What Is An Employee Experience Platform?
In the near future, the employee experience platform will be as widely used as the CRM.
The CRM has been the gold standard for managing customer relationships for the past 20 years. And as more companies think about their employees the way they think about their customers, they recognize the need for a single platform to manage many different touchpoints within the employee experience journey — especially in today’s hybrid workplace.
Here’s a closer look at this growing sector and what it entails, through the lens of internationally recognized analyst, Josh Bersin.
What is an employee experience platform?
There are plenty of software systems and business partners delivering HR services. However, an employee experience platform goes far beyond the traditional functions, Bersin said in his latest whitepaper.
While the role of the HR department has typically been limited to hiring, onboarding and training, the needs of employees are much more broad.
For instance, on any given day, an employee may need a room that’s set up for a large client meeting, a catered lunch for 10 attendees, someone to help greet and direct those attendees when they arrive…and help fixing her laptop before they arrive.
An employee experience management incorporates services that could meet all of those needs and more across multiple departments.
Those employee experience services could include:
- Internal communications
- IT support
- Service requests
- Navigation and wayfinding
- Room reservation system
- Visitor management System
- Mail and food delivery
- Help with parking and transportation
While you could have many different solutions to meet these needs (and many companies do), the need to connect user-friendly employee apps with a larger workplace management system is becoming more apparent.
What’s driving the need for an employee experience platform?
The latest Verdantix research identifies several important factors changing the way we think about the employee experience. They include:
The need to manage a more distributed workforce
The pandemic pushed many organizations to adapt their business models for remote work if they hadn’t already, and while many are returning to the office, there’s no going back to the way things were. Many organizations have used this opportunity to double down on digital transformation initiatives and hire people from a wider geographical area. The fact that many employees no longer have daily face-to-face interactions with each other and their management team means workplace leaders need to find new ways to keep them connected and enable them to collaborate from anywhere.
A desire to maintain a strong company culture
It’s easier to define your company’s culture when you’re small, but as your company grows to include multiple locations and hundreds or thousands of employees who may never have met in person, scaling that culture becomes more challenging. The way your employees collaborate and the extent to which they feel supported help to define your culture, and technology plays a critical role in that.
- Can employees easily find the people and resources they need to do their best work?
- Is it easy for them to collaborate remotely?
- How do they receive feedback from their colleagues and managers ?
- How do they find out about company events in the office or outside of work?
- Do they know how to take advantage of the amenities your company offers?
These are all important questions to consider as you think about what you may need in an employee experience platform.
The need to engage employees amid a talent shortage and the ‘Great Resignation’
Gallup research showed only about a third of employees were engaged prior to the pandemic. Now that employees have become accustomed to working remotely and have had more time to re-evaluate their priorities, many are quitting their jobs. Over 4 million US employees left their jobs in August, a record number, according to the Department of Labor.
This is on top of the fact that the average employee changes jobs every four years (and employees age 25-34 change jobs every three years) in normal circumstances. Attracting and retaining talent remains a top priority, yet it can be more difficult in a hybrid work environment.
Employees are spending more time online amid growing pressure to be “always on” when their teams can’t see them in person, and many are experiencing workplace burnout.
They face constant interruptions from various chat notifications and video calls, which causes them to lose focus.
Above all, they’re looking for something that will simplify their workday and help them be more productive.
The answer isn’t more technology, but more user-friendly technology that keeps them connected to everything they need from their workplace.
How an employee experience platform solves these problems
An employee experience platform gives workplace leaders a single place to manage all employee interactions. It also gives them insight into how employees are using the workplace so they can make adjustments accordingly.
An employee experience platform brings many other benefits, including:
- Centralization — Silos are the antithesis of collaboration. Having a single platform for many functions breaks down barriers between departments and offers leaders a single source of truth when it comes to workplace data.
- Efficiency — The best employee experience platforms allow users to create workflows that automate manual tasks, such as following up with candidates during the hiring process or generating service requests for the IT, HR, and FM departments to make onboarding easier.
- Delivering an exceptional employee experience — Employees expect technology in the workplace to be just as user-friendly as the technology they use at home. Give them access to everything they need to be productive —in a single workplace app—from any device they choose.
- Lower IT costs — Many companies now have dozens of different software systems in their technology stack. Considering a single software update can cost upwards of $1 million, keeping each one up to date and secure is incredibly time-consuming and expensive.
The employee experience platform may not have the recognition it deserves just yet, but there’s a growing awareness of the need for it in the workplace.
What to look for in an employee experience platform
While the employee experience platform category is relatively new, you will likely see more technology solutions branding themselves this way. It’s important to look beyond the branding and see what they really offer.
Some may only address a few specific areas, such as enabling remote collaboration or improving internal communications. Others don’t integrate well with the solutions you already use to manage your office spaces. For instance, an employee experience solution that helps your workforce reserve rooms but doesn’t relay that data to your space management software or sensors won’t give you the data you need to adapt to changes in real time. You won’t know how many employees to expect on an average Thursday morning compared to a Friday afternoon or whether you should convert more individual workspaces into common areas based on average desk utilization, for instance.
As you evaluate your options, here are a few important considerations:
- Is it easy for anyone to use without training?
- Is it mobile-friendly?
- Does it support our vision for hybrid work?
- Will it help employees navigate the office environment?
- Does it integrate with our existing technology solutions, including space and facility management software, room scheduling tools, and visitor management solutions?
- What insights will it give us about how employees use the workplace?
Keep these questions in mind as you talk with a sales rep, and ask to see the employee experience platform in action. You may even want to try it for yourself through a free trial or launch it as a pilot program for just one department before introducing it across your organization.
How iOFFICE + SpaceIQ can help
The iOFFICE + SpaceIQ leadership team recognized the shift toward employee experience platforms long before they were the subject of industry whitepapers. We responded by creating iOFFICE Hummingbird, a suite of employee experience solutions for the modern workplace.
Hummingbird allows employees to find people, reserve rooms, request service and receive mail or visitors simply by tapping an app or a digital panel.
It also integrates seamlessly with our integrated experience management system (iXMS), which we introduced several years ago to address the growing frustrations with traditional IWMS solutions.
Since joining forces with SpaceIQ, we now offer an even more comprehensive suite of solutions to help companies manage their workplace, assets, and employee experience. That includes solutions to plan, manage, and optimize office spaces, understand the total costs of your office real estate, reconfigure floor plans instantly, and plan office renovations or relocations easily. We also offer mobile apps to help you manage the hybrid employee experience and keep your workforce connected wherever they are.
If you’re a forward-thinking leader who wants to stay ahead of the curve, it’s time to see the power of an employee experience platform for yourself. Request a free trial today.