In the past couple of months, there has been a lot of discussion about improving the employee experience, with the recognition that employee engagement is a necessary precursor to an improved customer experience. Sir Richard Branson stated the need to do this quite clearly: “It sort of should go without saying—and it's surprising that it still doesn't go without saying at some companies—if the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the job they're doing, if you give them the tools to do a good job, they're proud of the brand, if they were looked after, if they're treated well, then they're going to be smiling, they're going to be happy, and therefore the customer will have a nice experience.”1
A recent study by The Economist found that improving employee experience is a topic extensively discussed by senior management at 81% of companies.2 Organizations interested in enhancing the employee experience and engagement are seeing that a move to digital business can be a key component of both. The next-generation digital workspace enables organizations to deliver a much more compelling employee experience when all the necessary tools, apps and data are in one place. And engagement increases substantially when employees don’t have to go looking for the information or services they require.
To be really useful, the digital workspace must include more than just productivity tools and key reports that employees might use to complete their work tasks. The digital workspace also must provide a simple way to navigate their benefits and vacation time and handle other administrative duties, all things that are part of the employee experience as well. In many ways, dealing with these administrative tasks can be more frustrating than doing actual work tasks, because they are done only occasionally and employees may not remember how to use the necessary systems or be able to find the needed passwords. The best-in-class digital workspaces include AI-empowered features that let employees simply ask things like, “How many vacation days do I have left?” much as someone might talk to Alexa.
However, legacy systems that are trapped in the old, single-minded focus on business tasks don’t have the necessary features and capabilities to improve engagement and the work experience. A modern digital workspace must support many more tasks and activities than those accomplished using Microsoft Office, Salesforce and other business software. This is why IT and HR must team up to ensure that the right digital workspace is chosen, one that can deliver on all aspects of the employee experience—and oftentimes, high-performance organizations already understand this. The Economist study found that 46% of high-performance organizations have employee experience KPIs that are used by both HR and IT.3 Line-of-business management and key executives must have a say as well. IT should not try to go it alone for this important part of the digital infrastructure of the company.
Technology has become the enabler of job satisfaction and engagement for many employees, given that digital systems are where much work gets done. Even for factory and retail workers, digital systems have become the face of the business. Those systems can either present a positive environment or one that is highly frustrating. If it produces frustration, you will continue to hear your customer support reps say to customers things like “My system won’t let me do that” or “My system won’t let me give you that information.”
The impact of the right digital workspace is hard to overstate. It can even become an important part of maintaining and attracting higher quality employees, something critical to business success. When employees believe they are enabled and their productivity is improved by the digital workspace, they are far easier to retain.
Citrix is a leader in digital workspace technology and a pioneer in the next-generation intelligent offerings that can deliver employee delight. The Citrix Intelligent Workspace reduces frustration, simplifies the use of digital tools and improves employee engagement and their experience. For more information, visit the Citrix Workspace Intelligence page. Or to hear more about the impact of technology on employee productivity from Forrester analyst Andrew Hewitt, check out this Forrester report.
1 “Richard Branson: Why Customers Come Second at Virgin,” Inc. video, March 2016
2 “The Experience of Work: The Role of Technology in Productivity and Engagement,” The Economist, 2019