IT and the CIO: custodians of “employee experience”

CIO engaging with employees working at computers in office

The focus on customer experience has really taken off in recent years. However, customer experience won’t happen without employee engagement; having engaged staff means the company performs more effectively.

Therefore, creating more engaged employees is what companies should be doing to take care of a business and its customers – especially in challenging times. Employee experience is the key term here.

But what exactly does this mean? It is the sum of the way employees feel, their interactions and how they’re treated by the company. And the part of an organization best qualified to support this experience is IT, led by the CIO.

Memorable and unique employee experiences

The difference between a memorable, end-to-end employee experience and one that isn’t is like the difference between making a cup of coffee at home out of a jar and going to Starbucks.

So, what has this got to do with IT and, particularly, the CIO?

If an organization is committed to improving the daily employee experience, this needs transformation and IT – led by the CIO – is the place to start; not least because of digitization and the presence of technology underpinning whatever a business does.

For example, organizations often create internal employee portals based on what the company wants rather than what the employee experience will be. So, it’s no surprise employees rarely like organizations’ portals!

However, if IT and the CIO are responsible for digital tools and services aimed at creating the best customer experience, they can translate their knowledge and frameworks to improving the employee experience.

Improving employee experience – step-by-step

For IT to lead the journey towards better employee experience they need to:

  1. Understand the users
    Who are the employee users? Create personas (fictional pictures of the users’ characteristics) which personalize who they are. This also provides a better understanding of their needs

  2. Journey mapping
    This is not just about different touch points on the journey, but also thinking about the systems that support the touch points. How do employees feel about their interactions with systems and what needs to change? By focusing on the right areas an organization can increase employee happiness and productivity

  3. Measurement
    Look at the analytics driving employee experiences. For example, how are people using portals? How long do they stay on pages, etc? Data will answer these questions and reveal where the frustrations are and which channels of employee support are delivering inconsistent satisfaction.

Experience, culture and ITIL 4®

As organizations move more to the enterprise service management approach, we will probably see the creation of “experience” departments which go far beyond what the HR team is responsible for.

This idea will be focused on culture, which is why I think ITIL 4 is needed today more than ever to lay the foundations for enterprise service management. Organizations will shift from process-driven to more collaborative environments, where lines of communication between business silos are broken down.

The CIO and IT already have the capability to work across teams, to facilitate and collaborate in a way that teams like HR, finance or shipping don’t.

IT is the one department that touches everyone in an organization and the CIO is in the right place, culturally, to make employee experience happen for real.

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