The evolving demographics of today's global workforces and the need for employees to become more accountable for their role and decisions in career and benefit choices have motivated organizations to tailor elements of the work experience to their increasingly diverse — and well-informed — employee populations. Today's employees are more mobile, educated, technologically enabled and short-term-focused than ever. They also have become informed consumers of their organizations' brands, culture, and compensation, benefits and career development programs. And with the first Generation Z employees entering the workforce, companies can expect that the preferences and expectations of their employee populations will continue to change, becoming more personalized and more sophisticated along the way.

It's little surprise, then, that there has been a growing trend among global organizations to treat their employees as internal consumers. The most innovative have embraced the concept of consumer-driven HR — that is, a mindset and an operating philosophy that acknowledge and respond to the increasing variety of work-related choices available to employees. This approach has significant potential to impact the design and administration of total rewards programs, thus influencing the work and careers of total rewards professionals around the world.

Companies adopting the characteristics of consumer-driven HR recognize that employees today have a broader level of information and choice in many areas, including a greater range of career options, a wider array of employers from which to choose and more flexible programs offered by specific employers (with more features selectable by employees). These expanded choices have in turn made corporate life a more efficient marketplace for its increasingly savvy employee-consumers.

The attached article shares our perspective on consumer-driven HR — from its roots and characteristics to critical success factors like segmentation, measurement and analysis — and provides examples of organizations that are getting it right. We also examine the new role of the chief employee experience officer, which has the power to transform how organizations think about the future, differentiate talent and redefine employees as value creators. We invite you to read on, and to share your perspectives with the authors or in the comments section below.

Originally published by workspan, the magazine of WorldatWork, December 2014