A seamless IT experience retains talent in a difficult working climate

Weston Morris, Sr. Director of Global Strategy, Digital Workplace Solutions, Unisys

The hiring process is a long and stringent one for both candidates and HR teams. Once completed, it becomes imperative to retain employees, especially during tumultuous periods of change. During an economic downturn, companies have an even bigger incentive to focus on the customer experience, customer loyalty, and customer referrals. But the biggest enabler of these business metrics is by providing a great employee experience first—regardless of whether it’s in-office or remote. A happier workforce is associated with a company’s ability to deliver better customer satisfaction. Smart CIOs and CHROs are finding that they can collaborate in new ways to achieve this.

Enter: IT.

There is a strong correlation between talent retention and how easy workplace technology is to use.  Apple has exceptional brand loyalty, in part, because of how easy it is to upgrade the iPhone. It just works. The workplace IT experience needs to be just as seamless in order to reduce downtime, increase employee engagement, and to retain employees for longer.

Delivering experience parity

A commitment to providing adaptable workspaces and the right supporting technologies for remote work can reduce costs.  But, for hybrid working to flourish, we need a parity of experience between remote and in-office workers. Whether you’re a senior executive or in an administrative role, working from home or in the office, your digital employee experience (DEX) should be comparable.

Hybrid working can often lead to two disparate cultures, one for the remote employees and one for those working in the physical office. Integral to closing this culture gap is to measure and improve DEX across both groups. When both the CIO and the CHRO thoroughly understand the dynamics of their digital workplace and the importance of DEX, they can collaborate to create environments that boost employee happiness. Required for this, however, is a re-evaluation of company culture and expectations, and a sincere understanding of the technology that different individuals and teams need to streamline collaboration and be productive.

Managing and securing enterprise devices

Another critical component of any successful hybrid workplace is modern device management, which drastically simplifies device provisioning – both when onboarding new employees and when replacing devices for existing employees. This is especially important for employees who aren’t near a corporate office or are primarily working remotely. The continually expanding range of enterprise devices requires companies to manage and secure those devices with cloud-based unified endpoint management (UEM), a zero-trust security model, and the continuous running of proof-of-concept (POC) tests to identify and resolve vulnerabilities.

Organizational change management

While the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the push from analogue to digital, many companies still struggle with providing a seamless IT experience. Why? They deployed the latest digital technologies without taking into account exactly how employees woulduse the technology. This is where the CIO can benefit from the HR team’s experience and the two should work together with senior leadership to form an organisational change management programme (OCM). When deployed at the start of a technology roll out, an OCM will see the CIO and HR team come together to jointly brief, coach and check in with employees on how to best use it – and even to mould corporate culture as part of the digital transformation. Take Teams, for instance – many companies shifted to using the software during the pandemic, but had to make a quick pivot and without a full OCM in place. Still today, many employees are missing out on a number of the software’s features for better collaboration or even working experience. An OCM can not only showcase these features, but be used to check-in with staff on how they are finding using them.

Essentially, implementing an employee experience programme can eliminate IT down-time straightaway, increasing employee engagement and loyalty, and helping to retain employees for longer. By collaborating and building rapport with CIOs, HR teams should look to understand the key problems staff flag to IT when getting up and running in a new job, so they can work together on the best way to train them to use the software. This rapport will also help them to learn of potential new technology roll-outs, so they can form a plan for roll-out together with the IT team to reduce IT-related downtime. After all, technology issues continue to be one of the biggest pain points for companies and their new employees.

It’s clear that digitisation has proven efficiencies, but companies can only digitise successfully with the adoption of innovative solutions customised to their organisational needs. Whether your employees are in video calls at their desks or are on the road, the IT experience needs to be intuitive, seamless and consistent so employees can be positioned to drive business outcomes to the best of their ability—regardless of where they are.

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