If you are reading this, chances are you aren’t at your office. And if you are, that office is very different than how it once was. Heck—we’re all different now, we think about work differently, we interact with colleagues almost exclusively through our screens, not face-to-face.

So if offices aren’t the same and we’re not the same, then the teams that support us shouldn’t be the same either, right?

While HR and IT have always preached the importance of Digital Employee Experience (DEX) and employee engagement, these last 18 months have forced them to reassess how they address these two topics, together.

So how are they doing in that endeavor?

Let’s just say “it’s complicated.”

The True Cost of a Poor Employee Experience

As employees continue to grapple with work-life balance, hybrid and remote working, and a hot job market, employers are growing increasingly worried about the following key challenges:

Employee retention – The practice organizations implement to keep employees happy at their current company.

1.  $11 Billion is lost annually due to employee turnover (Bureau of National Affairs).

2.  89% of employers think employees leave for more money but in reality, only 12% do (Gallup).

3.  Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their companies than their less engaged counterparts (Gartner).

Return to the physical office – Planning and executing the support of a workforce returning to full-time or hybrid work.

4.  36% of executives say the loss of a corporate culture is the biggest challenge to hybrid work (PwC).

Employee burnout – A state of physical or emotional exhaustion that impacts mental health.

5.  68% of tech workers feel more burned out than they did when they worked in the office (Business Insider).

Hiring – Difficulty filling open-positions in a very competitive job market.

6.  69% of employers say they’ve been negatively affected by a bad hire in the past year. Forty-one percent believe this cost their organization over $25,000, while 24% said it cost them more than $50,000 (CareerBuilder).

Employee productivity – Removing all barriers to employees producing work.

7.  28% of employees have difficulty concentrating, 20% take longer to complete work and 15% have trouble thinking, reasoning or making decisions on the job (Aon).

Employee Engagement – Relates to the level of an employee’s commitment and connection to an organization.

8.  Teams with high employee engagement rates are 21% more productive (Gallup).

Onboarding – The period when a new hire acclimates to their role and the organization’s values, culture, systems, and processes.

9.  Employees who had the benefit of a structured onboarding process were nearly 60% more likely to be with the same company after three years (Fast Company).

Digital Employee Experience – The employee’s holistic experience with the digital workplace that IT provides.

10.  77% of HR & IT leaders in The Grand Alliance survey report said poor/unreliable IT services and equipment plays a significant role in employee burnout or turnover.

Profitability – The amount of income that remains after accounting for all expenses, debts, additional income streams, and operating costs.

11.  Companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share and show 21% higher profitability (Gallup).

How can IT & HR fix the challenges listed above?

Experience Data

HR and IT leaders often disagree about which employee analytics to track in order to understand their employees. Most IT leaders (82%) would like to know what is causing employees’ digital frustrations while most HR leaders (56%) would like to understand how much time employees are losing to IT issues. This disagreement is not important if both teams have access to all the data they need. It shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

Below are some examples of the type of digital employee experience data HR & IT teams can leverage.

  • A list of my employees that are the most frustrated with their digital experience.
  • Average time lost by employees due to IT issues.
  • An overall index or metric score calculated for digital employee experience.
  • A list of top factors impacting employee digital frustration.
  • A list of employees with a low well-being score.

Through digital employee experience platforms like Nexthink, HR & IT can access this data today.

Employee Surveys at The Right Time & Context

For many years, HR organizations focused on an annual benchmark employee survey. However, this information was only somewhat actionable due to the amount of time the survey covered.  The HR survey market started with these annual engagement survey, but then shifted to more real-time contextual surveys. However, that feedback data is not enough. It needs to be paired with the data mentioned above for the complete picture.

The best way to make these real-time contextual surveys valuable is to increase your response rate. Nexthink’s HR & IT: The Grand Alliance survey showed only 29% of respondents receive employee survey response rates above 50%.

In order to improve your response rates, follow these best practices:

  • Do not batch and blast. Send targeted communications based on the context of employee experience.
  • Keep survey questions short. Only 3-5 questions at a time.
  • Reach the employee every time with communications that pop up on their screen.

Regular employee feedback can help shape the direction of your employee experience program and ensure you are focusing on the issues that matter to your employees.

Prioritizing issues

With a view into your data, both the HR & IT teams can drill down and determine which digital employee experiences areas are impacting the most employees and need to be addressed first. There’s always more work to be done. The trick is to focus on the problems that are causing the most pain for employees and driving attrition, low satisfaction, and poor productivity.

For HR & IT teams to work together, they need to align on common challenges and the problems they want to solve. Work together to agree upon your key objectives, your timelines, your budget and resources. This ensures you are aligned and won’t have any redundancies or anything fall through the cracks. Open communication is the best way to eliminate siloes and inefficiencies.

So if you’re not doing it already, schedule monthly or weekly meetings with your colleagues across the aisle – or computer screen. Don’t let radio silence occur between the two groups, stay cognizant and engaged in each other’s main business initiatives and concerns.

Combatting Employee Burnout

No video? No problem.

  • When it comes to being on back-to-back video calls, employees are drained. Our customers have instituted a few different best practices to combat this by limiting video calls.
    • Institute a ‘Focus Friday’ where video meetings are not allowed.
    • Encourage phone calls vs. video calls. Not every call has to be a video call. Instead, only make certain meetings video-focused and others just audio.
  • Give people a break!
    • To spare 5-10 minutes between meetings, IT can set Outlook settings so meeting lengths are defaulted to 25 and 50 minutes to allow for breaks.
  • Remember: the key to making either of these best practices successful is that leaders practice this behavior. If your leaders can’t be role models on behavior to prevent burnout, employees won’t either.

Improving Employee Retention

When you are onboarding new employees, schedule check-ins for day 30, 60, and 90. These are opportunities to recognize successes and identify areas where the new hire may need some additional help.

When the employee completes their 90-day onboarding, do not miss the opportunity to request for additional onboarding feedback and use it to improve your program. Make sure to time the feedback prompt with the end of their onboarding to ensure relevant and timely feedback.

Understanding Digital Wellbeing

A Nexthink customer, ABN AMRO, used Nexthink to reach out directly to our colleagues at a time of great uncertainty and stress—to find out how they were doing emotionally as well as technologically.

The surveys received higher than average response rates and had 90% approval ratings from employees. It wasn’t just HR that was interested in our results, either. Their results received attention from the board as well. This first joint project with HR proved HR & IT need to work together as strategic partners with an eye on the wider business. This joint partnership helps to ensure employee productivity and wellbeing.

Closing Thoughts

‘Employee Experience’ used to be strictly an HR concern, synonymous with onboarding and employee satisfaction.

A lot has changed in the past few years. The scope of Employee Experience has expanded and it’s no longer just a priority for HR. To meet the challenges of today, HR and IT must work together and leverage their combined power to drive worker wellbeing, productivity, engagement, and company growth.

Check out the survey report, HR & IT: The Grand Alliance, and learn how your HR and IT organization can work together to prevent burnout and attrition.