Employee experience after COVID

The shift to working from home has brought new challenges, but also significant opportunities for companies and employees

It’s hard to find an executive who disagrees with the proposition that employees are the most valuable asset of any company. It’s even harder to find one with all the answers about how to create great employee experiences.

The old playbooks for finding, motivating, and developing talent have been rewritten several times this year. The dynamic between employees and the organisation has changed irrevocably. Delivering outstanding experiences has become much harder.

Traditional boundaries between home and office have melted away. They’ve been replaced with collaborative tools that can add complexity just as fast as they can connect informational silos.

The tectonic shift to working from home has brought new challenges, but also significant opportunities for companies and employees. While it’s hard to find many silver linings in this difficult year, we’ve seen employees move to the centre of any serious discussion on digital transformation. That’s a good thing.

In this new world, CEOs and boards turn to the CIO and CTO, as much as the CHRO, when they need to understand how to do right by their workforce. In particular, the pandemic has given many CIOs new leverage to shape business strategy.

Accelerated transformation

COVID has accelerated digital transformation as organisations confront radical new working environments. To keep moving forward, businesses have been forced to make radical changes to their decision-making and procurement processes.

Leisurely buying cycles are a thing of the past. Organisations can’t afford to drag their heels. Sectors previously seen as digital laggards are now intent on using technology to drive immediate impact.

The companies that succeed in this new world understand how technology can help address immediate business problems and also drive long-term innovation.

Having recently taken on a global role within ServiceNow, I’m very grateful that the Now Platform enables seamless collaboration across teams straddling Bangalore, Berlin, and Boston.

Cloud-based management systems provide access to the latest innovations in a more cost-effective and agile way. They allow you to increase visibility, boost performance, and improve critical communication throughout the organisation.

CX and EX converge

It’s become an enterprise cliché to assert that employees deserve consumer-grade tech experiences in the workplace. Yet too often, enterprise software falls short of our super-charged expectations.

Enterprise tech has always been plagued with complexity and impenetrable jargon. It usually requires teams of developers and other experts to make it work. COVID has made this status quo unacceptable.

We’ve all gotten used to meeting both colleagues and relatives on Zoom calls. The convergence of enterprise and consumer communications is pushing organisations to evaluate the broader technology ecosystem deployed to aid people in their work. Employees and customers demand better tools.

Companies need platforms that allow novices to design and build business apps that simplify work by streamlining workflows. The technology exists today to create custom interfaces tailored to individual needs. Whether you’re the CHRO, CFO, CIO, or CRO, you can create a personal view of what you need to see in a single window and dramatically improve productivity for yourself and your team.

When properly designed and deployed, these interfaces can be as intuitive and easy to use as the latest smartphone app.

Right tech, right place, right time

The consumerisation of IT has picked up the goalposts for the employee experience and run away with them. It’s not just about finding tools that help you get work done. More and more, we need smart tools that are intuitive, powerful, and packed full of insight to add value to the day-to-day.

The pandemic has accelerated this demand and added a layer of complexity in that remote teams need simple collaboration tools to keep work moving. This complexity seems likely to increase as more companies adopt “work from anywhere” models.

Keeping employees engaged, productive, and balanced will require constant innovation.

Organisations will need to adopt technology that drives value at every step of an employee’s journey. From the day they join your company, they should be able to access whatever they need, simply and quickly.