‘Employees first’, believe many an organisation. They are convinced that happy and sticky employees create happier and stickier customers. Whether or not an organisation places the employee before the customer, employees are certainly regarded as valuable internal customers. Employee experience, just like customer experience, thus becomes vital and critical.
According to research, 44 percent of employees across the world felt that their workplace was not smart enough. What is more, 42 percent of millennials were sure they would leave a job with ‘substandard tech’, and more than 50 percent expected to be working in a smart office within the next five years.
The digitally agile workplace
Besides the physical and cultural environment, the use of technology for their day-to-day work is something employees deeply care about. Employees, and millennials, more so, are accustomed to smart technology in their personal lives – and they expect the same (if not better) ease, connectivity, and personalisation in their workplaces. They can easily become increasingly dissatisfied with workplace capabilities that they see as inadequate.
How agile is their organisation in deploying technology to empower them to perform better at work? How accessible is it to people on a fair and equitable basis? Does it take employee needs into account rather than just business requirements and constraints? Gartner’s concept of ‘digital dexterity’ assumes significant importance – employees expect their organizations to leverage emerging technologies to work smarter.
Keeping technology simple and easy
Beyond deployment and easy access, there is one important expectation of technology at the workplace. Make it awesomely simple. ‘Consumer grade’ technology should be - easy to use, navigate, view and understand.
Let us take employee communication as an example. Interactive channels that can curate and distribute information rapidly are critical – for corporate, work-related and social purposes. Can technology encapsulate the happenings in the organisation and their teams in a manner that they need to spend only a few minutes a day to know, understand and become engaged?
Keeping it simple also requires effective integration of new tools and apps into existing technologies so that it provides a unified experience that helps employees master their use.
Stepping up the game
Keeping in mind that millennials will be an increasing force in the employee strength, their expectations of technology as a component of employee experience may merit consideration. According to the research, this workforce segment wants employers to step up their game in leveraging advanced technologies – social media, virtual reality, wearables, robotics, augmented reality, MOOC (massive open online courses).
The key to creating such engaging employee experiences lies in balancing expectations against distractions that could impair organizational objectives.
Optimising the efficiency of employee experience
Ultimately the aim is to invest in and leverage technology that will help both organisations and employees do more with less. Contextual insights on what people actually want and how they use different tools will help organizations address common workplace issues and larger issues affecting the employees’ contributions to business outcomes.
In both structured and unstructured ways, huge amounts of data are released into internal systems as organisations leverage technology solutions. Such data lends itself to computing the effectiveness of tools and apps utilisation. Insights from this data will enable appropriate changes that will enhance both employee experience and productivity. Deploying analytics, automation and machine learning techniques will help organisations fit the technology glove better on employees’ hands for optimum efficiency.
Employee experience is driven by a strong urge on the part of employees to succeed at work. A smart workplace is more than mere technology. It is an environment of the right tools that goes beyond individual tools and systems to craft seamless and productive employee experiences. It is made up of experiences that empower and engage the workforce to elevate their capabilities, autonomy and happiness at work.