Alongside the ongoing revolution in customer experience, we're seeing a parallel cultural shift: After having rich digital experiences in their personal lives, consumers are coming to work and having experiences that don't meet their new expectations. The result is a dramatic gap between customer experience (CX) and what we’ll call employee experience, or EX.
It's critical for organizations to address this gap for two reasons. The first, of course, is to enhance the employee experience itself. The second, arguably even more important, is to improve work outcomes for those employees — and thus improve the business outcomes that result.
To understand what can and should be done to address this "experience gap," we need to start with data — and specifically with how the idea of data as a currency applies to employee experience.
The Power of Personalization
In the world of e-commerce, CX today is deeply informed by personalized, relevant data — much of which comes from observing the consumer’s own choices, preferences, and behaviors online. The data collected is then “reinvested” in that flow — used to inform and refine the future experience of that specific consumer in a cycle of continuous improvement.
Now, the technologies that power this collection, analysis, and application of consumer data to consumer experience are also available for intranets. This means we can use data we collect in the online work environment to create richly personal employee experiences — with positive outcomes for the employee and the business.
How positive? Well, an Accenture study examining S&P 500 companies that focused on improving the employee experience found that those companies outperformed the rest of the S&P 500 by an astonishing 122% — a huge impact by any standard.
What Employees Need to Do
To see how this might play out on the ground, let’s get down to use cases.
Why does the average employee go to the intranet? As a general rule, employees are looking to do their jobs better, meet requirements, and enhance their careers. In practice, this might mean locating resources (information, applications, or both) needed to complete a project; searching for things like HR policies or travel guidelines; or sharing knowledge with colleagues for immediate or future use.
The key to supporting such efforts is having the right platform with the right capabilities. From an employee experience perspective, here are the four that matter most:
- Connection: Facilitating links to other employees with similar interests and needs.
- Access: A single touchpoint for all applications and information needed.
- Personalization: An experience that differs based on the employee’s role and needs.
- Collaboration: Making it easy to work together, share, and discover.
These capabilities don’t just empower employees to take the actions needed to do their work. Employee interactions like these also generate data which can be harnessed to further personalize and enhance that employee’s experience the next time they log in.
Content and Engagement
While personalizing what the employee sees is vitally important, engagement — what the employee chooses to do — is the ultimate EX success metric. Great employee experience must drive engagement — and for that, content plays a crucial role. Four key capabilities are needed:
- Content must be meaningful, relevant, and timely.
- Content must be easy to discover (think search or chatbot) and appear in the context of what the employee needs.
- Content must be easy to create, publish, and index (make discoverable through search).
- Compelling visual design and meaningful content architecture are essential.
With respect to content architecture, good EX requires not just basic information, but also employee interactions and behavioral data as inputs to create a more meaningful experience. Likewise, considering roles and responsibilities is critical in designing a more relevant EX.
Streamlining Application Access
Integrating applications in a coherent way is critical in creating a differentiated employee experience. An employee intranet should be a self-service hub and single source of truth, a central repository and access point for all self-service operations — removing the burden and confusion imposed by multiple apps, logins, and interfaces. Instead, these redundancies should be streamlined and built into a single self-service EX.
That said, there are multiple ways of integrating applications and data into a streamlined behind-the-firewall experience. Your intranet solution should offer a choice among multiple integration options, not just one, so it's easy to integrate into your intranet.
The integration challenge is real. A study reported in The Wall Street Journal in 2019 found the number of applications deployed by large firms across industries had increased 68% over the previous four years, reaching an average of 129 applications per company — and those numbers have only increased since then.
Platforms That Empower Employees
This growing complexity underscores the need for platforms that empower employees with a streamlined, personalized EX where discovery, engagement, and sharing are easy — one where data and employee interactions are used intelligently to drive a tailored employee experience.
When multiple employees are working on the same problem, it should be simple for them to connect and share insights. When the best ideas, innovations, and experts rise to the top in this way, they become even more valuable to the organization by becoming even more actionable — breaking down silos in ways that change business outcomes as well as employee experiences.
Learn how HCL Digital Experience provides everything needed for a full-featured, collaborative intranet experience.