Organizations: Time To Improve the Employee Digital Experience

I was listening to a panel discussion about recruiting trends during this year’s Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Talent Conference and one of the speakers said something that really stuck with me. “Digital first is assumed.”

His point was that when it comes to recruiting, organizations might expect that employees already know how to schedule and lead a video call. Or that they are proficient in certain types of software. And on one hand I get it. In our personal lives, we use a lot of technology. But I’m not sure that we can simply assume that everyone has digital proficiency.

We are relying on technology more than ever, which means the employee digital experience needs to be effective, efficient, and clear.

– Sharlyn Lauby
We’re not just talking about making sure employees have good equipment. Yes, that’s important. But digital is about more than hardware and software. It’s about communication and relationships. It’s about what you do with your technology.

The comment from the SHRM Talent speaker aligned with another conversation I had recently with Seth Patton, general manager for Microsoft’s new Viva platform. If you’re not familiar with Viva, basically it brings together communication, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights to offer employees and managers a better digital experience. (P.S. If you haven’t checked Microsoft Viva out, be sure to do so.)

Seth and I were chatting about the future of hybrid work. He mentioned that while he didn’t expect technology to ever replace human interaction fully, employees expect better digital experiences. Which means that our behaviors will have to change.

And when I say “our”, I mean everyone – executives, managers, and employees. Which brings me to today’s point. It might be time for organizations to think about not just the employee experience but the employee digital experience. What are organizations doing to make sure employees have a good digital experience? And more importantly, what are they doing to make sure employees have the skills for a good digital experience?

Employee experiences have always been important, and now the employee digital experience is the focus. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index remote job postings on LinkedIn have increased over five times since the pandemic. More organizations are postponing their back to the office plans – to the point it’s been named “The Great Wait”. We are relying on technology more than ever, which means the employee digital experience needs to be effective, efficient, and clear.

But let’s be careful not to attach all the interest in digital experiences to the pandemic. Employees have always wanted flexibility. Organizations want productivity and high performance. Creating an employee digital experience that aligns with organizational culture only makes sense.

I know the pandemic is making it difficult to plan right now. But one thing is certain. Our reliance on technology isn’t going to change. If anything, it will increase. Organizations must start thinking about how the digital experience aligns with the employee experience. And they have to start thinking about how they are going to prepare employees at every level to participate. At some point, “digital first” will be an absolute assumption.


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