The digital strategy for any organization should focus on 4 key pillars – customers, employees, products/services and operations. Why did I put employees second on that list? There are many who overlook the impact employees can make in digital transformation. It is critical for any organization undergoing digital transformation to enrich the experiences of its employees and their opportunities for global collaboration and communication.
Employees play a vital role in shaping their organizations’ new direction moving forward. Catering digital transformation to their needs involves creating a digital ecosystem coupled with a digital-friendly culture to enhance their work experience. To illustrate this concept, I am taking the approach that employees during their ‘lifecycle’ at an organization all experience their own form of customer journey.
Digitally transforming workplace culture
In our world of ‘always-on’ technology, the lines are blurring between our work and personal lives. Employees today have access to enriching experiences as consumers and they carry the same mindset and expectations from their employer.
Taking cues from the millennial workforce versed in the latest technologies, organizations must approach this entire concept with a ‘human lens.’ To accommodate our ‘blended’ lifestyles, organizations need to create user-centric digital work environments. By fostering engaging experiences through digital interactions, they can create compelling digital experiences that bring out innovative ideas and increased engagement from employees.
A truly holistic employee experience encompasses better access to information, communication, engagement, collaboration, decision-making and involvement, leading to a motivated and a productive workspace.
Designing the employee ‘customer journey’
In order to understand digital transformation from the employees’ perspective, we must follow their ‘customer journey’ as they move through the organization. A complete digital employee experience will start from the very beginning.
It starts with talent acquisition, which includes the prospecting, hiring and onboarding of candidates, followed by day-to-day communication and collaboration among workers and talent management through insights and planning activities to better accommodate their needs. Finally, the employees’ journey extends even beyond their time at an organization to their alumni network.
The 4 stages of the digital employee experience
1) Talent Acquisition
Today’s ‘always-on’ talent should be engaged through digital channels, using a wide variety of digitally integrated recruiting tools. This process could start with social media interactions, word-of-mouth-publicity, thought leadership or other public sources of information.
Much like their approach to gain customers, organizations must work proactively to build enriching user experiences for potential employees: these help to build a strong talent pool, an attractive brand proposition and leverage digital technology for ongoing innovation. Organizations have to integrate and expand the current systems of engagement through an outside-in approach. The systems and tools used internally today should be connected with social tools to capture feedback and further evolve in real time.
2) Communication and Collaboration
Once new employees are on board, ensure that their at-work communications can happen as easily and efficiently as their personal communications. Organizations must offer access to collaboration platforms that foster enterprise-level social integration and communication. Tools like Yammer, Slack, Sharepoint, Jive, and Skype are the workplace equivalents of Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, which is how many individuals communicate outside of work.Though employees will likely have to communicate over multiple applications, integrated web services can boost productivity. Deliver consistent messaging across platforms with high-quality dynamic content that is relevant to their needs.
Organizations have to leverage the digital dexterity of today’s employees. Cloud-hosted centralized solutions – that provide the capabilities for the technologists to design, build and test their innovation at one place – can substantially lift the teamwork quotient in an organization. It also provides a lot of freedom and flexibility for employees to contribute from wherever and whenever they can.
3) Insights and Planning
The human capital management (HCM) approach to staffing recognizes employees as valued assets that can be appreciated through the investment of time and resources. For an organization undergoing digital transformation, HCM sees massive potential for disruption. A digitally-enabled workforce generates data that, paired with analytics, can help organizations leverage advanced metrics and insights to enhance the employee experience. Digital enablement and data collection also help global organizations better understand employee needs across offices, borders and even oceans. By proactively capturing insights from internal data, organizations can identify and create solutions for universal issues such as; can we help our employees to manage their expense reimbursements automatically if within permissible limits?
4) Alumni Network
Looking beyond the traditional HCM cycle, employees’ customer journeys extend far outside their tenure with an employer. Employee experience will go on to impact the organization’s brand and people for the rest of their careers. Organizations’ outreach efforts to appeal to prospective employees can also be used to remain connected with their ‘alumni’: those who have positive experiences maintain their relationships with employers through their career network and referrals. In the digital age, catering to employees by improving their user experience can significantly an organization’s potential growth and development. These approaches impact reach to an already scarce talent pool, and improve retention within the organization.