What is the digital employee experience (DEX) and why you should care

eXo Platform Blog

The advances in technology coupled with the changing working dynamics and the rise of remote working lately, have meant that the role of technologies both software and hardware has become even more important to help employees go about their working days and perform their jobs effectively.

Additionally, new generations of employees (millennials and Gen Z) are getting treated with user centric technologies (namely consumer apps and social media platforms) in their daily lives. This has meant that it was only a matter of time that they would start to expect similar treatment at work. In fact, according to a Salesforce report, 71% of respondents stated that they expect the same level of technology in the workplace as to what they are used to in their personal lives.

 

These circumstances, eventually, put pressure on businesses to try and introduce the latest technologies to the workplace in order to satisfy these demands, attract the best talents and build long lasting relationships with both their employees and customers.

Investment in enterprise technologies has gone up in the last couple of years and is expected to grow by 4% to amount to  $ 3.8 Trillion in 2021 according to Gartner. To effectively face the pandemic and modernize their operations, IT teams carefully map their digital environments by selecting and implementing solutions tailored to their employees’ needs. In truth, If it wasn’t for the wide variety of technologies available today such as digital workplace solutions, messaging apps, video conferencing platforms among others,It would have been extremely challenging for businesses to guarantee their continuity and for people to keep their jobs.

With that being said though, technology in itself  has its flaws and implementing technologies just for the sake of it, doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better business performance or an enhanced digital employee experience.

The latter will be the topic of a dedicated series of blog posts in which we are going to examine the concept of digital employee experience (or DEX).

The series will be divided into three main parts. In this blog post, we are going to define the digital employee experience, figure out what differentiates it from the employee experience and why it matters. In the second entry of this series, we will be focusing on the key metrics to keep in mind when trying to evaluate your digital employee experience. And last but not least, the third blog post will cover a set of tips and best practices to build a successful digital employee experience. 

  1. What is the digital employee experience (DEX)

In its simplest form, DEX examines how an employee interacts with his/her digital environment as a whole (whether within the office environment or while working from home) and -more precisely- how they feel about it.

The rise of DEX and the increased interest it has gathered lately is mainly due to the multitude of technologies employees have at their disposal and the tech savvy nature of new generations who expect the latest tech in the workplace.

The success of any digital initiative is directly correlated with employees and their experiences using the software at hand. This is why we have seen many businesses take a user centric approach when trying to introduce new technologies to the workplace. It is not about introducing the best technologies, it is more about having the best experiences. .According to the same salesforce report, 78% of IT leaders stated that projects directly related to enhancing the digital employee experience have become a top priority for their businesses. And for a good reason. Establishing a healthy digital employee experience brings its fair share of benefits including high employee engagement and satisfaction levels, lower turnover rates, enhanced processes and an overall better business results.

  1. What is the difference between DEX and EX?

To figure out the difference between the employee digital experience (DEX) and the employee experience (EX), we would have to first define the employee experience as a general concept.

The employee experience (EX) simply examines how employees perceive their journey within a particular  company. Typically, the employee journey (or the employee lifecycle) starts from the moment an individual applies for a job all the way to the day he/she leaves the company.

All the experiences that happen in between whether interactions with management and colleagues, the office environment and of course the technologies used, can make or break the employee experience and determine both the short and long term future of employees.

Quite similar to the DEX definition you may ask. But where do the differences lay then? Well, to put it quite simply, the main differences between DEX and EX lay in the elements that employees interact with, thus the additional letter “D” to the acronym. Try to think of DEX as part of a whole (a whole employee experience) or a more modern employee experience. Each of the elements that employees are likely to interact with during a working day have their digital equivalent. For example, prior to the boom of remote working, the employee experience focused mainly on how employees interact with each other within the office environment (or the human side of things). Although the focus is still the same with DEX, the latter put the emphasis more on the medium through which the communication and collaboration occur (or the technical side of things).

  1. Why is DEX important for your business?

  • Engage your workforce

With technology becoming the cornerstone of any modern office, employees’ quality of interaction with it greatly influences their engagement levels. The lack of useful tools in the workplace, the overreliance on outdated ones (such as email and static intranets) or the complexity of others can make it hard for employees to access information and get work done which can generate a sense of frustration and dissatisfaction.

There are multiple research studies that examined the impact of technology on employee engagement. For example, according to the 2021 Eagle Hill Consulting Employee Experience Survey, 35% of respondents stated that using their workplace technology frustrates them with a further 44% finding technology to be a hurdle for productivity and even their happiness at work.

Additionally, many vital job functions such as HR and internal communications whose main purpose is to streamline communications, keep employees engaged and well informed, got fully digitized as of late. Now, organizations rely extensively on digital channels to reach their employees through multiple touchpoints whenever and wherever they are and from any device, making the digital employee experience extremely important for their HR and internal communications strategies.

A well designed digital employee experience has the potential to engage users at both ends of the spectrum(whether HR and Com specialists or regular employees).

  • Attract and retain talents

It is a no-brainer that if businesses provide optimal experiences at work they are more likely to gain an advantage in the job market by attracting and retaining the best talents with technology having a big say in this.

With millennials and Gen Z making the most of the modern workplace, it is crucial for businesses to adapt by implementing the right policies and providing the latest technologies that these generations expect… and they do expect a lot.

Many of the things that were perceived as non essentials or nice to have quickly became the norm. Think of remote working, BYODBring Your Own device” policies among a host of other recent trends. In fact, even prior to the pandemic, employees expected to work from home and considered flexible working arrangements to be important criteria when choosing a job. Buffer’s state of remote work report over the years often found similar results with an excess of 90% of respondents stating that they expect to work remotely some of the time.

Remote Work Tools

Additionally, one study made by Dell Technologies explored new generations’ preferences, finding 80% of respondents aspiring to work with cutting technologies and 91% expressing that technology is the decisive factor when considering a job offer.

To adapt to the current working dynamics and support any new initiatives, tailored employee, centric digital solutions need to be deployed taking into consideration employees’ preferences, UX and UI best practices and a host of other factors. And the results speak for themselves. Businesses who provide digital experience similar to what their employees are used to outside of work reported a staggering 103% higher retention rates. In terms of attracting employees on the other hand, a VMware report found that employees who are provided with a good digital employee experience are more willing to recommend their company with 73% of respondents stating that the decision to apply or accept a position is directly correlated with the tools they will be using at work.

  • Streamline the digital onboarding process

Over the last couple of years and way before the pandemic even started, the onboarding process has been on course to become fully digitized. Today, the first point of contact between a new hire and his/her company occurs within digital channels in most cases.

Critical steps of the onboarding process such as starting to know colleagues, understanding roles and responsibilities within teams, going through company policies and procedures and training moved from the physical office to the digital workplace. This move drastically reduced the amount of paperwork, unnecessary meetings and long training hours. Instead, newnhires can refer to integrated learning management systems (LMS) to learn at their own pace, access the intranet to get the latest news and browse through wikis and knowledge management systems (KMS) to access various types of info.

Although the transition is beneficial on paper, it requires the involved parties mainly HR and team managers to carefully select the solution they need all while keeping their employees needs first. Otherwise the technology would be a source of confusion and frustration, which is not ideal for a new hire.

Those who succeeded in doing so have drastically improved their digital onboarding experience and got their employees up to speed effectively and in a timely manner. Referring once again to the VMware report, 74% of employees within business leaders (those perceived to have a good digital employee experience) have been able to provide newcomers with access to  all the information and apps they need to get started from day one.

  • Improve productivity and business growth

Among the many challenges facing employees at work are lack of communication and collaboration, the inability to quickly and accurately locate information for a multitude of reasons. The most recurrent being the absence of adequate tools ( or an overload of which in some cases) and a clear strategy to build, purchase or implement them. With no surprise, the digital employee experience suffers as a result leading to more time spent on unproductive tasks.

Having the right technologies in place to assist employees in their day-to-day operations obviously helps in tackling these issues and guaranteeing high levels of productivity and eventual business growth.

The VMware report closely looked at the divides between businesses perceived (by their employees) to have a good digital employee experience and those who don’t. The results show that employees within the leading businesses are significéntly more productive and enjoy a great deal of freedom and flexibility at work. For example, 70% of respondents within leading businesses can work from anywhere compared to 51% in trailing businesses. Additionally, 76% of respondents agreed that they can find the right app for their tasks with relative ease compared to 53% at follower businesses.

When it comes to business growth. It is apparent that organizations who prioritize and invest heavily in enhancing their digital employee experiences enjoy significant business growth and better market positioning. The same VMware report indicates that employees working at high performing organizations report having a better digital employee experience.

  • Enhance the customer experience (CX)

Building and delivering great experiences is both the aim and the promise of any business regardless of its industry, size and the nature of its offerings.  Virtually every brand out there tries to portray itself as the one with the most innovative products and compelling experiences. As a result, the concepts of user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) have become the main pillars of any business strategy, and for a good reason. Businesses who carefully study their customers’ needs and design their experiences accordingly are more likely to gain a competitive advantage, attract more customers and build long lasting relationships.

But what is the first step to get UX and CX right? And who is responsible for that?  

Well, to put it simply, everything revolves around the employees, their experiences, and more precisely their digital experiences. More often than not, a positive employee experience translates into a great user and customer experience. Employees who are equipped with the tech and support they need are more likely to go the extra mile, better convey their company’s offerings and reflect its values.

This equation is more like a general truth. As Richard Branson once said “Loyal employees in any company create loyal customers, who in turn create happy shareholders”. And many studies back this claim (who to be honest is quite obvious). For example, a Gallup study reported that employees who feel engaged can drive sales by up to 20%. And not only that, a great digital employee experience can speed up customer facing operations such as the handling of customer orders and responding to support tickets, which in turn enhances customer services and the overall customer journey.

Now that you have an idea about the digital employee experience as a concept along with the benefits it brings to businesses, in the next blog post of this series we will discover the tips and best practices that will help you build a successful DEX. Stay tuned!

 

What is a digital workplace?

A digital workplace is a next generation of intranet solutions or intranet 2.0 that is based on three pillars: communication, collaboration and information. In a way this definition is true but it doesn’t cover the whole spectrum of the term.
Here are some definitions of digital workplace:

  • An evolution of the intranet
  • A user centric digital experience

See the full definition of digital workplace


What is the digital employee experience (DEX)?

In its simplest form, DEX examines how an employee interacts with his/her digital environment as a whole (whether within the office environment or while working from home) and -more precisely- how they feel about it.

The rise of DEX and the increased interest it has gathered lately is mainly due to the multitude of technologies employees have at their disposal and the tech savvy nature of new generations who expect the latest tech in the workplace.

See the full definition of digital employee experience (DEX)


What is the difference between DEX and EX?

To figure out the difference between the employee digital experience (DEX) and the employee experience (EX), we would have to first define the employee experience as a general concept.

The employee experience (EX) simply examines how employees perceive their journey within a particular  company. Typically, the employee journey (or the employee lifecycle) starts from the moment an individual applies for a job all the way to the day he/she leaves the company.
Find out the difference between the employee digital experience (DEX) and the employee experience (EX)


Why is DEX important for your business?

Here are some reasons why your organizations Need To Focus On digital employee experience (DEX):

  • Engage your workforce
  • Attract and retain talents
  • Streamline the digital onboarding process
  • Improve productivity and business growth
  • Enhance the customer experience (CX)

Discover why employee digital experience is important for your business.


What are the digital workplace benefits?

Here are some of the benefits of digital workplace solutions:

  • 1. Create a robust corporate culture
  • 2. Eliminate communication silos
  • 3. Enhance the onboarding process
  • 4. Boost productivity and performance
  • 5. Centralize access to business apps
  • 6. Increase revenue while reducing IT and operational costs
  • 7. Facilitate knowledge sharing and the exchange of expertise
  • 8. Facilitate remote working
  • 9. Engage and reward teams
  • 10. Turn employees into brand ambassadors

Find out 10 Benefits of digital workplace solutions

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Product Marketing Specialist

I am a product marketing specialist at eXo. My role is to assist marketing and sales teams in their operations and present our digital workplace solution to the world. I mainly blog about the latest tech trends, digital transformation, internal communication and how to navigate through eXo Platform.

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