Whenever we think about tools in the workplace, automatically our minds go to physical technology. And why wouldn’t it? With incredible advancements in everything from Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to increasingly sophisticated smart devices, we are continually being reminded of the latest and greatest.
Whilst the technology we use in the workplace is important and can enhance or impede employees, there is another key asset that is often overlooked and yet can have an incredible impact on the employee experience – data.
Our first article introduced what employee experience actually is. Our second highlighted leadership as the first key element of employee experience, and our most recent outlined how the operations of an organisation should be viewed as a key enabler.
This article identifies how the tools employees use (including data and systems) can have a significant impact – either to the detriment of an employee’s workplace experience, or as a positive amplifier of their existing capabilities.
Help or hinder?
The exponential increase in data accumulation has been well documented, and with it a never-ending narrative on concepts like “big data”.
Yet with all the talk of working smarter, not harder, it would appear this is not the case for too many employees who have been left to fend for themselves. This often involves employees struggling with outdated cumbersome systems, or even multiple systems to try and provide customers with the simple information they need.
Even relatively common business programs, like a CRM, are typically full of outdated irrelevant information making the job of the employee far harder than it should be.
As a result, employees become irritated and disengaged. Not only do they suffer through the ongoing frustration of poor access to data, but in turn the customer experience is also damaged.
In our view, there are four key stages of data evolution:
Data – in its rawest form, accumulated in massive quantities through the range of systems an organisation utilises or engages with. In this form, this data is all but meaningless and little or no value is gained.
Information – once raw data is turned into information it becomes easily understood. However, as with many organisations, simply turning data into information can remain overwhelming – it is almost impossible for employees to understand what is important, in-date or even relevant. Think of the earlier CRM example.
Knowledge – this is where information is turned into an asset that strengthens understanding. Employees can see what is relevant quickly and can use this knowledge to make good decisions or provide value to customers.
Insight – the fourth stage is what all organisations should be striving for. Insight is gained when an organisation is able to extract unique value from data. This heightened state of understanding should provide employees with the ability to make quick, important and highly proactive decisions to deliver maximum value to customers, whilst also creating competitive advantage.
This final stage is where employees are able to thrive, with their existing capabilities augmented and amplified. This is where employees feel valued and truly intelligent.
To successfully create a great employee experience, that will in turn deliver a great customer experience, organisations must give considered thought to the kind of data it is providing to its employees. Is it just overwhelming information spread over multiple outdated systems, or is it unique insight that will lead to competitive advantage accessible via an intuitive, user friendly system?