New Work: Creating a digital Employee Experience for a digital workforce

If you had the choice between spending money on a brand-new iPhone X or spending the same amount for a memorable vacation with your loved one — what would you choose?

If you are a millennial, you most likely opted for the experience as 78% of millennials spend their money on experiences rather than materialistic things. Researchers even found out that spending our money on experience makes us happier in the long run than spending money on materials. And today experiences are everywhere. From Customer Experience to User Experience, everybody is talking about creating the best experiences. But when are we going to start talking about the experience of our internal customers? What about the experience of our employees?

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Not only Customer but also Employee Experience is critical for success

In some industries the link between a good Customer Experience and a good Employee Experience is pretty obvious: just think about a small bakery where an employee is having a bad employee experience and the impact it will have on the service provided. However, in other industries, the link might not be that visible. Nevertheless, we need to start talking about the experience of our employees if we want to have a chance to win the war for digital talents and enable our employees to create value. Every single day. Because Employee Experience does not just happen during the hiring process or when an employee retires. Employee Experience happens every day.

In times of online platforms such as glasdoor.com and kununu.de employers suddenly become transparent to their prospective workforce. In times when we want to attract the best future talents and suddenly compete with players like Google or Netflix, it is a game-changer. Especially for millennials, the money will not be the primary factor in the future: They strive for flexibility, independence and a company that can offer them exactly these things. An outstanding Employee Experience can be a deciding factor in whether young talents will consider working for your company.

Nevertheless, Employee Experience is not just about being an attractive employer to future talents. Employee Experience is also about enabling your current workforce to create value, be innovative and have fun while doing it. According to an Oracle survey in 2016, only 44% of the employees claim that they have the right tools to complete their given tasks. That is not even half of the workforce. And we are not even talking about doing innovative work, we are talking about the right tools to do the job that they get paid for. Being able to create value and to be productive is the main factor influencing employee motivation, satisfaction and engagement. If you want your employees to do their best and give all they have every working day, we have to provide them with the tools they need to do so.

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One size doesn’t fit all

While offering free sodas, smartphones and a kicker table might seem like a quick fix, it will not be sufficient in the long-run. When we talk about Employee Experience, we need to consider the sum of all touchpoints an employee has with the company and how these interactions are perceived. Hence, we need to consider software as well as hardware, the physical working environment as well as the virtual environment, processes as well as culture.

But what is even more important: We need to understand that one size doesn’t fit all and that only by putting the employee in the centre, we will be able to offer an Employee Experience that is tailored to the individual needs. While VR-Glasses might be a key technology for designers working jointly on a new design, it won’t do anything for an employee in accounting. While Bring-Your-Own-Device might be a suitable strategy for Digital Natives, it might not be the right thing for Digital Immigrants.

Digital technologies are ubiquitous — but still not an integral part of the working world

The question remains if implementing an outstanding Employee Experience is enough in times where every employee is already a digital one. From my point of view, it isn’t anymore. Every employee is also a consumer and used to exploit a lot of technologies in her or his private life. Dropbox, Whatsapp and digital assistants: In our personal life we already get to enjoy the benefits of a broad variety of digital tools and technologies. However, once we enter the business life it often seems as if we are suddenly living in the early 2000s. Phones have keys or even wires, corporate tools have horrible User Experiences and instead of writing instant messages we receive hundreds of emails every day.

Why don’t we leverage the endless opportunities of support and streamlining which modern technologies offer us in our daily work? We need to start using these amazing technologies to enhance the touchpoints of employees with their company and create a best-in-class digital Employee Experience for our workforce.

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And what is your opinion on changing the world of work?

This article is part of a series of guest contributions on the topic of New Work. You also have an interesting thesis you would like to share with us? Feel free to contact us!

Articles already published:

Saskia Großmann

A guest contribution by Saskia Großmann, Volkswagen AG. Please find more about inspiring men & women on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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