Employee experience in 2022: change or be changed

07.20.2022 | By Mark Speyers

In a late 2021 blog, Forrester Research stated that “2022 Will Go Down As The Year Executives Were Forced To Care About Employee Experience.” It sounds threatening – after all, “forced” is such a physical and evocative word – but the reality is that any savvy leader in an IT organization shouldn’t need to be forced to care about it. Instead, they should be embracing it with the proverbial “open arms” as a way to become the technology capability that their parent organization needs finally.

Understanding what employee experience means for IT (it’s a big part of the “why?”)

Many employee experience definitions believe that employee experience is the internal version of customer experience (CX). For example, TechTarget states that “Employee experience is a worker’s perceptions about his or her journey through all the touchpoints at a particular company, starting with job candidacy through to the exit from the company.” 

It makes sense, but the definition offers little traction to IT organizations trying to understand their part in improving the employee experience. Or, for that matter, why employee experience is important.

The more extended employee experience definitions help, especially when they call out the three key factors that influence employee experience:

  1. The company culture and its people policies
  2. The company’s physical work environment(s)
  3. The technology available to assist employees in undertaking their work.

These three points help articulate that human resources (HR), facilities teams, and the IT organization all have an essential role in employee experience. But it might not be until a 2019 Forrester Research quote is read that the true impact of IT on employee experience becomes clear, that: 

“…the most important factor for employee experience is being able to make progress every day toward the work that they believe is most important.” 

This quote allows IT leaders to understand that how their services help or hinder employee productivity is a key, perhaps critical, driver of the employee experience. 

Starting with the “why?”

When a corporate IT organization’s performance, worth, or value is considered, there’s often a disparity between what IT leaders think, based on their performance measures, and how the rest of the business perceives IT. 

While IT leaders might consider this merely a “perceptions gap,” it should set off alarm bells that something isn’t right. Importantly, once there’s an appreciation that there is a gap in perceptions or otherwise, it becomes easier to understand the root cause and why understanding and improving the employee experience is critical.

The issues with traditional IT metrics

Even though some IT areas, such as the IT service desk, are drowning in a sea of performance targets. There are still underlying issues related to the “what” and “where” of IT performance measurement.

Does your IT organization measure what it thinks is most important (rather than the business and its employees)? And do these measures relate solely to the “mechanics” of IT, i.e. they’re focused on what’s done (think speed and volumes) rather than what’s achieved? Even IT’s customer satisfaction (CSAT) questionnaires can be focused on the mechanics of IT support and not the employee’s experience.

Plus, IT organizations usually measure performance at the point of service creation rather than its consumption. So, it’s the supply-side view of what’s happening, not the demand-side, i.e. it’s what IT sees rather than what employees experience.

What this means

While an IT organization might be successfully hitting all of its agreed-on performance targets, the business impact might be different (because of how performance is measured). For example, while an IT service desk might be getting to and closing incident tickets in line with agreed service level targets, this is the measurement of the “mechanics” of IT support, not the outcomes.

When organizations take a demand-side perspective, using experience data and its insight, it immediately highlights the gap between performance perceptions and the issues that poor employee experiences cause. 

Your organization needs experience data to drive the right IT improvements

The IT-related issues can adversely impact employee productivity (with potentially a knock-on to business operations and outcomes). Sadly, traditional IT metrics can miss these issues and, importantly, details of how they affect employees. Plus, what matters most to employees when the potential improvement opportunities are compared.

Thankfully, the focus on employee experience and the insight provided by experience data helps to cure these issues by allowing IT organizations, and IT support teams in particular, to deliver IT services that better meet the wants and needs of the business. It’s why experience management will become an IT and IT support staple in 2022 and beyond.  

If you would like to learn more about how AI-powered ITSM solution can help deliver exceptional employee experience, click here

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