The “New” Employee Experience Isn’t All That New

There’s no denying the rise of new employee expectations, but does this require an entirely new approach to employee experience? I don’t think so. The simple fact is employees want to be empowered as collaborators, versus workers. They desire the right tools to engage, innovate and improve. This is certainly not a new concept, yet it’s one executives struggle to understand: only 22% say their company is excellent at building a differentiated employee experience.

Employee experience must go beyond net promoter scores and satisfaction surveys. It’s more than even CSR initiatives and pay raises. It’s about radically changing the way work gets done to drive meaningful impact and personal fulfillment. And this all starts with your communications infrastructure.

A flexible, integrated communications platform allows for collaboration tools that are highly relevant to how employees work in today’s digital era. It simplifies communications by letting employees naturally and contextually engage, when and where they need to. It supports seamless collaboration between disparate communication tools, maximizing the value of existing technologies while increasing productivity and efficiency.

Let’s look at this next-gen collaboration environment within three key verticals: hospitality, healthcare and retail.

Hospitality

Among hoteliers, 60% believe the inability of staff to effectively communicate severely diminishes the guest experience, yet a 2015 study found that 25% of U.S. hotels still use pen and paper to manage their properties and 16% have no system in place at all.

Digital, social and mobile technologies have introduced a new guest experience, and that requires companies to rethink the tools that employees and vendors use to communicate and collaborate.

Scenario No. 1: Billing needs to contact the vendor of a property’s new check-in system. Rather than hopping out of their preferred communication solutions, each team can quickly initiate a collaboration session right from their browser (no downloads or plug-ins required) to avoid unnecessary pauses or interruptions in workflow.

Scenario No. 2: An event coordinator is interacting with a prospective customer who has a question about the hotel’s vegan meal options. The coordinator can initiate a real-time chat session with the head chef, regardless of location or device being used, to get the answer that’s needed to lock in the sale.

Scenario No. 3: An employee missed a weekly team meeting while attending an industry tradeshow, but can easily access meeting minutes and communications history on-the-go via a mobile-first, customizable dashboard.

Healthcare

Effective communication has long been an issue in healthcare and is now crucial with the rise of value-based delivery models that ensure payment is aligned with health outcomes. In the U.S. poor communication among care providers has been shown to produce up to $12 billion in annual profit loss. More importantly is the risk to patient safety: recent studies have found that 37% of all high-severity injury cases involved a provider-to-provider communication failure.

Healthcare organizations can revolutionize costs and quality of care by digitally transforming internal communication and collaboration.

Scenario No. 1: A patient has been picked up and is headed to the ER. A secure collaboration space enables the transport team to share information with key personnel (ER physician, bed placement specialist) in real-time to streamline the patient’s handoff and minimize page interruptions.

Scenario No. 2: A flexible collaboration space allows nurses to share pertinent patient information—regardless of differing schedules, priorities and preferred methods of communication—to streamline shift handoffs. Persistence in messaging also ensures no information gets discarded.

Scenario No. 3: For large, multi-hospital healthcare systems, a digital, integrated collaboration environment enables bedside clinicians to quickly rally caregivers by leveraging on-call schedules, staff assignments, escalation processes, and the communication preferences of responders.

Retail

Nearly half of retailers want to improve internal communications, yet just about the same struggle with consistency of information, quality of communications, and number of communication channels employed.

The benefits of improved communications (and subsequently, engagement) are extraordinary. Best Buy, for example, found that for every percentage point it boosted employee engagement, individual stores saw a $100,000 increase in annual operating income.

Retailers have a unique opportunity to digitally reshape communications and collaboration to improve costs, value and quality.

Scenario No. 1: Department leads from marketing, merchandising and sales working across different headquarter locations can quickly initiate a browser-based collaboration session to finalize last-minute changes to a new campaign. Access to last week’s team communications helps streamline the process further.

Scenario No. 2: Integrated document management allows suppliers to seamlessly share shipment information and updates, improving inventory management for retailers and streamlining supply chain processes (improved retailer-supplier collaboration has been proven to increase revenue by 3.7% and decrease costs by up to 6%).

Scenario No. 3: For chain retailers, in-store managers can quickly initiate collaboration sessions to confirm product availability across locations, adjust employee shifts, and discuss employee tasks. Meanwhile, sales associates can collaborate on ideas for improving day-to-day customer experience.

In Part 1 of this series, we explored the criticality of digital collaboration for employee experience. Here in Part 2, we actionably applied this next-gen collaboration environment within three key verticals. Coming up in Part 3, I’ll outline how executives can achieve this environment within their own organizations. Stay tuned.