How much thought does your organization give to employee experience? If your company is like most, probably not as much as it could . . . at least until the global pandemic hit. According to research by Forrester, less than a third of companies surveyed conducted employee experience analyses quarterly as of the end of 2019. That means when COVID-19 sent many organizations into sudden work-from-home (WFH) scenarios, they had no idea how their people felt about engagement at work and overall job satisfaction.
Not the greatest way to enter a pandemic. And without these insights, it’s challenging to know how to promote or sustain a positive employee experience nine months into remote work situations.
Remote work was already on the rise pre-pandemic, but as global lockdowns have sent more employees to the home office, the digital employee experience has become more important than ever. The new normal is here — Forrester’s research says remote work will increase 300% in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Employee experience as next frontier
So how do you prepare for the future of work in an increasingly remote workplace? Customer experience was the watch phrase of the last decade, but in 2021, employee experience will be the new frontier. And if you want to recruit and retain the best and the brightest, you’ll need to gain a competitive edge in the digital employee experience space.
First, it’s important to understand what employee experience is not. It’s not about perks like on-campus cafeterias and gyms. Rather it’s about the psychological experience of working at a given company. Do your employees feel like they have the tools they need to accomplish their goals? Is their work meaningful? Is your company culture supportive and challenging? That’s what employee experience is all about . . . and now that experience is increasingly digital.
Today organizations have a unique opportunity to redefine employee experience in a digital world — creating a strong, transparent, professionally nurturing, and meaningful workplace even when people aren’t all in the same room.
Tips for improving the digital employee experience
As the typical employee experience goes digital, how can you make sure your team has the tools, incentives, and engagement for job satisfaction and professional growth? We’ve got some tips:
Gone are the days when employees feared automation would eliminate their jobs. Today’s workers want streamlined workflows and automated processes to help them increase productivity and spend less time on administrative tasking that neither grows your organization’s bottom line nor creates an engaged workforce. As the employee experience goes digital (or at least partially so), your employees will want tools that reduce paper shuffling and printing, automate repetitive tasking, and are easy to use.
Create efficient policies
A proposed bill in the German parliament could make working from home a right. While such a policy might be a pipe dream for employees in most places, the reality is that a substantial number of workers are either working from home full-time or maintaining a remote and office hybrid model. To keep a competitive edge in today’s job market, employers will have to adjust by creating workplace policies that not only create efficiencies but recognize that working from home moves many business expenses and liabilities from the organization to the employee.
That means your human resources department needs to consider all WFH challenges — ranging from document security to consistency in branding and communications. Other things to consider for your workers? Reimbursement for laptops, smartphones, and internet access.
Central to a positive digital employee experience is ease of communication—both with customers and with colleagues. With more remote workers comes the need for digital collaboration tools like instant messaging, cloud-based document collaboration, and eSigning capabilities.