Digital Employee Experience: What Is It, Why It’s Important, and How Can You Improve It in the Workplace
For the past few years, customer experience has been the big thing that businesses have focused on. The game was improving the quality of interactions a customer makes through various business channels. But now, there’s a new player in town: digital employee experience.
Don’t get us wrong. Customer experience still plays a crucial role for your consumers in determining where they’ll purchase goods and services. The difference is that this notion of providing a good experience is being extended to the other end of the transaction: the employees.
If all of these still sound very confusing to you, don’t worry! We’ll cover this topic in detail and illustrate its value. We’ll also give you important tips on how to work on improving the digital experience that your employees are getting from the organization. Keep reading to find valuable tidbits!
To better understand the digital employee experience, you must first know what the digital workplace is. Essentially, it’s a workplace that only exists virtually. But this doesn’t mean the staff that reports on-site doesn’t have a digital workplace because both the physical and digital can operate simultaneously. For as long as they’re using some form of tech to do their work, they have a digital workplace.
Therefore, the digital employee experience, or DEX, is the totality of an employee’s experience in interacting with the technologies that the organization has made available to them. Essentially, how is their digital workplace?
For example, let’s say that you provided a digital company phone number for each employee. It’s supposed to help improve communications by providing heightened location-independent accessibility.
But does the company actually have a plan on how it could be useful for the staff? If it doesn’t, it’s not maximizing the tech and its potential value in the workplace. Any tech, no matter how advanced, is not contributing to a good digital employee experience if it doesn’t contribute to improving efficiency or even employee outlook.
Therefore, DEX isn’t actually about technology per se. While technology is essential to improving processes and maximizing efficiency, it’s more important that the technologies used are aligned with the employees’ wants, needs, and enjoyment.
Why Is It Important?
Even though employees are central to the experience that we’re talking about, the benefits extend far beyond just providing your staff with a more comfortable digital environment. With a good DEX solution:
1. You’ll Be Able to Better Support Your Staff in Performing Their Functions
And whether you’re paying salary or hourly, this is good news. Besides, who doesn’t want to improve the productivity of their employees?
A good DEX solution will allow you to identify technological gaps as they arise, preventing them from causing issues with employee performance or even their general experience. No matter the context, one thing’s for sure: the environment is changing all the time.
Having the tools to monitor everything will help you become a proactive partner in growing your enterprise.
2. The IT Team and the Rest of the Employees Will Have an Improved Relationship
The ideal relationship between the two will be something like a millennial grandchild who patiently guides their grandparent to navigate various techs. Even though the grandchild is there to help with “problems” like how to make Skype work, they also empower the grandparent to use various technology on their own.
If this kind of relationship exists between these two groups, imagine what it would do for productivity levels. Employees can communicate issues quickly, thus minimizing the effects of these issues on their performance.
Meanwhile, the IT team gains a deeper knowledge of what the employees experience, and on their own, they may be able to formulate and suggest changes to the management to improve their experience altogether.
3. You Can Reduce Employee Turnover Rates
Did you know that many employees quit because of some form of frustration with technology? Some feel that the hardware and software they’re using for work are preventing them from doing their jobs.
And when these assets aren’t working the way they’re supposed to, they get frustrated because they don’t know how to proceed. These feelings eventually lead to resentment, which encourages them to look for opportunities elsewhere.
With a good DEX, you can avoid this altogether. The company will be able to retain more of its valuable talent while also reducing the costs associated with recruitment.
What Issues Are Keeping You from Giving a Great Digital Employee Experience?
What makes for a good digital employee experience can be hard to quantify because some organizations don’t rely on technology as much as others. For example, a fully-remote team will need seamless communication options to limit lags in processes due to physical distance.
Meanwhile, if you have your entire staff in the same office, you may only need a smart and systematic way of organizing files in the cloud. Therefore, technologies and setups that would make for a good DEX for one organization may not be sufficient for another.
Instead of looking for particular tech, look for these key issues that are preventing your organization from delivering a good digital employee experience:
Employees Keep on Facing the Same Tech Issues
This means that not only does a problem exist but also that it’s not being resolved. And if the employees are reporting it, it’s affecting their work.
Let’s say that 40% of your workforce experiences frozen screens when they run a certain application for more than 30 minutes at a time. This will evidently cause delays on their part. And eventually, people will just get used to these frozen screens as if they’re just as big a part of company culture as casual Fridays.
Major Incidents Shake the Operations (Or Parts of It) to the Core
When a disaster strikes, how long does it take for the company to respond and adapt? If everyone is unprepared, it’s not a good sign.
The IT team gets flooded with a lot of support requests, thus taking hours or even days to address each ticket. And in the meantime, the company just has to deal with declining productivity
The IT Team Isn’t Fully Aware of Employee Issues
Silence doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is good. In some cases, this may be telling you that a lot of the employees have lost trust in the IT team already. Perhaps at the beginning, they usually reported issues.
A sign that this is an issue with the DEX in your organization is if the IT team identifies persistent tech problems on their own. It indicates that employees have just decided to work around it instead of communicating technological hiccups or flaws to IT.
How Can You Create a Great Digital Employee Experience in Your Organization
The bottom line is that you have to address the issues (and their potential causes). There are many potential solutions to them, and the best one for your situation will depend on the specific details, like how well-immersed your staff is in different technologies, the roles they have within the organization, and a lot more.
Therefore, please know that everything here isn’t meant to be prescriptive. Make your decisions based on data to properly identify the best strategies that will bring the most impact to the DEX. If you have no idea how to start, try looking into these solutions:
Examine Resources, People, and Processes
Look at the organization from both micro and macro perspectives. Ask relevant questions like:
How effectively are the resources being used?
Are people using the tech available to them? If so, can they all adapt to the digital workplace?
Is there any efficiency loss in the existing processes?
How is technology being interwoven with company SOPs?
Does the company have everything that it needs to reach its goals?
Are all technologies being used efficiently?
Only by looking at all these and asking the right questions will you be able to identify opportunities to improve DEX. But remember, this isn’t a one-time task. Evaluations must be done regularly.
Match the Tools Invested with the Needs
Let’s say that you’re running a small customer support agency. What kind of tech would your employees benefit from?
Let’s say that you decide to invest in auto-transcriber software to create accurate written logs that agents can easily go through. This way, they’ll be able to search using keywords and see verbatim responses instead of just relying on notes. As a result, any follow-up or call transfer will go more quickly and smoothly as the call logs are accessible in more than just one format.
Will AI writing software have done the same? Probably not, as its purpose is not aligned with any of the responsibilities of your average customer support agent.
Involve the IT Team and the Staff in Decision Making When It’s Tech-Related
Surveys and consultations go a long way. Perhaps you don’t need to purchase that pricey software after all because what the staff needs is new laptops.
This isn’t to say that you should base decisions just on their word. Just take them into account. The important thing to remember is that decision-making should never be done in isolation. The more sources of info that you have, the better.
Create Defined Protocols for Using Technologies as well as Reporting and Addressing Technological Issues
Do employees have to save files in a certain format? Do they have to log in virtually before working? How about a VPN? Do they need to connect to it while on the clock? Protocols are important because they set baselines from which the IT team can compare any reported anomaly. Just don’t fall into the trap of creating unnecessary red tape that reduces efficiency.
The same goes for sending support tickets to IT. Everyone should know how and when to report something. And considering that the IT team would be taking the full burden here of addressing technological concerns, make sure to involve them in how to refine these protocols.
Most importantly, make sure they’re realistic. If the average response time to employee tech concerns should be two hours, the company must have enough IT specialists to respond to the demand.
Digital Employee Experience: The Next Great Investment in Your Organization
The value of a talented and effective employee cannot be understated. In doing their part, they’re able to contribute to various goals of your business.
But why not further improve their utility by improving their digital experience? After all, happy employees mean happy customers. Any business owner who is truly thinking of the customers (and the value they bring in) will address all aspects of boosting their satisfaction. And that includes taking care of employees.
And since you’re already using various technologies in the workplace, improving the digital employee experience is the logical conclusion. By working on improving your customer experience, you’re maximizing the utilization of your business assets to generate the best returns.
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