I lost my debit card recently. I cancelled it and ordered a replacement in a couple minutes using my bank’s phone app. I also had options to contact my bank via live chat, a phone call, email, or direct message on Twitter or Facebook. Despite the irritation of losing my card, I had a number of communication choices, and an easy time solving the problem, thanks to efficient technology and a good user interface.
Technology plays a critical role in employee experiences, too. Business systems used to be tools to get work done, even if the steps in the process felt tedious. Waves of technological innovation have made business systems more helpful, as companies have been able to use these systems to get a better read on their business, and ultimately make better decisions.
In parallel with this shift, we’ve seen the role of HR changing. What was once an administrative function in the business has become a department that plays a strategic role in keeping employees engaged and motivated. However, if we look at business applications, they haven’t kept up with the expectations that most people now have when it comes to anywhere, anytime technology.
As job roles and processes continue to change, people are working at accelerating speeds, creating a demand for organizations to keep up. A critical piece is focusing on the tools and technology of the employee experience that make life easier for people at work—more streamlined, more efficient, and more similar to experiences they have come to expect as consumers.
Why the Employee Experience Matters
A positive employee experience is important for business, as happier employees increase retention rates and improve customer satisfaction. It isn’t just the big experiences that matter, such as a promotion or a raise. Making the everyday moments easy and seamless are important, too, such as submitting an expense report, requesting time off, or finding information about health benefits.
Improving the employee experience was important to 88 percent of respondents in the “2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends” report, which surveyed nearly 10,000 respondents all over the world. Twenty-eight percent included it as one of the top three most pressing issues facing their organization this year. Why? “MIT research shows that enterprises with a top-quartile employee experience achieve twice the innovation, double the customer satisfaction, and 25 percent higher profits than organizations with a bottom-quartile employee experience,” according to the report.
Employees, especially younger generations, have an expectation of easily accessible information and real-time answers.
As Deloitte explains, “employee experience is a bottom-up concept—where processes, places, and workflow are designed around employees’ preexisting tendencies.” The employee, not the employer, should be at the center.
And according to this HR Technologist article, “more and more businesses are realizing that employee engagement can directly influence their bottom line. High engagement levels imply fewer sick days, lower absenteeism, reduction in voluntary turnover, and ultimately, higher productivity.”
Automate to Elevate
Productivity and utilization are critical to employee (and business) success and satisfaction. It’s easy to cancel a debit card or pay a friend back for lunch, so it should be just as easy to accomplish day-to-day work tasks, administrative and otherwise.
When employee productivity and organizational agility are lacking at a company, technology is often one of the root causes. More specifically, a lack of investment by the organization into the right tools to help teams accomplish work tasks quickly and efficiently. According to the Deloitte report, only 42 percent of survey respondents thought that workers were satisfied or very satisfied with day-to-day work practices, and only 38 percent said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with work-related tools and technology.
Leaders understand that they need to address this issue. According to a recent Tech Insights Report, both business and IT respondents cited “workforce productivity” as the top priority for 2019, and 85 percent of companies surveyed plan to roll out new technology to improve productivity.
When workers do have tools that can make certain tasks, such as information gathering, quick and easy, it enables them to focus on more strategic work. It also enables them to make better decisions. Workday’s own global study, “Organizational Agility at Scale: The Key to Driving Digital Growth,” finds a strong correlation between enterprise-wide data access and the ability to make informed decisions at speed. In fact, the free flow of information and data is cited as the most critical factor in driving agile decision-making practices.
Employees, especially younger generations like millennials and Gen Z, have an expectation of easily accessible information and real-time answers. They are digital natives accustomed to self-service information at their fingertips: taking a class on-demand, finishing a training course at their own pace, and getting a question answered via chat. To engage and empower people with actionable context and data, modern companies meet them where they are—which increasingly means meeting them in their “natural workspaces.” That could mean enabling them to request leave in Slack, for example, or finding out a coworker’s office location in Microsoft Teams.
Younger generations tend to avoid engaging other people for answers if they don’t have to, and they’re causing a tipping point in communication styles. Self-service is the name of the game. “Simply put, employees now shop, bank, chat, and primarily lead their lives online. In 2019, consumer-grade self-service experiences will be the norm, compelling HR managers to adopt easy-to-use and UX-friendly self-service platforms,” according to HR Technologist.
Diana Fischer, director, Global Impact and Employee Programs, at Workday, has this millennial perspective: “We’re used to learning things on our own. To build a culture where the expectation is that someone else has that knowledge and you have to go to them and they have to teach you, that’s not efficient. That’s a waste of my time and their time.”
The Workday Way
At Workday, we’ve been taking to heart what it means to develop a strong employee experience, according to Liz Jennings, principal product marketing manager, Workday. “We understand the need for faster responses, empowering self-sufficiency, and developing employee experiences that elevate job roles. These are important focus areas for us right now.”
To find out more about the Workday Employee Experience, watch our Innovation video.