Digital employee experience is currently top-of-mind for many employees. The reason is clear, because according to Gartner, for 30% of all organizations the ability for their employees to use digital technologies in a creative and productive way will be their most important source of competitive advantages in 2022 and beyond. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated and reinforced this trend.
We see many businesses are spending serious time and effort in improving this experience to boost business results. But, all too often, efforts are driven from the employer’s or company’s point of view. Yet, we live in a world where, outside of the office, your people have become used to seamless online service experiences.
Increasingly, they expect to find the same engaging and consumer-like experiences in the workplace as well.
To achieve this, it’s time that companies start working towards a more human-centric approach to the employee experience. To get there, you need to know what employees want and need.
Gartner recommends that performance and engagement-oriented solutions are deployed that support the workflow and company culture. ‘This extra care will increase motivation and productivity across the workforce and provide a more personalized experience,’ according to Gartner.
Higher productivity, higher retention and easier recruiting: just some of the tangible benefits that companies with a high employee experience score are reaping.
We call it the booking.com experience. And what we mean by this it not so much that particular site, but the smooth user experience design that it offers.
Such an easy-going experience is fast becoming the standard in our online consumer experience at home. Be it getting out an insurance, a mortgage, buying everyday and not-so everyday items, or booking hotels and holidays.
Arranging such things has become characterized by a single information flow, that seamlessly brings us where we want to be. Fast. But that also nudges, suggests, prompts, chats and inspires. It’s what your employees are missing when they get to the office.
We’ve just characterized the booking.com experience as a single, smooth information flow. Typically, in most organizations, employees have to deal with siloed digital channels when trying to access services, such as IT, Facility, HR, Legal, Finance and more.
Each channel usually has its own system, support mailboxes and pages and a plethora of telephone numbers. Getting a single task done requires employees to enter information into each system separately.
Take the onboarding process as a good example. It’s something that every organization–no matter its size–has to deal with.
For onboarding, your HR colleague will probably have to access at least four different systems. One to register a vacancy, the second to to hire the suitable candidate, the third to request workspace facilities, a fourth to request IT resources…and counting.
Similarly, setting up a lunch meeting in the office requires access to numerous systems: for visitor registration, parking reservation, room reservation and catering. All of these menial tasks cause frustration, because employees would rather do meaningful work. A negative employee experience, high attrition rates and lots of time wasted are the inevitable result (see the figures below).
If finding the right page for the right service is more like looking for the hypothetical needle in the haystack, employees lose their patience and grab the phone to arrange things the old-fashioned way, instead of using efficient self-service options.
Though organizations seem to be aware of this issue, they often try to solve it by putting in place a central services page with hyperlinks to company support channels. SharePoint is a favorite solution for many. Unfortunately, these kind of solutions are usually no more than window-dressing and a far cry from a dynamic and relevant service.
Most work frustrations are caused by having to do menial tasks, leading to employees having bad days at work. Time to get rid of these menial tasks!
The employee experience is critical to creating value. Research undertaken by MIT Sloan Center of Information Systems Research (CISR) has found that companies belonging to the best 25% outperform competitors on innovation, customer satisfaction and profitability. But what does such an experience look like? Here are three essentials that we see are key to designing a great employee experience.
First, there’s the need for an easy access, self-service type of environment that matches the shift from traditional command-and-control organizational structures, to flatter hierarchies. In such more fluid environments, employees are expected to be both proactive and reactive in their work.
Yet, it’s surprising to see how much time employees spend figuring out how to get simple everyday tasks done and finding help and information, like getting a question answered or finding a policy, in a simple way.
It is predicted that live chat or chatbots as support channels will be increasingly used. Research shows that 37% and 4% of service desks respectively already offer these technologies as support channels.
It is expected that during the coming time there will be a stronger focus on deploying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies as selfservice solutions.
Second, should be on removing the ‘bumps in the road’ in the employee journey. In fact, critical moments – the onboarding process, changes in job, assignment or personal life (e.g. children) and when leaving the organization – are key to improving employee experience and boosting productivity, as well as retention.
It’s for such critical moments that a well-designed, easy access digital workplace can add significant value to the organization.
Third, listening helps to improve the employee experience. But true gains come with taking action to fix things based on employee feedback. Your digital workplace should include an online diagnostic tool that can plot and deliver on overall performance related to employee experience.
Such evidence-based findings help define the factors that either inhibit or enhance a great employee experience.
Ironically, the number of employee tools continues to increase. At the same time, companies are working their butts off to simplify their customer experience. You shield off your customers from complex back-end systems and multiple touch points.
Why not so your employees? It’s time to start treating employees as if they are your customers.
Having in place an Enterprise Employee Service page that is informative, interactive, designed-for-purpose and easy-to-use provides your employees with the sought-after, smooth customer experience.
These are the technical building blocks that are essential to getting the previously siloed information in your organization working in perfect harmony.
From a single search box, multiple information sources–such as Dropbox, SharePoint, service catalogue, support knowledge bases, internal news articles etc.–are searchable.
Using Natural Language Processing capabilities, an instantly approachable virtual assistant interprets the needs of the employee and suggests relevant answers. The chat can be taken over by a support agent if required.
Employees can easily request all standard services provided by all support departments. Such ‘at the click of a button’ services include requests for laptops, business cards, meeting rooms, marketing materials, Purchase Orders and more.
Important company news and announcements feature prominently on the Enterprise Employee Service page. Keeping employees in the know of service improvements, down-time or other relevant company news, boosts employee engagement.
Employees too, need to provide the organization with information. An integrated overview–including deadlines for completion – gives employees an accessible way to submit their contractual or policy approvals, proof of mandatory training, holiday requests and all other essential, personal information.
Knowing what employees like or dislike and seeing where they drop off on the website, provides insights to continuously improve the Enterprise Employee Service page. An effective measurement tool is essential to be able to adapt the page to fit your organization’s culture, demographics, size and many other variables.
By meeting a number of technical and non-functional requirements, any obstacles in the employee experience are removed. Aspects such as branding and styles, integration capabilities with underlying support systems, and support for desktop and mobile devices are part of a seamless offering.
Things get complicated for employees when they cannot resolve simple issues or find information. Providing your people with the information and support they need at any given moment of their employee experience is not so much a technical challenge as a human one.
ServiceNow has all the technological capabilities to set up such a single point-of-entry. It provides functionalities including Virtual Agent, a Service Catalogue, a knowledge base and more. It can be branded to meet your requirements and it has powerful integration capabilities to connect to your ERP and support systems. It also has native capabilities for employees to use it on mobile.
Any possible gaps can be filled by integrating ServiceNow with other technologies. With technology not being an issue, the challenge lies in creating strong executive sponsorship for full, enterprise-wide transformation.
This means that departments must be willing to collaborate and give up control over their own support channels in favor of centrally organized support. A scaled and consistent approach is our proven way of creating and obtaining such support.
HR and Facility Management are the obvious departments to start. Typically, these departments have already organized themselves into service delivery teams but are looking for the right tools to manage interactions with employees in a unified and transparent way.
Remco de Vries
Employee Experience Expert
+31 (0)6 224 682 58
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