Employee Experience: The Driving Force Behind Digital Transformation
The accelerating rate of technological evolution has made digital transformation a fundamental component of any organization's longevity. In order to remain competitive in the face of change, companies need to be adaptive and data-driven, which hinges on having the right digital ecosystem.
The importance of tools for outward facing insights and customer analytics have long been accepted as key factors for guiding decisions during digital transformations, but there is another often overlooked factor that needs to be at the center of transformational change: employee experience.
Discussions of employee experience often center around opportunities for career development, workplace flexibility and work/life balance, supportive and inclusive workplace cultures, and so on. Each of these have profound implications for business outcomes. Employees’ overall experience of being part of an organization can either facilitate or hinder their productivity, wellbeing, ideation, collaboration, and quality of work, thereby driving an imperative to ensure employee satisfaction for the overall success of the organization. However, our conceptualization of ‘employee experience’ needs to expand to the experiences of interacting with an organization’s digital tools and processes.
If we expect our teams to make evidence-based decisions, then that evidence should not only be readily available, but also easy to access, navigate, and draw conclusions from. This comes down to tools and systems as a key component of creating positive employee experiences.
UX for Employee Success
Internal digital shortcomings like software issues, poor avenues of communication, and weak cybersecurity were illuminated and exacerbated as the pandemic drove companies to remote work.¹ Without holistic strategies for transforming digital workflows, responses to these problems have proven to be ineffective and unsustainable, especially as working life continues to evolve. For many organizations, the key to operating as effectively (or better) remotely as in-house, is an employee-centric digital ecosystem.
The very same strategies and principles we apply to customers are repeatedly overlooked for employees. To accelerate the pace of progress while maximizing impact, today’s businesses need to apply the same principles to the employee as they do the customer. This includes adjusting technology to fit people’s needs and communication preferences rather than expecting people to adapt and adjust to the technology. More efficient workflows, ease of collaboration, and even things like reducing the number of clicks a process takes to execute can have a massive impact on how engaged employees feel in the work they do.
In a 2019 article by Deloitte, they stated that 70 percent of workers reported having to enter the same data into multiple systems to do their job effectively.² Things like straightforward user interfaces, UX design, information accessibility, and clear lines of communication between end users and support teams are often neglected when it comes to internal digital tools. We would immediately remove those barriers for our customers, so why don’t we address them for our teams?
Just as customer-centric UX fits the needs and tendencies of the customer, employee-centric UX needs to be tailored to the role and behaviours of the employee.
If employees rely on analytics to make decisions, the data needs to be readily available, accessible, and easy to draw conclusions from to facilitate the job of the employee.
One of Stratizant's customers exemplified the need for accessible data very well. Their employees rely on accessing large amounts of data to perform their duties, which has a direct impact on customers’ physical interactions with the company. They had previously relied almost exclusively on an Enterprise Resource Planning system to capture and share data, which was hindering the employee experience, and in turn, the customer experience. By creating mechanisms that allowed the data to flow between core back-end systems and employee interfaces more easily, those processes and experiential outcomes were dramatically improved.
Employee-centric strategies are not merely about increasing productivity. Organizations with high workforce experiences show greater employee engagement, higher customer satisfaction, better talent retention, and higher than average rates of revenue growth over several years.²
Furthermore, applying user-centric principles to internal tools and processes leads to more successful digital transformations, with ripple effects on the competitiveness of an organization at large.
In order to make transformations faster and more successful, organizations need to lean into internal data. Gathering insight into how employees actually work will help guide decision making around how and where data is consolidated, as well as how data systems are architected.
Research from the International Data Corporation shows that shifting to an employee-centric agenda could resolve deadlocks for more than half of organizations struggling with their digital transformation strategy.³ Not only does implementing employee-centric values and strategies benefit the overall organization in innumerable ways, but failing to do so is evidently likely to be detrimental to an organization's progress.
Digital transformation is all about change. When it’s successful, it facilitates elasticity within organizations in such a way that they are able to pivot and innovate through the accelerating rates of change that have come to define our corporate world. In order to make digital transformations a success, they need to be driven by employee experience, just as external product decisions are driven by customer experience. Creating systems that prioritize the employee leads to opportunities to cultivate new behaviours and cultures, contributing to an organization’s resiliency and adaptability in a rapidly evolving corporate world.
The reality is this: employees are the foundation of digital transformation.
Interact Software, How a focus on employee experience can accelerate your digital transformation. 2021
Deloitte, The Digital Workforce Experience. 2019
International Data Corporation, How Employee Experience Can Drive Digital Transformation. 2020