“Employee Experience” seems to be a new buzzword we’re hearing a lot these days. Perhaps we hear it so much because everything can constitute as employee experience, regardless where the employee works – in an office, on a plane, at home – if they’re working, then it contributes to the overall employee experience.
Employee experience is important. Conduct a quick search and you’ll find dozens of articles saying it’s important, including in this blog. Yet, some of these claims about its importance and effects can start to sound like hand-waving at its best and hyperbole at its worst. In a previous life, I did neuroscience research. Although after a PhD, I ventured into industry – I still find myself looking for the data, hard proof, around claims like these. (Old habits die hard, perhaps!) But it might surprise you to learn that there are decades of data around employee experience, the effects on the company and how the right or wrong technology can affect that equation.
Employee Experience = Digital + Physical + Cultural Spaces
At its broadest definition, employee experience pertains to every experience an employee has during their entire employment, including interviewing, onboarding, the tools they use, the people they interact with, the physical environment, compensation and benefits and more.
A leader in employee experience, Jacob Morgan contends that the employee experience equates to the sum of cultural, technological and physical space where each variable makes up a third of the experience. With continued telecommuting, limited physical spaces due to the pandemic and increased comfort with remote work, technology plays a bigger role in the physical and especially cultural spaces. Technology is the lynchpin to keep employees engaged in their physical and cultural spaces.
For the sake of this deep-dive, let’s define employee experience as an employee’s relationship and experience with their technological experience – software, hardware and any support provided in relation to these aspects.
Positive Employee Experience Results in Positive Employees
At first blush, the importance of employee experience should seem evident. An employee interacts more with technology than even other people in their team – especially now. The experience they have with the tools at their disposal greatly affects their impression of their job and it affects their overall job satisfaction.
When the employee experience is inadequate, employees can exhibit decreased morale, lose time and have additional stress. In 2017, (doesn’t it feel much longer than three years ago?), remote workers felt shunned and left out. In a Harvard Business Review study, remote workers reported more anxiety and stress and effects to productivity and morale than that of their on-site counterparts. This anxiety and stress stemmed partly from feeling left out from the on-site counterparts and the lack of communication between team members. These days, there are more remote workers which helps build empathy; but the technology provided to these employees needs to be advanced and complete in order to adequately support, not hinder, employees’ ability to work together and do their tasks as more workers work from anywhere.
Today, however, technology continues to hinder employee experience. Corporate IT requirements such as password restrictions and blocking access to certain websites is seen as constraining and cause added stress that encourages IT misuse. Based on a self-reported survey from Robert Half, employees said that they lose about 22 minutes per day on average due to technology issues. According to an MIT study, when employees don’t have access to the apps they need, 45% of 269 professionals indicated at least a medium likelihood that they would engage in shadow IT or install their own software on their PC at work in order to do their job better.
Improved Employee Experience Decreases Organizational Risks
Employee experience also affects the organization overall. Bad employee experience can lead to monetary and reputational risks for bad employee experience. I previously said that when employees don’t have access to the apps and software they need, they are more likely to engage in shadow IT. In that same study, these same employees who felt that security policies in their organizations were complex, burdensome and stressful were more likely to try to justify their misuse of IT as well. IT misuse, like shadow IT, has financial ramifications for organizations. Employee IT misuse may, in some cases, provide grounds for litigation.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Organizations can improve the employee experience. Companies often rely on internal training to help their employees use IT correctly. These routine, one-time, one-size-fits-all training exercise rarely help companies secure their devices and data, nor does it help employees have a better, streamlined experience with their devices and apps. Instead, employees need more personalized experiences with self-service options.
Companies should take an approach that addresses the technology and digital workspace at its root by providing the tools that are useful to their employees. Better hardware and software solutions do help employees and improve their overall experience. In one study, high IT objects (e.g. higher-end hardware and software as well as highly qualified personnel) had the greatest interaction with an entrepreneurial culture, reporting a 10% higher retention rate than similar entrepreneurial firms with low IT objects.
Organizations can also refine their onboarding experience, embrace flexible work ecosystems (not just now, but in the future) and use analytics to measure and optimize. According to the Wynhurst Group, new employees who experienced a structured onboarding were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years. VMware Workspace ONE can help your organization by providing an exceptional employee experience from onboarding and throughout their career in the organization. Workspace ONE enables zero-touch provisioning so employees can get their technology and start working from day one as well as provide any app on any device so employees are empowered to decide the best way to do their jobs. And with VMware’s Digital Employee Experience Management (DEEM), part of Workspace ONE Intelligence, IT can track employee experience and deliver user experience analytics and insights to help IT teams measure and improve employee experience across the digital workspace.
Employee Experience Does Matter – Learn More at VMworld!
If your company’s employee experience needs improvement, ultimately employees can become unmotivated and avoid using the technologies provided by the organization. If your company’s employee experience is good, employees feel empowered, work efficiently and feel positive about their company’s technologies, environment and culture. There is evidence to suggest that a good IT and employee experience strategy with the appropriate software applications can lead a company to have competitive advantages for that company in their industry.
You can take action now. Learn more about how you can successfully engage employees and transform business at the Employee Experience sessions at VMworld 2020 this week. Register today!
To learn more about all of the Digital Workspace news at VMworld 2020, head over to our keynote recap blog: VMworld 2020: All of our EUC announcements, themes, and everything else you need to know.