By Andrew Duncan, Partner and UK CEO, Infosys Consulting
With ongoing disruption to business objectives, demand for the technology and processes that support business resiliency is only set to grow. However, this rising need for digital tools should not detract from the importance of an organisation’s talent. By effectively engaging employees, companies can attract and retain the best talent available – giving them a competitive advantage in the market. In this way, employee experience can have an extremely positive effect on a business’ bottom line. As companies and their staff adapt to the reality of long-term remote working, business leaders must prioritise employee experience (EX) if they are to achieve their transformation goals.
- Employee loyalty is earned
Companies can no longer rely on traditional levers to gain loyalty and drive retention. Post-pandemic, consumers will demand ever-more personalised offerings, and this will be no different for the new digital employee. Most organisations are already collecting data from a wide range of touchpoints to gain a 360-degree view of customer engagement levels. Organisations that leverage their employee data and analytics capabilities in a similar manner will have the ability to enrich their EX in equally personalised ways, creating a greater sense of brand loyalty within the workforce.
When it comes to understanding and improving the employee experience, there is no one better to learn from than employees themselves. Digital feedback platforms and collaboration tools make it possible to gain unprecedented insights into what matters to employees, whether through surveys, chatbots or virtual feedback groups. By engaging people in a two-way dialogue, leaders have the ability to deliver personalised experiences that support their individual goals and requirements.
- The employment timeline is changing
We’ve had to work faster and better than ever before to match the dramatic personal, business and societal changes caused by COVID-19, and operating models are struggling to keep pace. Leaders need to equip their people with the necessary skills, tools and incentives to start working dynamically to support their new digitisation goals. Organisations have the opportunity to redefine and redesign employee journeys to reach these desired outcomes, from onboarding through to training and performance management.
For example, post-pandemic, organisational silos need to be broken down and replaced with agile and empowered teams working together towards a collective goal – something I discussed in my first article. By redefining the onboarding process, employees can be welcomed into the organisation as a whole, not within a departmental island. Equally, their incentives and recognition can be aligned to the company’s aims and objectives rather than their particular silo. Ultimately, EX should be about delivering a journey that leads to more individual success, which in turn leads to the company’s success.
- Support can be augmented
Long-term, the focus must shift from how businesses can use technology to improve their bottom line to how can they can use technology to support and engage their people. Leaders should concentrate on using technology as an enabler for better employee experiences – working in the background to support greater workforce productivity and issue resolution. User personas can help determine how technology can augment and transform the way in which people work.
Developing these augmented experiences doesn’t necessarily require significant investment. It could be as simple as providing employees with the tools they need to do their job; from being given a work laptop that is already properly configured for their particular role, and the right credentials to access the specific files they need. In more digitally mature organisations, this could mean leveraging automated onboarding platforms, digital assistants, and AI-driven learning tools to deliver flexible and personalised experiences. Finally, consider re-assessing the new collaboration tools your organisation may have quickly scaled earlier this year to power a sudden WFH model. Ensure they are still meeting the standard your staff expect, and consider making some adjustments where needed, as the new normal is likely here for the long-term.
- Digital leadership is vital
For a differentiated EX, employees need clear strategic guidance on expected outcomes and priorities from the very beginning. This is particularly important when implementing new digitisation initiatives or employee journeys. When making these changes, leaders should build trust with a governance framework around the metrics they want to use, the data they want to collect, and how they will safeguard sensitive information.
As the shift towards digital continues, organisations will also need to educate the wider workforce about the importance of security issues. When introducing new technologies, such as cloud-based platforms for improved collaboration, these investments should be reinforced by clear cyber-security policies and best practice. CIOs will want to undertake regular risk assessments and scenario planning to identify potential impacts on the workforce, and to ensure file and communication channels remain secure.
Long before the pandemic, traditional operating models were falling short of the needs of the new digital employee. The events of 2020 have accelerated the realisation of digital priorities, as the way we work faces a complete overhaul. In this new era of working, where we must adapt and pivot in the face of disruptions, the new digital employee is not just a concept, but a reality. By prioritising personalisation and data-driven strategies for EX, companies can nurture a strong, effective employee culture and prepare themselves for the ever-changing ‘new normal’.