Rethinking the future of the employee experience post-COVID

employee experience

Employees are the face of any organisation and more often than not, they’re the ones making decisions about how customers and external stakeholders interact with your organisation. When employees have the ability to do their job quickly and efficiently with access to the right information to solve issues it results in increased customer experience, writes Penelope Feros, Vice President, Cherwell APAC

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit early this year, it caused chaos for many organisations with many having to quickly rethink the way they operate and manage employees.

For safety reasons, many organisations were forced to pivot to a work from home model. Despite low COVID case numbers in some parts of the world such as in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia, the remote work model is set to be the new normal with huge consensus from both employees and employers. According to Deloitte’s Digital Consumer Trends 2020 study, 37 per cent of Australian survey respondents are now working from home – almost five times more than pre-pandemic levels.

2020 has been a year like no other, and has only highlighted the importance of technology and automation. If organisations value a happy employee and one that has access to the right information at their fingertips, anytime, anywhere this will prove a tremendous asset to any organisation in the long term.

As such, organisations need to find innovative and more automated ways that will help businesses rethink the future of work; drive greater efficiency and scale in operations; and relook at customer and employee experiences.

According to Gartner, one of its key 2021 technology trends predicts that the concept of Total Experience (TX), which is a combination of customer, employee and user experiences will be critical amid distributed organisations and those firms that get behind TX will boost satisfaction across the board.

The role of IT in improving employee experience
Despite the seemingly different job functions and roles, IT and HR departments in an organisation are more alike than you think and the two groups do share some important similarities.

Both act as service centres, responding to regular requests from employees, many of which are repetitive and tedious. Through the use of IT service management solutions, IT teams have taken the lead in automating the request and fulfillment process, to help employees serve themselves where possible, while ensuring that tasks requiring assistance are handled quickly and efficiently. The HR department can also benefit from the same streamlining and automating of routine tasks.

Both IT and HR benefit greatly from the automation of systems and processes.

The benefits of automation
Research from Forrester indicates that intelligent automation will advance to support one in four home workers. Three times as many information workers will work from home all or most of the time, while many companies will institute hybrid models.

Below are some areas that we believe automation can help to significantly improve the employee experience:

  • Employee empowerment
    Employees are the face of any organisation and more often than not, they’re the ones making decisions about how customers and external stakeholders interact with your organisation. When employees have the ability to do their job quickly and efficiently with access to the right information to solve issues it results in increased customer experience.Automation of manual processes also helps to make employees more efficient and tasks less redundant. A good employee experience will lead to happy employees which equates to happy customers and ultimately repeat business.
  • Shared knowledge base
    Today’s digital world means greater communication and collaboration among employees online which has also led to the creation of more digital content. This content is key in connecting and equipping employees with the knowledge, information and expertise they need to be productive in their workplace.Having a real-time automated system within the organisation via a central repository where users can access as needed is a valuable tool that can help eliminate duplication and repetition of information and tasks, thereby increasing efficiency and productivity.
  • Ability to access real-time employee information anytime, anywhere
    With more employees working from home in the foreseeable future, a self-service portal that can be used by the employee for a range of things such as requesting time off, changing a mailing address or confirming a super contribution can result in higher employee engagement.It also allows a quicker turnaround from management in responding to these requests.
  • Better communication between employees and managers
    Workflow automation can help to improve communication between employees and their managers and help enhance performance reviews and employee updates. These HR functions have become even more important with employees working from home with a strong need for employees and their managers to stay connected and updated.

Organisations need to find innovative and more automated ways that will help businesses rethink the future of work; drive greater efficiency and scale in operations; and relook at customer and employee experiences.

Keeping employees happy
Deloitte’s Digital Consumer Trends 2020 study also found that while over half of Australians who work from home have had an almost seamless experience from a technology perspective, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for all respondents with one in five reporting they lose a productive day a month due to ineffective tech. And without access to the office, technology issues can be hard to remedy.

2020 has been a year like no other, and has only highlighted the importance of technology and automation. If organisations value a happy employee and one that has access to the right information at their fingertips, anytime, anywhere this will prove a tremendous asset to any organisation in the long term. Furthermore, it can immensely help organisations in retaining valuable talent and enhance the workplace environment.

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