Employee inclusion: The new look out for IT leaders seeking to make digital transformation a success
The Importance of Employee Experience in Digital Transformation Strategies
Today, determining which tools and technologies will futureproof growth and ensure competitiveness has been added to their already well piled plate - an undertaking that would disturb the sleep of even the most well prepared and resourced IT team.
Alongside their colleagues across HR and facilities management, IT managers are already optimising the office to reflect the evolving use of these spaces. But with many employees spending only part of their working week in the office, and others working entirely remote, the gains of an optimised office quickly fall down if they don’t sync with the needs of a hybrid workforce.
In fact, our research suggests many organisations are not enjoying seamless collaboration. For example, 44% of employees do not have communication technology that facilitates seamless communication with remote colleagues.
In a difficult economic climate with many challenges on the horizon, businesses cannot afford such a disconnect. If the workplace experience fails employees, they’ll seek out other opportunities.
So, to ensure their organisations attract and retain the best talent, IT managers must challenge themselves on the impact of their digital transformation strategies. That means bringing employees along the journey of innovation and investment, encouraging them to engage with new tools and processes and, crucially, creating avenues for them to feedback and highlight any points of friction that are impacting productivity.
Gartner advises that this process should include setting “experience-level agreements” (XLAs) - which go far beyond the standard service-level agreements (SLAs) and ultimately measure employee experience with IT services and technology. To demonstrate their value, Gartner even included XLAs on its “innovation trigger” slope to show that when it comes to early-stage adoption and maturity of technology, they help measure end-to-end user experience so that businesses can optimise and improve the technology experience of employees, which leads to better business performance.
Digital transformation that’s fit for purpose
IT leaders must ensure that digital transformation strategies are coherent and overarching, aligning change and investment across the entire organisation, and considering the full spectrum of hybrid working. Key to this is building a strategy around the people it will ultimately affect.
What are the core objectives that must be achieved for an organisation? For many businesses, this will often be to facilitate improved flexibility, collaboration and connectivity. As such, before embarking on a roster of new technology adoption IT managers must get under the skin of these objectives and understand how customer and employee needs can be addressed – whether it’s automating time intensive tasks or making it easier to connect on projects and share creativity.
Our research indicates some strategies may be falling short – with over a third (36%) of employees saying the new technology being rolled out across their business won’t affect them. IT leaders must ask themselves, particularly if an investment’s sole purpose is to improve the working experience of employees and this isn’t being met, is it a valuable addition to the tech stack?
Employee-centricity in a new era
For many organisations, it may be that their tech investments are creating an inconsistent or fragmented working experience as opposed to the desire effect. This is where interoperability becomes integral.
In a hybrid working world, digital transformation should be experienced equally. It can’t be that those based at home are not equipped with the same tools as those working in the office – and vice versa. Or, that those operating on different systems or programmes are locked out of benefiting from innovative upgrades or tech investments due to compatibility challenges. This risks hampering productivity and creating a fragmented employee experience.
IT leaders must ensure all employee technology stacks are consistently accessible – regardless of where they’re based. Not only does that protect a seamless working environment, it creates greater efficiencies for IT teams who can deploy one integrated service across the workforce.
Bringing employees with you
But prioritising the right innovation and investment requires drawing insights from those that will get the most use out of them. Engaging with employees to understand their needs is essential to building a competitive, successful digital transformation strategy. That’s why it’s so important for employees to have the ability to feedback and tell IT teams when they’re struggling, so leaders know what pain points to address.
Additionally, once new tools have been added to the stack, IT managers must encourage employees to actively engage with them. If people feel overwhelmed by new technology or processes they won’t use them, wasting valuable resources, failing to solve productivity challenges and further detracting from the employee experience. Making sure employees are confident, trained and satisfied with the tools they’re using can go a long way to making new initiatives a success.
It's not just about investing in the “latest” or “greatest” solutions on the market, but finding the ones that will actively address employees’ core needs.
So how do IT leaders access these insights? IT departments are already occupied with several business-critical tasks. Adding the challenge of collecting employee insights to an already heavy workload is a daunting task.
However, collecting such data doesn’t have to be an arduous process. Integrated technology platforms can support by giving businesses the ability to assess how employees are interacting with technology – whether in office or virtually. What are they making most use of? What is seeing little to no engagement? These insights can be invaluable, highlighting areas in need of new investment or collaboration tools that need an upgrade.
With one integrated platform, IT managers can develop stronger, people-centric workplace strategies that actually suit the end-user.
By Edward Hamilton, Vice President Communication Services
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