Designing and optimizing a compelling employee experience lands high on many management agendas these days. 

Studies show how employee experiences measurably impact not only their own engagement and loyalty but extend to affecting customer experiences and overall business success as well. 

Providing a seamless, integrated employee experience through the technology stack needs to form the basis for any digital workplace strategy. That’s because employees are now your customers. When employees enter the workplace, they expect the same experience in the office that they do at home. And the key to providing that is understanding the value of connections

Connecting Employees to Each Other

Geographically dispersed teams and remote working arrangements are now the norm. Gallup reports that 43 percent of US employees work from home at least part of the time, while the gig economy and globalization both continue to rise. 

Ensuring that employees can communicate and collaborate across those boundaries is key to shaping a positive experience. Leveraging digital tools that help employees find one another, speak and collaborate in real time is essential. However, we need to go beyond the email inbox. 

Intranets Increase Engagement

Tapping into the technology your employees intuitively understand and find easy to use, such as social intranet tools, increases engagement. A modern intranet will enable you to facilitate different forms of communication — such as instant messaging, FAQs, interacting with colleagues’ posts with likes and shares, forums for ideation and collaboration on documents — to provide your employees with the tools they need to enjoy their jobs and do them well. 

Regardless of location, intranets help individuals build social connections within the workplace, essentially creating a digital watercooler experience that will directly impact employees’ happiness levels. 

Connecting Employees to Your Business 

Increasingly, employees are seeking jobs that give them a sense of purpose. They want to understand the directions, goals and values of the organizations they work for. The ways in which employees experience the cultures of their organizations directly impacts their productivity, retention rates and perception of their employers’ brands. 

But while culture is often regarded as an intangible concept, the digital workplace plays a vital role in shaping it. That’s why centralized communication platforms such as company intranets or enterprise social networks (ESNs) become so important to creating inclusive, connected cultures, even — or perhaps especially — for those who aren’t physically in the workplace. 

Connecting Through Content 

Intranets can be used to communicate your business direction and promote your vision and values. Through top-down communication such as management blogs, they can ensure transparency about change and celebrate success. User-generated content or recognition programs will connect individuals to your internal brand and culture, making them feel valued and part of the bigger picture. 

By harnessing the power of technology to create a virtual workplace, employees will feel a sense of connection to the individuals, teams and values that shape your business.  

Connecting Employees to Management

Top-down communication is typical in every organization. However, employees often face barriers to bottom-up communication. Remember though, that empowering employees to offer feedback has a measurable positive impact on their experiences at work. 

Learning Opportunities

Opening channels of communication across managerial lines can be a challenge, particularly if your company operates across multiple office locations. That makes it key not only to give employees access to those at the leadership level, but to facilitate management’s ability to listen in return

Utilizing digital tools such as pulse surveys, discussion forums or questionnaires gives employees opportunities to speak and be heard. Having those at the senior level acknowledge and respond helps build the valuable connections that can otherwise prove difficult to craft in a physical work environment. 

Connecting Employees to Knowledge 

Every organization will have knowledge assets, typically dispersed across multiple platforms, storage solutions and individuals. But one of the greatest sources of frustration for employees is the inability to find the information they need to perform their roles well.  

As consumers online, we’ve come to expect personalized, frictionless experiences. So it stands to reason that when we find ourselves dealing with multiple logins, complex user journeys or an inability to find what we’re looking for in the work environment, frustration also builds. That’s why the foundation of positive employee experiences lies in ensuring that the tools, applications and systems they depend on will work seamlessly and harmoniously together.

Connecting to Personalized Information

In this world of information overload, we’ve also come to expect information to be served up to us based on our online interactions and preferences. A modern intranet will analyze user behaviors and then tailor information to individuals, helping them uncover information they might not otherwise see. 

By nurturing connections between systems, underpinned by intelligent surfacing of tailored information and powerful search functionality, your employees can gain valuable access to company knowledge. Those who hold that knowledge can then perform their roles better, faster and more efficiently. 

Facilitating the Digital Workplace

In the final analysis, shaping a positive employee experience by leveraging the digital workplace comes down to more than building connections. Organizations must also facilitate them.  

By creating an agile environment, we empower employees to design their own experiences.  This sense of ownership, along with organizations’ responsiveness to employee needs and wants, can prove hugely powerful in transforming their levels of engagement and perception of work.  

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