What Makes a Positive Employee Experience?

Online Employees

Sancho Pinto
Vice President of Product Management, Unified Employee Experiences, ServiceNow

The world of work is changing so fast, it often feels like there’s a new trend to respond to daily. Organizations know they need to be able to pivot quickly to respond to this constant evolution. To stay agile, they’re relying on technological solutions that unify experiences and improve employees’ day-to-day work by being personalized and proactive.

This is particularly important when it comes to retaining top talent, optimizing productivity and fostering a connected, community-driven culture. According to Gallup, teams that are not engaged are less productive and typically endure turnover rates that are more than 40% higher than engaged teams.

But building this dynamic doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires the right balance of people, processes and technology.  

Customized, Consumer-Grade and Connected

ServiceNow's Sancho Pinto
ServiceNow’s Sancho Pinto

There is no “one size fits all” approach to the employee experience. Every employee has a different working style, different career aspirations and different interests. If leaders want to maximize engagement across the broader organization, the technology they implement needs to be personalized, easy to use, connected and accessible from anywhere.   

Many organizations have spent years trying to perfect this by investing in various point solutions to meet different employee needs. Unfortunately, these point solutions have led to disconnected data and fragmented, frustrating experiences.

Let’s look at the impact of these investments from the perspective of a manager with various approval tasks. During their day-to-day, a manager may need to approve PTO requests, expense reports and a direct report’s goals. These requests are often spread across different point solutions, meaning the manager has to toggle from app to app in order to complete simple tasks. Integrating systems and consolidating approvals onto a single platform can reduce a manager’s time spent on mundane work and enable faster turnaround times —boosting productivity and morale.

By reducing the number of disparate systems employees use, designing a connected environment across departments and mitigating siloes, employers will create more positive experiences overall. 

Embrace AI and Automation

It’s hard to talk about technology today without talking about the transformative power of generative AI and automation. AI has officially made it to the mainstream and is already changing consumer habits. It’s also creating unprecedented opportunities for organizations to fuel productivity and business value.

Organizations can tap into the power of AI and automation to ensure their workforce has what they need to succeed, with resources built into their existing workstreams and access to data and insights to make more informed decisions. Some examples of how automation and AI can integrate into and improve everyday workflows include:

  • Automation tools can surface recommended actions for managers to ensure they are proactively connecting with employees on career progress and staying ahead of deadlines.
  • AI can be used to integrate personal development into an employee’s daily flow of work by recommending applicable training, mentors, courses or mobility opportunities.
  • Generative AI can improve the search experience as employees look for resources by surfacing relevant content and information as well as answering questions directly.
  • Data and analytics built into a single platform give teams the power to make more informed decisions and problem-solve in real time. For instance, if an annual employee survey turns up feedback about process inefficiencies, the platform can suggest process improvements with direct links to the report for additional information.

Listen and Leverage Employee Feedback

Building a unified employee experience may feel daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. I always recommend developing a vision with leadership buy-in, starting with a minimum viable product and expanding from there. Incremental updates can help people adapt more easily, understand the improvements and see how they play an active role in shaping the employee journey.

It’s also critical to educate and set expectations early and often for new workplace technology. When leaders communicate openly and honestly about the rationale behind new innovations and necessary next steps, employees are more likely to embrace the change.

It also builds trust. A Gartner study found that when organizations treat employees as people, not just resources, and use human-centric work models, workers are more than 3X more likely to express high intent to stay and 3X more likely to see low levels of fatigue.

After you’ve level-set with workers, their real-time and constant feedback is essential. Improvements can’t be made overnight. Innovation takes iteration, trial and error, and a two-way dialogue. Employees are an organization’s greatest asset and, thus, should have a say in their workplace technology and overall journey.

The Employee Experience Impacts Business

According to Deloitte’s 2023 Human Capital Trends report, 93% of surveyed business leaders believe that using technology to improve work outcomes and team performance is important or very important to an organization’s success.  

In other words, leveraging technology to advance the employee experience is invaluable to driving business growth, remaining competitive and retaining the best talent. And with today’s emerging technologies, there is no excuse to do otherwise.

Sancho Pinto is ServiceNow’s vice president of product management, Unified Employee Experiences.

Image: iStock

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