Study: CEOs are prioritizing digital employee experiences

New study shows chief executives see less value in digital CX investments

To deal with evolving business challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are seeking to improve both customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). Their goal is to continue delivering excellent service while keeping customers and employees safe, cutting costs, and boosting efficiency.

According to a new study by ServiceNow and ESI ThoughtLab, which surveyed 900 senior executives across 13 countries, the businesses that have made the most substantial progress are treating EX and CX as part of a cohesive strategy called “total experience” (TX). However, CEOs see less value from digitizing customer experience than most C-level executives. Compared to their peers, CEOs are more apt to see high value in digital employee experience. Going forward, CEOs will need to bridge the gap between CX and EX to fully realize their organization’s potential.

Digitizing customer experience drives growth

In the post-pandemic world, digitizing the customer experience is key to driving growth. Now that customers have come to expect intuitive, seamless, and personalized experiences, organizations are taking steps to digitize CX. Digital customer experiences drive growth and market share by attracting and retaining customers and enabling the creation of new business models, products, and services.

Top management teams recognize the high returns from CX, including nearly a third of CEOs. However, CEOs see less value in digital customer experience than their C-level peers. While they are strong proponents of customer-centricity, they are less likely to see value in the nuts and bolts of digitization, like reducing pain points in digital shopping or creating digital journeys for users.


CEOs leverage EX to boost efficiency

Digitizing EX by equipping staff with the right technology, tools, and processes can yield major financial benefits, including increased revenue, reduced costs, and greater market share. In addition, the right EX facilitates interaction and collaboration among employees, increasing productivity and engagement, boosting diversity and inclusion, and improving data privacy and security.


Compared with their peers, CEOs are most interested in leveraging EX to boost efficiency. They’re more apt to take steps like making data accessible to employees, arming employees with quick access to IT support, and providing a safe and efficient workplace. However, CEOs are less convinced than their peers that they’ll see high returns from remote working, and they are similarly skeptical of creating new ways to work in the wake of the pandemic.


The push for total experience

Organizations that treat CX and EX as mutually reinforcing see greater value and generate a wider range of benefits than those that treat them as mutually exclusive. CEOs are well-positioned to play a leading role in driving total experience. More than 85% of CEOs have at least partial responsibility for steps that are central to the implementation of an experience strategy.


Larger entities with higher IT budgets tend to be the most advanced in digitized customer and employee experience. One-third of firms with revenues of $5 billion are leaders, against just 10% of firms in the smallest size category.

Challenges on the horizon

Challenges remain for CEOs looking to boost total experience. Most organizations struggle to keep up with customer and employee expectations, to measure the ROI of total experience, and to make a business case for an experience-driven approach.


While CEOs see many advantages to digitizing CX and EX, they cite fewer financial and business benefits than their C-suite colleagues. CEOs understand the benefits that CX brings to customers. Similarly, they see the value of EX to employees, such as improved data security and privacy, morale, and health and safety.

However, developing skills and talent and keeping up with customer and employee expectations for user experience are the biggest impediments to building an experience-driven business. Moreover, a third do not see the ROI of bringing CX and EX together. Until they do, there is a limit to the growth their organization can achieve.