SERIES – Digital Employee Experience: 2. Why?

As said in the previous blog post: ‘Digital Employee Experience: What‘, Digital Employee Experience (DEX) has become a buzzword for employers as they have begun to see the overall value of creating a positive employee experience for productivity, innovation and engagement levels. Below we are going to go into a bit more detail around why you should be investing in your DEX.  

Collaboration and communication  

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) suggested that the average worker spends around 14% of their time communicating and collaborating internally! This means that it is important that your organisation has an internal digital workplace in place that allows  effective communication and collaboration so that employees can  

forge productive business relationships within and beyond natural work groups and to enable knowledge sharing across the organization.” (Deloitte, 2020)  

As you can see communication and collaboration in the workplace is an indispensable part of the employee experience. As employees need to communicate about, and collaborate on their work with others, whether this be in person or as we are increasingly seeing in the digital workplace from the comfort of their own homes.   

Communication – It is important that a company has an accessible, informative and transparent digital internal communications platform, so that staff have the right guidance and information. This is especially pertinent in times of uncertainty alike with the COVID-19 crisis, where your company needs to deliver regular and important news, updates and policies to a dispersed workforce. At EasyShare our clients have benefitted from their intranets being a central hub for everyone to access information from anywhere and at any time. 

Collaboration  – Collaboration amongst employees is important as it encourages engagement, performance, and innovation in the workforce. As people are united and ideas are nurtured, ultimately leading to a better, more productive workforce.  

In the wake of COVID-19 we are presented with the challenge of collaborating together whilst working apart. As Andrew Hewitt, an analyst for Forrester wrote

now’s the time to revisit your remote technology strategy to maximise productivity during the disruption, focusing on connectivity, collaboration, information access, and security.” 

This quote demonstrates the importance of digital transformation and having the right technology infrastructure in place for companies who want business continuity. 

Remote working  

Remote working is on the rise, leading many of us to question whether this way of working is the ‘new normal’. A recent Gartner poll showed us that  

48% of employees will likely work remotely at least part of the time after COVID-19 versus 30% before the pandemic.” 

Furthermore, further Gartner research revealed that  

74% of chief financial officers plan to move some employees out of the office permanently.” 

Both of these statements illustrate that there is indeed a definite shift towards remote working. This means that companies need to consider digital employee experience and how that is managed, as more and more employees are relying on the digital workspace as their primary work environment.  

Furthermore, when people are working from home there is a concern that they feel disconnected and their employee experience and productivity takes a negative impact as they look for guidance, support and information. As some people find it harder to collaborate and communicate virtually, as it is tougher to create genuine real time social interactions and connections than it would be in person. Thus, it is important that organisations focus on employee’s experience and making them feel connected via digital means even when they are physically not.  

Contrary to this, in a Raconteur (2020) article they wrote about the fact that Okta an identity management firm reported that there has been a major productivity benefit of working from home, as 55% of people surveyed reported higher levels of productivity.   

Previous research has shown that creative performance is significantly lower when there is no face-to-face communication,” says Professor Bernd Irlenbusch, who co-led the study. “However, the current lockdown has fostered the adoption of new technologies to conduct collaborative tasks when team members work from home…. Mitigates this gap.” 

Thus, having good employee experience and productivity levels whilst working remotely is easily possible when an organisation have established digital technologies, such as an intranet in place as this  reduces the disconnect between employees.  

Employee retention  

When writing for Gartner, Brian Kopp stated that  

One of the top engagement drivers for employees is seeing their work contribute to company goals,” says Kropp. “During periods of disruption, employees’ desire for being recognized for their contribution increases by about 30%.” 

As you can see even in normal times employee engagement is essential for employee retention, as the biggest cause of an employee leaving a company is lack of engagement and recognition, as they do not feel they are being appreciated. When an employee leaves it not only costs the company money, but it has negative impacts on productivity, knowledge sharing and relationships.  

In times of crisis alike now companies are looking to make cuts wherever they can but they should think carefully about this as  

Cost-cutting initiatives and de-investment can damage employee experience, which is critical for engagement and productivity. Understanding that impact can help you avoid rash decisions that could damage key talent outcomes in the long term.” (Daniel Dirks, Gartner 2020)

Thus, it is an important that companies balance cost cutting initiatives and employee experience in order to retain, and keep their staff happy. 

Social and emotional support  

It is important that companies keep their workers happy and build a positive employee experience, as everyone knows a happy worker is a more productive and engaged worker. Hence, it is important that a company provides social and emotional support to their workers and doesn’t just focus on the financial needs of the business.   

There are many benefits of having a good employee experience, some of them being more productive and emotionally resilient workers, which is a especially desirable characteristic now that we have and are living through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As when writing for Ernst & Young, Pamela Spence said that to 

retain the best and brightest talent, and build trust with their workers, employers need to embed mental wellness support in their return-to-work programs and clearly communicate the steps they will take to keep workers safe.”

Thus, it is important to support your workforce in order to keep them and that having an emotionally resilient workforce is essential for business continuity and it is something that companies should strive to have in place in the long term, even when we aren’t in a crisis. 

Digital has always played a big role, particularly now, in helping provide emotional and social support to employees. For example, digital technologies such as intranet help to create a culture of caring by helping to facilitate open channels of communication, social networking and connections as well as support and guidance  platforms and documents.  

Onboarding  

Employee experience is the sum of interactions an employee has in their company, thus it is important to build a positive experience for employees from the moment they are interviewed for the job. Therefore, it is essential that an organisation has a strong onboarding process. 

In research carried out by Glassdoor they revealed that companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.. Digital technologies, such as intranet provide a platform to create a positive onboarding experience with features such as training videos, company news, org charts and so on. It means that employees become more engaged and more productive in their role faster 

Customer experience  

It is very simple, you can’t have great customer experience without having great employee experience. Quoted in Deloitte Kimberley Schaufenbuel  an expert in employee engagement told us that  

‘the best workforce experiences enjoyed 12% greater customer satisfaction than other organisations, and their three-year revenue growth rate was 2.3 times greater than the average of the whole sample’ 

This illustrates the importance of creating a positive employee experience as it is directly linked to a organisation competitive positive and company growth. 

Summary  

There are a range of reasons why it is important to have a strong Digital Employee Experience as it effects all parts of the business.  We believe the role of the intranet within organisations is more important than ever and that businesses will see a faster return on their investment in to up to date collaboration tooling (such as Office 365) than ever before. 

Up next in the series we discuss the ‘how’ of Digital Employee Experience where we’ll talk about selecting the right tools and measuring success. 

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