man working on laptop in coffee shop
PHOTO: Hannah Wei

Customer experience (CX) is well understood and widely practiced by now. Most consumer-oriented businesses have launched CX initiatives as part of a wider strategy. Many have permanent customer experience teams, which often play a crucial role in digital transformation.

Banks are a good example: They started by redesigning their websites to be more usable and accessible. Then they shifted their focus to consumer apps and web-based products. Finally, they examined and improved branches themselves and the products they sell.

By now, many companies have achieved the easy wins for customer experience. What’s left are the harder projects and smaller gains, often delivered in an agile or incremental way.

Within many businesses, the potential gains are still great and largely unexploited. This is where digital employee experience (DEX) comes in.

Related Article: When You Favor CX Over Employee Experience, Everyone Loses

Introducing Digital Employee Experience

I define digital employee experience as follows: Digital employee experience is the sum total of the digital interactions between staff members and their organizations.

This encompasses how employees work, what tools they’re provided, and the culture they exist within.

Banks again provide a good example: How often do we ring a call center, only to get a different answer from the last time we called? When dealing with staff in branches, does it feel like they are struggling to deliver great customer service despite the systems they’re using? When on the road, do loan assessors work productively on mobile devices, or do they still lug around boxes of brochures and paper?

Digital employee experience has a lot of catching up to do before it’s as mature and effective as customer experience.

Related Article: What Does Employee Experience Really Mean?

The Benefits of DEX

Digital employee experiences provide a new lens that we can use to tackle existing problems and needs within organizations.

DEX allows us to integrate and coordinate different streams of activities across businesses. For example, it offers us a chance to line up the rollout of Office365 with the design and deployment of a modern HR platform, ensuring that the result will be a productive experience for employees.

DEX also allows us to bring the needs of staff into the boardroom, where they can be considered as a strategic opportunity for the business. With poor digital employee experiences impacting on staff engagement and day-to-day productivity, larger-scale projects can be planned that actually move the dial.

Finally, the digital employee experience puts humans at the center of enterprise projects, recognizing that systems and processes must be both productive and enjoyable. It also acknowledges that it’s often not what tools are supplied to the workforce, but how they operate that matters.

Related Article: How to Build an Employee Experience That Rivals Your Customer Experience

Early Movers Are Staking Their Claims

We are already seeing a growing number of businesses establishing new roles to tackle the digital employee experience. Titles vary, but they include internal digital channels manager, digital experience manager and employee experience team.

Whatever title they have, the people in these new roles are identifying projects that can improve the digital employee experience. They are also putting their hands up to “own” platforms and solutions that previously had ambiguous or no real ownership. Examples include collaboration platforms, employee-focused mobile apps and intranets.

The daily experiences of employees often involve a struggle against the corporate tools that are provided. That pain gives organizations an opportunity to gain real competitive advantages by improving the digital employee experience. Expect to be hearing a lot about this in the coming years.