2020 pushed remote work way forward. Companies that were resistant to remote work have gone all in. COVID pushed everyone to move faster. If an organization was plodding through a digital transformation, they had to hit the gas overnight. Everyone was forced to fast-forward to modern standards. And every organization is certainly on a more advanced point on the maturity curve than they thought they’d be in 2020 — by necessity. We’re all hearing a lot about the digital employee experience and the digital workplace.
Now, we’re at a pivotal moment for the employee experience. Where do we go from here? As we look toward a post-2020 world, we’re asking new questions about the employee experience.
What do employees expect?
There’s a groundswell of interest in the digital work experience. Start by asking your employees: What do you want from your digital work experience?
They definitely have opinions, and the answers probably aren’t that different across generations.
Digital natives are entering the workforce, and they expect the tools they use at work to be just as simple as the tech they’ve been using since they were toddlers.
And more experienced employees are also becoming savvier consumers of digital tools. We all want tools that are fast and easy to use, because that’s what we’ve learned to expect from using Facebook and Uber and Google.
There’s a growing push for a work experience that’s intuitive and easy — a digital workplace that’s so natural, it’s almost invisible.
What are the jobs that need to be done?
You probably have your main employee experience pillars in place. Powerful, large-scale technology like Microsoft Teams can cover a lot of basic needs: Employees can send emails and IMs. They can find and store files. They can run a video call.
Now, it’s time to connect the dots and fill in the gaps of the employee experience. Sure, I can send an email. But how do I figure out who to send it to?
What are the jobs employees still need to do? What’s holding them back? What are they missing about the office environment that you could build or recreate digitally?
How do we turn a jumble of apps into one seamless experience?
You might be feeling some remote work whiplash. You rushed to get all the necessary tools in place. But are the tools easy to use together? How many times a day do employees have to log in to a new interface? How do they remember where to go to do different tasks?
How can you make sure all of the platforms work together in a less fragmented, more elegant way? How do you take siloed individual experiences and thread them together to create an experience that’s logical and easy?
Does our digital workplace reflect our values and mission?
Big words like “culture” and “values” have become even more important in 2020. But our means of driving culture (happy hours, town halls, in-person meetings) have evaporated.
So here’s an existential question for you: If the digital experience is the employee experience, how do you create a digital culture that reflects your values and mission?
This is a weighty question, with complicated answers. But it’s important to think about how core values like “transparency,” “customer focus,” or “generosity” are translated from the office into an online realm.
And, it’s important to ask: are there any tools or processes that are counter to your core values or mission? How could you rework them to sync with the culture you want to build?
Who owns the digital employee experience?
Finally: who’s in charge here? Who owns the digital workplace? Who drives the employee experience?
Our old answers about what HR owns, what IT owns, and what the C-suite owns are shifting. Everyone has a piece of the puzzle, and the Venn diagrams of ownership are overlapping more and more.
If you know there are teams working on employee experience in different departments, but you’re not sure what they’re doing, it’s time to get to know them. Sync your efforts so you’re all moving in the same direction.
If you want to create a seamless employee experience, you need seamless leadership across departments. Wondering how to do that? Check out this piece on how HR and IT can work together to build digital work.
Our hot take: “Synchronized leadership” and “shared goals” are going to be the new employee experience buzzwords for 2021.
Here’s your homework: Share this list of questions with your peers across your organization. Think through your answers together as you work to build a seamless, positive employee experience for a post-2020 world.
Want to learn more about the digital employee experience? Download our ebook below on How to Build a Best-in-Class Digital Workplace.