By Sumir Karayi, CEO, 1E
Every business needs their employees to be engaged and productive. It positively contributes to business growth and is vital to retaining your best talent—and is the reason why employee experience is a buzzword today. However, only recently have businesses started to analyze the role technology plays in shaping the employee experience, spearheading a move toward making technology purchasing decisions that meet employees’ personal needs rather than just fulfilling business goals.
To understand why employees’ relationship with their workplace tools can so profoundly affect their working lives, consider how the world around us has changed. Every modern worker encounters technology in their personal lives. We Skype with long-distance relatives over mostly reliable internet connections. We can check our personal emails from anywhere. We have access to an unlimited supply of apps to satisfy every whim. We can update to new software releases when it suits us. We can order new technology online and have it delivered the same or next day.
Unfortunately for IT, this means that expectations of workplace technology have never been higher, which can feel overwhelming at first. However, once you understand what your employees want from their workplace technology, your business strategy for employee experience falls into place.
Begin by mapping out the employee journey across all digital touchpoints. This will give you insight into the digital tools and capabilities employees rely on to do their jobs. Next, analyze the relationship between these digital tools and the employee. What often becomes apparent to IT teams completing this exercise is that a great employee experience hinges on employees’ desire for autonomy, very much mirroring their experience with their consumer tech purchases.
The right workplace technology will fulfil employees’ desire to work from anywhere, work at any time using any network connection, and have the same capabilities and device performance when working remotely as in the office. When it comes to supporting those tools, employees want instant resolution of an IT issue or the ability to help themselves when common technical issues arise.
Meeting this expectation of a consumer-like experience in the workplace isn’t an impossible feat. Here’s where to start.
- Self-service for workplace apps. Every employee relies on software to do their jobs, so it only seems logical that they should have access to them instantly. The easiest win is to lift a trick from the consumer tech world: the app store. Your business-approved apps should be available for employees to install via an enterprise app portal. It eliminates the need to raise a ticket with the help desk and wait for the ticket to be picked up, or be in the office so an IT engineer can physically install the app. It takes the manual effort out of the process, and is a secure, controlled and intuitive way for employees to get the software they need wherever they are and when they need it.
- Self-service for device replacements and rebuilds from any location. The manual process of building machines and then shipping them is a huge expense for IT, and a real cause for frustration among employees, who are stuck with sluggish machines in the interim. The solution is to simplify—but, more importantly, automate—the process. An enterprise portal is the ideal front-end solution through which employees can request device replacements. When it comes to configuring those machines, you need an automation process that enables employees to do that themselves, wherever they’re located.
- First call resolution. The reason so many employees avoid contacting the help desk is because of the notorious assumption that their first call is meaningless. Employees expect to waste valuable minutes trying to articulate the problem so the Level 1 service desk agent has some vague understanding of the issue, before being told the ticket needs to be escalated to a senior member of the team. The problem intensifies when the appropriate engineer tries to call the employee back at a time that doesn’t suit them, further delaying the resolution time. Righting this situation requires service desk tools that empower Level 1 to take immediate action to remediate during that first call, in real-time. In instances where the problem is too complex for Level 1, automation should be built into the process so that knowledge is shared across the service desk to ensure first call resolution should the incident recur in future.
- Device performance management and remediation. Employees expect their devices to perform at optimal speed—and it’s important they do, because many users would rather put up with it than report it to the service desk, despite the stress and disruption is causes. A key focus of employee experience, therefore, should be ensuring that employees’ devices are always performant. There are two aspects to fulfilling this expectation. First, IT needs a tool that enables them to simulate the experience of the employee with their device. There are several tools available today that enable this. However, to really improve employees’ experience with their device, it’s important you invest in a tool that goes beyond monitoring alone to identifying the root cause of the problem, so you know exactly what needs to be
done to improve the experience that employees have with their devices, wherever they are located. Given the tools available today, there’s no reason why employees should have to put up with slow-running devices.
- Manage configuration and app baselines. As always, the back-end processes are just as important as front-facing systems. Configuration drift, in particular, can have severe consequences on the performance of devices and apps. What’s the point of giving employees access to apps that stop working over time? Without good management of configuration, devices and apps inevitably become less performant over time. The problem is that IT often relies on Group Policy for baselining, but this has resulted in an uncontrollable proliferation of rules, some of which don’t work or aren’t being leveraged. Look for a tool that can automatically identify which rules are being used and which are effective so you can confidently manage configuration and ensure employees are able to use their devices and apps effortlessly.
Delivering a great employee experience doesn’t need to be a burden on IT. Adopting an employee-focused approach to tool investment will ensure that your IT teams are meeting the needs of the modern worker and the consumer-like experience they’ve come to expect.