How to Elevate the Employee Experience With the Right Tech
The relationship between technology and the employee experience is complex. Treating employees right can lead to 50% higher revenues, but that’s not the complete picture.
Most research points to the same conclusion: Employees are more motivated and satisfied when they have the tools to complete their work efficiently. Better tech leads to happier employees, higher retention and improved business performance.
But it doesn’t stop there; the right technology enhances both day-to-day operations and internal relationships. Technology acts as a conduit for collaboration and alignment between employees and across departments. And collaboration and alignment lead to the kind of engagement that makes people want to stick around. We sat down with Laura Quinn, manager of corporate systems at BBSI, to learn how she makes tech decisions for over 120,000 employees.
Focus on these 5 areas of tech opportunity
According to PwC’s latest Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey, only about half of all employees experience fulfillment or feel they can be themselves at work. To tackle employee discontent, Laura recommends looking at tools across the entire hire-to-retire lifecycle. “Think about how you’re going to engage people throughout the entire employee lifecycle—from their initial application and onboarding to building out teams and ongoing training.”
Using this mindset, Laura recommends these five buckets when it comes to redefining the employee experience with tech.
Human capital management (HCM)
HCM systems empower employees to reach their full potential by putting employee-specific tasks like onboarding, development and payroll in a unified location. When you have systems that enhance collaboration and development, you set the stage for a productive and committed workforce. Even the small details, like how a new hire signs their offer letter or enters their personal information to enroll for benefits, can majorly impact how tech-savvy they perceive your organization to be.
Tool tip: Platforms like Paycor and Rippling streamline tasks like payroll, expenses, benefits, compliance and more—saving your HR and accounts payable teams hours of processing time and empowering all employees with easy access to their own data.
Employees crave tools to facilitate collaboration, but most feel their company’s current tech stack falls short. According to Microsoft, 59% of workers think their current collaboration tools don’t align with their team’s work preferences.
What do workers want in a collaboration tool?
- 72% want tools that allow them to collaborate easily across teams
- 86% want a centralized platform that lets them collaborate in multiple ways
With that in mind, find solutions that streamline and simplify your employees’ most repetitive processes. For example, does your CRM integrate seamlessly with your contract tools or billing and provisioning systems? If not, it could with a tool like DocuSign CLM and your organization could see significant outcomes. Case in point, teams that use DocuSign CLM spend 83% less time on contract processes—resulting in a 356% return on investment for their companies.
Learning and development (L&D)
According to a poll of 30,000+ workers, 98% of those who participated in digital skills training in the past year noted at least one positive career benefit. The most common of these self-reported benefits was “increased efficiency in my work”—a clear win for their employers as well. Leaders can make on-the-job upskilling possible by offering a corporate learning management system (LMS), learning portal or digital knowledge base.
Tool tip: Popular platforms like Tovuti LMS and Absorb LMS let you create personalized learning experiences that make upskilling engaging for your employees.
Automating tasks and reminders in a project management platform makes it easy to see who is doing what and when. This is especially important for complex projects with many stakeholders and disparate teams.
Provide employees with a collaboration-friendly project management tool so everyone feels in the loop with as little back and forth as possible. For Laura, good project management isn’t about eradicating every roadblock. It’s about seeing them early and keeping everyone looped in. “When people talk about project management, you often hear talk about going from green to yellow to red—those aren't necessarily bad colors. It’s more about making people aware of the issue and letting them know what we're doing to course correct.”
Tool tip: Apps like Monday.com or Asana offer pre-built templates and app integrations to streamline processes and coordinate work across departments.
Your intranet is a tool to engage employees and help them understand the company. But it can easily become obsolete or neglected if it’s not intuitive or helpful. Instead, try thinking of it as the launching point for your employees—a centralized place where they can find your business processes, templates, forms and other HR communications. Laura is a big believer in company intranets. “The intranet does not get as much love as it should. Building an excellent intranet is really about engaging your audience, making sure that you have quality content and being a resource for how people do their job.”
Tool tip: At BBSI, Laura uses Interact for straightforward and easy-to-launch content, which she keeps fresh and relevant with the help of marketing and IT.
How to track and measure employee engagement
Once you’ve implemented new tools, it’s time to make sure they’re working as intended. The next step is determining whether your employees actually get value from the tools you’ve implemented.
Laura uses three primary inputs, including qualitative and quantitative sources, to monitor employee adoption and engagement. “You need to understand what your vision of success looks like. Once that's defined, you want to look at analytics and employee feedback. With these three sources, you can find out what people are using, how they're using it and how long they're using it.” When tracking usage and productivity, it’s essential to remember the root purpose of any employee tool: to empower their success. “You know, we have to remember that we're building tools for people to use, not the tool just for the sake of the tool. We want people to accomplish their goals,” said Laura.
Tackle budget and leadership buy-in to get started
Most employees, especially early-in-career professionals, expect top-of-the-line tech. But it’s no small task to digitally transform the employee experience. According to a Microsoft survey, 87% of workers think prioritizing digital transformation is more important than ever.
Convincing company leadership to carve out space in the budget for yet another new tech tool will likely be your primary challenge. The best way to win the hearts of leaders is to make the benefits tangible, or in Laura’s words, “speak the language of accounting.” A practical way to do this is to suggest a tool that covers the footprint of 2-3 existing tools and integrates seamlessly with the rest of your tech stack. This way, you’re not just having a time-saving discussion; you’re making a cost-saving recommendation.
Look for results or testimonials from third parties and benchmark organizations. Look for data that shows a better employee experience resulting in a better customer experience, which in turn drives revenue. For example, a study in HBR found that retail businesses ranking in the top quartile of employee experiences out-earned those in the bottom quartile by almost 50%.
Another tactic is to help decision-makers see the relationship between technology, morale and employee performance. Laura remembers how critical her tech stack was when it came to keeping the team together during the pandemic. “I got to learn about my team in a completely different way. I saw the tools as a lifeline to make sure that we are engaging our employees, and understanding their needs. And I think that was very important to retention and performance.”
Learn more about new ways to drive productivity in our recent eBook, 4 Proven Pathways to Productivity.