Workplace experience is an ever-evolving discipline for organizations. Most companies have mechanisms in place to manage interactions with employees regarding day-to-day operations and the quality of the employee experience. But the ongoing pandemic has made this more complex as workplace boundaries have extended beyond the office.
The workplace experience helps define an employee’s level of connection with an organization and how he or she feels about the company. It includes access to resources, information, and timely resolution of issues and concerns. With employees now distributed across many locations, companies can enhance the workplace experience through technology, tools, and touchpoints.
Current Challenges in the Workplace
As workplace experience trends continue to evolve, it’s important for employers to respond by aligning with changing employee expectations. Although it’s tough to have a one-size-fits-all approach, some key areas can help companies make a positive impact on the employee experience. For example, organizations can make day-to-day workplace operations such as timesheet, service request, space requests, and approvals easier and more efficient. They can enable unified access to required business apps on mobile devices. Companies can provide relevant and personalized content to employees based on their roles and preferences. And while using technology to drive all of these outcomes, companies can go even deeper by leveraging advanced technologies such as AR, VR, IoT, virtual assistants, and connected devices to enhance the employee experience.
Business Objectives of a Great Workplace Experience
The objective of any workplace experience should be to create an environment for employees to perform their job effectively. This should include providing quick access to resources, information, timely resolution of issues, and ensuring two-way communications. When designing a workplace experience, at a minimum, include these aspects in the transformation solution:
- Better employee engagement
- Productivity improvement
- Enhanced workplace operational efficiency
- One-stop solution for day-to-day operations
- Safe and secure work environment
- Continuous monitoring and improvement by incorporating feedback
- Process simplification wherever possible
How to Plan an Ideal Workplace Experience
Once problem statements and business objectives are defined, build a blueprint for a workplace experience that matches the objectives. Here are some pointers to establish alignment:
Any organization could have multiple business apps. Access to these apps should be restricted based on a user’s role. Organizations should not attempt to replicate all features into a single app ; integrate only with frequently used operations.
Identify different user roles and map the business-app processes applicable to each user role. This helps prioritize the feature sets of a business app that need to be implemented incrementally as the app is rolled out to different user groups. Cover the roles with the highest number of employees first.
In today’s world, everyone has a preference on how she/he would like to interact with applications. Employees should be given an option to customize their experience, including the landing screen and quick actions. Employees do not want to settle for the personalized content offered by the system based on an analytics engine running at the backend.
Frequently Used Operations
Create personas based on user roles and identify day-to-day operations for each of these roles. For example, for a junior employee, the key day-to-day operations could include timesheet, leave, payroll, policies, information access, learning management system, booking rooms or desks, and service requests. This process needs to be repeated for all user groups.
Promote an environment where employees can collaborate with each other by participating in events, classes, training sessions, knowledge sharing, and more.
This may not be directly linked with the employee; however, it becomes important for organizations to make sure that shared workplace resources (meeting rooms, desks, printers, cafeteria, ambience, parking areas, etc.) are utilized efficiently to optimize usage and reduce the associated cost. This can be augmented further by leveraging sensors, controllers, and beacons to provide real-time data.
As user interaction for consumer apps expands beyond web and mobile channels, the enterprise should look to expand the employee experience across multiple channels (e.g. web, mobile, voice and text assistant, connected device, and more). Companies should follow a mobile-first approach and design the system in such a way as to enable the addition of other channels using a phased approach.
As technology continues to evolve, enterprises should consider how to integrate smart technologies such as AR, VR, sensors, controllers, virtual assistants, and AI/ML to improve resource efficiency and enhance the user experience.
Deployment and Rollout
Rolling out an app through an enterprise mobile management (EMM) tool may not yield higher adoption for employee-owned devices. Some employees may not want their devices registered and managed by the EMM tool. Use of business apps on private devices needs to be evaluated carefully as part of the initial planning phase without compromising enterprise processes, policy, and security guidelines.
There are multiple options available when it comes to the mobile front-end experience, such as Native, React Native, and Flutter. The development approach is usually driven by factors like user experience, single codebase, cost, third-party integration, performance, and feature sets. These solutions require integration with various third-party systems, custom microservice-based middleware, or a mobile backend as a service (mBaaS) platform integration for flexibility. Other factors to consider include app upgrades, deployment, analytics, AR/VR, IoT, and connected-device integrations.
After deployment, it is important to implement a tracking and monitoring system that collects user feedback to provide continuous improvement to the existing system. Further, the user engagement journey needs to be tracked for usage patterns to improve relevant content and provide quick access to frequently used operations.
Where do Companies Start?
Any workplace experience should focus on employees to create an environment that promotes better engagement, access to resources and information, work/life balance, collaboration, and two-way communication with the enterprise. Organizations should implement improvements gradually, beginning with changes that cover the largest number of employees first, and implementing other features later incrementally. At every phase, and for every enterprise, technology plays a critical role in accomplishing these tasks.