Many best practice methodologies, frameworks and standards offer guidance to improve employee experience and productivity.
Being certified in most industry-leading best practices, I think ITIL® 4 is among the best for defining a path to achieve these goals; guiding practitioners with a holistic view to attain value added outcomes.
As an ITIL Expert and Managing Professional, I often get the question: “But how does one apply ITIL 4 to achieve this?” This takes practice, experience, and practical application of the framework:
Understanding employee experience
Employee experience equates to an employee feeling a sense of belonging, purpose and achievement in an organization. These basic fundamentals are achieved by employees’ ability to execute their assigned tasks while being self-directed and empowered to improve their functions or interrelated functions. There is a direct correlation that exists between employees’ positive experience and their improved productivity in the workspace.
In defining the path to improve employee experience or productivity, many organizations often look at the end state – the nirvana – and try to get there immediately. This can lead to failure as one tries to leap rather than take an incremental path.
Deploying ITIL 4 for employee experience
ITIL 4 offers some of the best, holistic guidance for overall employee experience. The key is to define each experience touch point or improvement throughout the employee journey and apply the fundamental ITIL 4 guiding principles:
- Start where you are: Map out the employee journey (synonymous with an asset lifecycle) in an organization – this includes the many touchpoints that add value to employees’ experience and leads to increased productivity. Capture each touchpoint from recruiting to onboarding –
- and systems that interact with the employee – to be intuitive and simple for the employee to navigate. Follow through the journey from day one to exit: the processes and systems that make work efficient for the employee and enable the employee to see their performance-based career path.
- Focus on Value: envision the big picture or final state, like building Lego blocks that come together to create the ultimate, amazing design. These are the building blocks of the overall employee experience. The focus should be to design each interaction to keep the employee engaged with communication, feedback, recognition and development with the aim of retention.
- Think and work holistically: prioritize each step on the roadmap that takes the practitioner from the organization’s current state to get to the final state. The end vision will produce numerous continual improvement recommendations and the key is to recognize the most important to get maximum value. Trying to execute everything trying will be a resource constraint, leading to failed outcomes.
- Progress iteratively with feedback: one step at a time, seeking feedback from the stakeholders. Ensure that these iterative steps are not undertaken in functional silos but through inter-functional collaboration to ensure visibility for all stakeholders.
- Collaborate and promote visibility: as one undertakes the continual improvement it is important to ensure that you both collaborate and have a communication plan defined. This will ensure that all your stakeholders have visibility of both outcomes and progress at each step. Often, failing to make progress visible to key stakeholders causes duplication of effort or the perception that nothing is happening.
- Keep it simple and practical: stop and ask yourself: “Am I overcomplicating it – can it be made simpler and more practical?” The more practical it is, the more adoption you’ll get.
- Optimize and Automate: automate the outcome to improve the workflow and achieve value. Improving employees’ effectiveness will produce changes to existing or new systems and processes. The key is to realize automation for part or whole of the processes or utilize systems that provide automation. This removes repetitive manual interactions for faster and higher quality, repeated outcomes.
This iterative approach – taking progressive steps from an organization’s current state to a future state and achieving successful outcomes – is the fundamental building block when using ITIL 4; tailoring the guidance to the situation in your particular organization.
Unlocking the employee experience is only one way to apply ITIL 4, which can help you in all facets of Enterprise Service Management. I would strongly recommend all ITIL 4 Foundation practitioners take the next step in their own journey, deepening their ability to translate the guidance into execution.
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