Digital Transformation|6 Minutes
5 Best IT Experience Practices Your Team Can Make Today
If you were to put 100 enterprise tech leaders in a room together and ask them if they think their company’s employee experience is dependent upon IT, I’m certain all would agree it is.
But I’m also certain those 100 wouldn’t know:
- where to start measuring and improving it
- how long their investments might take
- how to differentiate between employee perception versus technology performance; or
- how to demonstrate ROI using clear KPIs and improvement plans.
For IT decision-makers, the devil is in the details. Many are judged by uncompromising Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and shoddy survey data, not comprehensive digital experience trends and indexes. The parallels we sometimes draw between other industry indexes like in economics (GDP) or healthcare (BMI) might make sense on paper, but when we apply those concepts to enterprise IT and the employee experience, they can seem impractical.
IT can measure and influence an employee’s overall work experience… really?
I’ve worked with dozens of IT teams that have chartered impressive improvement plans both before and during the pandemic. From that body of work, I’ve compiled 5 best practices that any technology leader can start implementing today:
Step 1: Set the right baseline with technical telemetry and sentiment data
The biggest obstacle for IT comes in knowing what their current technology environment really looks like from the perspective of employees. Here’s what we know: roughly half of all IT issues go unreported by employees. So, it’s important you and your IT team truly understand your users’ sources of dissatisfaction and satisfaction.
My colleague, Prabhu Kaliaperumal (Director of Strategic Solutions at Nexthink) has worked closely with several end-user teams since the pandemic hit and he told me, “One of the hardest things for IT is to get a comprehensive understanding of what complaints employees bring up with the help desk and what things they tolerate but would be happy to see fixed.”
Here are a few tips to help you avoid that type of confusion:
- Take a deep analysis of your employee ticket data and write an accurate narrative around the feedback that’s already been shared with IT support.
- Review and track relevant telemetry data to help corroborate the issues your employees are either reporting or tolerating (like poor PC performance or SaaS latency).
- Devise an accurate, quantifiable index score that combines your most important telemetry data and employee sentiment data.
- Make sure you collect employee feedback data that is statistically significant so your team can make useful inferences. Forget standard email surveys—that method rarely returns high response rates. Whatever you choose as an alternative, make sure you’re gathering enough responses from employees that your team can make reasonable correlations and predictions.
Step 2: Break your Experience score down and assign responsibility among your IT team
Once you’re able to measure your employees’ experience and determine why certain variables impact its score, you next need to figure out who has responsibility over each component.
DEX is a broad and deep concept, so it should be shared among your entire IT department. Multiple groups across end-user computing, applications, user experience (UX), and the help desk can impact DEX, but none are solely accountable. What’s key is that each team who takes on responsibility is working towards the same goals and metrics.
The most successful IT teams that I’ve seen always have a core “DEX Center of Excellence” group to handle the company’s main experience challenges, and help steer the rest of the departments’ projects.
Step 3: Set employee-driven improvement priorities and ROI goals
Once you have team leaders assigned to work on your company’s DEX, you’ll need to plan short-term, mid-term, and long-term ROI goals and priorities. Based on what you’ve identified as weaknesses in Step 1, your team should next group those problems into objectives that they can target in the next week, month, or quarter.
For example, many IT departments focus their first few weeks on cleaning up legacy tools, processes, and skill shortages that impede their company’s DEX. Is your user base working with outdated, or soon-to-be outdated, software tools? Can you identify hardware that is better off being reclaimed rather than replaced?
Step 4: Drive adoption and training for employee SaaS applications
After establishing clear, measurable goals, IT should next focus on how they can effectively ensure employees want and use their work applications. Whether you’re rolling out a new SaaS application or shifting an entire user base to the cloud or a virtualized setup:
- Anticipate resistance from employees by offering appropriate skills training with either dedicated 1:1 sessions, classroom-style webinars, or eLearning tutorials.
- Establish an internal marketing plan to promote and “sell” employees on the tech changes coming their way.
- Seek out non-IT stakeholders and power users for beta testing. If you don’t, you might wind up with low adoption rates—like this CIO, who found out the hard way when only 10% of her user base adopted a new CRM platform.
- Gather post-implementation employee feedback and technical usage metrics. Keep your SaaS application owners honest with how their work is truly received by employees. A one-time satisfaction survey will do you little good—you should collect employee feedback multiple times after fully implementing your new software or IT service.
- Corroborate application usage metrics—like application page load times, errors, network errors, and even granular application transactions—with your employee feedback. Ask yourself: does the technical data I’m examining reinforce what my employees are saying or challenge it?
Step 5: Create a system for continuous improvement
Does your team have an ideal trajectory for continuous improvement? How would you measure your team’s overall progress? Over the years, I’ve learned two important things about IT departments:
- They struggle to measure overall employee computing environments on a continual basis (NPS-style surveys are usually run once, maybe twice a year and rarely include actionable IT experience data).
- They struggle to measure nuanced, technical micro-steps across their entire IT environment. Sure—I’ve met some IT teams that are good at measuring say, an application rollout, but they struggle to replicate that practice across their networks and devices.
The point is to make true and lasting wholesale improvements, IT teams need visibility into the problems that exist at every layer of their employee experience, and they need a single index score to track and work towards. Just like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is used to track a country’s economic strength, or Body Mass Index (BMI) for a person’s health, IT teams need a comprehensive metric to understand and improve their employees’ true technology experience.
Any IT leader can follow this methodology
If you’re in charge of an IT team and you want to make serious improvements to your Digital Employee Experience (DEX), know that you can enact these steps starting today. With the right methodology, your team can finally work towards the same goals, make company-wide technology improvements, and know what works and what doesn’t. But choosing not to act will leave your team second-guessing its work and unable to rise to meet modern business demands and practices.