The work-from-home and hybrid workforce models will continue for the foreseeable future. Even as companies like Google reaffirm their commitment to on-site work, a December 2020 study by Conferenceboard.org showed that 26% of US-based companies indicated that they are willing to hire a 100% virtual workforce. A similar report by UpWork suggests that 23% of teams/departments in the US plan to be working remotely in some capacity even five years from now. This new dynamic presents a set of distinct challenges for organizations to ensure optimal workforce productivity and engagement, while creating a positive and consistent experience for all employees.
Some remote and hybrid teams are experiencing changes in their overall experience. Team members do not necessarily have the luxury of walking over to a co-worker to ask for help or to troubleshoot issues in real-time. Systems designed to be accessed locally may behave differently for virtual users, resulting in more user- and system-generated errors as well as potentially degraded performance.
A recent survey of our clients that span industries, geographies and employee numbers gave several insights into how companies are handling this transition. In their journey to use a data-driven approach to create a positive employee experience for their hybrid workforces, companies are focusing on four key areas:
1. Use Actual Employee Interactions to Continue Digital Transformation Projects and Drive Software Adoption
Organizations are resuming Digital Transformation projects that were put on hold during 2020. The coronavirus pandemic reinforced the role of IT teams in creating a more agile business by managing costs and creating a positive and consistent employee experience in order to ensure adoption of new platforms and processes. IT and line of business teams must look beyond traditional application monitoring systems and evaluate how users interact with enterprise software. indicated that 35 percent of software projects failed to meet their original business intent, 38 percent missed their targeted timelines, and 34 percent failed to finish within budget. Employee behavior data provides companies with real insights to help with all phases of the transformation.
Teams can use these insights to more effectively:
- Define the scope and planning of a transformation project.
- Identify key users and applications that need to be tested in each phase of a project.
- Monitor user and system performance during hyper-care.
This data-driven approach does not end after the hyper-care period. The same insights that drive planning can help organizations understand where employees may be struggling with (or resisting) adoption of new enterprise applications, and help leaders create targeted training initiatives. Having a dynamic and data-driven approach to training pays off: A 2020 Gartner study estimated that, among learning and development teams that take this approach, employees apply 75% of the new skills they learn.
2. Take a Proactive Approach to User Support
For many support teams, the process is reactive: Teams address issues as they come, via a ticketing system. Once the ticket is received, the team investigates and works towards a resolution. The reactive nature of this process is disruptive for users and may impact their ability to complete specific tasks. The situation is further exacerbated by employees working from home.
User Data and Employee Experience software can serve as a first line of defense to help IT and support teams identify system-related issues that are negatively impacting a user’s experience. Support teams can identify trends in system performance and errors and look to mitigate these types of issues before they come up. If a ticket has already been created, teams have access to user workflows, which present a step-by-step account of the user’s experience up to the point at which they encountered an error.
This data is not a replacement for Application Process Management (APM) or IT Service Management (ITSM) systems. It is a complementary data set that offers a user-centric view of system performance that can help teams reduce both the number of support tickets and the amount of time spent on them.
3. Create Meaningful and Targeted Employee Training Plans
One of the benefits of being in the office is the ability to collaborate and support team members in real time. When users have a question, they can walk over to another team member and work together to resolve the issue. Managers can more easily assist struggling team members, build them up, and help them succeed.
A hybrid workforce presents a more challenging dynamic for employee development and performance. It is harder for managers to identify which employees are struggling. System users may be more reluctant to raise their hands and ask for help.
It is not practical to set up generic training programs or multi-day seminars for large groups. Managers and learning teams instead need to focus on targeted training initiatives that improve performance, productivity, and the overall user experience.
User Experience data can help teams build these targeted training programs to help struggling users address the areas giving them the most trouble. Managers and learning teams can identify where a user or group of users are struggling and customize a plan to address these needs.
4. Build a Super User Program as Another Training Resource
The dispersed workforce means that training needs to be organized around virtual communities. Enabling a super user for each community needs to be part of an overall training plan. Once identified and enabled, these super users can:
- Provide struggling team members with another resource for help.
- Help management to identify the trends and qualities of super users and use this knowledge to create a super user program.
- Identify which components of the software are causing work slowdowns and frustration.
User Experience data allows leaders to quickly identify which users are super users. They may be the most proficient users of the system, most efficient, or a combination of both.
Training teams can take insights from these users and build them into their programs to create a more proficient workforce. As it becomes safe and practical for companies to re-open offices, super user programs can be an important tool for helping managers create a positive and consistent user experience for their employees, regardless of their location. They also offer valuable input into training and enablement plans.
The hybrid model is likely to become a permanent trend in the workforce. This presents an exciting opportunity, as well as new challenges for ensuring a consistent and positive experience for all employees. End-User Experience Management (EUEM) tools such as Knoa User Experience Management for Oracle can help organizations address these challenges by offering a real-time view into how employees interact with their Oracle applications. These insights enable companies to take a data-driven approach to decisions around how to improve employee productivity and the overall employee experience.
About Knoa Software
We provide software and services that enable global organizations to align people and processes with enterprise solutions – increasing technology adoption, user engagement and delivering business value. Our mission is to be an essential solution provider for every enterprise that is serious about user experience management. We are transforming the user experience management market, providing a new level of insight, technologies, and services to improve enterprise software usage and efficiency. For more information, please see our website, www.knoa.com.
- Baker, M. (2020, August 28). Stop Training Employees in Skills They’ll Never Use. Smarter With Gartner. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/stop-training-employees-in-skills-theyll-never-use/.
- Conference Board, T. (Ed.). (2020). CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): US companies now three times more willing to hire remote workers anywhere in the US or internationally. Retrieved December 30, 2020, from https://www.conference-board.org/topics/natural-disasters-pandemics/Remote-work
- Contributor, S. (2018, November 14). Smartsheet BrandVoice: Why A Third Of Enterprise Projects Fail – And The Tools That Can Spell Success. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/smartsheet/2018/11/14/why-a-third-of-enterprise-projects-fail–and-the-tools-that-can-spell-success/?sh=76e807b216ed.
- Ozimek, D. (2020). Economist Report: Future Workforce: Upwork. Retrieved December 30, 2020, from https://www.upwork.com/press/releases/economist-report-future-workforce