Today’s workplaces are going digital and remote working has quickly become the new norm. However, employees still expect an engaging, productive, and enjoyable work experience. This might be easy when people sit together in an office, but can the experience be replicated or even improved online?
Providing an engaging experience is crucial in helping companies succeed in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce who is passionate about their customers. In a highly competitive global economy, the way we communicate and the tools we use are key to success.
Luckily, there are many benefits to digital communication in the workplace as it relates to the overall employee experience. Here’s how you can prepare your organization for digital success.
The importance of a positive employee experience
There’s no doubt that a positive employee experience builds a strong work culture, positively impacting business performance, but there’s much more to it.
Recruiting talented employees is not the easiest job. However, when your employees enjoy work they usually tell others, leading to job referrals, employee advocacy, and high levels of productivity. Company-review sites like Glassdoor are easily accessible and job candidates are likely to seek to find out more about the employee experience before they join an organization. This has a significant impact on their ability to attract quality candidates.
You want to keep your good employees, and talented members of your team are more likely to stay with you if they have a positive experience. According to Gallup, 89% of employers think employees leave for more money but in reality, only 12% do.
The key to retaining your best employees is your ability to offer them an engaging and positive work experience where they can easily communicate and collaborate. Engaged employees are more likely to put in extra effort, achieve higher levels of productivity, and look for ways to improve and innovate. Of course, a great employee experience is also likely to positively impact the customer experience as well because when employees win, customers win, and when customers win, the organization succeeds.
Revenue and profits
The holy grail for most organizations is their ability to grow revenue and profits. A study by IBM’s Smarter Workforce Institute shows that organizations that score in the top 25% on employee experience report nearly three times the return on assets and double the return on sales compared to organizations in the bottom quarter.
Why a digital workplace?
In order to promote a good employee experience, you need to provide the tools, environment, and culture so employees can do their jobs to the best of their abilities. This starts with great communication so your employees have a clear understanding of the organization’s vision and goals, and the role they play in its success.
While digital technology will never completely replace in-person communications, digital workplaces have the ability to create an environment where employees feel informed and engaged. A digital workplace helps employees stay productive and engaged by offering a place to collaborate, communicate and connect with others.
Digital workplaces also offer the ability to share information instantly. This allows decisions that can be made, discussed and implemented at speed, which increases the productivity of the workforce and their ability to serve customers well. Setting your employees up for success is a key ingredient to a good employee experience.
5 benefits of digital communication in the workplace
American adults spent about 3 hours and 30 minutes a day using the mobile internet in 2019, in addition to the time spent on computers and laptops, according to measurement company Zenith. The impact of a global pandemic means that this year this figure is set for a significant increase, and not only for Americans. Being able to connect and transact at the stroke of a key has become an expectation in society. Due to this, organizations everywhere are turning to technology solutions in order to create a positive employee experience for everyone.
That being said, digital communication in the workplace can be transformative. Here are our top 5 benefits.
1. Enhanced employee engagement and empowerment
Communication is the cornerstone of an engaged workforce. Digital tools built in an intelligent workplace provide an easy way for organizations to communicate in real-time. In addition to keeping employees informed, digital communication and technology enable all employees throughout a global organization to have a voice.
As businesses change, platforms like digital workplaces can help further enable a positive and empowered employee experience, allowing them to be more involved and share their expertise and ideas.
2. Employees are able to work better and faster
As strange as it sounds, some organizations have a habit of making it difficult for people to complete their work. Bureaucracy, out of date tools, working in silos, poor communication, and hard-to-find information can lead to employee frustration and poor productivity. A positive employee experience requires removing friction from day-to-day work and digital technology has a big part to play.
Employees want to be able to collaborate with people faster, access accurate information more rapidly, and get their work done more efficiently. By facilitating easy access to information and people, digital communication and platforms like digital workplaces make it much easier for employees to be productive and get their work done.
3. Organizations can create and reinforce a shared purpose and values
The purpose of an organization should be an inspirational driver that drives all organizational activities — policy, structure, innovation, processes, performance, and change. Having a compelling purpose sets a higher standard of excellence for organizations, motivates employees to join you in your cause, and attracts customers who love what you’re doing. It’s that engagement that ultimately impacts a company’s health and bottom line.
Similarly, organizational values influence the way employees interact with each other and work together to achieve results. The collective behavior of all employees add up to the organizational culture, or “the way we do things around here”. This promise lies at the center of a brand.
Providing a digital platform for employees to interact and share with each other reinforces that all ideas are important through a shared sense of purpose and ways of working. Organizations with a clear purpose and who focus on their values are likely to be more resilient, sustainable, and successful. Digital tools should be implemented to take it a step further to truly align your values and enhance the employee experience.
4. Remote working is here to stay
According to an estimate in Forbes, 50% of the U.S. workforce was projected to be remote in 2018. In Europe, remote workers increased from 7.7% to 9.8% in the past decade, and this was prior to Covid-19. In 2020, this is likely to increase significantly.
A new era has dawned and the trend is set to rise. Google and Facebook have recently announced that their staff can work from home until the end of the year, while Twitter has gone a step further and told their workforce that they can work from home “forever” as the company looks toward the future.
From health and wellbeing improvements to increased productivity and flexible childcare arrangements, remote working has multiple benefits in terms of creating a great employee experience. In 2020, we have witnessed a digital revolution in the workplace powered by the availability of consumer grade digital tools.
5. A collaborative culture to drive success
In a global environment with multiple teams and a dispersed workforce, organizational silos can negatively impact your business success, especially in the absence of digital tools and technologies. It’s also easy for departments to hold information, leaving it inaccessible to the rest of the company when they don’t have a place to share it. Departments like customer service, sales and supply chain suffer as a result when they are unable to communicate and collaborate effectively.
A digital workplace can change all of that. Enabling employees to interact and share ideas can build a sense of community and trust, encourage innovation, and solve problems in real-time. Digital workplaces are a great way to break down communication barriers in order to transform the employee experience and promote innovation and growth.
Preparing your organization for digital communications
Digital workplaces may have a plethora of benefits, but can a company really transform the way it communicates and influence the employee experience?
The use of technology has become increasingly important, but it’s not the only solution. In most organizations, there is still a place for in-person discussions, town halls, videos and meetings. However, when used effectively, the impact of technology can be profound.
Many leaders believe that just by implementing a new tool, people will embrace a new way of communicating and working, but it’s not that simple. When introducing digital communications, preparation is essential––as the saying goes: fail to plan, plan to fail.
An essential element of good preparation is for leaders to engage with the tools they want their teams to use. When leaders champion a way of doing things, others are likely to follow. Likewise, it’s also important to educate employees so they feel confident about how to get the most out of the new tool, especially with today’s multi-generational workforce where not everyone considers themselves to be digitally savvy.
Cultural issues also need to be on the radar when planning to implement a digital channel. Digital communications break down silos, opening up conversations across locations, time zones and languages. Embracing a global, collaborative mindset often means relinquishing a level of control and embracing a diversity of thought and opinions.
Finally, when preparing a digital communications strategy it’s important to decide how a digital tool will fit into your overall approach. In other words, what do you want people to know, feel and do as a result of this tool, and how does this align with your overall communication channel strategy?
Digital workplaces promote a positive employee experience
The way we communicate in our daily lives – both professionally and personally – continues to change. In many organizations, digital technology is already embedded in the very fabric of how people work. Providing the right combination of tools, culture and environment creates a unique and positive employee experience that makes people want to work with your organization.
By connecting employees beyond the boundaries of their geographies or departments, the digital workplace empowers employees to direct their efforts from the bottom up. It allows them to build communities of interest, share ideas, solve problems and collaborate in ways that make sense to them, all while delivering measurable business value.
Allow your organizations to communicate key information so that people feel informed, motivated, and empowered with a digital workplace. Enabling a great employee experience leads to brand advocacy, happy customers and a successful business and that’s when you’ll really win.