Employee Experience Strategy: How Your IT Can Boost (or Sabotage) Morale, Retention and Customer Service

November 2017: If your IT makes it harder for your employees to do their jobs efficiently — maybe you have spotty internet, network issues, or problems with devices or apps — the experience you’re providing them might be motivating them in the wrong direction!

IT can factor heavily into the employee experience at your organization, which in turn impacts your customer experience. Here’s an overview of how today’s employees look at IT and how you can keep their needs centerstage when fine-tuning your employee experience strategy:

Employee experience (EX) is more than employee satisfaction and office perks. It’s a newer concept that’s based on everything from corporate culture and technology tools to the levels of engagement your employees feel — even the traffic on the morning commute is part of an employee’s experience. EX is what your employees experience on a daily basis while doing their jobs.

The more your employees use technology to do their jobs and deliver your products and services, the more it factors into EX.

How today’s employees are different

Employees rank EX as more important now than ever — this is why EX has become a thing. Organizations that recognize and respond to this changing landscape will be more likely to retain good employees and hire new ones. The opposite is true for those that ignore it. While each company has a unique set of processes and procedures that make them successful, it’s worth understanding what’s trending. Here are five things to know:

  1. Today’s employees expect different things, especially when it comes to collaboration and communication.
  2. Millennials make up the majority of workers today and will be 75% of the workforce in eight years.
  3. Committed, engaged employees perform 147% better and stay longer.
  4. Gallup found 68% of U.S. employees and 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged in their work.
  5. Successful EX strengthens the emotional connection that people feel for their work.

How most employees see IT

Employees have an emotional response to the technology they use at work, whether they realize it or not. If they like it, they have a good (or neutral) response. If they don’t like it, they complain — or they simmer in silence or even look for a new job. Managers report that when employees voice complaints about their jobs, it’s often about technology. What’s more, the lines between technology, communication, work activities, and work product have all blurred in the digital age, so dissatisfaction with one taints the whole. Here are five things to know:

  1. Employees don’t separate their IT experience from the rest of their work experience.
  2. Employees want their IT to function well so they can do their jobs well.
  3. Millennials really, really want their IT to function well — 93% say technology is one of the most important aspects of the workplace.
  4. When the technology that employees use outside of work functions better than the technology that they use at work, it creates problems with engagement and retention.
  5. Many people see the technology they use every day as an extension of themselves.

How devices impact experience

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is now the name of the game for most organizations. On the one hand, employers save time and money — stipends are easier on the budget than buying and managing devices. On the other hand, it can be a struggle to protect data and control work product, which are two of the reasons Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) are gaining popularity. Here are five things to know:

  1. Employees want to use their favorite devices for work.
  2. Employees don’t want their employers invading their space by tracking their movements or personal habits.
  3. Employees want to access the company network from any device from wherever they are, whether in a quiet space within the work campus or on the way to Cancun.
  4. A great wireless network makes everyone happy — slow or spotty does the opposite.
  5. Despite the love affairs with their devices, employees still want face-to-face work interactions.

How you can leverage IT to fine-tune your EX strategy

Research proves that a superb customer experience begins with engaged and inspired employees, which has a lot to do with EX, which can have a lot to do with IT. What’s more, if your business is delivered through technology — such as providing e-commerce, consulting, training, data entry, research, or web services — then your team’s experience with your IT environment is critical. It is also critical for companies that follow a flex-work strategy or have remote workers.

Here are five things to know:

  1. Making incremental changes to leverage your IT to support your employees is usually the way to go. Start by evaluating the EX you’re currently providing as it relates to IT — Where do you shine? What do employees complain about? Of the technology you’re currently using, what’s the oldest? A SWOT analysis can be useful.
  2. Integrating your apps and routines rather than using a different approach for each business function will improve EX. Disjointed systems create confusion and frustration.
  3. You may be able to improve your IT environment by reallocating your IT dollars rather than spending more, i.e., moving them from purchasing company devices to building a better wireless network.
  4. It’s usually to your advantage to not tether your employees to their cubicles.
  5. You may need to invest more in IT to attract and retain top talent. According to Richard Branson (Virgin Group), Tony Hsieh (Zappos) and hundreds of other business superstars, the secret to long-term success is putting your employees first.

Leapfrog is extremely focused on contributing to a positive EX for our clients — it’s at the core of our service offerings and what we believe. For example, we staff our Help Desk with highly trained technicians who answer the phone themselves so callers don’t need to be transferred before getting help. Our technicians solve the vast majority of problems on the spot and use a tracking system that ensures if the problem comes up again, or if another employee has the same problem, we already have the background information. If our system notices a trend, we act proactively on our client’s behalf.

If you’d like to know more about how Leapfrog’s business model contributes to a positive EX and IT that aligns with your business goals, please feel free to contact us.

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