The workplace is changing at unprecedented rates - you’re no sooner finished designing programs for Millennials when Generation Z starts to place demands on your company’s employee experience!
We are entering the Life 4.0 a.k.a the Fourth Industrial Revolution - and central to this new stage is digitisation.
Whether you embrace it or not, it’s set to disrupt the way things are done around here. And by here, we mean the way we live and work.
In the workplace, digitisation is going to become a fierce disruptor particularly in the human resources and talent management areas of your company.
As a consequence of industry evolutions new terms emerge, and one such term is the “digital employee experience (DEX)”. The digital employee experience offers deep insight into how digitisation impacts a employees experience of a company.
What is a digital employee experience?
It can loosely be defined as the total digital exchanges between your employees and your company. This incorporates the way in which your employees work - are the systems they are using promoting productivity?
A digital employee experience brings together humans and tech.
As digitisation grows more companies are becoming digital enterprises and it is critical that companies provide the necessary infrastructure to enable employees to become digital workers.
This experience focuses on creating new organisational capabilities through the digital empowerment of a company’s workforce. This fosters creativity, innovation and a high-performance culture amongst teams.
Traditionally employees would be required to perform all their tasks on a computer, but with a digital experience, employees are empowered to work more with mobile and cloud-based apps and are able to deliver their best work on whatever device no matter where they are geographically located.
The benefits of implementing a digital employee experience
This experience affords companies the opportunity to seamlessly integrate processes and ramp up productivity across multiple business areas.
As an example: Let’s say you identified a need for a productivity tool that offers employees a central place to communicate and collaborate more effectively with various teams instead of sending emails back and forth. After the deployment of this tool it proves to be quite successful and results in a more productive experience for your employees.
Not only did the roll-out of this collaborative tool improve the employees’ experience, it also served as a strategic springboard for the company to consider other opportunities to improve their day-to-day operations that could really push the needle for employee engagement and experience entirely.
Most notably though, a digital employee experience is human-centred. It is therefore important that companies adopt this people-first approach to ensure the technology and systems it implements is useful and enjoyable to the end user.
Research from MIT’s Sloan School of Management found that companies delivering superb employee experiences achieve some noteworthy benefits:
25% greater profitability compared to competitors.
Innovate twice as fast.
2x improvement in customer satisfaction.
A digital employee experience lends itself to a more social way of working and supports your company’s efforts of attracting and retaining top talent; specifically the hyper-connected Millennials and Generation Z.
It provides an engaging user experience that also allows for cross-functional team collaboration. What’s more is that your remote workers can access information and still deliver top-notch work performances wherever they are.
Every business outcome starts with your employees so it makes sense to create stellar digital employee experiences in every interaction with your company. Make sure that when you design this experience for your company that it’s holistic, human-centred and focuses on driving productivity, creativity and efficiency.
Now that we’ve covered the definition and benefits of a digital employee experience, let’s help you map your own one:
1. Ensure your digital employee experience has same prominence as your customer experience
Previously the only experience companies thought were important to their success was the customer experience (CX). For years, they waged war on this “new battleground” - refining their processes and products - becoming more customer-centric. The customer was considered at every delivery channel because they were the “heart of the business”.
Fast-forward a few years and something interesting has emerged…
Now, it’s become the employee who is at the heart of every successful company. Companies have realised that in order to deliver those exceptional customer experiences, they are going to need an engaged, motivated workforce that is willing to display discretionary effort for their customers.
Employees who encounter positive experiences at their company are more likely to go the distance for their customers. This in turn leads to repeat customer purchases and ultimately customer retention - and that’s great for business.
And while the digital employee experience is nowhere near as mature as the customer experience it still has many benefits for your company.
When you treat your employees like they are your customers - the heart of your company - they will innovate, collaborate more, and add to an energetic, positive company culture.
And that, really is a competitive differentiator.
2. Design the digital employee experience purposefully and intentionally
The employee experience is shaped by different things every day - perhaps on a day it’s negative in that your manager responds negatively to you. Perhaps on another day it could be positively affected - the fact that your manager brought in specialty coffee just because.
This experience certainly affects the way people think about work and the people whom they do it for. Positive experiences will get you up and out of bed and ready for the day; while negative experiences most likely will have you call in sick more frequently.
When designing your DEX ensure that you consider the cultural, technological and physical factors. As author of the Employee Experience Advantage, Jacob Morgan, writes:
“as we shift to the future of work, where organisations are focusing on the reasons why employees want to work versus need to work, it is important to understand employee experience.”
The cultural factor refers to how your employees feel at work as it relates to what’s expected of them on a daily basis.
The technological factor refers to the tools and systems your employees need to do their jobs well. Is that printer in accounts always jammed? Are you running outdated software? Tech influences productivity in a big way so ensure yours facilitates communication and collaboration.
The physical factor refers to the environment - the workspace - your employees’ office chair, desk, wall art, rickety benches in the cafeteria - all of those things. These could also include the temperature of the office as well as the lighting. These factors influence your employees’ concentration and their ability to do a good job.
3. Recognise the correlation between employee engagement and the digital employee experience
Employee engagement is directly linked to an employee’s experience. The way your employee interacts with different areas of the business including his or her manager could determine whether he or she is engaged or not.
A well-thought out DEX that’s strategic, human-centred and considers the cultural, technological and physical environments will definitely lead to higher levels of engagement amongst your employees.
A digital employee experience is also critical to driving a sustainable advantage over your competitors as it transforms the entire organisational experience (OX), boosts engagement and creates significant business value.
We’d love to hear how you are creating digital employee experiences that matter. Sound off in the comments section below.