Even in the teeth of a global pandemic, the market to find and hire knowledge workers remains hot. According to February 2021 data from the U.S. Federal Reserve, the total amount of jobs lost during the recession for people earning over $85,000 is only 1% – basically a return to pre-Pandemic levels. In this environment, enterprises looking to hire knowledge workers with skills in tech, marketing, finance or other highly-paid areas are increasingly competing not just on wages but on employee experience.
Because nearly all knowledge-centric industries will continue to have a heavily remote workforce for the foreseeable future, employee experience has effectively become a digital experience. IT leaders that can holistically orchestrate the various systems required to procure, configure, deliver and service IT assets for employees now play a greater role than ever in helping their companies succeed. Properly executed, a user-centric and efficient digital employee experience can provide an unfair competitive advantage in making employees more productive and happier. It can also improve performance of IT teams by reducing repetitive tasks like data entry and allowing them to focus on more complex problems.
Employees care as much about experience as money
Large volumes of research have demonstrated that top-line wages are not the primary driver of how much employees like their jobs. In fact, intrinsic rewards are more important in determining satisfaction levels. For many employees, the ultimate intrinsic reward is a pleasant and efficient IT process that responds to their requests and needs and makes them more productive.
. A few key IT employee experience touch point might include:
- having new hires’ laptops, monitors and peripherals ready on Day One
- securing the necessary software and SaaS subscriptions employees need for their job
- creating easy-to-use processes for requesting new peripherals
- quickly supplying loaner machines whenever an employee has a problem with their dedicated machine
- ensuring employee records are properly synced across SSO and employee directory applications
Five steps to a holistic digital employee experience
Here are five steps that an IT leader can follow to deliver a well-orchestrated and employee-friendly digital experience.
- Find an HR and Procurement and/or Finance partner for the project: Each department has a clear role in the employee experience. For an effective digital employee experience transformation to work, you need all three perspectives because so many employee-facing processes touch technology systems in each of these areas.
- Create a holistic view of each employee’s IT needs: This means building a single integrated view of all the IT elements each employee will require. Most likely, you will need to integrate various solutions and tools that manage hardware assets, software assets, mobile devices, SaaS, and cloud. You will also need to include information about employee directory status (Active Directory or G Suite) and SSO (Okta). Once you have integrated all these systems, you should be able to pull up various views of employee IT needs – at the individual level, the department level, or by function, seniority and location.
- Tally required steps for common IT interactions: Literally counting out all the steps required to complete employee-facing IT tasks is essential to understanding and then improving digital employee experience. This should be a visual map that is journey-based rather than a list of steps. Along this journey note all the IT systems required by an employee or IT person and build the dependencies into your system.
- Find steps that can be automated or eliminated: Now is where the fun starts and you can deliver on the promise of a better digital experience. Think about automating steps within systems and also about automating steps across siloed systems which you integrated in Step 1. Map out the possible workflows. For eliminating steps, there are likely processes that are repeated – such as entering the same data in multiple systems, or asking a user to submit profile information. Wherever you can, create automated workflows that allow an employee or IT provider to perform a task once and once only.
- Reality check your digital employee experience redesign: Present your redesign to a select sample of employees and ask whether they see any problems with what you are proposing. Getting user feedback is really key because they have to live through the experience every day and may have insights or issues that were not previously surfaced. Including their input can allow you to address concerns before you start implementing the redesign.
- Test and tune up your new digital employee experience: You are now confident that your orchestrated approach can actually transform the digital employee experience. Superb. Now, build a beta version that is as close to the final vision as possible. Ask employees from each team to test drive your new version of the digital employee experience and provide feedback. Once you have gotten the thumbs up from the employees, finalize your design and deploy the changes to workflows, processes, user interfaces and more.
IT teams that can deliver an orchestrated digital employee experience will help their companies in numerous ways. Employees that spend less time doing IT process busywork are more likely to be happier, more engaged, and more productive. Smart digital employee experiences can ensure employees face less down time. Orchestrated integration of cross-siloed IT asset management, HRIS, financial systems, and identity management systems can create a more fluid, agile and efficient IT backbone that benefits not only employees but everyone working to support them in their jobs.