We all know that the pandemic has changed the way we work. A rapid acceleration in digital transformation means organizations have been embracing new tech at breakneck speed.  Just look at the figures—work applications onboarded by firms across all industries increased by 68% in the past few years alone.

This raises some important questions. Where does it leave employees who are trying to keep up with new tech and ways of working? How do employers make this new environment as seamless as possible? And can businesses actually use the early adoption of tech to give them an edge?

Business leaders and HR teams in forward-thinking companies are turning to the digital employee experience to create the best working day for their people. We’ve used our learnings to interrogate how they are using this to create a competitive advantage, so you don’t have to.

Why you should focus on your digital employee experience

Organizations that lose sight of the way their employees interact with tech, also known as the digital employee experience, risk their employees feeling frustrated and wasting time looking for answers.

On the surface, the digital employee experience may not seem like it should be a priority for organizations. But the bottom line is that it not only makes up a huge part of each employee’s working day, but also has business critical implications.

During our research into the changing employee experience, a YouGov survey of over 2,000 employees found that 58% of people said the number of applications they use has increased since March 2020. 76% also spend up to 6 hours a day using business applications. This could be using collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, or applications that deliver key business functions such as Workday, Salesforce and Sage.

Looking at specific sectors, this research found that 76% of those in the media, marketing and advertising sector said that their use of business applications had increased since 2020. Similarly, 67% of employees in the legal sector reported an increase, as did 64% in the finance sector.

Whatever the application, whatever the sector, it’s clear that if employees are spending so much time using tech, the experience needs to be as good as possible. However, our research found that since March 2020, a fifth of employees within large organizations have reported being more frustrated with business applications.

On top of this, employees are spending significant time just looking for support materials on how these applications work. Our research shows that 39% of employees are spending 30 minutes a day looking for support – that’s more than 3 working weeks a year. Worse still, our data reveals that on average they are spending twice as much time searching for materials than they are actually reading them.

Looking at the bigger picture, the time lost amounts to a staggering 71,183 hours in Great Britain for large businesses – costing £1 million a year. This is even higher in the States, with the time lost to employees looking for support costing large businesses $6 million every year.

The businesses leading the way (and the benefits they’re seeing)

Now you know the knock-on impact of losing sight of the digital employee experience, it’s time to find out the benefits of focusing on it from the businesses that already have. The results speak for themselves, so we’ll let them do the talking.

King’s College London, one of the oldest and most prestigious higher education institutions in England, was planning the implementation of a whole new suite of digital services for its workforce. However, it was keen to avoid the common challenges many organizations face when onboarding new technology: a drop in productivity, gaps in employee knowledge and training, and even an impact on the bottom line.

To relieve the pressure, it reached out to AppLearn for pre-launch assistance using our Digital Adoption Platform (DAP), Adopt. DAPs essentially help people better use and embrace technology. It’s a piece of software that can layer over a single or multiple applications, sitting in the background and learning how people use and interact with them. It tracks how people engage with key software, helping to pinpoint recurrent issues and intervene with suggested support.

Using a DAP to help employees embrace the new digital services, King’s College London was able to quickly target specific employees or user groups that had to adopt the new technology for them to succeed, with engaging messaging delivered seamlessly as they worked. The ongoing performance of the new software was also measured using Adopt, to make sure success continued after initial roll-out.

GKN Aerospace is a supplier that serves over 90% of the world’s aircraft and engine manufacturers, with its employees working at all levels – the factory floor, out in the field, in the office. It created a complicated digital employee experience – people would have varying levels of tech ‘savviness’, so taking a one-size-fits-all approach when rolling out a new piece of technology would have its pitfalls. GKN wanted to implement new HR technology that delivered materials to its employees smoothly and captured insights, across its complex global system.

The company sought AppLearn’s support, and we worked closely with its change management team to introduce Adopt into the mix. The platform provided people in different departments and based across the world, from offices to manufacturing, with in-app guidance such as pop ups, task reminders, and a side panel for support materials. By offering targeted and easy to understand support, the business saw a four-fold improvement in necessary task completions, as well as 91% increase in user engagement with in-app process reminders. This was the key to achieving the wide scale change that the company was seeking.

Interfor, one of the largest lumber producers in the world, wanted to replicate its responsible and productive customer service with a matching digital employee experience. Like many companies, Interfor was noticing employee frustration and inefficiency with the different applications people had to contend with each day and recognized something needed to change.

Using a DAP, Interfor was able to provide seamless in-built buttons to link in-app support or tips on a side panel, so all the information employees needed was in one place. It could also track any problems employees had and solve them head on. By tracking and understanding underlying challenges, the business was able to deflect 14,000+ support enquiry tickets in the first 9 months, ultimately saving the business $200,000+ in support costs.

How to turn your experience into an advantage

By embracing the use of DAPs, these forward-thinking organizations have been able to improve their digital employee experience—giving them an edge on their competitors. However, while the tech is key to the above outcomes, there are principles and behaviors businesses can apply prior to implementing a digital adoption platform.

DAPs not only provide an organization with useful data and analytics, but also help users better navigate and understand applications by providing in-app guidance as they use them. By tracking any problems that an employee might have and seamlessly adding in-app support to solve them, these companies were able to get the best out of their new software.

So, don’t just think through your digital experiences and processes. Study and learn from your actual users to find points of friction. While measurement and making in-app interventions will be difficult using default software setups, work with what you’ve got to put support in place for key problems and join up software usage to expected business outcomes.

By keeping employees happy and helping them get to grips with new tech, companies can save time, boost productivity and save money—making their tech investments pay off in the long term.

Find out more about improving your digital employee experience by reading our full digital employee experience guide.

Insight by

Daniel Gripton

Insight by

Daniel Gripton