Employee experience In 2022: change or be changed

In a late 2021 blog, Forrester Research stated that “2022 Will Go Down As The Year Executives Were Forced To Care About Employee Experience.”It sounds threatening – after all, “forced” is such a physical and evocative word – but the reality is that any savvy leader in an IT organisation shouldn’t need to be forced to care about it. Instead, they should be embracing it with the proverbial “open arms”.

Understanding what employee experience means for IT (it’s a big part of the “why?”) – Many employee experience definitions believe that employee experience is the internal version of customer experience (CX). For example, TechTarget states that“Employee experience is a worker’s perceptions about his or her journey through all the touchpoints at a particular company, starting with job candidacy through to the exit from the company.”It makes sense, but the definition offers little traction to IT organisations trying to understand their part in improving the employee experience. Or, for that matter, why employee experience is important. An expanded definition that includes 3 key factors that influence employee experience is definitely helpful – 1. Company culture and its people policies; 2. Company’s physical work environment(s)& 3. The technology is available to assist employees in undertaking their work. In this expanded definition, HR, facility management, and the IT organisation all have an essential role in employee experience. The following 2019 Forrester Research quote allows IT leaders to understand that how their services help or hinder employee productivity is a key, perhaps critical, driver of the employee experience – “…the most important factor for employee experience is being able to make progress every day toward the work that they believe is most important.”

Starting with the “why?” – When a corporate IT organization’s performance, worth, or value is considered, there’s often a disparity between what IT leaders think, based on their performance measures, and how the rest of the business perceives IT. While IT leaders might consider this merely a “perception gap,” it should set off alarm bells that something isn’t right. And importantly, once there’s an appreciation that there is a gap, in perception or otherwise, it becomes easier to understand the root cause and why understanding and improving the employee experience is critical.

Issues with traditional IT metrics–While some IT areas like the IT service desk are drowning in a sea of performance targets. there are underlying issues related to the “what” and “where” of IT performance measurement. Does your IT organisation measure what it thinks is most important? And do these measures relate solely to the “mechanics” of IT, i.e. they’re focused on what’s done (think speed and volumes) rather than what’s achieved? Even IT’s customer satisfaction (CSAT) questionnaires can be focused on the mechanics of IT support, say, and not the employee’s experience. Plus, performance is usually measured at the point of service creation rather than its consumption. So, it’s the supply-side view of what’s happening, not the demand-side, i.e. it’s what IT sees rather than what employees experience.

How this impacts?
 – While an IT organisation might be successfully hitting all of its agreed-on performance targets, the business impact might be different (because of how performance is measured). For example, while an IT service desk might be getting to and closing incident tickets in line with agreed service level targets, this is the measurement of the “mechanics” of IT support, not the outcomes. When organisations take a demand-side perspective, using experience data and its insight, it immediately highlights the gap between performance perceptions and the issues that poor employee experiences cause.

Experience data is key to driving the right IT improvements – IT-related issues can adversely impact employee productivity (with potentially a knock-on to business operations and outcomes). Sadly, traditional IT metrics miss these issues and importantly, how these affect employees. Thankfully, the focus on employee experience and the insight provided by experience data helps to cure these issues.

IT organisations and IT support teams, in particular, have to deliver IT services that better meet the wants and needs of the business. It’s why employee experience management will become an IT/IT support staple in 2022 and beyond.

(The article is attributed to Satyen Vyas (CEO at SymphonyAI Summit) and can be reached at [email protected])

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