You are currently viewing New Rules for HR: Creating a Digital Employee Experience

New Rules for HR: Creating a Digital Employee Experience

The maverick entrepreneur and billionaire Richard Branson once said, ‘Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.

Many years later, Vineet Nayar, the erstwhile CEO of HCL Technologies even went on to write a bestseller – Employees First – Customers Second. Vineet’s premise was as simple as it was logical when he said that the core business of any corporation is to create different shared value for its customers, something that gets created in the interface of the employee’s and the customer’s engagement.

Hence the task of business management should be to enthuse and encourage employees so that they continue creating this different shared value and hence the proposition – enhance employees first and customers second.’

Yet the reality in most companies is somewhat different – if not quite the reverse. We’re seeing complexities for consumers ironed out through seamless services and great experiences, all enabled by digital technology that’s getting increasingly disruptive by the day.

What took a few clicks earlier is now being enabled through voice commands as you make multi-city travel plans, stream videos to friends and family across platforms, or buy products online with same-day delivery.

These are all detailed services to deliver; yet easy to request and receive. Interestingly, this same ease-of-operations is lacking in our professional lives. Technology at the workplace in fact often presents users with a disjointed, frustrating experience – an existential issue that should be giving progressive HR heads sleepless nights.

Are their companies offering employees a ‘digital employee experience’ (DEX)? Put simply, DEX encompasses how employees work, how they collaborate, the technologies they use and the culture they operate within. It stands to reason that the higher the DEX, the better the digital workforce experience and, along with it, worker engagement and productivity.

DEX is a concept that companies are only now beginning to seriously focus on. Tech companies led by organisations such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have, of course, been at the forefront of this – something that adds to their reputations as great places to work.

But what of others? Are they also beginning to focus on technological enablement of their employees, to improve the quality of their work-lives and to improve the quality of their output at the workplace?

Organisation leaders are now increasingly realising that the mainstay of the employee experience is physically and digitally linked to organizational goals. The wonderful thing about DEX is that it can make a critical difference to the employee experience almost immediately, while factors such as physical spaces and policy changes take longer and much more work.

This is of course much more than just email or instant messenger for business. DEX, for example, may help a company create a “unified engagement platform” that spans across multiple platforms to provide a seamless digital experience and help create a single, brand-aligned digital experience for employees, managers, partners and vendors.

A DEX platform such as this would not only function as a single enterprise service management platform but could also incorporate automation and collaboration tools such as chatbots, robotic process automation (RPA), and enterprise social platforms.

Another example is -a BOT that has now been developed for Offer Letter Generation that has simplified the work of recruiters, increased productivity and efficiency as well.

A report by The Economist Intelligence Unit revealed that the most influential role technology can play in elevating the employee experience is providing access to information, data and insights. Additionally, digital innovation enables employees to work more flexibly, which can in turn improve engagement.

But how do you know what tools reduce employee frustration and which don’t? Outdated tech, inefficient tools, and toxic working environments can all be improved through DEX and the use of employee surveys, focus group discussions, anonymous feedback, and review of the digital tools on offer will help managers work to weed out what’s not working and bring in the most optimum solutions.

DEX can be quite useful to help navigate through the gig economy. According to an EY Global Contingent Workforce Study, by 2020 the global gig economy will ensure that almost one in five workers will be freelancers or contract and many of them will be engaged for periods that extend beyond 12 or more months.

Being able to work remotely with access to personalised office technology, for example, is a great example of how DEX is enabling employee delight and also works to reduce organisation costs. Here again, the application of a DEX enabled ecosystem can ensure greater cohesiveness among a more heterogeneous and scattered workforce than a non-DEX environment.

One global automotive company undertook a major initiative to automate work as well as to enable more effective collaboration within and outside the enterprise, including with its more than 2,000 suppliers and 15,000 dealerships around the world.

Using a human-centred perspective to design solutions that cut across functional silos, the organization considered what its employees and partners needed to be more collaborative, speed decision-making, and enhance business results.

Ultimately, while multiple technologies from different vendors were introduced, all were integrated into a single common platform for all parties to use. This effort has been credited with driving savings of more than US$2 million to date.

Another example highlights how over the past five years, a leading SAAS company, in order to keep up with the accelerated pace of growth and maintain quality, harnessed the power of technology to empower employees.

Its HR and IT teams collaborated to develop a new, cloud-based intranet that allowed employees to self-service their IT ticket questions at faster rates. The result: The company’s IT case volume and resolution time dropped 40 per cent contributing to improved employee satisfaction and productivity. The company continues to rank highly on various employee satisfaction indexes.

Data is changing the nature of work and the way we work. Employee experiences that make
work engaging and easy provides an important competitive edge for digital businesses.

This is now encouraging business worldwide to undertake digital employee transformation
initiatives. A well-designed and carefully executed digital employee experience form the
cornerstone of successful digital transformation.

Leave a Reply