Guest Blogger

by Nicole Alvino, Cofounder and Chief Strategy Officer, SocialChorus

It’s an understatement to say that last year proved to be one of the most challenging ever for many businesses. Nearly every business leader has been forced to work and communicate with colleagues, employees, partners and suppliers in completely new ways.

One of the major shifts has been that the notion of ‘work as a place’ has gone forever. Unless a role necessitates being physically present, such as in medical environments, hospitality or manufacturing for example, it is likely that most of us have already embraced either hybrid or fully remote working.

While there are certainly benefits to this – no commute, more time at home, and, hopefully, more time for personal wellness – it comes at a cost. Those watercooler chats, training sessions, and team events – all of which contributed to an organisational culture, have disappeared or at best become virtual. This necessitates a more concerted effort from leaders to communicate and engage with their workforce to ensure employees feel an integral part of the company.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 rollercoaster, we are adjusting to the ‘the new normal’. But how well a business succeeds in the new normal will depend on how leaders harness opportunities to deliver an incredible Digital Employee Experience (DEX) to all their workers.

We believe that every worker, regardless of pay grade, status, or type of work deserves to have a direct connection to their work and seamless access to any information they need – whether it is the CEO townhall, new wellness benefits, a payslip or shift swapping.

The only way that organisations thrive is to deliver a DEX that works for every one of their workers.

Collaborate to innovate

2020 saw many businesses’ digital transformation roadmaps accelerate by several years and deployed in months. Suddenly organisations found themselves connecting people to the business that had never been connected before and moving as many employee systems as possible to the cloud. So, if last year was about foundational digital change, 2021 needs to be about unification of the digital experience to deliver employee engagement and productivity.

With increased amounts of digital noise for desk-based employees and lack of seamless access for deskless employees, it’s more critical than ever for organisations to deliver signal through the noise for the entire workforce. The big opportunity is to orchestrate the Digital Employee Experience (DEX) – making it easy, delightful even, for people to receive exactly what they need, when they need it and where they want it.

A successful DEX hinges on collaboration between CIOs, people and communications leaders. Unfortunately, according to our latest research, for many businesses this is currently not the case.

Instead, we found a clash between IT, Human Resources (HR) and Internal Communications (IC) in how to meet their organisations DEX requirement. Our research showed us that while CIOs exhibit a solutions-based ‘pull’ approach (build it and they will come), HR & IC are taking a ‘push’ approach (meet them where they are).

Too many people are still trying to ‘push’ their employees to one place. It hasn’t worked for the last 20 years and will work even less well for the next 20. Rather, the information needs to come to the individual. Think about how we get information in our personal lives. Amazon knows what I need even before I do and reminds me digitally wherever I am – in email, mobile or across social media. The recommendations are personalised based on past behaviour so I have a completely curated consumer experience that gives me exactly what I need. This is what the enterprise needs to do for employees.

It’s time to bring DEX to the forefront of the employee experience. If businesses are going to thrive in the post COVID-19 world CEOs need to ensure that these key departments and disciplines are collaborating to provide a DEX that rivals consumer experiences and truly does work for every type of worker.

Workforce Intelligence is Business Intelligence

In a world that requires transformation at an unprecedented rate, CEOs need to guide their workforce in the right direction which means getting their workforce to adapt swiftly.

Any business transformation is really a people transformation. At the risk of oversimplifying, for change to happen, people either need to do things differently or do different things. People need communications to understand what is required of them and have the resources, training and motivation in order to make the change. This is all about getting the right information to the right person in the right place at the right time to mobilise them to act. DEX, anyone?

Now the interesting bit. The time it takes from when a strategic decision is made to when the workforce has changed behaviour determines success or failure of that initiative. When a CEO can shorten the time needed for the workforce to adapt – and even predict the time it will take for various parts of the workforce to change, they win. Their revenue growth accelerates, and their people are more engaged and productive, so they retain their best people and have a leg up in the war on talent.

This level of business intelligence can only be achieved with an investment in DEX – and with the insights and feedback loop that come with it. When you have a data-driven way to connect your people in a way that supports them and can mobilise them to action, you win.

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