What is digital employee experience? A key worker retention tool

What is digital employee experience? A key worker retention tool

DEX software can help companies improve the technology their workers use every day, which in turn helps with employee retention.

Credit: Studio Romantic / Shutterstock

As with other areas of technology, skills and staffing shortages can be an issue. “These tools require dedicated personnel to get the most out of them,” Hewitt says. “Organisations fail to maximise their benefit when they don’t assign a dedicated person to manage the platform.”

Integration of multiple DEX tools is proving to be a challenge for many. An online survey of 537 global decision-makers conducted by Forrester in February and March 2022 showed that nearly 80 per cent of respondents are purchasing multiple products for managing DEX, often from three or more vendors, yet only a third are integrating these tools to form a consolidated solution.

In addition, the cost to acquire, implement, and integrate new tools can hinder some organisations from deploying DEX. The 2022 Forrester survey, sponsored by VMware, showed that high costs are rated as the top concern in managing DEX.

Organisations often have difficulty translating DEX investments into business outcomes, the report said. Measuring return on investment (ROI) through remote workers’ effectiveness is a related challenge in justifying DEX investment. And more than half of respondents rated the ability to scale access to critical applications and data as challenging, further impacting the perceived value of DEX.

“Because DEX is often a very intangible benefit, organisations often struggle to convert improvements in the technology environment to an impact on employee experience,” Hewitt says. “This is getting easier with built-in dashboards, though, that show the impact on experience.”

Data privacy and security also present challenges. “Because these tools monitor what's happening on employee endpoints, IT teams need to be very clear [about] the purpose of these tools when deploying them to end users,” Hewitt says.

Finally, some organisations can be hindered from using DEX by legislative, regulatory, industry, or labor union limits on data collection and use, Wilson says.

“Most organisations are still using these tools primarily for IT-focused, tactical use cases,” Wilson says. “More mature, leading IT organisations realise that DEX tools can really enhance the ability of a cross-functionally driven DEX strategy to support IT and employee-facing improvements.”

Success with DEX

All that said, companies with successful DEX deployments are seeing benefits. Mondelez, a multinational confectionery, food, and beverage company, has been using a DEX platform from Nexthink for about four years.

“The main driver of deploying the DEX tool was employee experience, and making sure that while employee turnover is inevitable, it wasn’t due to our technology stack,” says Geoff Wright, global solution owner – digital experience at Mondelez. 

“However, since the pandemic and the subsequent ‘Great Resignation,’ DEX has become more important than ever, and the ability to provide proactive IT support and a reduction of service desk tickets has been critical for hybrid and remote work.”

Mondelez has had “great success” so far using DEX, Wright says. “The proactive IT support has been a major win, particularly now that we have so many people working from home,” he says. “There are plenty of business benefits, but one of the most important benefits to me is how it contributes positively to employee stress levels.”

Technology failures exacerbate an already stressful situation, Wright says, and have a ripple effect on performance and mental well-being. “The visibility that Nexthink provides us helps us combat this issue, getting to employees before the issue disrupts their workflow,” he says.

“I often feel like the Wizard of Oz, overseeing all of the software and hardware issues our employees are facing and seeing up close any latency issues that different programs may be experiencing while working together,” Wright says.

There’s also a financial benefit. “We pay per ticket for calls to our service desk, so being able to reduce the number of tickets opened has saved us money and employees’ time,” Wright says. 

“We’ve also seen a cost reduction during necessary password resets during the pandemic. We were able to get self-service password resets for every employee, which was more convenient for them and more budget-friendly for us.”

As part of its DEX strategy, Mondelez will aggressively focus on green IT initiatives over the next year. “There are many things organisations can do to cut back on their own [carbon] emissions,” Wright says. 

“My focus is on the employee device health side of things and helping to educate employees of the impact of their own computing habits — in particular, getting employees to shut down their laptops at the end of the week. One hundred thousand employees and their 100,000 devices being powered down can have a major impact.”

IT at Mondelez has been the main stakeholder in the implementation of the DEX platform, Wright says. “From a solution standpoint, my team is in charge of our Nexthink platform, and we are focused on IT outcomes,” he says. “Of course, those outcomes have a larger business impact, and that bubbles up to the top. But it is led with IT in mind.”

Another company, financial software provider Intuit, has been using VMware DEEM (Digital Employee Experience Management) along with the vendor’s Workspace ONE Hub Services for about six months.

“Our main business driver for deploying Workspace ONE Hub Services was to provide a unified experience no matter what platform our users selected,” says Andrew Werner, lead engineer. “For DEEM, we needed a way to gauge end-user satisfaction of both the IT department and the experience with [the] platforms we are providing.”

It’s more important now than ever to embrace DEX, Werner says, as users are becoming more mobile and working more from home. “They need to be able to accomplish what they need from all platforms — and have all the tools at their fingertips — partnered with ease of use,” he says.

Just as important as giving employees the right tools, he says, is “to ensure that we are being proactive when it comes to taking care of our users and responding to issues before they even notice them.”

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