Sixty-nine percent of the workforce now expects a digital employee experience — they want technology to make their professional lives better. HR leaders, in turn, say tech may help resolve their most urgent “human capital challenges”: attracting talent, ensuring inclusion, and enhancing the overall employee experience.
Unfortunately, 60% of People Operations teams have no digital plan in place; they risk falling behind and fast. When you improve the digital workplace experience, you give your people a customized, convenient way to interact with the organization. Doing so will improve employee engagement, job satisfaction, and workplace culture.
Below are four research-backed actions you can take to improve the digital employee experience.
1. Add technology to your hiring process
Implement technology in your hiring process to build a more transparent and flexible recruitment experience for potential employees and to improve the overall candidate experience.
A. Use social media to give applicants a view into what it’s like working at your company.
Use technology to improve your employees’ experience before they’re even employees. Beam, for example, uses Instagram to give candidates visibility into their work environment. Senior talent manager Florence Odumosu said, “Applicants get an idea of what an average day of working remotely at Beam entails, while it allows us to attract people from different walks of life, who may not have otherwise thought about joining our business.”
B. Conduct interviews virtually for speed, convenience, and flexibility.
For the past year, virtual interviews—interviews conducted by phone or video—weren’t just a popular option for PeopleOps teams; they were the only option. 86% of HR leaders switched to virtual interviews during the pandemic, according to a Gartner human resources survey. A 2020 survey by Yello found that more than 40% of recruiters were spending two weeks or more on the interview process. And two-thirds of that time was eaten up by interview scheduling. Virtual interviews make it easier to find a time that’s convenient for the hiring manager and candidate.
One tool that we recommend using while conducting remote interviews is BrightHire. BrightHire’s interview intelligence platform helps teams hire faster, ensure interview quality, and reduce bias. It automatically records and transcribes interviews, so interviewers can focus on running a great interview rather than trying to take rapid notes or rely on fuzzy memories. Recorded interviews can be replayed, shared, and analyzed, so hiring managers can get more signal out of fewer interviews.
C. Establish a virtual portal to give applicants insight into their hiring process.
In their Workforce Monitor survey, the American Staffing Association found 80% of respondents said applying for jobs “feels like sending their resume…into a ‘black box.’” You can provide more transparency with applicant updates, and you can share these status updates to an applicant portal. Such a portal may also allow candidates to self-schedule interviews, thus giving them the flexibility to select times when they’re available. A caveat here is you’ll want to balance the use of digital technology with the human touch to build better relationships with candidates. For example, an applicant may prefer to learn they won’t be progressing to the next stage of the process through a timely note that includes detailed interview feedback.
2. Implement thoughtful tech-based onboarding
Some companies already use onboarding technology. The problem is they’re not using it thoughtfully, so according to onboarding research from TINYpulse, new employees still feel disconnected and lost. In its analysis, TINYpulse found new hires in 2020 were less likely (than their 2019 counterparts) to praise their peers through an online tool where employees can acknowledge each other for great work. Researchers believe this might indicate new hires were less connected to their colleagues and the organization.
ChartHop’s Slack integration automatically posts updates to an employee’s About Me profile to foster connection between team members.
Amber Hyatt, director of product marketing at SilkRoad Technology, has solved for poor onboarding by creating a personalized onboarding dashboard that makes the employee feel more informed—and connected to the company:
“Here they discover content that’s designed to engage them, like a friendly note from their manager, first-day information, welcome messages and photos from new teammates, a glossary of company acronyms, a virtual copy of your employee handbook as well as other details about the new hire’s department and job responsibilities.”
Tech-based onboarding also helps connect new employees with their team members, company values, and workplace culture. Johnna Capitano, director at Westchester University’s Center for Newcomer Onboarding, said it was essential to use digital interactions to “build the solid social connections that lead to a sense of belonging.”
During remote onboarding, Ivy Exec, a New York-based career guidance firm, prioritized daily check-ins and virtual lunches to cultivate that sense of belonging. Sam Lippin, VP of business development at Ivy Exec, said, “I like to have as many video meetings as possible to encourage the new person to ask questions and so that I can be available to them. It’s tough, but you have to do everything you can to build a rapport virtually.”
3. Create an online resource group
Give your employees a digital space to form a community. Online employee resource groups could help teams connect in the case of hybrid or remote work, according to Rosanna Durruthy, vice president of global diversity, inclusion, and belonging at LinkedIn.
Durruthy added: “As many face feelings of loneliness and isolation, finding time for employees to come together is more important than ever before. Harnessing the power of employee (online) resource groups is one way, we’ve found, to maintain connective tissue across global, distributed, and remote teams.”
These online spaces build community and deepen connections between your people, even though they are physically apart. Jen Porter, Bernie Wong, and Kelly Greenwood in Harvard Business Review suggest establishing a Slack channel or group lunch where employees can find support and share their experiences. Allow remote workers to discuss what’s important to them in these community groups, whether that’s conversations about volunteering and professional development or racism and mental health.
4. Enable employee self-service for basic HR tasks
Most workers expect self-service for routine HR tasks, according to a Paychex report. But, for many people, performing basic HR tasks is a confusing, onerous process. Maybe they have to sort through information on an intranet, download and complete a form, and email it to HR. Self-service streamlines the process and improves employee satisfaction. You allow the workforce to complete basic tasks themselves wherever they need to, whether that’s from their desktop or mobile device.
Self-service systems make it easier and more convenient for people to manage their work-related admin. One HR director said her 100-person firm could implement self-service to “provide a better experience for employees when they need to access benefits information.” The most common HR tasks employees want to automate are updating personal information, understanding their compensation, managing PTO, completing tax forms, and managing retirement plans.
Sample Total Compensation visualization – including base and equity – in ChartHop Employee Profile.
Design a digital employee experience that engages and empowers your workforce
In 2021, the role of HR in the enterprise has shifted. Deloitte’s 2021 Global Human Capital Trends report suggests HR’s focus has needed to change from “standardizing and enforcing workforce policies” to “re-architecting work across the enterprise.”
Part of charting this new path is investing in the digital employee experience. And it’s an investment that won’t only make your people more productive—it’ll make them happier, too.