The Employee Experience Will Become Synonymous with the Digital Experience

By Pat Calhoun • January 1, 2021

2020 was an unprecedented year in enterprise tech. Many digital natives shifted gears to quickly adopt a remote work environment and others experienced accelerated digital transformation beyond what would have happened in its normal course of time. In turn, the pandemic transformed the employee experience into a digital experience. Not only are employee expectations at an all-time high for these digital experiences, intelligent automation has become an imperative for IT teams and HR to maximize employee productivity and contain costs.

I recently spoke with Kumud Kalia, CIO of Guardant Health, and he said, “In the pre-Covid era, a lot of employee interactions happened from walking up to colleagues in the office or congregating in meeting rooms. Through no fault of our own we’ve had to replicate that physical experience into a virtual experience. Zoom has helped, but we are not wired to look at everyone through a 1-inch box. In addition, we’re multi-tasking more than ever before. That’s a higher level of cognitive load than we’re used to, and we’re all using digital means to try to make that work. That doesn’t mean that it’s the same physical experience replicated digitally, instead, it’s a transformation to a digital experience.”

In addition, it is not just that employees are using new technologies. People are now going deeper into the technologies that they use. Prior to the pandemic, many people did not care to know that much about Zoom or Slack. Now, they need to understand new features on those tools in order to use them successfully. This means employees are having more questions on their productivity tools than ever before. Part of this is because employees need help in understanding how to use these tools. In addition, people in the past were used to shoulder tapping their neighbors with questions, and that has gone away. Both of those things result in an overall 35% increase of tickets to the help desk.

As the virtual support agent market matures, there will be an increasing focus not only on reduction of incident and help desk call volume, but on full automation of service requests as well. In 2021, enterprises will more boldly look for opportunities where they can deploy full auto-resolution of help desk issues.

Lastly, the CIO’s role has also changed due to the pandemic. Kalia explained, “Some portray CIOs as the heroes of the pandemic, but that’s a false narrative. In reality, all of the C-suite are bringing their own leadership in and it’s becoming a team sport. The CIO has an enabling role to help their peers. That’s the point that’s getting lost. We’re becoming more collaborative across the C-suite.”

Some CIOs may have had more interaction with HR than ever before during the pandemic, because they are the ones communicating with employees on a frequent basis about things like testing protocols, when they are coming back to work, and onboarding remotely. HR is also now more dependent on the IT team than ever before to make things work. HR has adapted with the help of the IT department and CIOs have become more collaborative to enable enterprises to operate remotely. In addition, according to a recent Gartner study, the Future of Work moved from the #5 to the #1 position in terms of top initiatives for HR due to work from home mandates. As a result, in 2021, a core focus for HR leaders will be enabling automation and AI adoption, and they need to be closely aligned with the CIO to make that happen.

As we look forward to the new year, it will be interesting to see how companies approach a continued hybrid work environment. At Espressive, we will continue to work towards transforming the enterprise self-service experience across the enterprise to a consumer-like approach to drive employee adoption and significantly reduce help desk calls. When the employee experience is the digital experience as it is now, automated employee self-help is critical to service teams across an organization.

NOTE: This was originally published on VMblog here.

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