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Employee Experience Through an ITSM Lens: What’s the Secret?

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Oded Moshe

min read

What Is Employee Experience (EX)?

Employee experience (EX) is one of the hottest IT service management (ITSM) trends right now, and rightly so. The use of experience data allows your IT organization to understand better how well its IT service delivery and support capabilities enable employees and, importantly, where best to apply continual improvement efforts (and we’re not talking about handing out more branded coffee mugs and extended happy hours).

Employee experience can mean different things, especially to people in different business functions.
For example, a Human Resources (HR) professional might see an employee experience strategy focused on employee retention. Whereas an IT professional will look at how technology helps or hinders employees when doing the work they need to do when they need to do it.

This perspective focuses IT’s employee experience strategy on enabling employee productivity, especially now that more and more employees are working flexibly. This technology view is the IT employee experience.

IT Employee Experience Examples

To better appreciate what IT employee experience is, we should explain it both in terms of positive and negative experiences.

A good or even great IT employee experience allows employees to get their work done. Simple, eh?

Such employee experience examples include an IT self-service capability that’s easy to use and provides either immediate issue resolution or service provisioning using automation and service orchestration. Plus, it’s important that employees don’t feel like IT security policies are hindering their technology use, and their work gets done.

However, poor IT employee experience examples prevent employees from being productive. This issue could be a critical business application performing slowly or a PC that needs to be rebooted before printing (you know, end-user things).

HR Employee Experience Examples

Similarly, it’s essential to understand both ends of the HR employee experience spectrum. Here, good or great HR employee experience examples are the smoothness of employee onboarding and the ease of identifying and booking training courses.

In contrast, poor HR employee experience examples are: failing to promptly follow up on employee critical information requests or the late payment of salaries due to human delays or other errors.

Why Is Employee Experience Important?

While IT employee experience and HR employee experience are different, they are connected – in that they both influence an employee’s ability to get their work done and the likelihood that an employee will enjoy their work (and maybe even bring more friends to join the cause).

Employee “Happiness”

Employee “happiness” might be the first and the most obvious thing that people think of when the need for an employee experience strategy is raised. It is important; however, the factors that influence employee happiness – particularly employee productivity – need to be managed well, addressing the key issues.

Employees Want and Need to Be Productive

While this applies to both IT and HR employee experience, it’s most evident for IT organizations and their service and support capability – because technology and its availability are essential to both employee and business operations.

For example, issues with a personal device or a critical business application will prevent an employee from working on what matters most (and it’s not browsing puppy pictures on social media).

Employees Want to Have Their Say

The ability for employees to influence the services and support they receive is important to both HR and IT services (and the associated HR and IT employee experiences). This employee input ranges from influencing working methods (and the associated service-level targets for enabling services) to them providing engagement-based feedback on how well the service provider has performed.

The Increased Need for Retention

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a poor HR employee experience or IT-related, your organization’s employees are more likely to look for employment opportunities elsewhere if they consistently feel that their work is more complicated and friction-filled than it needs to be. Plus it’s a sure way for you as an employer to get your feelings hurt. Ouch.

Too Much/Little Demand for Talent

In many industries and locations, the ease and costs of replacing staff are not insignificant. The cost of training new employees is usually more than the required learning. This also does not include the time taken to become fully productive, which can adversely impact business operations and potential outcomes.

Expectations for Personalized Employee Experiences

Consumer-world customer experience (CX) strategies have raised employee expectations of corporate service providers on many levels. This expectation includes the level of personalization offered to employees in their service and support engagements.

For example, with IT employee experience, the use of machine-learning capabilities means that not only are self-service interactions better, but the technology also knows more about the employee than a human service desk agent ever could (humanity takes an L on this one).

The result is more personalized IT employee experiences – from understanding the context of the query or issues based on the employee’s role to making decisions with the benefit of knowing the employee’s existing hardware, software, and services.

Risk of Bad Reviews on Social Media

There are many reasons why potential candidates will want to work for your organization or not. These reasons include the feedback they read on social media or recruitment sites, with the HR and IT employee experience being one of the insights they will use to make their interest decision. People talk, and word gets around.

The 5 Steps of Employee Experience

Employee experience matters throughout the employment lifecycle, from the employee’s initial interactions with your organization (which might be as they research it before applying for a role) to how they leave their employment with it.

These phases are important for the employee in question and the picture they paint to their friends and acquaintances that might consider working for your organization in the future. People-don’t-forget-how-you-made-them-feel type of stuff.

1. Recruiting

There are aspects of employee experience to consider even before an employee becomes an employee.

For example, the ease with which an individual can access vacancy-related information and then apply for the role or negotiate employment terms before job acceptance. Some aspects aren’t directly within your organization’s control, although they can be positively influenced.

For example, how your organization is portrayed by customers, employees (existing and ex), and corporate accounts on social media channels. These company insights are all touchpoints that make up the overall employee experience.

2. Onboarding

How a successful candidate is brought into your organization is vital. After all, “first impressions count.”

This need covers a lot of ground, with many potential “failure” points. For example, whether the IT organization equips new employees with the technology services they need to be productive from day one. Equally, the facilities team might not deliver the required building security credentials on time (inviting a new employee to jump the fence is never a good thing).

3. Development

While an employee might be accepting a job offer, some people will see this as a “career offer.”

How your organization focuses on employees and their learning and development needs plays a big part in their employee experience perceptions. AKA mitigating awkward conversations when the available development opportunities don’t align with an employee’s career aspirations.

4. Retention

So many different factors play into the retention of an employee.

Many of the external factors can’t be controlled. For example, when employees leave due to personal circumstances or are headhunted with the offer of their ideal job.

However, the internal factors (that either make employees want to either go or stay) can be. Some of these have already been covered. For example, the quality of their role-provided technology services or the available development opportunities.

But other factors, that affect the employee experience, need to be managed too. For instance, the quality of line management, the performance management system (and the associated reward and recognition), or how the company aligns with an employee’s beliefs and values.

5. Exit

How an employee leaves your organization is important. Not only from security and knowledge management perspectives but also in terms of how an employee remembers their time as an employee. Will they reminisce with a pair of rose-colored glasses on or craft a voodoo doll of their direct manager – it’s all up to their employer.

The exit experience will play a significant part in how they promote your organization to others who might be thinking of becoming employees.

How to Design a Strong Employee Experience

Good or great employee experiences don’t happen organically or by accident; they need to be designed and refined using feedback loops and experience data.

1. Determine Your Top Priority

In many ways, identifying the priorities for an employee experience strategy needs to start with a better understanding of the wants and needs of employees.

After all, employee experience success requires that organizations address “what matters most” to employees. So, start with what employees think is hurting their experiences most (besides parking spots and not enough variety in the coffee capsule’s department).

In the case of IT employee experience, this will likely involve talking about the IT services and touchpoints that harm employee productivity most.

2. Capture Some Data Via Feedback

The only way to successfully improve employee experience is to introduce suitable mechanisms for capturing IT or HR performance feedback.

This experience data provides the initial baseline against which to measure improvement and allows progress to be understood as your organization makes incremental changes to improve things (and sometimes the changes won’t do so).

3. Build That Feedback into Your Program

The experience-based feedback then drives your IT employee experience improvement program over time (or for HR employee experience).

Importantly, when done right, this provides insights into why experiences are considered poor, too. Such that the service provider knows more than that something is wrong.

4. Take Action

Your experience feedback needs to be both actionable and actioned.

This isn’t just to make the necessary improvements but also to assure the employees providing feedback that their efforts aren’t in vain.

These actions, and the associated successes, will help maintain and even increase the level of experience-based improvement funding.

The Role of ITSM in Employee Experience

ITSM and the delivered IT employee experiences play a role in the “bigger picture” employee experience.

First, personal technology plays a significant role for employees discharging their work responsibilities – with IT responsible for delivering and supporting this, i.e. ITSM (duh).

Second, the experiences provided by other corporate service providers such as HR, Facilities, and Finance are heavily dependent on enabling technology in the form of business applications and digital workflows.

Effective ITSM again is critical to ensuring that this technology is fit-for-purpose.

Benefits of ITSM in Employee Experience

On the one hand, the generic benefits of ITSM apply to improving how employees feel about IT service delivery and support capabilities.

For example, improving the quality of service and support while upping the speed of resolution and provisioning. Or in driving continual improvement.

If your organization has extended its ITSM capabilities to other business functions, such as HR, the sharing of ITSM principles and a fit-for-purpose ITSM tool makes for better employee experiences and outcomes.

Especially when repeatable processes and the use of automation, along with knowledge management, self-service, and reporting and analytics capabilities, are leveraged.

Here’s how ITSM can advance your employee experience:

Improves Employee Access to One Another

Only a selected few employees can work “as an island” (looking at you, IT introverts). Instead, employees need to be able to collaborate and work well with each other.

ITSM tools help through workflow automation plus knowledge management and virtual workspaces.

Providing a User-Friendly Service Catalog

Whether it is a service catalog for the available IT services or one that makes the services of other business teams available to employees too, a user-friendly service catalog helps elevate the employee experience with internal service providers such as IT.

Smooth Automations of Internal Processes

The automation of internal processes benefits employee experience on two levels.

First, in terms of the processes an employee uses to get the help, information, or services they need to do their role. For example, in requesting new software.

Second, in terms of how the ITSM tool can be used to provide the digital enablement that automates the processes they use with their business function.

Highly Effective Self-Service Experiences

One of the ways to improve employee experiences, whether with IT or other internal service providers, is to offer the choice of access and communication channels.

For example, providing a self-service portal in addition to traditional telephone and email channels.

This choice allows employees to get the help, information, or services they need to do their role in a manner similar to what they might prefer to use in their personal lives. Plus it empowers them to fix the issue on their own, and that always feels great.

Having Stronger Knowledge Bases

Knowledge management, and fit-for-purpose knowledge bases, can be thought of as the backbone of better employee experiences because they improve service and support touchpoints in many ways.

For example, knowledge helps service and support staff meet employee needs more efficiently and effectively.

Knowledge powers the self-help capabilities of self-service portals. And knowledge is vital in creating intelligent automation services and support capabilities such as chatbots.

How to Improve the Employee Experience with SysAid’s ITSM

SysAid developed SysAid for Teams, which is an employee-centric solution that lets employees easily get service while working in Microsoft Teams.

This service desk automatically determines what the requester needs. And then it uses automation in order to bring quick resolution.

The idea is very simple. If employees are already working in Microsoft Teams, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to talk to the Service Desk via Teams as well.

The beauty of SysAid for Teams is how it marries the simplicity of opening a ticket in Teams with the immense power of SysAid Service Automation to resolve them.

About

the Author

Oded Moshe
Oded Moshe

Oded has been leading product development at SysAid for 13 years and is currently spearheading strategic product partnerships. He’s a seasoned product and IT management executive with over 18 years of experience. He is passionate about building and delivering innovative products that solve real-world problems.

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