The future of employee experience
The coronavirus outbreak generated the world's largest work from home experiment. Few organizations were prepared for sustained disruption to how, when and where employees worked. The disruption caused by the pandemic has accelerated opportunities to reshape the workplace experience for the better. This article explores the role technology can play in shaping the future workplace during this period of radical disruption.
The mobile workforce
The global pandemic ushered in the future of work, overnight. As former Scottish MP, George Galloway said, "There are decades when nothing happens. There are weeks when decades happen." Before the pandemic just 7% of employers allowed the majority of employees to work from home. In 2020 this increased to 44% (B&T Magazine, 2020).
Until recently, allowing employees to work from home was debated, questioned, and not always accepted by management. Many challenged the ability to maintain productivity. Today, remote work is critical to organizational survival. Digital communication tools have become lifelines, enabling work to continue from any location.
Zoom use, for example, increased 2900% to 300 million meeting participants as employees embraced new ways to communicate. The pandemic required workers to adapt and quickly find new ways to connect, share, and collaborate. Many struggled during the early stages of the pandemic. 48% of remote workers reported working longer hours and 60% showed increased symptoms of fatigue (Institute for Employment Studies, 2020).
Rethinking employee experience
The pandemic emphasised the importance of workplace wellbeing and mental health. A recent survey found that the mental health of almost 42% of respondents declined since the outbreak (Harvard Business Review, 2020). Mental health and employee engagement are interrelated. Looking after employee's wellbeing, morale, and loyalty generates increased productivity, innovation, and profitability (Deloitte, 2017).
Today, there's an opportunity for employers to rethink the digital workplace experience. Just 13% of employees are satisfied with their experience of work (Gartner, 2020). The good news is that 87% of employers say they will prioritize technology and digital infrastructure investments that support sustained remote work (BCG, 2020).
Remote work is here to stay, and there's opportunity to place employee experience at the heart of digital transformation. Research shows that highly engaged workplaces are 17% more productive and generate 21% higher profitability (Gallup, 2020).
As we enter the next period of work, organizations have the opportunity to harness technology solutions to foster community, connection, and engagement. Modern Intranet solutions can help realize these ambitions by creating an engaging digital workplace experience.
On average, small organizations manage 102 technology applications. The number is far higher for larger organizations (Blissfully, 2020). Connecting to multiple systems can create frustration for employees, particularly new hires. Few organizations have a single digital portal where employees can access these systems, connect to information, and connect to their colleagues.
In the past, Intranets often served as repositories for unstructured information – clunky systems that left employees feeling lost and frustrated. Today, leading Intranets are critical to success – connecting employees to critical information and facilitating collaboration between remote and on-site employees. The modern Intranet, or digital workplace portal, is the embodiment of the aspirations of an organization's culture.
Leading Intranets facilitate new ideas and promote cross-organization collaboration and team building. Community engagement is facilitated by embedded functionality such as likes, comments, and sharing. Curated digital experiences allow employees to share relevant stories, photos and videos. Modern Intranets encourage social interaction and connection, helping remote workers feel less isolated.
A top-down approach to organizational communication is no longer sufficient for engaging employees, particularly when they're working off-site and can't respond. Employees feel heard and valued by organizations that solicit feedback and respond. Leading Intranets allow employers to access and analyze trends in employee behaviour and make informed decisions about culture priorities.
Customize and personalize
As every employee is different, with different roles, objectives, and needs – it makes sense to personalize individual experiences. Relevant, contextualized digital content based on an employee's position, interests, and location helps them feel connected to their organization’s mission.
Modern Intranet experiences empower employees by providing easy, self-service access to information on any device. By simplifying the digital experience, employees can access the information they need, when they need it, from any location.
The pandemic has radically reshaped our experience of work. Unprepared for remote work en mass, both organizations and employees struggled to adapt. As we enter the next stages of the pandemic, organizations have the opportunity to place employees at the heart of the digital workplace experience and improve mental health, engagement, and productivity.
To find out more download our eBook, The digital employee experience: How to leverage technology to create digital EX with strong ROI.
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