Competition for talent has never been greater. Companies lobby new graduates and professionals alike to join their companies. Alas, much of that effort is wasted when there’s no follow-through to offer a compelling employee experience. Without the employee experience in place, your people will hold back at work and continuously look for better opportunities.
Inside the Two-factor Model of Employee Experience
Crafting a great employee experience requires much more than simply saying good morning each day. I recommend using the two-factor employee experience model recently developed by Kristine Dery and Ina M. Sebastian at MIT’s Sloan Center for Information Systems Research. In this model, an excellent employee experience is driven by “work complexity and work complexity and behavioral norms (specifically collaboration, creativity, and empowerment).” Organizations with that score highly on the employee experience and have more innovative products and better customer satisfaction levels. When customers are satisfied, more of them will stay loyal to your company, which means it’s easier to grow the bottom line.
Don’t Leave the Employee Experience to HR
When I speak with managers and executives about the employee experience, I see two reactions. The first group considers employee experience as a matter for the human resources department to manage. The second looks at the issue differently. While HR has a critical role to play, they see every department and leader throughout the company as playing an important role. Leaving the employee experience solely up to HR is the less effective solution. After all, HR already has a full plate of responsibilities to asses with hiring, benefits, and other support activities.
Ultimately, front-line people managers and supervisors play a critical role in promoting a good employee experience. They can set a good example of collaboration and encourage creative thinking in their teams. Those efforts are like water on a garden – you need water for the plants to grow, but you also need good soil. Organizationally, the “good soil” for employee experience requires robust systems that enhance collaboration and streamline daily work.
How IT Delivers an Improved Employee Experience for the Business
Think back to the last time you were frustrated by slow and out-of-date systems at work. You might’ve waited 5-10 minutes for documents to load while your colleagues wait for you to start your presentation. That’s a painful event that increases work complexity. Instead, here are some practical ways for the IT department to cut down on work complexity.
1. Reduce the Number of Passwords People Have to Memorize
Most people have over a dozen passwords to use each week. Think about your logins for email, banking, and online services at home, and then consider all the systems you use at work. It is no wonder that most people find it nearly impossible to use effective passwords. All these different passwords add up to increased work complexity.
The IT solution to this problem is simple. Implement a single sign-on software solution. With this solution in place, employees can log in once and get all their work done. Even when you reduce the number of passwords, there are still other password barriers to consider.
2. Increase Convenience for Password Resets
Waiting on hold – even for just a few minutes – is frustrating! Picture this: you just came back from vacation, and you’re at the office at 9am. You want to log in and find out what’s happened while you were away. Then, you realize that you’ve forgotten your password. Before you know it, you’re on hold with your company’s IT help desk. Long waits for help with a simple password problem are annoying.
Your IT department can solve this problem by putting a modern password management tool in place. We recommend seeking out a solution that’s available 24/7 so that your global workforce can get new passwords quickly.
3. Simplify Your IT Audits
IT audits don’t happen every month, but when they do arrive, they tend to be quite disruptive. Your entire staff – especially managers – will be asked to drop everything to respond to the auditor. These audit interruptions disrupt collaboration and focus on your team’s main objectives. To simplify your IT audits, prepare for them proactively.
Rather than react to an IT audit when it happens, and disrupt the employee experience, take a different approach. Use an identity and access management tool to centralize audit logs and approvals in one place. Your IT auditors can then simply request access to the system and review the data they need.
4. Refresh Your Primary IT Assets More Often
Streamlined IT security processes and automation help to improve the employee experience. However, they’re not the only IT improvement you can make. You may need to purchase new hardware such as new laptops for staff. That will increase expense, but it’s worth it to remove barriers to productivity.
Long-term Employee Experience Improvements Are Next
So far, we’ve looked at short-term ways to improve the employee experience. Add them all together, and you remove barriers to work complexity. Promoting collaboration, cooperation, and interpersonal networks is next. Unfortunately, building a culture of collaboration and support takes longer. To get started today, start by setting an example as a manager.
Specifically, you can model a strong employee experience by doing the following activities every month.
Proactively offer assistance to other departments. Pick up the phone, go to another floor, or send an email to let a peer in another department know that you can help. For example, you can demonstrate greater collaboration by offering to pilot test a new process or technology.
To spur creativity, study how creativity works. Consider “The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time” by Allen Gannett. The author shows that you can build a process to generate new ideas on demand.
Building a Strong Employee Experience Takes Leadership Support
A healthy employee experience increases customer satisfaction and leads to more successful new products. If you want those benefits, block 30 minutes on your calendar this week to put this article into action.