The disruptive power of digital transformation can’t be ignored. This is especially true when you consider its effect on the employee experience (EX) as workforces across almost every industry rely on technology, to some extent, to accomplish their jobs.
There’s a direct link between the usefulness of digital tools and benefits in an organization. For instance, a better digital employee experience is shown to result in a 33% increase in work satisfaction and organizations are 65% more likely to have better rates of retention.
Overall, technology should make work easier and better for employees; not more difficult. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
To address this challenge, it’s necessary to reimagine your existing approach to employee experience and strategize where and how technology fits in — for now and in the future.
What does digital employee experience mean?
Digital employee experience (DEX) refers to how effectively employees engage and interact with digital solutions and tools in the workplace.
Today, practically every stage within the employee lifecycle involves a digital interaction between employees and their organization — from a first touchpoint when they engage with an online job posting, to access to systems during onboarding, as well as continuous learning and development. All in all, a positive DEX enables employees to be more engaged, productive and efficient.
Why prioritize digital employee experience?
Employees interface with countless digital touchpoints during the course of their workday that influence their experience on the job. That’s why it’s important to ensure those touchpoints positively add up.
A strong digital employee experience has a significant impact on profitability and efficiencies, stemming from benefits such as:
- Increased productivity
- Improved employee satisfaction
- Higher levels of employee engagement
- Increased retention rates
- Streamlined processes
- Positioned as an employer of choice
Keep in mind that employee expectations are high. People are used to intuitive, highly functional technology in their personal lives and expect the same standard at work.
How to build a winning digital experience for your workforce
To start, it’s important to determine where your current efforts may be falling short. Ask yourself:
- What gaps exist in the technological infrastructure within my organization?
- What gaps exist in the digital literacy, competency and skill sets of employees?
Fostering a successful digital employee experience means first making the technology available to your workforce, and then training them to ensure they are able to effectively engage with it. Here are some best practices to consider as you’re crafting a strategy that aims to improve the digital employee experience.
Secure executive buy-in
Oftentimes, leadership teams may need convincing that investing in digital employee experience is worthwhile. Be prepared to demonstrate to stakeholders and executives why it’s important to move away from outdated processes and "the old way of doing things." This goes beyond technology but can include entire systems and processes that need to be uprooted.
For example, an outdated tuition assistance program (TAP) that relies on upfront payment and only offers in-person learning courses is no match to a modern, strategic workforce education program that online learning and a direct-bill model to improve accessibility and flexibility.
Prioritize learning and development
Be sure to consider where learning and development come into play. It’s necessary to have the proper training and learning resources in place to help team members learn how to use the technology that’s available to them. This can be as simple as offering training, or as robust as providing access to degrees, certifications or other credentials that focus on upskilling and long-term competency development.
Choose solutions that allow for ease of use and alignment
It’s important to prioritize access and ease of use when selecting and implementing technology systems and processes. Although you strive to find the latest and greatest tech on the market, you should also be mindful not to select tools that are too complex or too difficult to integrate with existing employee workflows.
The ideal solution will allow for personalization and adaptation so that it’s easier for your teams to adopt, while still delivering on the desired business outcomes.
Garner broad-spectrum input
As those typically responsible for overall employee experience strategy, people leaders have a strong grasp on how technology affects the workforce environment and culture. However, it’s unlikely that you and your peers in HR are well-versed on the intricacies of technology. That’s why DEX strategy requires cross-functional effort and collaboration across the company.
The extended DEX planning team may include:
- HR professionals with insight into critical points and processes relating to the current EX.
- Internal communications experts working to streamline implementation and keep everyone from junior employees to the C-suite up-to-date on the plan and process.
- Information technology professionals to vet, install, deliver and troubleshoot the digital innovations themselves.
You might also consider including disability advocates and diversity professionals on the team to ensure new solutions and processes are accessible and equitable to all.
Future-proofing your digital employee experience
Even with a robust EX strategy already in place, elevation of digital employee experience won’t happen overnight. The actions you take to improve DEX across the organization will take considerable time to implement. Trying to move too fast and launch too many initiatives at once can cause confusion. So it’s key to prioritize DEX based on business needs and expected impact.
Also, keep in mind that what you do to address digital transformation for EX is never a one-and-done thing. The changes you make to your DEX now will require long-term investment. Plus, there’s a need to constantly revisit your plan to stay agile and effectively address the ever-advancing demands of the future.
Curious to know more about improving employee experience? Double-down on L&D and learn how to deliver an employee learning experience that primes your workforce for growth and development.