Elevating Employee Experience with Digital Transformations

January 9, 2024
by
David Woodbury

Digital transformation in organizations is not just about integrating new technology, but also crucially involves improving the employee experience (EX). A positive EX during digital transformation leads to increased efficiency, better retention, and enhanced profitability.

Digital Transformation

Table of Contents

  1. Benefits of Improving Employee Experience
  2. Adopting New Technology
  3. Employee Experience Case Study

Digital transformation—the process of adding process, product, or service technology into businesses—is essential for organizations that want to grow. Since adding new tech requires a shift in how team members carry out their daily work, elevating employee experience during digital transformation is a priority. When the experience is positive, it can increase efficiency, improve retention, and boost profitability.  

When considering the employee experience of digital transformation, best practices for employers include prioritizing tools and programs that improve operations, increase job satisfaction, and work securely in a global environment. These can include workflow and project management tools, communication and collaboration systems, and company-wide intranet and HR platforms, among others.

Regardless of whether the right tools are chosen, the success of digital transformation is highly contingent on employees' acceptance and use of those tools. Therefore, employee experience must be at the front and center of any successful digital transformation strategy.  

Why Improving Employee Experience (EX) Is Part of a Digital Transformation  

While some business leaders look at digital transformation (DX) predominantly from a tools and technology standpoint, it’s integral to remember that the people employing the digital tools are key to the process’s success. Poor user experience, convoluted systems, and a lack of opportunity to provide feedback can hinder the very impact aimed for when undergoing DX.

To mitigate this, forward-thinking organizations include team-building and feedback sessions in digital transformation. Recognizing and embracing team member involvement improves tool adoption, leading to heightened productivity and increased ROI.

Benefits of Improving EX  

According to Gallup, engaged employees create positive business outcomes, as illustrated by a meta-analysis of 1.7 million employees in 276 global organizations. The report shows that top-quartile business units enjoy an up to 18 percent increase in productivity and reduced absenteeism of up to 81 percent over bottom-quartile businesses. Accident rates are substantially lower (64 percent) and quality is higher (41 percent fewer defects), with profitability increasing by 23 percent and turnover rates dropping by 18 to 43 percent.  

Considering the disruption inherent to digital transformation, creating a workplace culture with engaged employees is key to success. By including employees in digital strategy, leadership and HR teams increase engagement and create a positive cycle. This inclusion helps employees buy into the need for transformation and overcome any implementation obstacles that come as part of it.  

As teams navigate and troubleshoot DX challenges together, they build a strong, agile workforce capable of realizing aligned goals and increasing innovation. When successful, digital transformation benefits businesses by increasing productivity, efficiency, and engagement, improving access to digital tools and technologies, enhancing communication and collaboration, and improving data accuracy.  

A positive digital experience also increases ownership, making team members more willing to look for upsides to the changes and increasing their willingness to undergo future shifts and stay with the company during disrupted times. Overcoming DX obstacles by focusing on EX also allows team members to learn and develop, which is critical to employee retention and business growth.  

Enhancing Employee Experience (EX) through Digital Transformation  

A clunky digital employee experience (DEX) means unhappy team members, decreased productivity, and drawn-out implementation. Employee retention suffers alongside business reputation and profitability.  

To increase the success of digital transformation, intelligent leaders embrace creating a positive employee experience by considering personas and job functions, identifying use cases for technological tools, and implementing an effective change management program.    

Considering Personas and Job Functions  

When considering digital experience tools, standardization across an entire organization isn’t usually the best approach. Depending on job function, different personas will have specific needs, and standardization allocates too many or the wrong tools to some while leaving others lacking. Standardization also raises costs unnecessarily, as many digital experience software programs have tiered pricing based on the number of users.  

Tailoring IT to personas makes selecting digital employee experience tools for various job functions more dynamic. That said, it’s important to note that merely considering job title, department, or location is insufficient for determining personas. With a bit of effort upfront (which can be greatly lessened using strategic outsourcing), IT organizations and human resources departments can optimize costs while ensuring team members have tech that meets their use cases and workstyle. Each user’s experience, pain points, and needs receive appropriate attention by employing dynamic employee personas.  

Identifying Technology Use Cases  

Hybrid, flexible, and remote work opportunities remain prevalent today. When remote workers don’t have the luxury of tapping a co-worker on the shoulder to ask a question or share a story, digital technologies become integral to enabling a connected team.  

By onboarding programs that make communication easy and intuitive, collaboration is enhanced regardless of location, time zone, etc. Communication tools and digital dashboards let team members chat a question, request a resource, submit an IT ticket, or shout out a peer—helping physically separated individuals feel connected and supported.  

For IT teams, the right tools can improve understanding of the frequency of scope of tech issues to develop faster and better solutions, ideally before they impact morale. In this way, not only does the need for repetitive IT fixes due to outdated tools vastly decrease, but so does the frustration caused by waiting for laggy networks, application crashes, and convoluted logins. Considering that improved tools can solve issues experienced by entire companies, ROI quickly becomes cumulative in terms of dollars and productivity.  

Adopting New Technology Using Change Management

Employee resistance and poor management support cause the failure of at least 70 percent of transformation initiatives. Beyond that, a lack of training on new tools and processes compounds the problem—a shockingly low 56 percent of employers train team members on DX tools.  

Without a change management system in place that aids team members in tool adoption and use, digital employee experience strategy and software investments will be for naught. To ensure a successful transformation, organizations must use SMART goals and KPIs around team member training, tool use, process satisfaction, and increased productivity. Companies measuring such things and actively making necessary changes benefit from happier and more loyal employees eager to help the brand grow.  

Employee Experience Case Studies: A.O. Smith and Chefs Warehouse

As the largest manufacturer and market of water heaters in North America, A.O. Smith’s impressive growth increased the need for a better way for its more than 6,000 global employees to communicate. Their company intranet was outdated in appearance and architecture, didn’t have functionality that could be improved internally, and didn’t adjust appropriately when displayed on tablet or mobile devices.  

To unify the employee network while easily and efficiently supplying documents, policies, news, and benefits info, A.O. Smith partnered with The C2 Group to develop a new, internal-facing website, AOSNET.  

This dynamic, mobile-responsive hub serves employees in multiple languages across seven countries. It provides on-demand access to information, services, and features, an intuitive user interface, and a responsive design. Internal editors can manage the site, and its built-in drop-down menu helps route everything from general HR questions to confidential individual concerns. This scalable digital experience platform also features an active directory that replaces the need to enter personnel details manually. Future enhancements include incorporating social media, global training features, and the expansion of AOSNET China, enabling all global content management within one CMS.  

Chefs Warehouse came to The C2 Group needing an upgraded digital experience that addressed both employee and customer pain points. Internally, Chefs wanted a way for its team members to adapt storytelling and evolve its brand through digital channels. They wanted to be able to shift their marketing strategy more dynamically, and they felt that the inability to do so was damaging the premium image they wanted to deliver to their high-class clients. Not only that, their order processing system was inefficient, lacking real-time updates and requiring time-consuming manual input.

By partnering with C2 to create a state-of-the-art digital shopping experience on Optimizely, Chefs Warehouse streamlined ordering, slashed manual order processing time, and enabled marking to develop an evolving brand story that increases customer engagement. Customers can see real-time pricing and availability, and team members are no longer left struggling to fulfill orders for oversold items. By executing system integrations in phases, employees were able to gain competency and increase Optimizely adoption to ensure successful implementation.  

Why should you invest in a great digital employee experience?

Even when business leaders understand what their team members want, their lack of digital transformation experience can hinder implementation. Because digital transformation can create confusion and uncertainty, it’s imperative that the process be well planned and communicated with employee experience remaining front and center. Therefore, successful DX relies on building a team of internal and external leaders.  

Working with C2 to Revamp Employee Experience during Digital Transformation

To create the culture shift necessary for embracing digital transformation, it’s incredibly helpful to work with a knowledgeable vendor partner who can aid in tool selection and strategy as well as create a comprehensive team member training program. The C2 Group can help you set goals that align with business values, identify skills-driven hiring needs, measure progress, create buzz around quick wins, and deliver ROI.  

If you want support building the right team and strategy for an effective and scalable digital transformation experience, drop us a line today.