Are you looking to improve employee engagement in your organization? The digital employee experience (DEX) is an important part of achieving this goal.
Just as it is essential to make sure your employee’s physical environment is conducive to their work, it’s important that their digital work environment meets their needs as well. And due to the rapid adoption of new technology, there’s still plenty of room for workplaces to optimize the digital employee experience — especially in frontline businesses.
To help organizations achieve this goal, our guide will cover: what DEX is, why it’s so important, and a guide on how you can start improving your own DEX strategy today.
What is the digital employee experience?
The digital employee experience is the sum of the interactions that employees have with technology in the workplace. It helps to shape how productive, creative, and engaged employees are in their roles.
The digital employee experience encompasses everything from employee feedback and rewards to general internal comms and any workplace technology needed to complete their job.
Let’s take a look at a few of the specific touchpoints that make up this experience:
- Messaging: Real-time communication like chats, email, and internal feeds.
- Productivity: Calendars and tools that enable work.
- Communication: Blogs, announcements, new initiatives, and documentation.
- Company resources: Human resources access portals, training manuals, and org charts.
- Admin: Collection of payslips, requests for time off, form submissions and incident reports.
The difference between employee experience and digital employee experience
You already organize team-building activities and strive to create an open, productive culture.
Why does the digital element of your employee experience need special attention?
Though the digital employee experience is related to the overall employee experience, there are some key differences.
First, there’s substantially more room for analysis and measurement in digital experiences. That means you can easily identify pain points in your overall system with the right tools.But that also means you need a separate skillset and even software to optimize your digital employee experience.
Second, the digital employee experience requires more emphasis on communication and collaboration. With teams across time zones and countries and even just moments delayed on video chats, digital communication requires tech that makes collaboration easy and enjoyable.
Why is the digital employee experience important?
We’ll dive into the business benefits of a positive DEX later in this guide, but for now, let’s get a feel for the current state of DEX.
In 2022, a survey was carried out of 300 IT decision-makers and knowledge workers from companies with 5,000+ employees. The survey aimed to gather up-to-date insights into the state of digital employee experience (DEX) and better understand employee experiences and perceptions.
Here are some highlights from the study:
The current state of business DEX
- 80% of respondents say that DEX is a key consideration in the digital transformation strategy
- 74% of respondents say their business has a fully implemented DEX strategy
- 16% say they are in the process of implementing a strategy
- 54% believe there is a tremendous need for improvement in their companies’ employee experience approaches.
Perceived impact of DEX
- 91% of respondents believe a digital employee experience influences operational efficiency
- 86% believe it influences organizational revenue
- 85% believe it influences go-to-market speed
- 81% believe that those who don’t make DEX a board-level priority will fall behind their competitors.
3 digital employee experience examples
Frontline digital inclusion
Digital inclusion is the foundation for a great digital employee experience. This means more than just digital strategies for engagement.
At its core, digital inclusion refers to the ability of individuals and communities to access, understand, and use technology in order to take part in society, regardless of their social or economic backgrounds. In a business setting, this means employers must ensure all employees have access to essential digital tools and training in order to perform their roles.
Frontline digital inclusion is crucial for the majority of businesses globally, with 80% of the global workforce now deskless.
Although there is currently a digital divide between desked employees and frontline workers, with 34% of frontline healthcare employees not able to easily access workplace systems on their mobile devices, there are steps you can take to bridge this gap.
Digital inclusion for employees involves three key areas:
- Accessibility: Workers should have access to the digital tools needed for their roles, whether their job is desk-based or not.
- Digital skills: Digital skills can be thought of in two ways when it comes to frontline digital inclusion. Is the tool intuitive for the frontline or has it been designed with desk-based workflows in mind? And are frontline employees being offered relevant training, onboarding, and support for the digital tools provided?
- Connectivity: Mobile-first digital technologies — like accessible and engaging frontline employee apps — help ensure your teams stay connected in-field and are able to access everything they need.
You must have these core foundations in place before you can further optimize the digital experience for employees.
Remote & deskless team onboarding
Onboarding is one of the first opportunities for an employer to create a strong digital experience for employees. Onboarding dispersed teams can provide certain challenges, due to their need for flexibility and accessibility, and the natural disconnection that comes with deskless roles.
Key elements of onboarding for remote or deskless teams must include:
- Resource sharing: Enable employees to access important documents such as policies, training materials, and job descriptions.
- Connectivity: Establish secure links for new employees to connect with the team from wherever they are located.
- Personalized onboarding: Develop personalized onboarding plans that focus on individual growth and development.
- Continuous feedback & support: Support newly onboarded employees through ongoing feedback and guidance to ensure they feel comfortable with the technology and their role.
This might seem like a mammoth task, especially if you’re trying to do all of this on different platforms. However, with the right all-in-one workplace technology — such as employee experience software — you can make onboarding deskless employees an engaging — and seamless — experience from day one.
Internal communications (IC) are essential for creating a positive digital employee experience.
But to properly engage employees, your approach to internal communications needs to be dynamic and tailored specifically to the needs of deskless roles.
By leveraging mobile-first technology such as employee apps, you can keep frontline workers informed with announcements, messages, blogs, and surveys in real-time.
But your comms strategy doesn’t stop there. Internal communications are about more than just the channels they are delivered on. You also need tailored content to inspire engagement on these channels.
- News and events: Share news, industry updates, internal guidelines, and company progress.
- Training and resources: Provide employees with accessible, bite-sized tutorials to help them stay up-to-date on best practices.
- Recognition programs: Let your teams know their efforts are noticed with badges, rewards, and recognition programs.
How to create an engaging digital employee experience
An excellent digital employee experience strategy can make all the difference in your workplace. But it can be hard to know where to start.
Here are the key areas to focus on to get you started:
1. Update technology
The bottom line is if your tech is frustrating to use, it will create a bad experience.
35% of employees feel their job is harder due to outdated processes and technology. So the first step to creating a great digital employee experience is updating your software.
2. Bring in the right resources
Perfecting a digital workspace takes work and know-how.
That means you may need the support of a knowledgeable HR team, IT departments, and internal communications professionals. It’s also critical to invest in the right tools to support a digital workplace.
Whether you pick and choose a variety of platforms or select an all-through-one solution, the right software is a vital part of the digital employee experience.
3. Align with your overall employee experience
Ideally, your employee experience blends seamlessly both in-person and digitally.
Observe your current employee experience across different dimensions. How do workers prefer to communicate with each other? What tools do they use most often in their workflows?
If you’re implementing several tools, don’t go too quickly. This can overwhelm your employees and undercut adoption.
4. Tailor each digital experience
Just as roles in your business differ, their technology needs vary as well.
There won’t be a blanket solution that works for your frontline staff and your desk workers. That’s why you should develop user personas for your most common use cases. Then, work through what user experience would look like for each end-user.
It can also be helpful to choose tools that let employees customize their own end-user experience.
Impact of an engaging digital experience on the organization
While it may take time to get just right, optimizing your digital employee experience is well worth the effort. That’s because it leads to:
Greater employee productivity
Employee satisfaction is the key to productivity. Connected workers with the tools they need to effectively complete business processes are happier and better at their jobs.
Higher employee engagement
Employee retention can be a high cost in a business. A disengaged employee is more likely to jump ship given a better opportunity. In fact, according to Qualtrics, when employees are satisfied with their technology experience, they are 158% more engaged at work and have 61% higher intent to stay.
If you provide the tools to create relationships, grow their career, and help them do their best work, your workers are more likely to feel engaged and stay.
More efficient and profitable business
An effective digital employee experience has a direct impact on your bottom line. Gartner shares that highly engaged organizations achieve a 23% increase in profitability.
Challenges managing the digital employee experience
Digital employee experience management can be a challenge for a number of reasons. Here are a few:
Complex, outdated tech stack
It’s easy to keep adding more technology without considering whether it actually helps — or hinders — the employee experience. This can result in a complex tech stack that’s difficult to manage and overwhelming or confusing for employees.Increased system downtime and troubleshooting takes significant time away from employee productivity.
Even when you identify challenges with your current tech stack, executive-level buy-in can be difficult to get. After all, it’s not always easy to prove ROI. But without C-suite backing, you may lack the resources and budget needed to implement a digital employee experience strategy.
No insight into frontline needs
If you don’t understand your frontline workforce, you can’t get a true sense of employee sentiment or what their needs are. CEOs have lost touch with the frontline, and without the insights from the people most impacted by your technology, you can’t make sure your digital employee experience has maximum impact in engaging workers day-in, day-out.
You also need the buy-in of your workforce. If your employees don’t adopt new technology, it won’t make a difference, no matter how great the employee experience is supposed to be. That’s why it’s important to provide effective training and communicate your vision for any investments in their digital experience.
Best tools to support DEX
If you’re ready to start optimizing your digital employee experience, you’ll probably want to source some new digital tools to help you get the job done. Here are a few ideas:
All-through-one employee super-apps
Building your digital employee experience brick by brick could make it difficult to create a seamless, fully integrated experience.
For example, if your employees have to sign into one system to access communication tools, and another to access HR portals or key resources, their overall day-to-day experience is going to be inefficient at best — and down-right inconvenient at worst.
An all-through-one digital employee experience solution puts every resource an employee needs — from HR documents and onboarding materials, to company announcements and events — into one accessible platform that’s easy for employees to use, no matter what device they’re on.
Empower employees to manage their paychecks and time off from anywhere. A self-service tool like Namely allows you to manage paychecks, onboarding, and performance reviews.
Many organizations are moving away from intranet-only software, but it is still important to create a centralized place for updates, company information, and conversations.
Many newer offerings also include a hub for experience management and employee engagement. For a list of top intranet providers, check out our recommendations.
More than just messages, teammates need a shared space to work on projects and ideas. One of the largest providers of collaboration tools is Microsoft Office 365.
Workplace messages have come a long way from the days of email alone.
Rounding up the complete guide to digital employee experience
Considering the digital aspect of your employee experience is more important than ever. Due to rapid technological transformation, today’s workplace exists across in-person and virtual spaces.
By updating your technology, aligning your engagement and employee experience goals across all channels, sourcing tools, and customizing your digital experience, you will reap the many benefits of an excellent digital employee experience.
From there, you can gain productive and loyal employees — and achieve higher profits.
Blink. And the digital employee experience is optimized.
At Blink, we understand how important it is to have a seamless digital employee experience that engages your frontline workers.
That’s why our all-through-one mobile super-app provides the perfect platform for optimizing your DEX — enabling you to keep employees connected and informed with tailored content while providing access to key resources in one secure place.
With Blink, creating an effective digital employee experience has never been easier.
Try it out today and start transforming the way you manage deskless teams.
Digital Employee Experience FAQs
What is employee digital experience?
The digital employee experience is the sum of the interactions that employees have with technology in the workplace.
What is an example of digital employee experience?
Onboarding for remote or diskless teams is one of the first opportunities for an employer to create a strong digital experience for employees. Onboarding dispersed teams can provide certain challenges, due to their need for flexibility and accessibility, and the natural disconnection that comes with deskless roles.
What are the components of digital employee experience?
Key components of the digital employee experience include: Application or device performance, usability, and reliability. Ensuring strong connectivity and network performance for all who need it and ensuring strong security and data protection is present throughout all devices & applications.