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Today’s transformed organizations are focused as never before on delivering not just services, but experiences. That goes for employees as well customers. “Delighting employees” is up there with cost savings and security as modern priorities for IT leaders.
We asked tech influencers to weigh in on that intersection of IT services and employee experience, and share their insights into the must-haves to make IT service delivery more employee-centric. Culture, communication, change, and empowerment got lots of mentions, along with automation, AI/ML, and leveraging data. The consensus: technology will play a part, but delighting employees takes more than tools. It requires a deft hand experienced in change management, marshalling resources, and innovative thinking born of an open mind.
Here’s what they had to say.
Workplace and work culture are no longer bound by the limits of a physical office. That means employee experience management needs to focus on helping the employees experience "culture" wherever they sit — whether in a remote-only or hybrid work environment. Technology and IT Service Management have key roles to play in this new model of "employee experience."
**“Empowering employees is key to success, as the work culture has evolved fundamentally,” says Global Thought Leader and Tech Influencer Elitsa Krumova. “**The needs and requirements of the employees are more important than ever. Organizations should already have embraced employee experience management, especially after the effects on the workplace and workforce, given the shifts and changes brought by COVID-19.”
Remember, employees are also IT’s customers, says Gene de Libero, Chief Strategy Officer - GeekHive.com.
“Employee-centric IT service delivery success is rooted in the same approach to building remarkable customer experiences. First, there must be a culture of employee IT service excellence. This culture must be mandated and supported at the highest levels - not just with a memo; the organization must walk the IT service delivery excellence talk.”
Leaders must align the employee experience the organization’s purpose, brand, and culture. The consequences of mistakes should be support and training, not punishment. Employees must have the tools to do their jobs at the highest level. Companies that supported the switch to remote work during the pandemic with investments in technology “had employees who were 54% more productive and 2x more likely to feel a sense of belonging,” According to Future Forum.
Empowerment demands that you give employees information, track results, and enable self-service, says Will Kelly, senior product marketing manager for Section, an edge compute platform
“Start with a self-service or digital acquisition model enabling authorized employees to select IT products and services such as software, cloud services, and end-user devices via an internal portal,” Kelly says. Next, provide well-maintained, high-quality content. “Spending a bit of time and money on content upfront can save time later for your service desk and operations teams enabling them to focus on resolving delivery issues,” Kelly says. “Delivery teams need to keep the end-user at the forefront of their priorities.”
Communication, culture, and change
One of the hallmarks of a healthy corporate work environment is open and vibrant communications between employees, says Steve Guilford, CEO of AsterionDB
“This can manifest itself in how co-workers help one another to overcome challenges in their IT services stack. So, one thing you must have for employee-centric IT service delivery is efficient intra-corporate communications,” he says.
A corporate culture that supports change is essential, says Steve Prentice, technology integration specialist.
“Employees are often too busy to give their attention to IT service delivery. Management needs to allow sufficient time for a clear understanding of IT-related techniques and protocols and the changes they will bring about,” he says. And change requires communication.
Efficient communication requires structure, says Frank Cuttita, CEO & Founder HealthTech Decisions Lab. “Have a formalized feedback loop separate from the help desk. This should include customers and employees to assure alignment between what the market wants and what you’re delivering.”
A formal strategc plan for communication is essential. This should include metrics, objectives, assumptions, and a concise mission statement. Frameworks like the Active Employee Communication Roles (AECR) Framework can help codify communications.
And remember, says Elitsa Krumova, “Employee-centric culture is essentially business-centric culture.”
What about Technology?
Technology has a key role in delighting employees, from automation to measuring results. But as Gene De Libero says, technology is inherently complex.
“Employee-centric IT service delivery removes as much complexity as possible by simplifying processes, implementing best practices across the enterprise, and defining and tracking the correct KPIs,” de Libero says. **“**Make things as simple as possible.”
Especially in growth scenarios, automation can help enhance the employee experience, says Scott Schober , President/CEO at Berkeley Varitronics Systems, Inc.
“Automation is necessary not just for cost reduction but also to alleviate human error and burnout commonly found in repetitive tasks,” Schober says. “Automation frees up IT agents to add true value through their creative contributions, solutions and collaboration with other employees.”
Part of IT service is preventing issues before they arise, says Schober. “Organizations implementing machine learning effectively helps IT support teams become more efficient by identifying and predicting issues so they can be prepared and respond more effectively,” he says.
The old saying “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” applies here. “IT Operations KPIs must be built on employee satisfaction metrics,” says Nikolay Ganyushkin CEO & co-founder of Acure
Technology can complement the human touch, says Frank Cuttita “Teach employees how to apply data insights unearthed using technology to real world situations; don’t expect they’ll do it organically. In fact many will be data-phobic and suspect of what you refer to as insights unless you ask them what kind of data will provide competitive advantage.”
Track, Measure, Win
Today, it's imperative to understand that, like a customer, employees have specific personas with associated needs and wants and corresponding employee journeys that must be researched and mapped, says Gene de Libero.
“It all starts with a good understanding of the different modalities in today’s current workforce. Where are they working from? What is their mission? And how can IT better serve and support a great end-user experience,” says George Gerchow, CSO and SVP of IT at Sumo Logic
Tracking and measuring will keep the initiative on target, Gerchow says. “You must continually get proactive metrics on performance to know when things are not going so well. How nice would it be when someone in IT contacts you to say an issue could be coming instead of waiting until there is a disruption of service?”