Employee Experience: Digital Is The Tip Of The Iceberg

Employee Experience: Digital Is The Tip Of The Iceberg

As we come out of the pandemic, companies are increasing their focus on the employee experience. And today, the biggest challenge of these initiatives is building what one company calls a “frictionless digital environment.”

This sounds pretty good. I’d love my work to be “frictionless” in every way. But as you dig into the problem, you quickly find a big iceberg under the surface.  

Consider what a digital EX includes. Today companies are stitching together self-service portals, tools like Webex, learning platforms, and mobile apps to create a seamless and productive environment. They’re adding online surveys, case management systems, chatbots, and lots of easy-to-use mobile apps for scheduling, benefits, pay, and various other employee activities.

But what’s happening under the covers? Kind of like a duck paddling like crazy under the water’s surface, companies also have to build a culture, service, and data infrastructure as well. Let’s suppose you buy a system like Workday or SuccessFactors, standardize on Webex for meetings and training, and then use Microsoft Office for communications and messaging. Each of these systems has hundreds of capabilities and features for employees to do their work.

But how do they set their goals? Who decides how to make meetings productive and useful? What if an employee feels left out or not included? And if something breaks or goes wrong, what happens to repair the situation?

Underneath the “frictionless” digital systems is an army of support people, case management, and cultural systems to really make work easy. In fact, in our Irresistible Organization research, we found 24 specific EX domains that all contribute to employee success. These include job and team design, management culture and skills, workplace design and environment, growth and development, health and wellbeing, and leadership transparency and communication. All these “soft” things are the glue that make the digital experience meaningful, and they make EX really come to life.

Today our digital experience at work is getting better every day, and new tools for communication and collaboration are improving at light speed. Let’s just make sure we’re also focusing on the service, culture, leadership, and purpose under the covers because just like a real-life iceberg, these are the most important things going on under the surface.


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