks, low/no calorie, caffeine free and fruit flavored). 

In the workplace, this transposes to giving employees opportunities to work remotely, providing flexible work schedules and choices on what to work on. 

Employees will work when given a paycheck but they truly thrive when they have opportunities to stretch beyond their typical roles, they write.

Prepare pathways: Customer selects the beverage and then personalises it further by adding another flavour.

Start by identifying employee peaks and pits, says Gartner, on how this applies to the workplace.

Peaks are “wins” that inspire staff and increase overall satisfaction, leading to greater customer service and sales. Pits are “losses” that can affect productivity and spread disengagement.

Make employees feel like a VIP on their first day, from the moment they enter the facility. Have the laptop ready with a welcome message, applications loaded and invites in the calendar. 

Millennials and Gen Z are used to getting continuous, immediate feedback, write Duerst and McMullen. CIOs can set default tracking for on-time task completion, overall ratings, training classes taken and number of stretch roles taken.

They can also highlight major successes with universal visibility and next steps. If there is a huge sales win, for instance, “the system should automatically post an alert and set up the next set of calls so prospects can hear the sales representative’s confidence riding on the win.”

Create constraints: The customer does not see every option for every beverage in the Freestyle machine.

In the workplace, constraints act as guardrails to the prepared pathways, ensuring security, quality and safety.

If every team member could select from any project or employee list, then project management and security would become a nightmare.

Required skill sets, security levels and even regions need to be configured to control what an employee can see and access in the available “what to work on” list, advise Duerst and McMullen. 

Dig into the data: Coca-Cola uses Freestyle data to make a business case for creating and launching products. In fact, Sprite Cherry is the first drink brought to market using Freestyle data.  

Duerst and McMullen say personalisation in retail and subscription services use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse vast data points to create modeling of future behaviour. 

CIOs can use AI to identify what employees will be most passionate about and what will keep them the most productive, they state.

This can be around identifying trends where the organisation can nurture internal talent for future roles. 

AI can also be used to analyse project volunteer trends to find out which teams an employee might be best suited for.

Credit: ID 125087305 © Teeraphat Sirisatonpun @Dreamstime

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Tags workforce planningrisk managementGartnerbusiness intelligenceanalyticsworkplacemillennialsself-serviceAIvolunteersocial enterprisepersonalisationnot for profitchief people officertechnology for goodworkforceproject managementcentennials

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