The stats aren’t great.
Only 13% of employees are satisfied with their workplace experience, saying that it fully meets expectations. Meanwhile, 46% say their expectations aren’t being met at all.
Although those figures from Gartner Research speak to employee experience overall, there’s no question that how employees interact with their technology factors significantly into how they feel about their day-to-day work. Who hasn’t felt frustrated by unresponsive applications or connectivity challenges?
Tailored digital work experiences are still an afterthought for most companies
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The question is why?
Why does IT struggle to create the digital experience employees actually want and need?
There are several major barriers that commonly exist within organizations and should be addressed:
1) The one-size-fits-all fallacy
Standardization of technology has its benefits, but very few – if any – organizations have employees who all work in a standard way. So IT needs to not only recognize but accommodate the fact that different employees and different teams have different requirements for their technology. IT teams that don’t do that are likely to see more frustrated employees, lower levels of employee engagement and perhaps even a rise in shadow IT.
2) Problematic personas
Developers and designers often leverage research to create personas that represent users and their needs, and preferences and objectives. Although personas can be powerful tools to keep technologists focused on the user, they can be problematic if not crafted to well represent specific employee groups. Personas that are too general, incomplete or inaccurate, mean IT will likely miss the mark on the solutions they’re developing for the represented users.
Watch and learn how Fidelity International’s technology team was able to deliver tailored employee experience solutions at scale.
3) Poor or nonexistent user communication channels
Customization and personalization rest on knowing what users want and need. That means IT can’t guess or assume what the users are seeking from their technology, whether the users are end customers or fellow employees. IT must be willing to listen and learn from users. As such, IT needs an effective way to gain that information as well as incorporate survey data and feedback comments into their design and delivery processes.
Tech that is grounded in computing context is key. IT teams need tools that can help them decide the appropriate time to ask an employee a question, share news, or open up a line of communication.
4) No measurements or metrics
As previous research indicates, there’s clearly a disconnect between how IT views its delivery of technology services and solutions and what the rest of the organization’s employees think. That’s not surprising, as Nexthink’s Pulse Report found that 46% don’t measure their employees’ digital experience at all.
IT should establish key performance indicators that provide a holistic understanding of the employee work experience by combining both hard technical metrics and key employee feedback and sentiment data.
5) No governance or technology to support the process
The Nexthink Pulse Report also revealed just how much busier IT departments are these days, with 70% of tech leaders saying ticket and call volume spiked during 2020; a majority reported increases upwards of 50%. Yet many IT teams have neither good governance frameworks nor innovative technologies such as automation to help them more effectively handle urgent needs and comprehensively learn why certain issues appear in the first place.
The use of experience level agreements (XLAs) can provide smart guidance for IT processes by taking a more comprehensive picture of technical metrics & the employee computing context.
Under SLA-only governance, if a tech issue visible to IT is solved, then there is no more issue. But under an XLA setup, IT is prompted to take the interactions of its user base into consideration, not just the resolution of a problem.
6) Siloes & echo chambers
Yes, they still exist within many organizations. So if IT teams truly want to understand what custom solutions and personalized experiences their fellow employees need, they must break down those siloes by establishing cross-functional teams and leaning on HR to share insights as well as engaging outspoken users who can work as liaisons to IT and serve as champions for new technology tools and rollouts.
7) Leadership that labels the employee experience as a low-priority
Various reports in recent years have shown that CIOs and their teams have made customer experience a priority. As they should. But IT should have a similar mandate for how it serves the organization’s own employees, because a robust digital employee experience is equally important to the organization’s ability to succeed heading into the future.
A healthy and productive employee culture is dependent upon those that wield power at the top. IT and business leaders alike have a responsibility to speak up and ensure their organizations are truly employee-centric.
The question they have before them is simple:
How can we ensure that each and every day, our employees receive a positive work experience, free of distractions and disruptions?
Answering that question, however, requires a crack team of IT professionals that are willing to think outside the box and adapt with the times. The stats might not be great for IT support, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change they can’t flip the script.
Mary K. Pratt is an award-winning freelance journalist. Her current work focuses on enterprise technology and cybersecurity strategy and management as well as emerging technology.