According to an independent survey, 80% of executives rated employee experience as important or very important. One of the most significant ways we can improve the employee experience today is by addressing the digital culture within an organization.
As technology becomes more pervasive throughout an enterprise, IT needs to reach across the hallway and collaborate with Human Resources (HR) to make improving the digital experience for employees a central tenet of the enterprise. And like bread and butter, it makes perfect sense to pair them up.
We are knee deep in a digital era, marked by a relentless focus on attaining a seamless digital experience. We are compelled to be constantly connected, from any device, and from anywhere – not just in our personal lives, our work also has become entirely digitized. We are an uber-connected generation, relying on efficient, functional and personalized technology in order to be productive and proactive in our daily jobs.
Reinvent, re-imagine, transform, disrupt… call it whatever you want, today’s digital pressure forces upon IT a need to adapt and change. Legacy systems of yesterday will simply no longer suffice to satisfy the new-gen workforce, and a poor IT experience is indubitably directly correlated with unsatisfied employees, or potential employees who are turned off by an organization’s digital culture.
Take, for example, Joanna, a designer in Marketing. She loves her MacBook Pro, and has always been an Apple person. There are three key software programs that she was trained on and uses masterfully. She knows they help her deliver the designs her business needs in an extremely fast and efficient manner. You really want to hire Joanna, she came with glowing references and is in high demand. If your IT policy says no to Apple computers and no to the software programs she needs, no matter how great your office looks, how awesome the marketing/design team seems, how much money you are willing to offer her for this position, along with incredible employee benefits that HR has put together, if she’s not happy with the digital experience she would receive, she simply will move on to the next company.
This scenario is ubiquitous. How can IT satisfy the ever-growing demand for personalized digital experiences, all while providing speedy and cost-effective IT services, when also rolling out enterprise-wide projects that will affect the productivity of employees and the business as we know it? Oh, and while they’re at it, IT teams must do all of this whilst still keeping the business’ data secure and free of threats.
IT is a tough game, and it’s getting tougher. There is a need to balance IT freedom with IT control: you simply cannot have one without the other, and to accomplish it requires a tag team approach between IT and HR.
For IT-powered employees, user experience is not only about computing performance and speed, but also much more. It’s also about having problems quickly addressed, being able to use the latest devices and having access to the latest cloud services. It means having the tools and cloud access to work remotely from wherever they wish. In fact, when there is an increase in IT engagement with employees there is a corresponding increase in employee retention – up to 78%.
So how does an organization improve the digital experience for employees to spark business-wide growth?
IT and HR need to join forces to build the ultimate digital workplace.
There’s no question that HR wants to attract, engage and retain the best talent, they want to keep employees happy by offering them the freedom of technology choice; they want productive employees who are not distracted by computer issues and who contribute to the business. An employee’s digital experience is entirely related to their overall performance and job satisfaction.
Likewise, IT wants to deliver excellent services, to keep ticket-costs low, reduce the number of incidents, decrease mean time to repair (MTTR), all while ensuring the business stays protected from risk and that endpoints are fully compliant. They might not say it, but they also want employees to be satisfied with the services that they deliver – they want IT projects to be successful and they want to know that their efforts are resulting in increased levels of employee adoption and satisfaction. They understand that their success and professional growth also depends on employee’s satisfaction, engagement and, ultimately, their productivity.
So how can HR and IT work together to build the ultimate digital workplace: a flexible, always-functioning, digital environment where employee satisfaction thrives? Below are some considerations:
- Share user feedback. A key goal of HR is to gather more frequent feedback, since its critical to the employee experience, yet it’s important to gather it in real-time and as methodically as possible. IT departments that are able to automatically and contextually gather user feedback about their IT experiences can provide valuable information to HR. When organizations build programs that solicit, collect and distribute feedback at critical moments, leadership can impact real change within their organizations. Correlating end-user sentiment with critical real-time IT analytics can better inform both IT & HR if the offered service is suitable, satisfactory and used as intended.
- Define business goals. While each team may do this separately, IT and HR should together devise a business plan of how they can work together to improve the employee experience, with clearly defined action items for each. Once goals and timelines are established they should meet regularly to outline progress.
- View the employee like a customer. At a time when companies are concerned with attracting and retaining talent and good workers, it’s important for both HR and IT to begin to see employees as internal customers. Working together and sharing information, they should strive to resolve issues quickly, provide new tools and technology that empowers employees and more frequently engages with them to find out how they can improve their experiences.
Today’s enterprises are under constant pressure to provide employees with a superior digital experience – that keeps pace with technology innovation permeating all aspects of a person’s life. When IT and HR work together, pooling their expertise in technology, people skills and corporate policy, the entire company wins, with less turn-over, improved productivity and ultimately, corporate growth. Like bread and butter: they just savor better together!