Employee Experience has become such a buzz word these days. It is so commonly used that many of us do not pay any attention when it is mentioned, which is mainly in context of an HR exercise.
How relevant is this to a P&L owner and Digital Transformation Leader?
Quite a lot actually. Which is of course why we included Employee Experience as one of the key barriers and enablers that can accelerate Digital Transformation in the previous article “Why isn’t our Digital Transformation progressing faster?”
Let us consider the key areas that make Employee Experience highly relevant.
Adoption is what ultimately delivers results from digital technology.
Fitness experts often advise that the best way to stay fit is to find something that you know you will keep doing and can fit into your schedule. If you buy a membership to the latest and most expensive gym, but it is too far away from your home and work and you never find the time to go, then you are unlikely to see improvements.
Similarly, if the new technology doesn’t get used, it is not going to make a difference. With Digital this is more important than ever before. This should of course be a no-brainer, in terms of Employee Experience. When we design for our Customers we focus heavily on a positive User Experience. Additionally, the majority of companies today also try to ensure that the solutions they provide internally are user friendly.
Do you have a clear view of the steps the employee has to take, the hurdles they must overcome to change their ways of working? The goal should be to make it as easy as possible.
I worked with some companies who had all the latest and greatest technology solutions. Each of these technology solutions a leader in their field, and each had a well-designed user interface. Think ServiceNow, Salesforce and so on.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean it was a good experience for the end users. There were so many systems and solutions in place, but the employees were on their own in terms of figuring out what to use for which request. There was no intuitive way to know which of the many systems to use for which purpose. So, what did users do? They all either gave up or called the service desk, rather than spend their time trying to find the right tool to use. As a result, all those fantastic systems and solutions remained unused or under-utilized.
What can organizations do to avoid being in this situation?
- Instead of focusing only on the user friendliness of the interface of the solution (which, should be a criterion, but is not the full answer), focus on the end user experience in context of their work
- Use Design Thinking techniques to understand the user personas and the type of tasks they are completing (their “journeys”)
- Break down functional silos and take a user-centered view instead. This, of course, is not easy, but it will make the biggest difference.
- Go through the experience with real employees. Not only does this develop an understanding of the user needs, it also creates buy-in to use the new solution (“I helped design this”)
- Number one priority: Make it easy for them.
How prepared is the workforce for the ever-evolving nature of change? Organization Change Management is no longer about preparing for a specific change, but to prepare for ongoing change. In other words, to prepare your workforce for Digital Transformation means to prepare them to be change-ready, rather than ready for a specific event.
This is a new concept we call the new Change X – the employees’ experience of how the organization manages change.
An organization that is change-ready is exponentially more competitive: openness to change enables innovation, quicker adoption of new solutions that improve productivity, quicker time to market of new products, insights are applied more effectively to enable positive change.
How do we achieve this?
- Once again, Design Thinking is a key element. It should be part and parcel of any effective Organization Change Management plan.
- Understand the user journey and support it at the point of need. Gone are the days of lengthy training materials and email communications. In fact, Organization change should be invisible to the end user, enabling their journey to the new.
- We must learn to apply principles of Behavioral Psychology and Neuro Science to identifying intrinsic motivators that support the required mindset and behavior change.
After Change X, the other factor is Work X – the employees’ experience of work and their environment.
A few points to consider:
Companies in established companies all around the world have one big common problem. Their ability to attract talent that is so critical for successful digital transformation, whilst competing with seemingly exciting start-ups for that same talent. Besides the obvious common factors – rewards, culture, career paths – employees will be influenced by other key factors that position what a company really stands for, such as innovation, vision and mission and social responsibility.
Does the look and feel of the office portray the company you are and want to be? Does the environment suit the employees who work there?
Large and established companies have had initial successes by placing specific innovation incubators in a new environment (such as a Co-working space) outside of the corporate headquarters, but this is only a short-term solution. To enable a shift in the entire company DNA a more radical shift is required, and the entire workplace of a company needs to reflect that, in alignment with the vision and digital strategy that enables the future.
Enabling Ways of Working
There has been a lot of press recently about the recent research (Bernstein et al 2018) that established that open plan offices are not the best solution for productivity and collaboration after all. How suitable are the spaces in your office for the type of work that is being done? The answer is not a sudden shift to individual offices and cubicles, but a combination of different environments, for different type of work activities – including individual focused work and collaborative work.
Employee Experience in context of Digital Transformation is a business priority for Leaders, not an HR exercise.
The key factors to address are:
- User X: the ease of the experience by users is what drives the adoption
- Change X: employees need to be prepared for ongoing change, not a one-off event
- Work X: the work experience employees have needs to reflect the desired values and vision
To find out how you can accelerate your organization’s Digital Transformation,
contact us for a free consultation with nepf.
Bernstein, Etham S. and Turban, Stephen (2018), The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration, Available at: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/373/1753/20170239.article-info (Accessed August 13, 2018)