advice

We talk about customer experience – what about employees?

By Kam Dhillon, - Advice

Happy customers: the Holy Grail for literally any business you can think of. But just as charity begins at home, customer satisfaction starts with your employees.

As technology professionals we’re used to developing and deploying products and services to meet customer needs.

But more often than not companies don’t give the same level of care and attention to meeting the needs of their employees.

It’s time we changed that and adapted a more consumer-focussed attitude to serving the people who keep our companies running.

Here’s how you can achieve that…

Why consumer-focussed?

The importance of customer satisfaction has been unwavering over the years. All our processes, innovations and product improvements are designed to improve the end user’s experience with our technology.

But we often forget along the way that the teams behind these innovations are our customers too.

Not in the traditional sense, perhaps, but they still give us their commitment in the workplace and they expect job satisfaction in return for coming back and giving their best.

And their ability to perform well is largely tied to the technology they have access to.

In fact, a desire to have “more freedom in the choice of products to use” and “better integration of all devices” were two responses in a recent survey of employees from businesses across the EMEIA region we carried out, with one respondent even saying, “Our network…need(s) a complete overhaul.”

Evolving expectations

In recent years we’ve had to contend with major transformations in the workplace as technology has evolved.

But perhaps a bigger challenge has come from accommodating a workforce that has absorbed these improvements completely into their daily lives.

People have a certain experience with technology at home – a positive one – and they expect that to be reflected in the tools they use at work.

Yet many organisations have struggled to keep up with these evolving needs, being slow to take up new technology or unnecessarily resistant to the growing ‘bring your own device (BYOD)’ movement.

Or constantly battling against shadow IT rather than asking why those employees don’t think the authorised tools serve requirement.

Another advantage of increased connectivity for those that take advantage of it is becoming a ‘work anywhere’ workforce, with the ability to set up shop in a cafe or hotel room as easily as at our desks as long as there’s a decent Wi-Fi connection.

This level of flexibility is the new normal – a modern expectation that will only grow stronger in the coming years. If organisations don’t cater for it they seriously risk losing out on talented people to competitor brands.

Technology on their terms

Meeting our employees on their terms – not the other way around – sounds radical. But we’re not talking about completely reinventing the way we operate here.

The majority of the processes and tasks that employees complete haven’t changed that much over time, but the number of ways they can approach them are growing by the day.

And so flexibility – not a prescriptive approach to IT – is the key. Flexing the rigid corporate environment of old and all the systems that run with it. And flexing them in a way that is still secure and robust but better serves the 21st-century employee.

And laying this groundwork for the ongoing consumerization of IT will make overcoming any future challenges easier and provide us with much happier employees (i.e. ‘customers’) in the long run.

A challenging road ahead, yes, but it’s clear the benefits to becoming an ‘employee-centric’ operations model will outlast whatever heritage IT system we have in place.

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