Reducing digital friction for a better employee experience

Office staff

IT departments added a stack of tasks to their docket when remote and hybrid working became the norm. While initial purchases of video conferencing and business communication subscriptions were temporary fixes, they were not the only long-term solutions necessary to provide the seamless digital experience employees needed to carry out their roles.

The pandemic has strengthened the need to improve the digital experience business case for organizations that wish to increase employee engagement, satisfaction and retention. Employees, so used to having immediate responses from their home-use apps, have come to expect the same instant feedback from workplace technology but in many cases are not getting it.

Added to this, there is a perception gap in the way people work post-pandemic.  IT leaders predict that only a third of the workforce will work from home after the pandemic, while more than half of employees estimate that they will have remote/hybrid work arrangements. This type of perception gap can result in ill-equipped digital environments. Businesses need to know that hybrid working is here to stay and while 90 percent of C-suite say digital experience is a priority post- pandemic, they need to be on the same page as employees as to what is needed.

For many companies, the focus had been primarily on enhancing the customer’s digital experience through analytics, customer feedback and more. But now, thanks to phenomena such as the Great Resignation, which is seeing high employee turnover, businesses are broadening their focus to implement Digital Employee Experience (DEX) strategies, especially now that many have adopted hybrid working models.

DEX is the experience of an employee with the digital workplace enabled by a company’s IT department. DEX is based on an employee’s device, applications, network performance, but also their overall experience with digital workplace technology. The smoother the digital employee experience, the more productive and happier employees can be. The harder it is to access and use workplace technology, the less workers can do.

The significance of this mindset shift for companies brings in a whole new view of what an employee is. A company’s digital employee is an extension of your customer base. It’s their happiness that keeps productivity high and customers happy. Their positive digital experience is imperative in meeting deadlines and achieving an organization’s business goals.

For many employees, working remotely, the IT department falls out of reach. Remote workers are placed in a queue, sometimes with extraordinarily long wait times, to make sure issues are resolved. Of course, the result is huge delays in work and, therefore, reduced employee productivity. 66 percent of employees say time to resolve tech issues has a negative impact on their ability to get their jobs done, meet customer needs, and meet deliverable deadlines.

In other scenarios, employees have become their own IT department in work-from-anywhere offices. But becoming a novice IT troubleshooter wasn’t part of the job description for these already busy employees, and no effective business leader wants to burden their employees with things they simply aren’t qualified to handle.

DEX and the future of work

Leaders who want to succeed and grow in this new age of work must take employee productivity and technology challenges into serious consideration. If the vast majority of employees feel that the issues they are experiencing can be avoided, what does this communicate to them about their leadership?

Companies are now looking at DEX solutions to improve the quality of users’ interactions with technology in their work environment. DEX is a way to enable and empower employees technologically with 90 percent of C-suite saying digital experience is a priority. More than half of C-suite and 6 of 10 employees say their companies’ DEX quality is just average or worse. Yet 60 percent of IT rates DEX as good or superior, showing digital divide.

Why digital experience monitoring matters 

The result of this divide causes unnecessary digital friction in the workplace, and expectations are high. Employees expect support in a timely fashion. Bumps in the road to productivity should be addressed with haste.

Tech issues are not individual -- any IT problem an employee is having should be a company issue and be responded to with the same seriousness and timeliness as if employees were all in the office.

The answer to eliminating employee tech challenges lies in taking on board the top remote work pain points presented by employees and prioritizing them in a DEX strategy. As part of this, consistent digital experience monitoring (DEM) catches small problems before they can become larger disruptions. This type of comprehensive monitoring involves a 24/7 cycle of information gathering, brought into a digital experience cloud, which aggregates data to draw effective conclusions about any emergent or existing issues.

Having a DEM system in place is a vital step to reducing the digital friction employees experience throughout their workday. This level of monitoring communicates to employees that their leaders are taking their IT issues seriously (as they should be) and looking for proactive solutions.

Now that hybrid and remote work models are here to stay, companies must begin focusing on the day-in and day-out of employee well-being, wherever they choose to work from. Emerging technologies, like DEX and DEM, optimise the end-user experience for the remote workforce and help them work efficiently, relieving workplace stress and therefore alleviating unnecessary HR concerns. It isn’t a novel concept -- it’s simply good business.

Image Credit: Goodluz / Shutterstock

Ryan Purvis is Head of Solutions, Lakeside Software. He is focused on helping Lakeside customers to solve complex problems and transform their businesses through the strategic application of our technology. In his 20+ year career, Ryan has led cross functional teams in multiple roles, ranging from Chief Information Officer for HiLo Maritime Risk Management, to Director for Cyber Defence at UBS, and Engineering Lead for JP Morgan Chase. Ryan divides his time between the UK and South Africa

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