Design the Employee Experience Now and Enable the Future

Jun 4, 2019
Josh Olson

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Josh Olson is the Director of Employee Experience Solutions - Americas at VMware. With over 20 years of experience, he is a recognized expert in the intersection of the employee and their workplace and work styles.

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Missing the Simple Stuff…

When I’m traveling around the country working with customers, I’m surprised how often folks think of robots like “Rosie” from the Jetsons.  They are thinking about how Artificial Intelligence is going to take over the workforce and we’ll all be out of a job.  Most experts agree that AI and robots will help workforces be more efficient but they won’t replace the human component.  Sometimes, people are so concerned with what might or might not materialize 5, 10, 20 years from now they miss today.  The truth is that almost every company I speak with is missing the “simple stuff” they could enable to help their workforce be more productive today.  They are missing the “Why, How and Who” of their employee experiences.  Some figure, “If I give users access to an app on their mobile they should be happy.” Others say, “Look, I get it, the user experience is terrible but I can’t help that, I’m just the End User Services person.  To change the experience, you’d need to change our security policies.” And still others say, “I just gave them a new device, why are they complaining?  They’ll never be happy!”

Solving real-world employee issues can be a beast to tackle, but leveraging tactics like employee experience-based design, which directly connects the employee to their companies reason for being, is a great place to start. I agree that solving real-world employee issues can be challenging but the rewards are worth it.  We see companies that focus on Employee Experience design leveraging Design Thinking and Human – Centered Design techniques. Design thinking refers to the cognitive, strategic and practical processes by which design concepts are developed by designers and/or design teams. The process helps them tackle security challenges at the same time they optimize the user experience (UX) and design optimized, easy to use workflows that drive the business forward.  It is directly connecting the employee to their company’s reason for being.  Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too!  You just need to work with a new level of intention and consciousness.

When setting out to define what’s possible for your employees, ask yourself two things: “What would make this job/ role delightful to do every day?” and “How is our digital workspace able to help our company attract and retain top talent?”  Enter the employee experience as a competitive differentiator.

Employee Experience by Design (DEED)

One way to ensure you’re thinking in favor of your employees is to function by the guiding acronym of “DEED,” which stands for Delightful Employee Experience by Design. The idea is to think about each role in the company and then tune into the human element, focusing on why, what and how they do what they do each day. Knowing how their role helps the organization achieve its “reason for being” and how it helps the world become a better place is crucial.  After all, how much is a business worth if it’s not to do something intentionally and consciously beneficial to society?

Employee Experience

Understanding Employee Experience

Did you know employees spend 60% of their days away from their desks? What’s the employee’s time worth? Between traveling to meetings, from meetings, to lunch, to client locations, on and on. If you only develop for the 1990s client/server world and assume everyone is at their desk all day, you greatly limit not only the employee’s ability to impact your business goals but also you’ll drive them to your competitor.  Think about it, if they can’t get work done it becomes a Career Limiting Move (CLM) so they’ll move to organizations where they can do their best work, get promoted, make more money and have a greater impact on society.  No one wakes up every morning thinking “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if I could be COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY FRUSTRATED today by legacy systems and processes.”   This morning, did you?

Employee Experience

Our job in Employee Experience is to understand the intersection of HR and IT and how it’s quickly becoming the number one determinate in company long-term success.  If companies can’t accommodate the five generations in the workforce today, and their 5 very different ways in which they optimally work, they won’t be able to attract and retain top talent.  Eventually, the company experiences a bit of a “brain drain” and loses top talent to the competition, innovation drops and the company is left to scramble on how to change the direction of the ship.   By 2025 it is projected that Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce.  This is the same generation that is most likely to leave a company if the company doesn’t have a modern work environment – physically, culturally and technologically.  So, how do you retain a solid workforce? Focus on the person holistically.

Focusing on the person and their “Why”

A famous Ted Talk given by Simon Sinek discusses how companies should focus on “Why“ they do what they do, not “How” or “What” they do. This is the same approach companies should consider when designing an employee solution. The more that companies understand why their employees do what they do, the better their solution will be, leading to an overall enhanced customer experience and more sales.  Leveraging automation and APIs is a great way to create a frictionless digital workspace alleviating the challenge of working in real-time when standing in front of customers.

Employee Experience

Companies need to ensure that they provide their employees with anywhere access to their digital workspace in order for them to “get stuff done” when they are mobile..” Identify with HR the times in the employee lifecycle that matter.  These moments that matter can lead your development of solutions and how you think about providing services to aid them in their roles. For example, providing access to health benefits on their mobile but also via portal so they can share with their spouse to make important family impacting decisions that matter.   Give them a way to help them reclaim what would’ve been wasted time going to/from meetings. Offering automated workflows on mobile that integrate in meaningful ways to their daily tasks.  Remove the boring, repetitive stuff.  Empower employees to make positive decisions for themselves, the customers and the company.

Understand that employees need to have the exact same digital workspace experience on their PC, Mac, Chromebook, that they have on their iPhone, Android Tablet, Apple Watch, wearable glasses and other devices.  Provide them with real-time notifications to the corporate intranet and the people directory so they are engaged and become part of your team, not just a bystander punching a clock.

Employee Experience

The digital workspace should be the singular unified way that all communications and digital work gets done.  Workspace ONE unifies everything for me and my company allowing us to leverage it securely whenever, where ever and how ever we need in order to optimize productivity and be the best employees we can be. All in all, Workspace ONE offers a delightful employee experience done by design.

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