“Digital employee experience (DEX) is a reflection of how effectively people interact with their workplace digital tools, which allows them to be engaged, proficient, and productive.” – Academy to Innovate HR
Why DEX Matters
In one way or another, every business runs on technology. Companies use digital tools to communicate, collaborate, design, document, analyze, market, sell, finance, produce, onboard, train, and so on. Employees are interacting with digital tools all day, every day. DEX is a way to measure—from the employee perspective—how well those tools are working to enable efficient and effective work.
Experience measurement and management takes time and effort, and therefore money. Why should companies invest in EX, and what should they be measuring?
- Employee engagement, one aspect of EX, is a measure of how connected people feel with their work, the organization, and each other. Engaged employees tend to be more productive; in fact, organizations with high engagement report as much as 22% higher productivity. (HBR)
- Employee attrition or “employee turnover” is very expensive, costing between half to twice an employee’s annual salary per position. Much of that expense is in so-called “soft costs.” (Gomada)
- EX helps drive improvement. If employees have a vehicle to report and discuss barriers and “pain points” they are encountering, management can be more aware and can focus on areas where changes will produce results.
- “By 2025, Gartner predicts 50 percent of IT organizations will have established a DEX strategy, team, and management tool, representing a significant jump from just 15 percent in 2022… This indicates a growing recognition of the importance of DEX in driving employee engagement and productivity along with overall business success.” (Microsoft)
Focusing on IT
Measuring DEX can help close the gap between what technology decision-makers think and what employees who use the technology every day think. A PWC study found that 90% of C-level executives said their companies paid attention to people’s needs when introducing new technology; only 53% of staff agreed. That is a remarkable gap.
One likely result of this gap is the expenditure of large sums of money for tools that will go underutilized or worse, simply ignored. This failure to understand DEX may also make organizational change initiatives more difficult and prone to failure because of the lack of incentive—commonly called the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)—for employees to adopt new technology that does not meet their needs. This may have the knock-on effect of reducing morale and making future change more difficult.
Listening to DEX feedback may not come naturally to IT, as SymphonyAI Summit’s e-book Digital Employee Experience: The New Frontier for ITSM states:
“It’s a significant change for IT organizations that have long employed best-practice IT metrics that measure performance from the IT supplier rather than the end-user perspective. This approach has caused a disconnect between IT’s view of their service and support capabilities and those of end-users. Importantly, this disconnect is hidden for many IT departments because they continue to perform well within the parameters of their chosen metrics and cannot see where the end-users struggle with the services and support they receive.”
Properly measuring DEX can illuminate opportunities for improvements in IT efficiency and effectiveness. A 2020 article in CIO lists a number of ways that friction with corporate technology can get in the way:
“Expense reporting systems based on spreadsheets so tedious and convoluted that employees put off doing their expenses for months at a time. Internet connectivity so slow that it’s quicker for staff to look something up on their phone. Passwords that have to be reset every 90 days, losing hours of productivity every time.”
Employees are no longer without the skills to interact with sophisticated tech. While they may not know the ins and outs of running the company network and cloud infrastructure, they very well understand what ease of use feels like and how it can affect the amount of time it takes to accomplish necessary tasks. They often ask the question, “Why is this so hard?” when they believe a task can be accomplished more simply, or a user interface can be improved. Giving them a way to channel their feedback increases trust and collaboration between IT and its stakeholders.
How Do We Measure DEX?
Like anything else in business, management requires measurement. What then, are the proper measures for DEX?
- Service Desk Incident Ticket Volume – According to HDI, just over half (52%) of all service desk tickets are for incidents (unplanned interruptions). A high incident volume means it is very likely that employees are having trouble accomplishing their tasks.
- Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) – Short resolution times mean that issues are being addressed rapidly, and when it comes to getting work done, time is of the essence.
- End-user/Customer Satisfaction – While this is historically a transactional measurement based on tickets, making it general, e.g., “Are you satisfied with the performance of your technology?” includes those employees who did not interact with the service desk in a given period, and excludes any indication that the question is only about the service desk and can include difficulties that do not reach the level of incidents.
Measuring employee experiences with technology can boost productivity, help retain those employees, bring pain points and friction to light, and both increase and improve communication between IT and its stakeholders. It doesn’t make sense not to measure it.
by Roy Atkinson for SymphonyAI