The Benefits of Better Connected Employees

We’ve recently dedicated a lot of ink discussing the importance of customer experience for any business hoping to thrive in today’s digital economy. Less discussed is the role technology can play in improving user experience (UX) for employees and how this can help businesses better fulfil their goals.

The Business Case

To quote entrepreneur and all-round business supremo Richard Branson, “Your employees are your company’s real competitive advantage. They’re the ones making the magic happenso long as their needs are being met.”

It’s hard to disagree with Richard; there is plenty of research indicating that satisfied and engaged employees are more productive, more efficient, and less likely to call in sick. Happy employees are also less likely to seek work elsewhere and more likely to rave about their workplace—saving HR work both in replacing existing staff and attracting the best new talent.

While the benefits of satisfied staff would appear obvious, many businesses appear to struggle with creating a consistently positive employee experience. According to Aon’s Trends in Global Employee Engagement Report, only 63% of employees globally feel engaged with their work. Which poses the question, why?

  CX marks the spot! Download Introduction to Customer Journey Mapping and  discover the secret to better customer experience!

It All Starts with Technology

For all the talk of “treating employees like customers”, many organisations fail to realise that this increasingly means giving employees access to the same level of tech as your most valuable customers.

We live in an ever more interconnected world, and it’s important to remember employees are also consumers. This means they’ve grown accustomed to 24/7 information and support, self-service options that allow them to find what they need themselves, and instantaneous communication.

Employee expectations about quick and convenient access while at work are much the same as they would be as a customer in any other setting. They’re often seeking information and services such as corporate news, IT support, payroll, employee benefits, co-worker directories, HR functions and team-specific files.

What’s more, they expect communication with their colleagues to be as simple and expedient as it would be when communicating with friends and family outside of work.

Yet, a recent study Deloitte completed with Facebook found that only 14% of companies believe their internal processes for collaboration and decision making are working well, and 77% believe email is no longer a viable tool for effective inter-company communication.

How Can Businesses Improve Employee Experience?

Effective collaboration and communication between employees is key to achieving your business goals, but there isn’t a uniform route to achieving this. What follows are some suggestions to get things rolling.

Mapping UX

We’ve explained in other blogs how customer journey mapping should be the first step in any attempt to improve customer experience (CX) or journey of digital transformation your business undertakes. Well, the same applies to improving internal systems and processes for employees.

Without knowing where users encounter friction with your current offering or the major pain-points they experience daily, you have no foundation from which to build something better. It could be a clunky interchange between two vital internal platforms, it could be difficulty in finding important information, a disconnect between departments, or simply a question of quality and speed of system performance.

Applying the techniques you would ordinarily use for customer journey mapping can help identify these hurdles to superior UX. This means mapping out the route users take as they complete daily tasks or try to access internal information, and identifying any disconnects that occur along the way. By discerning any weaknesses, as well as strengths, in your internal infrastructure, you’ll be in a great position to plan the next step.

Knowledge Management

How you address any UX concerns raised by your initial investigations will largely depend on what those concerns are, but one that often rears its head, regardless of organisation size, is knowledge management.

With the transition from a production economy to an information economy now in its advanced stages, the collective knowledge within a business is often what differentiates it from competitors. Yet, how to enable the sharing and proliferation of knowledge within your enterprise is often a particularly tricky problem.

We’ve all experienced the frustration of scouring internal servers for that file or guide needed to complete a task, and this is exactly the kind of scenario good knowledge management can help to avoid.

Perhaps the best way to achieve this is to employ an enterprise content management system that goes far beyond the usual indexed files found on most businesses' internal servers.

Such a platform links content with its creator and their knowledge, skills and experience by combining content management with an ‘expert directory’. This not only gives users the ability to search for an answer to their question quickly, it also promotes collaboration within your organisation and breaks down departmental silos. This carries with it the added benefits of reducing the likelihood of costly mistakes by harnessing collective knowledge and providing employees comprehensive access to whatever information they need.

Systems Integration

Technology has evolved at a rapid pace over the past few decades, meaning most businesses are reliant on a combination of legacy and state-of-the-art tools for infrastructure.It’s hardly surprising that this mix doesn’t always make for a seamless user experience when navigating between internal systems and tools.

Systems Integration (SI) connects these disparate parts of your internal processes, providing your staff with an improved platform for communication and collaboration. This could take the form of ensuring that legacy content management systems work in concert with more recent additions or ensuring HR functions link to internal communication channels.

What you integrate will depend upon the applications your business needs to function, but doing so can be the difference between an infrastructure that constantly hinders connectivity between employees and one that fosters a spirit of collaboration.

Portals and Intranet Integration

Finally, a well-planned and structured employee portal or corporate intranet paves the way for improved user experience. This doesn’t have to mean throwing your legacy portal out (although if you’re just starting out or completely rebooting your internal processes a bespoke portal is a great option). It can mean simply refreshing and optimising what you already have.

For example, integrating and consolidating any existing internal portals enables you to create a unified gateway for staff to everything they need—improving user experience as a result.

At Vass, we have a wealth of experience in helping businesses use technology to improve user experience, as well as collaboration and communication between employees. To find out more, visit our knowledge management or portal pages.

Introduction to Customer Journey Mapping