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15.04.2024

Digitalisation

11 min read

Drei Personen in einem Workshop
Drei Personen in einem Workshop

Why is it important to get the digital employee experience right?

Over 75% of employees worldwide report they don’t feel engaged with their work or employer. Learn why getting the digital employee experience right is the engagement solution you’re looking for.

An energised and satisfied workforce is way more productive and efficient, benefiting a business in countless ways – as we’ve explored in detail before. And how do you achieve a highly engaged workforce? By providing a great employee experience. Employee experience (EX) and employee engagement go hand-in-hand.

More and more companies are cottoning on to how important getting employee engagement right is. Our research found that 80% of the 1,704 business leaders we surveyed are prioritising employee engagement this year, with even more interest among companies that have a significant number of frontline workers.
To achieve that engagement, they need to improve their employee experience. But what has technology got to do with it?

You may already have digital systems in place that your employees use. Think of things like staff intranets, social media groups, and email chains. The issue is that most of these systems just don’t serve employees as they should:

  • 24% of employees have considered leaving their jobs because the tech they’re given wasn’t up to scratch (Source: G2)
  • 52% of employees report that the software they’re given is dated or difficult to use (Source: Zendesk)
  • 79% of business leaders want frontline workers to have the same experience of workforce and engagement solutions as office-based workers (Source: Flip research)

When you dig deeper into employee digital systems, even more issues crop up. Take frontline workers. They are frequently underserved by the digital interfaces that have been provided to them (if any). Plus, what they need from a digital interface is completely different from their office-based colleagues. They need easy-to-access things like rotas, as well as role-specific training documents and tools.

Not getting the digital employee experience right – especially for frontline employees –  is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s an important part of the overall employee experience, which if neglected can lead to increased levels of employee churn. This can get very expensive very quickly. Modern workplaces need to have a strategy for getting the digital employee experience right or risk losing talent.

In this article, we’ll go through what you need to know about the basics of digital employee experience. We’ll then cover how digitaliation actually impacts employee experience, and list out the many benefits of getting DEX right for all of your employees.

What is the digital employee experience?

Before we get going, let’s go through some terminology we’ll use in this article. You may have already heard of the term ‘digital employee experience’ (frequently abbreviated to DEX). But what exactly is it?

The digital employee experience sums up how employees feel about the quality, ease of use, and value of the technology they use to manage or complete their work. It’s looking at their experience using digital tools. This covers things like email sign-ons, requesting holidays, attending virtual meetings, accessing training information, and so on. 

Basically, a good DEX comes down to how happy employees are with their day-to-day digital interactions, and how their digital experience impacts their energy, satisfaction, and engagement with the business. Of course, DEX priorities differ from industry-to-industry and job-to-job. But as a rule of thumb, a good digital employee experience means a higher level of employee engagement.

Why is the digital employee experience important?

It might feel like ‘experience’ as a concept is sort of everywhere at the moment, but this shift toward experience-led improvements across multiple industries has been on the cards for years. When you think about it, all of us respond better to tools and processes that are easy, frictionless, and convenient. It all circles back to this: Good employee experience equals high employee engagement.

Statistics back this up, too. A study by Salesforce found that 71% of employees want the same digital experience at work as they have in their personal lives, yet 67% of employees report that their digital experience outside work is better than inside it. 

That gap between expectations and the reality of many workers’ EX impacts employee satisfaction and engagement  With the issue of unmotivated employees affecting almost every industry worldwide, poor employee experience has a significant impact on the bottom line. Research by Gallup found that businesses with high employee engagement have on average 18% lower employee turnover. And as we all know, the recruitment cycle is expensive. Getting the employee experience right just makes business sense. 

A great digital experience is one key way to get the employee experience back on track. A successful DEX strategy improves communication, reduces friction, and ultimately gives employees more autonomy. All this leads to reduced churn, higher productivity, and an overall more efficient business. Everyone wins.

How do digital tools affect the employee experience?

So we’ve gone through why DEX is important to get right. But what exactly does good DEX look like? 

Successful DEX all depends on what digital tools are accessible to employees, and the functionality that they provide. The main goal here is to simplify everyday things that employees either need to do or need to have access to. 

Here are the three general ways that digital tools improve DEX:

  • Reprioritising workload: By automating repetitive tasks, digital tools free up employees’ time to focus on other work that is high up on the to-do list.
  • Improving accessibility: Digital solutions –  like instant messaging, knowledge hubs, and project management tools – make it easier for employees to collaborate and to access the knowledge and resources they need, no matter their location.
  • Improving communication: Centralised digital tools help facilitate smoother and more effective communication across the business. No more missing memos or grappling with unwieldy text chains!

However, not all of the workforce will have the same experience of digital tools. Frontline workers, for example, have very different needs. To improve the frontline digital employee experience, you need to find solutions tailored  to how they work. We’ll touch on this more later in the article.

What are the benefits of improving the digital employee experience?

As we’ve seen, an effective DEX strategy is a win-win for everyone. Here are the headline benefits you can expect from implementing successful DEX:

  • Increased employee engagement: Motivated and satisfied employees have a knock-on effect on all aspects of a business, including productivity, efficiency, brand reputation, and costs. It just makes business sense to get it right.
  • Improved retention: A more satisfied workforce means reduced employee turnover, saving on expensive recruitment costs.
  • Even better agility, productivity, and efficiency: With the right digital toolkit, motivated employees are more adaptable and perform even better.
  • Development of a positive work culture and brand: Your brand reputation will skyrocket with an engaged workforce. Not only is this appealing to customers, but you’ll find yourself attracting top talent too.
  • Cost savings across the board: Everything in the list will save your business money in both the long and short term.

What are the challenges behind choosing the right DEX strategy?

Digitalisation has a profound effect on the employee experience, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. Not all DEX tools are created equal, and not all of them are suitable for every use case.  Businesses need to understand the objectives they want to hit, the intricacies of their workforce, and the different hurdles their workers face when considering DEX initiatives.

This is most evident for frontline workers. The technology that frontline workers are given poses challenges and actively harms their experience. The majority of the time, it’s just not suitable. Here are the main problems frontline employees face with DEX:

  • Inaccessible: An effective DEX strategy needs to meet the requirements of everyone in an organisation, including frontline workers. Having digital tools that only those who work in an office can access just won’t cut it. Frontline workers need to easily access tools and information specific to their roles – shift information, contacting managers, equipment manuals, and so on.
  • Impractical: Any solutions to improve DEX need to be practical for ‘on-the-go’ frontline jobs. Solutions that can only be used from a desktop just won’t cut it –frontline workers don’t have daily access to computers to access tools. Think compatibility for a wide range of smartphones (not just the latest models and their operating systems).
  • Not user-friendly: Any new digital tools should be quick and easy for all employees to pick up, not increase frustrations and complexity. 
  • Lack of proper training: You can’t assume that all workers in your organisation have the same level of digital skills. A successful DEX strategy requires training, even if the tool is intuitive to use.

So how do you get your DEX strategy right?

So how do you get DEX right from the outset? It’s all about research, planning, and feedback. Not only does employee feedback play a pivotal role in shaping a DEX initiative in the first place, but the opportunity to generally provide feedback is key to employee engagement itself.

Before you start considering DEX system options, we recommend surveying all your employees, particularly those on the frontline. Learn what their pain points are, and then assess how a DEX strategy can help mitigate these. Don’t make assumptions about what will help  – it’s important to listen and implement changes based on what is shared. 

To continue this feedback practice, we recommend choosing a digital communication solution that has a feedback system already integrated. This means there are fewer hurdles for workers to provide feedback, helping build up that employee engagement.

Feedback isn’t just a win for employee experience, but for your business too. Your employees, especially frontline workers, can highlight issues that might be far more difficult for management to pinpoint. By seeing their suggestions and feedback in action, employees will feel more engaged and have a greater overall sense of belonging at the company. Great news for retention!

How to choose tools to improve the digital employee experience

Many tools on the market are ready to upgrade your digital employee experience. But, what you ultimately choose needs to consider the unique requirements of your workforce, from those on the frontline to those who are office-based.

As we’ve just covered, we recommend taking the time to assess the individual DEX needs of different roles in your company and ensure that the DEX tool you choose meets these criteria. 

Remember, you’ll want a tool that provides access to communication, collaboration, employee feedback, performance management, learning, and development functions. These need to be accessible and useful for everyone in your organisation, no matter what their role is.

How Flip helps improve DEX

Flip has been purposefully designed to improve DEX, especially for frontline workers. Here’s how our employee app can help motivate your staff:

  • User-friendliness: Our employee app is intuitive and easy-to-use, and can be used across all smartphone devices that your workers already have. There’s no need to buy expensive equipment that requires significant training to pick up.
  • Easy communication: Our in-built instant messenger-style tools facilitate easy communication across the organisation, allowing quick-and-direct responses to time-sensitive requests.
  • Accessible tools: Our app provides one hub for frontline employees to accessshift planning, time-tracking, task management, holiday requests, and more..
  • Centralised company information: The Flip app comes with knowledge centre functionality, meaning that all documentation and resources are a few clicks away. 
  • Feedback and community: Keep employee engagement levels high with customisable channels, feedback surveys, chat reactions, and digital forms.

Flip in the field: DEX case studies

Don’t just take our word for it. The best advocates for Flip’s employee app are our customers. Check out these success stories.

Success story: McDonald's Germany

McDonald’s Germany knows that getting the employee experience right is crucial to delivering delightful customer experiences. But with such a large, complex organisation (a cool 65,000 employees across 1,425 restaurants!), keeping employees satisfied and up to date can be a challenge. 

To support their stated goal of ‘empowering their people’, McDonalds Germany has digitalised its employee experience, giving thousands of frontline workers easy access to communication tools, onboarding processes, shift scheduling, surveys, and more. 

With Flip, McDonald’s Germany employees can:

  • Contact the right people at the right time, from anywhere
  • View and manage upcoming shifts – without having to drive to the restaurant
  • Stay informed of new product launches and company updates

‘The app gives employees everything they need to do a good job every day.’ – Thomas Großmann, Employer Reputation & Engagement Manager, McDonald’s Germany.

Learn more about how the MyPeople app has revolutionised the digital employee experience at McDonalds Germany here.

Read McDonald's success story
Palace Square in Stuttgart

Success story: The City of Stuttgart

Since the beginning of 2021, Stuttgart has been using Flip to communicate with its nearly 700 trainees and students. Due to the large number of vocations and courses of study, such as forestry, road construction, and education, consistent communication and information proved difficult in the past. Trainees and students were difficult to reach, especially during the vocational school and college phases.

After introducing Flip:

  • Quality of training increased
  • Communication became more efficient 
  • Trainee networking has been enabled

"It's super easy to communicate, and the quality of information is better. There is a digital exchange in the app that allows a direct feedback option for the first time." Maximilian Hubl, Project Manager City of Stuttgart.

You can read more about the City of Stuttgart’s successful digital employee experience initiative using Flip below.

Explore Stuttgart's success story
mhplus building with branding

Success story: mhplus

mhplus, one of Germany's largest company health insurance funds, has relied on the Flip employee app since 2018. With dual students and trainees trained nationwide, mhplus needed a flexible and location-independent communication tool to get in touch with everyone at any time. As their young cohort is digitally native, they wanted to provide an easy, intuitive onboarding for their students. 

After introducing Flip:

  • Established successful communication tools for students, trainees, and managers, no matter where they were based
  • All communication is done via privacy-protected Flip instead of private tools
  • Streamlined usability as Flip was integrated into existing IT infrastructure
  • 25% fewer meetings

"Communication via Flip is modern and fun - and fun should always accompany everyday work." Michael Heß, Head of Human Resources Development mhplus health insurance.

Find out more about how mhplus transformed their digital employee experience with faster onboarding using Flip below.

View mhplus success story

To sum up

Upgrading your digital employee experience leads to higher levels of employee engagement, which in turn means greater employee retention. A more satisfied, motivated workforce across all areas of your business means higher levels of productivity and efficiency and lower recruitment costs. It all just makes sense

Integrating a DEX strategy that addresses previous employee pain points might seem like a straightforward solution to a complex problem, and that’s because well, it is. Communication bottlenecks, once resolved and opened up, greatly improve employee engagement. Being heard and acknowledged is important for everyone, and the workplace is no exception. And with an employee app like Flip, what once was a head-scratcher of a problem is resolved.

Whitepaper download: How to digitalise deskless employee communication

Get more insights into building a top notch frontline DEX, complete with an IT and data protection checklist and the 12 questions you should ask any tool provider.

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