MEASURE DIGITAL EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE (DEX) CONTINUOUSLY FOR DEEPER INSIGHTS
Our collective and individual dependence on IT has not waned ever since it started to gain prevalence in modern society. It does not show signs of decreasing either. Considering this reality, it’s crucial that we constantly assess our relationship with IT, specifically in the workplace. When experience with IT is good, overall satisfaction and job performance increase, and the organizations who rely on their talent are stronger, more successful, and capable of delivering quality to their customers.
Before we get into the benefits of measuring DEX, or often referred as ‘IT Happiness’ on a continuous basis, let us first look at DEX itself.
“DEX” is an individual’s and the organization total perception of IT = IT Happiness.
This is based on a mixture of experience, emotions, perception, and expectations about how technology contributes to daily job performance and the organization. Companies who prioritize the everyday digital experience and IT’s multifaceted needs tend to experience IT Happiness at a higher rate than organizations who do not.
IT Happiness is influenced by different factors: the nature of the job, the digital skills of the employee, the digital tools employees expect to have available to them, and the expectations the employer has of the employees digital abilities. Some factors may be soft (like attention, friendliness, communication, and support from the IT help desk), or hard (like performance, system speed, applications and services, and problems that result in productivity loss).
Over the past 15 years, Yorizon has had multiple conversations with companies around the world who understand that an employee who has a positive digital experience in their professional role contributes a great deal to the organization, and they contribute to their own wellbeing as well. Therefore, IT Happiness is mutually beneficial. Our research shows that poor-performing IT can negatively impact more than just an employee’s productivity; it can become a significant factor in contributing to stress.
So, what is the best way to measure IT Happiness, and how frequently should you do so?
In many cases, we have noticed that IT departments tend to follow the same methodology of measuring IT satisfaction as employee engagement surveys: once a year, or every two yearsnumerous reasons for this approach. One of them is research fatigue; collection and analysis can take months. The other is timing; employers don’t want to deliver a survey when another one is well underway. They also don’t want to deliver during summer vacation, around the holiday season, or near the end of the fiscal year (and so on). Timing, it would seem, is only suitable once a year.
We recommend an alternative approach to understanding the IT relationship.
First, we should stop using the word “survey” because of the perception around its current existence. When we measure IT Happiness, we’re really gaining insights into the overall vibe of the organization and its relationship to IT. Yes, IT changes continuously, and there are many times when seeking input might seem challenging (such as acquisitions, mergers, centralization or decentralization, insourcing or outsourcing, major migrations, new software, AI, robotization, etc.). There are also times in which a major rollout leads to unforeseen problems, or end users have unique challenges with adopting new processes. Or the organization has changed, or departments have changed, or people change locations. Typical though these situations are, they’re actually the perfect time to gain feedback.
In the midst of change, IT leaders gain tremendous value in learning how the end user experiences, adapts to and embraces these changes. It also gives companies the opportunity to better understand how these changes affect structural IT management, and how that structure can be modified and optimized. These insights become compromised when you seek input only once a year or every two years.
We advocate strongly for measuring IT satisfaction in a continuous manner. This approach helps organizations determine how their employees experience the digital workplace. Do they have the right support, resources, and communication? Do the business applications contribute sufficiently in serving internal customers well? This method is especially useful for organizations comprising about 1,000 employees and more.
How continuous IT Happiness engagement works.
Suppose there are 12,000 employees in your organization. We take random samples from the total number during typical working days. Then, throughout the year, we advise sending an invitation to participate in the survey once a year (that means an average of 1,000 employees are invited per month, equating to about 50 per working day). If the organization is a bit smaller, we could consider inviting employees twice per year to increase the absolute numbers per month a bit. This method has many advantages:
Communication takes place regularly
Throughout the year, any communication that deals with digital changes can refer to its purpose of striving for high IT Happiness. We use “IT Happiness” as a way to signify IT satisfaction, and requests for feedback are thus well recognized by employees.
Communication can be segmented to different groups at different levels, which yields more information
Because continuous management information is available, this method also lends itself well to regular communication to different target groups. For example:
- Service owners: monthly
- Business application owners: four times per year
- Infrastructure: two times per year
- CIO/IT Leadership: once per year
This approach enables the organization to communicate consistently with different departments, countries, user groups, or personas at different frequencies. Frequent communication keeps providing people with the opportunity to give their feedback, which results in more information reported. From our experience, we see a fairly continuous response rate, provided that active communication takes place.
Feedback becomes a standard part of the “plan-do-check-act” (PDCA) cycle. With a yearly survey, more time is dedicated to analyzing large bulks of data. With more regular feedback initiatives, measuring IT Happiness becomes more agile. Monthly analysis, for example, keeps the organization up-to-date with changes, which can contribute to higher IT Happiness. It may also give internal IT teams the opportunity for direct involvement in feedback insights.
Learning becomes optimized. Continuous feedback makes room for changes or rollouts to be done in phases. Employees and organizations alike can learn important lessons along the way with opportunities to make adjustments in the next rollout based on the feedback from the first group.
It makes double loop feedback a reality. As an essential part of our measurement methodology, double loop feedback creates an enormous potential for positive feedback. This bodes well for IT teams to understand and confront the positive impacts their work is creating, which motivates their work and provides important context for changes that need to be made.
More high-level information can be shared with IT leadership and/or the CIO office. With continuous feedback, decision-makers and organizational leaders can pay better attention to the most important key performance indicators, like IT Happiness, productivity, and digital skills and wellbeing. Organizations have the option to share this information across the organization, or segment the information according to the audience.
IT Happiness becomes part of a culture of service orientation and customer focus. In this way, the IT organization can position itself as an internal service provider with key insights provided by both the end users and other stakeholders.
With the ever-growing prevalence and dependence on IT, it benefits organizations to consider IT Happiness as a driver for change. Prioritizing the digital wellbeing of employees and working towards a culture that values IT’s role in everyday performance has already proven to be as essential as offering health benefits and competitive salaries. Continuous feedback keeps IT at the top of an organization’s mind, which contributes to employees’ wellbeing and guarantees greater satisfaction with customers.