Dec 18, 2020 Bogdan Udrea

Part 2: The secret sauce to delivering great digital employee experiences

In my previous blog, I laid out the two ways I think enterprises can meet employees’ expectations of IT. In this blog, we explore how to strike a balance between these two approaches that satisfy employee demands and placate the concerns of IT.
The secret sauce to delivering great digital employee experiences

The two approaches we discussed previously can be summarized as:

  1. A persona-driven approach whereby IT profiles employees and associates them with personas.
  2. An ungoverned approach that essentially enables employees to have anything they desire.

Of course, employees naturally gravitate toward the latter option as it gives them ultimate power to claim IT services as and when they need to. The former is seen as a more favorable approach by IT but has long been riddled with issues that limit its efficacy. Luckily, there is a middle ground between these two approaches. The challenge is building the processes and technology stack to support it.

Finding middle ground

What I always recommend is two steps based on an amalgamation of the two approaches:

  1. Start by defining the enterprise personas but define them as broad profiles of workers and roles, primarily for the purpose of tracking.
  2. Continue offering choices to such personas, instead of framing them into a rigid construct of devices, software, systems, and processes.

The key aspect in this model is the actual governance and tracking of these personas. The best way to do that is by monitoring the choices employees make and continuously engaging with them through targeted surveys and sentiment analytics to confirm and evaluate the perception of their choices.

This will allow any IT organization to better understand user behavior and needs, and then apply a key principle that already exists in the consumer world:

Start making recommendations based on what similar people in the enterprise have been asking or using across the entire available IT ecosystem.

This model also enables IT, over time, to gain back the predictability that they strive for, as employees will quickly start choosing similar paths based on how they prefer to work, engage and collaborate in the enterprise. This model enables what we call a “self-driving” persona model for the enterprise, one that it will automatically self-adjust and is guided by employee experience demands.

How do you manage employees’ experiences?

There is one key prerequisite here though in order to succeed in this approach, and that is the ability to actively manage employees’ experiences. By managing (or governing them), I mean measurement and rapid response actions.

This is a scary area for IT in general, because the measurement has to occur across:

  • Devices that employees use
  • Applications that they interact with
  • Collaboration channels that they seem to prefer
  • Engagement models that they feel most comfortable with

The intent behind this is to understand, using semi-structured data, their servicing and process expectations across all these items, while also paying attention to their sentiment and perception. This is not an easy task, especially for IT organizations that historically preferred to operate in siloes due to the IT-centric approach that they have always taken.

Simplifying digital experience management

What seems to work most of the times is a combination of technology approaches and refocused value measurements. The later entails quantifying your IT ecosystem status through a set of experience metrics. The most common ones used are experience scores, calculated as weighted averages of system performance metrics, IT support metrics and surveys or sentiment data.

Creating this set of user experience scores almost always acts as a unifier across many IT practices within an enterprise as they band together to achieve a shared goal: increasing that score, month over month.

But measuring and observing without the ability to act and address employee frustrations will land IT back where they were before the process started: being seen as one of the friction factors in the enterprise.

Shift to rapid response

Acting on user expectations requires rapid reaction and the ability to address any impactful metric that is detrimental to the employee experience, including accelerated change to processes, systems or applications.

IT functions, while jointly incentivized to continuously enhance the employee experience, often lack tools and platforms that allow them to act at scale, ideally in real time and in a rapidly quantifiable manner. I’ve come across best-of-breed technology strategies to manage the workplace, and while it’s a nice to have model, it has inherent limitations:

  1. The number of technologies that are needed to enable a meaningful management of user experiences is itself unmanageable.
  2. Too much manual effort goes into creating a working stack.
  3. Such best-of breed solutions make too much noise as they compete for IT’s attention based on what each believes is important.

This is the reason why the only feasible answer here usually lies in simplifying the technology stack and using a better—and ideally natively integrated—set of solution that give IT real-time ability to control the employee journey. You need to continuously re-evaluate your technology partners to ensure your solutions offer both breadth of coverage and extensibility to equip you with actionable data.

A quick recap

We covered a lot in this two-part blog series, so I’ve extracted some of the key takeaways here:

  1. One of the first key strategic steps that any organization should take is enabling governed employee choice.
  2. Equally important is to continuously monitor the choices that employees make and measure their perceptions through both metrics and sentiment/survey data. This will ensure you derive a level of predictability and are able to make accurate recommendations.
  3. Incentivizing and prioritizing the continuous transformation of IT practices based on data is a great unifier of siloed practices. The way to do this is by integrating the usual IT-centric measurements with employee experience scores.
  4. Reviewing technology strategies and choices should be a continuous effort. The goal is to arrive at a simplified and integrated solution stack that not only helps IT understand and quantify employee experiences across all dimensions, but gives them the ability to act in real-time to positively impact the environment they collectively manage.

If you have any questions about kick-starting or even revamping your digital employee experience program, we’re here to help. 1E’s Digital Experience Management solution enables IT to monitor, measure, and manage digital experiences easily and accurately so you’re always providing employees with the best services possible. You can find out more about Tachyon Experience here. Alternatively, why not attend our upcoming webinar series that dives deeper into how to deliver better digital employee experiences.

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