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Why The Employee’s Digital Experience Is Just As Important As The Customer’s

Don't just look outwards with digital

12Oct

Companies spend millions on developing their digital consumer experience, with UX designers painstakingly honing each part of a brand’s digital output to be the most appealing and easy to use for its target audience. User experience is such a large part of digital strategy that, as digital becomes more and more inseparable from wider strategy, it has become one of a company’s key concerns.

But internal engagement with staff is, and should be, as much a priority for companies as outward engagement with customers. In a workforce becoming increasingly dominated by Millennials, a focus on internal digital transformation is essential for any company looking to keep its best staff and encourage innovation. Every employee is a digital employee, and companies need to ensure that their staff have all the technological solutions they need to thrive.

This doesn’t mean each Millennial wants to work in a Google-style office with unique perks and dazzling technology, though. Rather it means that if processes are outdated and the company is averse to technological change, the workforce will switch off. Some technologies, like mobile, are an integral part of employees’ lives and should be integrated into their working life, too. The customer’s experience is mobile by default, why shouldn’t the employee’s be? This means working across different devices should be made possible by cloud computing and effective communication technology like Slack. The benefits are numerous:

Greater productivity

Put simply, a digital workforce is a more productive workforce. Routine tasks can be automated or streamlined and resources can be more readily accessible, removing barriers to employees completing tasks. Communication technology encourages collaboration but lessens the need for time-consuming meetings - an in-office chat system means ideas, advice, and files can be shared instantly. Having employees able to work remotely or on mobile - ‘always on’ - naturally makes them more reachable and more flexible about when and where they work. Just be sure not to impose on their life outside of work; always on doesn’t mean always working.

Encourage innovation

When technology allows employees to collaborate independently of management or official processes, innovation is encouraged. Nearly 80% of digitally maturing companies surveyed in an MIT Sloan Management Review study indicated that they actively encourage further initiatives that promote risk taking, collaboration and agility - the number drops to just 23% in early-stage companies. Digital proficiency goes hand in hand with an innovative culture, and employees feel empowered when their ideas can be heard and implemented.

Technology can also encourage a culture of ‘learn anytime, anywhere.’ Online learning partnerships can help employees develop their skills and make them more confident taking on new responsibilities, and these courses can be undertaken remotely or on mobile. Companies that actively help their employees to grow not only see better retention of staff but the staff they retain are more comfortable innovating.

Staff retention improved

Where being digitally proficient in your outward offerings can improve customer retention, the same can be said for employees. According to a new study from the MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Digital, companies that are not keeping pace with their competition in terms of digital developments are at risk of losing their best employees. More than half of the surveyed employees of less digitally developed companies surveyed would be prepared to leave within three years to find a more tech-savvy company. Keeping your best staff is just as important as hiring the right person, and a positive digital experience can be the difference. 

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