8 Ways to Use Technology to Improve The Employee Experience
It’s often seemingly insignificant things that make the biggest impact on the employee experience — for better and for worse. For example, frequent technology issues that make it difficult to get through a virtual meeting or commuting to the office only to spend the first half an hour searching for an available conference room sound like minor inconveniences. Over time, however, these small frustrations can add up and create discontent in otherwise happy employees.
This is especially true in the hybrid workplace, where employees have become even more reliant on technology.
The good news is that as a workplace leader, you have even more opportunities to use technology to improve the employee experience for everyone. Here are seven strategies you can implement before the end of the year.
8 ways to use technology to improve the employee experience
1. Promote digital dexterity
According to Gartner, digital dexterity is the desire and ability of an employee to use emerging technology to help drive better business outcomes. Put simply, it’s using innovative tech to do better work.
Putting in the time and energy to train employees on emerging technology — and selecting candidates who have previous experience with these solutions — can yield a significant return on investment. Not only will this help employees work more nimbly and efficiently (which empowers them to do even more), but the better versed your workforce is in new technology, the greater your competitive advantage.
2. Implement workplace technology that improves hybrid collaboration
Many employees have become accustomed to working productively from home, but most still want the in-person collaboration and socialization that comes with working in an office. Why not give them the best of both worlds by making it easier for employees to work anywhere?
To do this, you’ll need a few fundamental things:
- A strong wireless internet connection throughout the workplace
- Quality video conferencing software that makes virtual meetings feel more like in-person ones
- Webcams and conference room speakers designed to highlight the speaker while reducing background noise
- Conference room scheduling software that makes it easy for employees to find and reserve a room from anywhere
- Sensors that measure real-time conference room utilization so employees have an accurate picture of which rooms are actually in use
- Workplace software that promotes asynchronous communication, including chat apps and project management solutions
Employees work differently today than they did even a year ago, and your technology needs to reflect that. These solutions impact the employee experience both directly and indirectly. They make it easier for employees to access everything they need to be productive while giving your facilities team valuable insight into how employees actually use your space.
3. Choose mobile solutions that mimic consumer apps
Employees use smartphone apps to manage almost every area of their lives, from banking and transportation to connecting with others and reaching their fitness goals.
They expect technology in the workplace to be just as mobile and easy to use as the apps on their phone. By equipping them with a workplace app they can use to find their colleagues, reserve rooms or desks, request service, and receive mail or visitors, you’re setting the foundation for a frictionless employee experience.
This is especially important if your company is among the many that are eliminating assigned seats in favor of a more flexible workplace.
See how the Hummingbird workplace app helps employees find everything they need to be productive in today’s hybrid office environment.
4. Streamline internal communications
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, two-thirds of employees say they are re-evaluating their purpose in life — and nearly half are reconsidering the work they do, according to McKinsey research. Unfortunately, the same survey found 85% of frontline managers and employees don’t believe they can live out their purpose in their daily work lives.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that this is a golden opportunity to showcase your company’s mission, vision, and values and help employees connect with the work you’re doing.
For instance, your company could find new ways to reward employees who consistently live by your values. You could support a cause that relates to the work you’re doing and invite employees to get involved. You could also bring employees together more frequently to remind them of your shared successes and celebrate those wins together.
Although this goes beyond technology, it starts with good internal communication. Emails are too easy to overlook because employees already receive hundreds each day. Announcements made through app-based notifications or digital signage are much more likely to stand out.
5. Use data to create a more personalized employee experience
If you’re using sensor data to improve space utilization, that’s a great start. If you want to take your data a few steps further, look for patterns and use your findings to update your workplace so it’s more conducive to the ways in which employees actually work.
For instance, if you discover 15% of your workforce rarely uses the office, it’s worth asking why. Maybe those employees live more than an hour away and are less likely to make the commute, but they miss having regular in-person interaction with their colleagues. If you have enough employees in one area, you may want to consider leasing a coworking space closer to where they live.
For those who do use the office frequently, pay attention to how they’re using it. Which days are the busiest? What are the peak times for employees to flock to your cafeteria? How often are they working alone versus meeting with others in a typical day?
The level of privacy and collaboration employees need varies greatly depending on their roles and personal preferences. Consider this as you set up office spaces for different departments and individuals. Your development team will likely need more dedicated areas for quiet, focused work compared to the sales or marketing teams, but employees also have their own preferences. Be sure to consider this in your office design, and be willing to make updates as needed.
6. Use surveys to evaluate your employee experience
Data gives you a wealth of objective insight about your employee experience, but it won’t tell you how employees really feel. An employee survey can help you determine what spaces, services, or technology employees use most and which ones need improvement.
Here are a few questions to consider including in your employee experience survey:
- How would you rate your level of engagement at our company?
- How would you rate your overall satisfaction with working here?
- How many days would you prefer to work in the office each week?
- In the past month, how many days did you actually work in the office each week?
- How easy was it to find a place to work upon arrival?
- How easy is it to communicate with others during a typical workday?
- How well does our company share important information, such as product updates, news, and events?
- Which of the following workplace services do you use? (ex., employee cafeteria, workout facility, massage therapist)
- What service would you like to see that we don’t currently offer?
- What aspect of your workday is most frustrating for you currently, and what would improve it?
To encourage employees to give an honest evaluation, be sure all survey responses remain anonymous.
7. Implement solutions that assist with hiring and onboarding
A great employee experience starts before the first day of work. Job candidates are already forming impressions of your company during the hiring process, and after the past year has given them time to re-evaluate what they want from their work, they have higher expectations.
That’s why it’s important to consider every interaction your company has with them from the moment they walk through your doors. Are they waiting 20 minutes in the lobby with no one to greet them? Interviewing at a mostly empty office? How quickly does someone follow up with them after the interview? How easily can they find what they need during their first week?
The right technology can assist with every step of the employee journey. Here are a few solutions to consider:
- Applicant tracking software to streamline communications with candidates
- A visitor management system to allow candidates to sign in securely and immediately notify hiring managers when they’ve arrived
- An employee experience app to help new hires navigate your workplace, find colleagues and spaces, request service, and receive announcements
- Employee engagement solutions that streamline communications between employees and managers, allowing them to share challenges and successes while receiving instant feedback
While there’s no substitute for a strong leadership and management team when it comes to supporting employees, solutions like these certainly make it easier.
8. Use workflows and machine learning
Today’s best workplace technology offers nearly limitless data on how employees interact with your workplace so you can make adjustments and plan accordingly. With intelligent workflows and machine learning, you can even automate some of your responses to that data.
For instance, one common frustration in the workplace is when an employee reserves a room but forgets to cancel the reservation when they no longer need it. The room appears to be occupied, creating false scarcity while the space sits empty.
With sensors and the right conference room scheduling solution, you can create a workflow that automatically cancels a reservation if sensors don’t detect any activity within a period of time.
Another example is a workflow that automatically generates a daily report showing which spaces employees used so your facilities management team can clean them.
Technology that remembers employees’ preferences (such as location, frequent reservations, and common requests) is yet another example. Machine learning can build upon these preferences to make more relevant suggestions the same way your favorite streaming service suggests just the right movie or song for you.
Elevate your employee experience with the Hummingbird workplace app
The right technology helps your employees stay connected, engaged, and productive. At a time when they can work anywhere, that sense of connection and purpose has become even more critical. When we first introduced the Hummingbird workplace app in 2017, we knew the way we worked together was changing and companies would need to adapt. Now, there’s no going back to the days when every employee worked in the office from 9 to 5 each day, but in many ways, that’s a good thing.
Your company can offer employees more flexibility than ever before, provided you give them the tools they need to have the best possible experience.