Why Digital Employee Experience (DEX) Matters During Economic Downturns

Why Digital Employee Experience (DEX) Matters During Economic Downturns
July 27, 2022

We all know the story by now: we’ve entered a new era of work. And no, we’re not just referring to the pandemic, which forced businesses to accelerate digital transformation projects at an unprecedented speed. 

That major upheaval led to even more impactful shifts: like the Great Resignation, great reshuffle, great whatever-you-want-to-call-it, which challenged businesses to prioritize employee experience in order to keep their employees engaged, satisfied, and determined to stay with the company rather than seek better experiences elsewhere.

Now the state of the global economy is bringing even more changes to the workplace. Facing rapid inflation and a potential recession, businesses are restrategizing to weather the storm of tighter budgets and limited resources. As a result, many organizations are scaling back their emphasis on employee experience in order to focus solely on keeping profits high. After all, the tighter employment market means employees have less leverage, right?

Not so fast. Digital employee experience (DEX) shouldn’t take a backseat during times of economic instability – in fact, managing DEX is more important now than ever. Let’s take a look at two reasons why.

Reason 1: Prioritizing DEX improves the bottom line.

A majority of business decisions hinge on one single question: will this help our company grow and earn more? Whether the economy is up or down, organizations are always seeking to maximize stability, growth, and profits.

But there’s a common misconception when it comes to the relationship between managing DEX and driving profits. Too many businesses believe that investing in DEX management solutions and making DEX a key priority comes at the expense of the bottom line. They think they have to make a choice between two options: make our digital workers happier, or drive profits.

However, improving DEX and driving growth are not mutually exclusive priorities – they actually go hand in hand. First, consider the issue of hiring and developing new talent. This is one of the most expensive aspects of running a business, and one of the most important to get right. If you lack the technology to provide a stellar onboarding experience for digital workers, you’re likely to suffer through an increase in employee turnover that will send IT and HR costs skyrocketing. On the flipside, efficient digital onboarding cultivates highly engaged and productive employees, faster.

But what about the current employees who have been working at the company for months, years, or even decades? Keeping these workers engaged is equally important. And we don’t just mean for the sake of keeping them from pursuing opportunities. When employees are feeling productive, motivated, and engaged with their work, there’s a tangible impact on business growth. In fact, recent studies show that companies with a highly engaged workforce have 21% higher profitability than organizations with a disengaged workforce!

Reason 2: The digital workplace is still employee-driven.

Let’s dispel another myth: the idea that a struggling economy and slower job market means that companies are now “taking the power” back from employees.

Yes, the job market has slowed since the boom that ushered in the age of the Great Resignation. But workers leaving employers who provide less-than-stellar experiences did not just do so out of pure opportunism. No – the changes that occurred due to the pandemic led to a fundamental shift in the way employees think about work. And this new philosophy isn’t going to disappear simply because the economy is taking a hit.

Digital employees have developed new expectations during the past several years. They expect to have autonomy over how and where they work. They expect their feedback to be taken seriously by their business leaders. And most importantly, they expect their employers to provide them with the tools and resources they need, when they need them, to be their most productive and satisfied selves at work.

If these expectations aren’t met, employees will continue to seek more positive experiences elsewhere – even if the job market isn’t what it was in the early days of the Great Resignation. And becoming an employee-driven workplace isn’t a change that can be undone by a temporary period of economic uncertainty.

Navigating the storm of a recession or economic downturn requires businesses to use the resources at their disposal as efficiently as possible. They need to do more, with less. Managing Digital Employee Experience (DEX) isn’t about spending money to make employees happier at work. It’s about becoming a DEX-driven business that is agile, efficient, and filled with highly productive, satisfied workers.

DEX management technology helps companies provide only the right tools to the right people. It helps them uncover inefficiencies and technological blind spots that have become hurdles to productivity and growth. And it helps them hire, train, and retain the best talent their industry has to offer.

In our post-pandemic, hyper-digital world, prioritizing DEX is essential to remaining competitive and profitable in the long-term – especially in times of economic uncertainty.

Megan Brake is a Content Strategist at Nexthink, interested in the intersection of technology and humanity.Learn More

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