The Employee Experience Imperative

Want to win the war for talent? Create an environment where your people can thrive.

They say you can’t put a price on happiness. They’re wrong. Every year, US companies lose between $450 billion and $500 billion because their employees aren’t engaged at work.

Employee experience isn’t just a buzz term. It’s a critical business imperative that can drive innovation, productivity, customer satisfaction and revenue. Want to raise your bottom line? Focus on creating a positive experience for your people.

The Crunch is On

It’s no secret that a company is only as good as the people it keeps. They are your source of innovation. They produce your products and deliver your services. And most important, they are the front line to your customers. But finding talent has never been more challenging. The fact is, there just isn’t enough of it to go around.

· Experienced workers are retiring.

· The talent companies need may not be located near traditional work hubs.

· The talent they have often lacks the skills required by modern digital business.

By 2020, McKinsey & Company estimates there will be a shortage of 95 million medium-to-high-skilled workers globally. Even China — a go-to labor market for many companies — is expected to see its workforce shrink by more than half, with a deficit of 23 million skilled workers by 2030.

The Face of Work is changing

For first time in history, there are five different generations working together, each with different degrees of knowledge, preferred ways of working, and levels of technology understanding and use. They all need — and expect to be accommodated. And gig and contract workers account for a larger percentage of the workforce than ever.

Work is radically different too. It’s no longer a place, but an increasingly dynamic activity that people expect to be as adaptable as they are.

Making Matters Worse

In an effort to tackle these issues, companies have steadily implemented technologies to automate everything from finance and procurement to HR, sales and marketing. The goal was to simplify work and make employees more happy and productive. But it’s actually had the opposite effect. According to Gallup, 67 percent of employees are not engaged at work. The reason? Complexity.

· Too many apps — The average company has more than 500 apps in place to drive key tasks.

· Too hard to use — Employees only use about 10 to 15 percent of the functionality of the apps available to them.

· Not easy to find — Information is siloed across multiple locations, apps, and communications channels. Employees spend more than 25 percent of their time searching for it, and managers more than half of their time executing routines tasks.

As a result, not much real work gets done.

Give Them What They Want

So what’s a business to do? Take a page from the old Burger King playbook and let employees “have it their way.” Employees today expect work to be as simple and efficient as their personal lives. They don’t want to navigate through monolithic apps. They want to automatically get the intelligence they need to execute tasks quickly when they log in. Like grabbing an Uber or Lyft or ordering a drink from Starbucks with one click.

They don’t want to search for things. They want the insights they need to make informed decisions in a timely fashion delivered in context of what they need to get done. And they don’t want to have to navigate through multiple screens to execute simple tasks.

It’s called the intelligent workspace. And it’s the way of the future.

Just ask Penny Malik, Head of Global Talent Management at Beazley, a London-based specialty insurer. “Our organization is grown and developed based on the talent we have and so it is essential that we are able to attract very strong people,” she says. “These people want to have the kind of technology that they’re used to at their fingertips.”

And Beazley has created an intelligent, digital workspace to deliver it.

Go Where the Talent Is

People today also want to work where they want to work. And to attract them, companies need to rethink what workplace means.

“We are not in Munich, we are not in Frankfurt. So we have to be more attractive for employees to come to work for us,” said David Kreft, Head of Service Center and System Integrations, at WAGO, a global leader in spring pressure electrical interconnection and automation solutions. “As an IT guy, I have to prepare a flexible workplace that can be consumed in any location around the world.”

And like Beazley, WAGO is using digital workspace solutions to do it.

With intelligent workspaces, location doesn’t matter, because you can enable work where the talent is.

Baby Boomers who retired and took the knowledge they possess with them can be set up to work five to 10 hours a week from home. Mothers who put their careers on hold to raise children, can be brought back on flexible schedules.

In an intelligent workspace, you can manage the ever-increasing list of SaaS, web and mobile apps your organization has running on any number of clouds and create a seamless, intuitive work experience for your employees in a secure and reliable way.

Organize Work and Guide Employees Through the Day

You can organize work by giving employees flexible access to all the apps and content they need to work where and how they want and be productive in a one, unified experience. But beyond this, you can actually guide them through their days using innovative technologies such as machine learning alongside simplified workflows to automatically serve up tasks they need to focus on and the insights needed to get them done.

Think of it as a personal coach for every employee. One that knows who they are and what they do and when they log into the workspace might ask, “You were working on this document on the way to the office. Do you want to continue?” One that automatically extracts and presents tasks such as approving an expense report or rating an employee or purchase experience, so employees can execute them quickly without needing to drill six clicks deep into an application. One who can help build their skills and keep them on the cutting edge in their field.

Don’t Just Automate. Optimize

In addition to automating work, you can also optimize it using these same technologies to easily locate critical information and speed time to productivity. New salespeople, for instance, can quickly be brought on board and set up for success as they are guided through the cycle — from alerts to prepare for a meeting, to receiving a prospect’s record and history along with the right presentation or customer stories to deliver, and even triggers to follow up.

“A digitally adapted office has enabled us to transform what we can do on the go, wherever we happen to be, because we have all the computing power that we have when we’re back in the office,” said Adrian Cox, Head of Specialty Lines, Beazley. “And that’s been a real game changer.”

Prepare for Battle and Win the War

The talent crisis is real. And it’s among the biggest pain points companies currently face. A recent Stripe and Harris Poll found that 61% of C-Suite executives view access to talent as the greatest inhibitor to their growth aspirations. And an IDC CIO survey found that the lack of experienced talent is holding many companies back from pursuing innovations such as multi-cloud strategies, security and artificial intelligence initiatives. In creating a world-class employee experience, you can overcome these challenges and attract and retain the talent you need to make your business go.

Deliver the Future of Work Today

The future of work comes down to three things: flexibility, intelligence and security. In embracing digital workspace solutions, you can power a smarter, better way to work and get the right people in the right places to unlock innovation, engage customers, and move your business forward.