EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE REIMAGINED
Unprecedented, unpredictable and rapid change and disruption are here to stay. Organisations must be able to quickly sense and respond to stay relevant, compete and grow market share. In our reinventing world, organisations must embrace digital transformation to create new business models, new revenue streams and exceptional experiences for their customers. Organisations are using technology at scale to ignite innovation, automate processes and deliver insights that fuel growth. But the digital transformation journey is less about technology and more about people—in particular, the employees that power your business.
Advancements in technology have always influenced the way we work. From the steam engine to artificial intelligence, innovation has compelled organisations to adapt and change how work gets done. Now organisations must determine how to focus forward into a future-state workplace where a mix of office, remote and hybrid employees blur the lines between physical and digital environments. How we work will never be the same; it’s just a question of how different it will be. Fuelled by technology platforms like cloud, mobile and AI, organisations can adapt and reimagine how work gets done and, most importantly, how that shift impacts employees.
For years, consumer brands have vied for our attention with promises of effortless customer experiences, a single click to buy, two clicks to return, alerts and ads personalised to our preferences, and the list goes on. Consumer experiences like these are raising employee expectations for the platforms and technologies they use at work. Fuelled by the increase in remote work, employees view work as something they do rather than a place they go. Employees expect employers to provide a seamless user experience where they can work from anywhere, on any device.
To get there, organisations must overcome several hurdles:
Complex ecosystems: The continuous convergence of IT processes, platforms and partnerships is difficult to navigate, and organisations often underestimate the complexity. Rigid work environments: Silos and monolithic applications based on legacy platforms create barriers to transform into a flexible, digital employee experience. Security, privacy and trust: Frictionless environments, where employees work from anywhere, on any device, greatly expands attack surfaces. Resistance to change: Most companies have organisational change management (OCM) programmes focused on the technical aspects of change and transformation, but the people aspects and driving user adoption can be overlooked. Parity of experience: Balancing the technical needs of a remote, hybrid and in-person workforce requires thoughtful investments in technology that will enable inclusive collaboration, regardless of work location. Shifting market landscape: Technology’s increasingly vital role in delivering value to the business is transforming long-held buying behaviours, with decision makers reevaluating vendor relationships and the procurement of IT and business services.
Future-forward organisations are seizing the opportunity to transform the employee experience. Successful transformations create digital workplaces that increase worker productivity, business agility and employee satisfaction.
What is a digital workplace?
The digital workplace is a cloud-based work platform that allows a business to fully operate in a virtual environment. The platform contains the applications, data and tools employees need to do their jobs both today and—most importantly—in the future. Applications and tools in the digital workplace range from e-mail, instant messaging and collaboration tools to core enterprise applications spanning HR and other business functions.
Carving out the Future of Work
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged organisations in ways they never imagined. Lockdowns and restrictions forced organisations to deploy largely remote workforces to maintain productivity levels and business operations. What was driven by necessity now becomes an opportunity to become truly cutting-edge and shape the organisation for the future of work. Transforming the digital workplace and reimagining how work gets done is the next step to sustaining and scaling digital transformation initiatives across the enterprise.
A unified digital workspace integrates technologies, tools, policies and platforms to create a collaborative ecosystem where the end user enables their workspace at any time, in any place, on any device. Digital workplaces must be built with the intention of simplifying the user experience with seamless experiences that keep your workforce engaged and productive. Reimagining the digital workplace is a lengthy and complex journey, but it presents a unique opportunity for organisations to create more effective operating models and more engaging employee experiences.
Transformation Requires Buy-In
Digital workplace platforms are costly and can impact all layers of the organisation. Implementations require a multiyear roadmap that accounts for multiyear investment commitments and clearly defined ROI and outcome expectations. It’s critical to build the right business case for change and secure buy-in from senior leaders and stakeholders early in the process. Close collaboration between IT and business stakeholders is essential to building a sustainable roadmap. Forming a small, inclusive steering committee of key leaders from the business, IT, human resources, communications, and marketing ensures different voices are taken into consideration so the company can rally around a unified platform strategy.
Convergence of IT and Business Services
The strategic importance of technology has shifted from cost savings to enabling new business models and revenue streams. That shift has brought business leaders closer to technology purchases and expanded their sphere of influence on buying decisions. Enterprise platforms span both IT and business processes and support functions. The broader use of technology is evolving the expectations for technology service providers but also exposes organisations to greater risk. Migrations with multiple partners include everything from onboarding and introduction of the strategy, new plans and transfers of intellectual property to the actual technical migration. Organisations seek providers who span not just the technology expertise for the implementation, but also capabilities to deliver human-centred outcomes such as training and change management. Companies want partners who can truly integrate with their business processes and culture, and act as an extension of their business
Rethinking partner relationships is allowing organisations to realise several key benefits:
- Economies of scale and cost savings
- Streamlined processes and tools
- Better information security and risk mitigation
- A more consistent user experience with a single partner
- Less complexity regarding multiple contracts and SLAs
Finding the Right Balance
The ubiquity of remote work demands that organisations improve and secure work-from-home connectivity. Expanding the perimeter and pushing devices to the edge requires a new way of considering security for an anywhere, on-any-device workforce. There must be a balance between enabling seamless access for the end-user and keeping enterprise assets secure. Organisations must evaluate security strategies and policies, mind the gaps created by remote work, and follow through on addressing and fixing the disruptions. Organisations must continuously balance access with user security and privacy tolerances.
Accelerate Transformation with Streamlined Solutions
When organisations transform the enterprise through cloud migrations, new technology deployments or even strategic acquisitions, the technology frequently receives most of the thought and scrutiny. Take, for example, an acquisition; transferring legacy customer information may require millions of data lines to be migrated to your systems. The technical aspects alone are a massive undertaking. But what about your customers? The individuals behind the lines of data: who is helping them navigate the process? And your employees—are they getting the onboarding, training and support they need to be productive?
Organisations need active partners with the capability to manage these complex processes, create holistic solutions and deliver service excellence along every step of the journey. Ideally, your partner can build the network operations center (NOC) support necessary to sustain and address service desk needs while also coordinating off-hour security operations center (SOC) support to identify intrusions, anomalies and other events for troubleshooting and escalation.
Ultimately, it’s not the technology that defines success, it’s the people. Getting your employees up to speed on how to perform their daily tasks securely and efficiently is critical. These complex events require thoughtful partners who are flexible and agile enough to grow with you along the journey.
In fact, if your partners are not delivering business synergy and pushing you to create an environment that enables innovation and productivity, it might be time to rethink the relationship.
Managing employee expectations and changing behaviour is just as important (if not more important) as how you manage the technology. Implementations frequently focus on the technology alone and overlook people and processes. Therefore, organisational change management is vital. If your entire workforce isn’t onboard, your transformation slows to a crawl. It’s critical to understand how employees will be impacted, and to clearly and consistently communicate with them at every stage. If the technologies don’t work for them or communication isn’t clear, your tech-savvy employees will find their own tools that boost their productivity and make their lives easier. That introduces complexity, risk and division—exactly what you were trying to avoid. Delivering a digital workplace platform is part of the equation, but driving adoption before, during and after implementation is the key to realising value from your platform.
- Define your roadmap: Define your business case for change and then build a well-defined roadmap that will help break down the silos and connect the dots so you can transform the organisation.
- Data-driven automation: Continuously feed knowledge and training into your AI platforms for future automated resolution of repeat issues. Automating processes and workflows enables bots, virtual assistants and effective user self-help tools to guide the end user through a seamless experience.
- Change management: Organisational change management is vital. It’s critical to understand how employees will be impacted and clearly and consistently communicate these effects to help drive user adoption.
- Hybrid by design: A hybrid workforce is a powerful model that’s here to stay. Be intentional about remote and in-person collaboration, leveraging technology that creates flexibility, agility and balance for your workforce.
- Be mindful of employee expectations: Employees expect their work environment to mirror their consumer experiences, with seamless access and personalised experiences. Optimising the employee experience with personas based on role and preferences can help minimise disruption and improve the overall experience.
- Evaluate your partner ecosystem: Your technology partners must be capable to deliver solutions today and flexible enough to grow with you tomorrow. Ask yourself, “Do I have the right provider to truly transform my business?”