Despite the rapid onset of an increasingly digital workplace, digital experience has lagged behind, causing issues for employees and employers alike. 35% of workers are frustrated with workplace software, according to a survey of UK and Germany workers by Userlane. Moreover, almost 1 in 10 have considered quitting their job because of their challenges with technology, while 18% are actively avoiding using workplace tech.
What's the point in implementing the latest technology innovations if your team is struggling to use it? HR experts increasingly need to prioritise the digital aspect of employee experience, but how exactly can we do this? The answer may lie in teaming up with the IT department. Let's take a look at how collaboration between HR and IT can boost employee experience in your organisation.
A closer look at employee experience
As you know, employee experience refers to all the interactions a worker has with their organisation from the moment they decide to apply for a job through hiring, onboarding, training, promotions, retention, and their eventual offboarding when they leave. Employee experience covers how employees feel about their work, the company culture, the physical and technology-driven aspects of their workplace, their relationships with coworkers and leadership, and much more.
While there are many ways of looking at employee experience, we particularly like the Employee Experience Index put forward by experts from the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and the Globoforce WorkHuman Analytics and Research Institute. The Employee Experience Index covers five dimensions:
- Belonging: the employee feels like they are part of a team or organisation
- Purpose: the employee knows why their work matters
- Achievement: the employee feels that they are accomplishing something with their work
- Happiness: the employee feels good about their work
- Vigour: the employee is enthusiastic and excited about their work
With all of these aspects, employees are more engaged with their organisation and more productive in their work.
What's the difference between employee experience and employee engagement?
In short, the difference between these two similar sounding things is time. While employee engagement is a measure of how committed an employee is to their organisation and its goals at a specific time, employee experience looks more widely at every touchpoint throughout the employee lifecycle. Thus, employee engagement is just one part of the greater employee experience.
What is digital employee experience (DEX)?
Digital employee experience, sometimes written as digital experience or DEX, looks at all of an employee's interactions with the digital aspect of the workplace. This encompasses the tech they use (workplace-supplied or with a bring your own device policy), and the digital applications, networks, and systems that they use to do their jobs.
As a subset of employee experience, digital employee experience has become increasingly important since the rise of remote working led to an increasingly digital workplace with many communications and tasks being carried out remotely via technology.
Some aspects of digital employee experience include:
- How easy the technology is to use
- Whether employees get adequate training from IT to feel comfortable using the digital tools
- How reliable, fast, or effective the technology is (does it crash or break? Do tasks take too long)
- Where the technology can be used
- Whether employees feel that the technology boosts productivity or saves time
- Technology's impact on collaboration and communication
- How helpful and effective the IT department is at resolving issues
Why is employee experience important in 2022?
In the midst of a challenging few years for many organisations with difficulties including Covid-19, the Great Resignation, and a likely upcoming recession, employee experience and DEX are important for creating a strong and resilient workplace.
As HRs, you don't need to be told that a good employee experience has a beneficial impact on company profits. 99% of you told us so in our 2022 employee experience survey, after all! Nonetheless, we're going to share some stats that highlight the importance of employee experience to business performance and profits to convince the remaining 1% of you.
Research has found that companies that invest in employee experience are 4x more profitable than their counterparts that do not. Companies with an emphasis on employee experience often see faster and stronger revenue growth, while one study found that organisations in the top quartile for employee experience showed a return on assets nearly three times higher than those in the bottom quartile.
In short, it should be no great surprise that organisations that put a focus on employee experience see improved financial performance.
The growing ubiquity of remote work has led to a workforce that is more mobile than ever before, and the so-called Great Resignation has seen workers jumping ship in droves. A study of HR directors at the beginning of this year found that retention was one of the top three issues faced by the majority of businesses.
To tackle high levels of turnover, a focus on employee experience is key. Employees who feel a sense of belonging, purpose, achievement, happiness, and vigour in their work are less likely to quit, even if they are offered higher salaries and better benefits elsewhere. As well as focusing on their experience in the physical workplace, it's essential that HR seeks to improve their experience in the digital workplace, too.
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Employee experience is also key to employer branding and the way your organisation is perceived by potential new employees.
Digital employee experience is a key part of this, with 42% of US workers who worked remotely during the pandemic reporting that if their employer stops allowing remote working they will look for a new job that supports a remote workforce.
HR and IT: A powerful pairing
While there may have been a time in the past when HR and IT were entirely distinct departments with little interaction, those days are undoubtedly over.
Many aspects of employee experience involve IT and technology, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic led to the rise of remote and hybrid working. Think of the many touchpoints of employee experience that are often linked to technology: undertaking pre-boarding and onboarding tasks, signing up for and completing online training, updating employee information, submitting expenses and timesheets, and much more. This all comes together in digital employee experience.
But how exactly can greater collaboration between HR and IT improve employee experience? Let's take a closer look at some examples.
Providing effective training
Lack of training is one of the biggest reasons for a poor digital experience. While UK businesses increased their investment in technology and digital tools by an average of £1.48 million in response to the pandemic, only 9% of the companies surveyed reported that they had trained all necessary staff to use their new technology.
Technology training is most effective when IT and HR professionals come together to ensure all employees can get the most out of their digital tools. Although training is often the domain of HR alone, collaborating with IT pros can make the sessions more effective in giving employees the exact knowledge and digital skills they need to get the best out of their tech.
Furthermore, a collaborative approach to tech training from HR and IT can emphasise sometimes overlooked but extremely important considerations when using workplace technology such as data security. According to one global survey, 71% of employees have shared business critical or sensitive data on communications tools such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, posing a real problem for cybersecurity. By teaming up with IT to deliver effective training, HR can ensure that employees are having positive experiences as well as being safe.
Ensuring remote working success
With many hybrid and remote employees working from home for at least part of the week, the technology employees use makes up a big part of their employee experience. This means that end user experience is paramount.
HR and IT experts together can create strategies to ensure that all employees are having a positive experience with technology, no matter whether they're in the workplace or at home. This might include creating plans for dealing with remote tech issues more effectively, providing technology advice for employees, and creating a stipend policy for home office equipment for remote employees.
Sharing data on digital employee experience
While collecting information about employee experience has traditionally been the role of HR, carried out using pulse surveys, exit interviews, and performance information, the integration of IT data can also illuminate digital employee experience.
For example, IT may be tracking metrics such as mean time to resolve and mean time to failure of IT issues, which can be usefully integrated with the other people analytics HR looks at. Is there a relationship between tech problems and productivity or employee engagement? What can we learn about employee wellbeing from data about the number of back-to-back video calls or the amount of time spent using HR software? By sharing data, IT and HR departments can back up their hunches with data.
Moreover, the sharing of data is mutually beneficial; HR data can inform IT strategy while IT data can drive HR goals and policy. With the role of data analytics becoming increasingly key in the modern workplace, enabling cross-departmental data flows is essential.
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Transforming digital employee experience with XCD
To improve DEX, powerful HR technology is key. XCD HR software provides employees with an intuitive and easy-to-use self-service portal through which they can take control of all their HR processes. This allows employees to instantly submit time-off requests, update their personal information, contribute to performance review forms, submit expense receipts, and a wide range of other tasks easily and simply from wherever they are in the world.
Plus, XCD HR and Payroll is designed for a great user experience. With our frustration-free HR technology, Human Resources teams, IT departments, and other employees alike can enjoy a better and more streamlined DEX.
Interested in using a powerful digital HR tool to enhance your organisation? To see for yourself how XCD HR technology can revolutionise employee experience, book a demo today.