The future of work is virtual. What has been on the horizon for years was accelerated over the past year, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced entire industries to shift to remote work. Fortunately, this trend is moving in parallel with digital transformation efforts, meaning that new means of employee engagement can be implemented to improve the digital employee experience.
Employee experience, of course, has always been a vital component of organizational success. Improving internal communications and data sharing, recognizing successes, and improving human resources leads to more engaged employees, which in turn drives up productivity and organizational efficiency. That need only rises in importance in virtual environments, which come with their unique challenges.
Research shows that remote workers tend to suffer from loneliness and difficulties connecting with their colleagues. They also get distracted more easily, and may not have the tools necessary to successfully perform up to their own and organizational expectations.
In this increasingly remote work environment, in other words, team engagement and productivity become a core organizational challenge. These 5 tips can help you create a powerful digital employee experience that brings significant benefits both short-term and long-term.
Connection and communication are consistently cited as the most common challenges of remote work. A lack of informal meetings, from water cooler conversations to whiteboard brainstorming sessions, can lead to anything from a lack of communal creativity to feelings of isolation.
The solution: digital communities that don’t just ease the communication burden, but encourage employees to collaborate online. In their digital transformation, many companies are moving towards interactive intranets that enable easy collaboration. Informal communication channels begin to exist through chat and message board systems, creating the communication outlets and community foundations necessary to continue thriving.
The lack of a physical workspace has also led to difficulties sharing important information and data, both within teams and across the organization. Virtual data sharing systems become a necessary piece of ensuring that productivity and efficiency don’t suffer due to a lack of a central internal knowledge base.
Ideally, the solution is more than just an online version of the database. Instead, a comprehensive, interactive solution can turn into a central source of truth, accessible by remote employees across all organizational levels. Powered by artificial intelligence, this system can self-optimize to reduce manual oversight and ensure a smooth, user-focused experience that makes gathering, sharing, and analyzing data as straightforward as possible.
Capacity’s enterprise AI is one such example to improve the employee experience. Implementation leads to a democratization of knowledge, which ultimately benefits employees at every level of the organization.
Professional development has long been a priority for the modern workforce, with a 2018 LinkedIn study showing that 93% of employees would stay at a company for longer if it offers regular, relevant learning opportunities. In the age of the virtual workplace, that emphasis has only increased in importance.
Conferences, in-person seminars, and other face-to-face learning opportunities are becoming less frequent. Rather than foregoing professional development opportunities altogether, forward-looking organizations are instead investing in virtual learning opportunities, from webinars to guest speakers and more.
The emphasis is not always on a team member’s current specialty. Quite the opposite. The future of work, with its changing technological needs and opportunities, will necessitate significant amounts of cross-skilling and up-skilling. Offering these opportunities to your teams, even and especially in virtual formats, can play a significant role in improving the digital employee experience.
While research shows that productivity increases with remote work for a higher percentage of the workforce, don’t underestimate the portion of your teams that become less productive due to their home office or other remote conditions. Distractions, isolation, and a simple lack of organization can all lead to productivity decreases.
Rather than admonishing employees suffering from these issues, provide them with the tools to build up their productivity in a natural, integrated way. Productivity tools can range from product management solutions to digital to-do lists. Even simple efforts to help your teams stay organized and on track to meet their goals will be met with increases in work effectiveness.
One of those tools might be an enterprise search solution like Capacity. The above-mentioned knowledge base becomes especially relevant for customer-facing employees, who can use it to more easily find the information they need to solve problems and answer questions. But even for internal uses, this type of enterprise search can be a valuable tool to improve productivity.
Finally, digital employee engagement hinges on the need to create a streamlined, simple experience. Throughout this guide, we’ve shared several technology solutions designed to improve the experience. Implementing them in isolation, however, can lead to team members being overwhelmed and becoming less engaged and productive in the process.
The key to success is a streamlined experience, in which individual platforms and tactics fit together under a larger employee engagement strategy. This, after all, is the core of digital transformation at any level: an overarching strategy comes first, with individual tactics designed specifically to contribute to that strategy and help in its success.
In such a streamlined environment, employees can leverage a few tools for most of their needs outlined throughout this guide. The tools naturally integrate, sharing data and information on the backend while serving simple information and guidance on the front.
Remote work may have upended employee engagement efforts for many organizations, but its fundamentals haven’t changed. You still need a strategy to encourage collaboration, engagement, and job satisfaction.
Achieving that goal requires access to new and innovative technology that accounts for employee preferences and trends in this brave new world. Digital transformation efforts play a large role and can be key to remote employee engagement.