What is Digital Employee Experience (DEX) and why is it important?
Read time 5 mins
As the employee experience becomes ever more synonymous with technology, digital employee experience (DEX) is gaining importance – particularly as hybrid and flexible working environments have expanded. After all, almost every industry conceivable must utilise technology in order to continue functioning. To this end, DEX reflects how effectively end-users interact with their workplace’s digital tools, including factors such as engagement, proficiency, and productivity.
DEX also concerns itself with the employee experience more generally, however, and can be used by organisations to ensure that they’re delivering the best user experience they possibly can. Using tools like customised surveys, DEX can leverage employee sentiments, monitoring technology gaps that hinder employees from accomplishing their objectives and helping empower end-users right from the start – from onboarding, through to day-to-day digital working activities, as well as corporate communications.
Remember, DEX is more than just how employees experience technology (e.g., the applications and devices given to them), it’s also about how the IT function engages with the organisation and individual end-users to address issues and service requests, and about how it identifies new services, deploys technologies, offers training, and collaborates with members of staff.
What does DEX include?
Although DEX refers to the end-user’s holistic engagement with the digital workplace (and should be considered alongside the user experience overall), it may include looking at specific elements of the digital employee experience, for example:
Workflow and productivity: project management tools, analytics, customer relations.
Performance of devices and programs: speed, configuration, ease of use, whether software is overly complex.
Communication and collaboration: how well email, instant messaging, phone calls, video conferencing and other AV equipment enables collaboration and productivity.
Reliability of devices and programs: whether applications crash or freeze. Whether computers are slow and need restarting frequently. If mobile devices automatically connect to the network.
User education: whether professional development, eLearning programs and other online learning, is easily accessible and user friendly.
HR systems: whether employees have access to workplace policies, information about compensation, booking their own PTO, and performance management documents.
Mobility: whether remote working is enabled and seamless though modern workplace strategies.
What could be the challenges of DEX?
Implementing optimal DEX can often be challenging for organisations thanks to its many moving parts and different considerations. Working with an experienced outsourced partner can help alleviate some of this stress, from consultation and design stages, through to implementation, user-education, and cyber security.
Being aware upfront of the obstacles your organisation might face can help prepare for them and it makes sense for decision makers to consider things such as:
Truthfully, creating a strong DEX can require financial investment and can also demand time and effort from employees at all levels. Working with an experienced managed service provider can help organisations keep within their budget, since MSPs usually have strong relationships with vendors and suppliers (and can help organisations decide what is really necessary or not). Working with a partner in this way is also useful when it comes to justifying any upfront investments to board members, since the MSP can provide examples of ROI for similar organisations they have worked alongside in the past.
Organisations may need to overcome the natural resistance to change all businesses sometimes fall foul of. After all, straying from legacy software and ‘the way things have always been done’ can be uncomfortable. As above, convincing leadership that digital transformation is necessary enough to approve the budget is a big hurdle. However, organisations may also have to do some selling to employees too – at least until it is communicated how to use the technology effectively enough to make their work easier and their digital experience better.
Choosing the right technology stack
It may be necessary for internal IT teams to work with an external partner to select suitable technology that will support both your employees and the organisation’s long-term goals. Working collaboratively, the team can ensure that systems integrate seamlessly to streamline, not complicate, your employees’ digital experience. Organisations can also lean on outsourced service providers to deploy user-education, to modify workflows and business processes, and to offer ongoing support and testing (adapting if and when necessary).
How does strong DEX benefit organisations?
Improving DEX can benefit organisation in many ways, beginning with the empowerment of employees. After all, when employees’ digital interactions make their daily tasks easier, it’s natural that they will feel more satisfied and productive and ready to support the organisation’s goals. There are many business benefits of a strong DEX, including:
Enabling flexible working models
New and emerging tech-trends have enabled fresh, more flexible, working structures in recent years (sped up, in part, by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns) and this has produced the undeniable need for digital tools that equip employees to work from home. Companies that had never before embraced a remote or hybrid workforce now understand that it’s here to stay – and that not offering this flexibility can contribute greatly to staff dissatisfaction and attrition. Whilst employees now expect flexible and remote work options, they still want to feel connected and valued – and a solid DEX is necessary to reinforce this.
Improved ‘overall’ employee experience
As mentioned above, DEX impacts the overall employee experience and can support employee engagement, boosting productivity and staff retention. More than this, happy employees often result in happy customers, so companies with great DEX and overall user experience – and where employees feel empowered, listened-to, and valued – often outperform their competitors. Overall, this leaves customers with a more satisfying interaction and favourable view of your company’s services.
It’s true that many factors influence your employees’ productivity but having the right tools to perform their job is a rather critical aspect. Indeed, without the right technology to help simplify and streamlines tasks, employees are forced to use valuable time and energy to navigate antiquated systems or create their own ways of completing daily tasks. Naturally, this is not only frustrating for end-users, but creates a workplace without any due process (which can negatively impact things like compliance and cyber security as well as slowing down output). Instead, providing easy-to-use technology brings efficiency to the workforce, resulting in more work getting done, much more effectively and safely.
As a final note, we know that happy employees are more productive, but it’s also important to remember that productive employees ultimately help your organisation create more value – which is the reason it exists in the first place. Enhancing your DEX will contribute to an engaged workforce and, as a result, this will positively impact on your bottom line.
If you would like to discuss how Littlefish can help you reduce costs, increase service quality, and implement and support a strong digital employee experience, feel free to contact us through our get in touch button.