By Monika Fahlbusch, chief employee experience officer at BMC
"Our people make us different" is a value many companies stand by. But great employees don't always stay in one place very long, with one third of new hires choosing to look for a new job within their first six months according to ERE Media.
There’s also a war for top talent and on the battleground a clear trend is emerging: the digital workplace plays an ever-increasing role in an organization’s ability to engage talent and make workers happy.
The Digital Workplace: Why the Stakes are High
We spend a lot of time working, so our experience at work matters. We want to feel involved in and enthusiastic about our work; be empowered to excel in our role; have fun, and understand our position within the bigger picture. We also know that the modern workplace is actually about being able to work efficiently everywhere, and we expect our work experience to be imagined with this in mind. When we're not engaged or understood, there's a danger of checking out.
Employees experiences at work impact a company's ability to remain competitive. According to Gallup, organizations with engaged employees are said to outperform those without them by 202 percent. As a result, companies are realizing that better employee experience should be the motivation behind driving digital business across all areas of the organization.
Going Digital: Company Focus Areas
Companies looking to improve the employee experience should concentrate on two areas: using insights to drive meaningful worker/employee conversations that will engage and retain top talent, and building a digital workplace to enhance employee collaboration and productivity, and support new working styles.
Integrating Big Data and HR to Enhance the Digital Workplace
Many companies are now data rich, but insight poor. Predictive analytics is one of the most critical business functions of a digital enterprise, and key to improving the employee experience. By looking at information from across multiple departments like HR, IT, and communications, enterprises can identify internal trends and shifts that impact current and future organizational needs. The data is a way for employees to speak to their organizations.
Consider the ability to predict when a top sales person might leave or identify the skill sets of employees who are driving the company forward. The ability to engage with those employees and influence their trajectories is highly valuable. Insight, combined with forecasting capability, allows managers to impact outcomes and to deeply engage with important team members.
But many companies do not get this far or are not able to scale big data projects to deal with multiple business use cases. It requires the right strategies and automation processes.
A successful big data project relies on a workflow that is capable of ingesting all the required data in a single repository, rather than small subsets stored in siloes. Let's say you want to predict if your top salespeople might leave. Only by removing siloes can we correlate HR data related to compensation, facilities, IT ticketing and satisfaction, expense management, payroll, sales achievement, and any other shared service data in a way that gives a 360-degree view of the employee experience.
Companies can then identify those key pain points that might indicate if a salesperson is likely to leave – that’s the power of the digital workplace. For example it’s no good if an organization knows that its employees are paid 90 percent of the market average according to compensation data, without also knowing that they are filing twice the industry average of IT tickets.
Leveraging automation processes makes it possible for all the data from different sources to be seamlessly fed into one central location, without labor-intensive manual integration work. In the same way, automation processes stitch together applications and tools needed to process and manage that data for analytics.
From that point companies can take educated action. Insights spur new conversations with employees, giving organizations the opportunity to directly impact the outcomes related to a positive work experience, before things break.
Using Digital Transformation to Enhance Employee Collaboration and Productivity
While the employee previously had to adapt to company-standardized technology tools, the digital workplace flips this on its head. The digital workplace focuses on employees and how they can work more efficiently, coupled with creating a culture and conditions that attract and retain talent and support new styles of working.
A digital platform should be usable, modern, and fun. It should give employees fast access to the information, connections, and resources needed to excel in their roles. That includes functionalities ranging from intelligent search and personalized action items, to social collaboration and self-service tools.
Take self-service as an example. Previously when users had a problem, they had to contact a service desk or submit a ticket and wait for someone to take action. In the digital workplace people want an immediate solution to continue with their task. There are products that allow employees to quickly get an answer through a shared knowledge base, ask their co-workers through an enterprise social feed or get an issue resolved through the service desk.
It is also critical to understand that work is no longer time or location-based, but can take place anytime, anywhere. Eighty-one percent of workers now access documents on the go, according to Workplace and the Association for Information and Image Management. Workforce mobilization is therefore a very important aspect of the digital workplace. Employees should be equipped with a secure set of devices, tools, and applications that enable them to be productive and collaborative from any location in a way that is easy and familiar.
These capabilities give employees greater flexibility. This disruptive way of thinking about where our workers are located can also have a dramatic impact on achieving access to a more diverse talent pool, as we can go to where the employees are vs. asking them to come to us.
Creating the optimal digital workplace will only grow in importance, as 75 percent of the global workforce will be millennials by 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data matters because the members in this age group are digital natives; their experiences with technology are different, and they want a lot of freedom. Employers will need to adapt to their needs and ultimately recreate the workplace.
The big data shift to business units like HR coupled with predictive analytics can be a real competitive advantage, but only if companies can make sense of their information. Organizations must get the right tools and automation processes in place to manage and translate internal data into actionable insights, and enhance interaction with employees. The trick is to create meaningful conversations with the workforce – technology can only go so far.
The digital workplace reshapes the employee experience. Routine tasks can be automated and completed faster with tools that provide contextual information to help employees make better decisions. The ability to work anytime, anywhere becomes a reality. Teams can collaborate and share best practices, to feel more engaged and part of the bigger picture. This leaves employees feeling more satisfied.
Overall, a successful digital workplace will better arm companies to win the war for talent.
Does your company deserve to be highlighted for its outstanding company culture, commitment to a diverse workplace, or focus on social responsibility? Apply for the TMCnet Workplace Excellence Award! Applications should be submitted by all technology organizations who have developed a positive, productive and performance-driven culture. Additionally, TMC is seeking applications from organizations who have fostered a diverse work environment whose culture and commitment to social causes drives performance and growth. Apply today.