What is the “Digital Employee Experience” Anyway?

by | Oct 14, 2021

It feels like everything today is mobile-friendly and accessible from anywhere. The white collar employee experience is now immersed in digital training, team building, and collaboration—sometimes at the cost of face-to-face interaction.

But what about employees at brick-and-mortar stores? Their workdays still look largely as they used to: working on-location, engaging in-person with co-workers, and helping customers face-to-face. You might think that the “Digital Employee Experience” is a far-off reality for retail employees. You would be wrong.

Frontline employees now expect to access their WFM systems at any time, from any device, from anywhere. Viewing schedules, managing shifts, updating availability, and requesting time off from mobile devices are now table-stakes. All the leading WFM vendors are investing in making this digital experience as convenient and intuitive as possible for workers.

But the digital employee experience for frontline workers goes beyond the traditional feature set of WFM. It now includes activities as varied as training, two-way communication, messaging, recognition, and more. Employee mobility platforms like WorkJam, Crew, Shyft, Zipline, Branch and so many more create a gateway that can both engage your employees and create a more intuitive front-end for your workforce management system.

As seen in the graphic below, the digital employee experience is the combination of these two halves—administration and engagement. Finding an application that can do both may be your key to success in this era of unprecedented customer demand and labor shortages.

The digital employee experience

The Digital Employee Experience: Administration

The headings on the left side of the graphic deal with administrative tasks. Your WFM solution’s mobile modules, or solutions like WorkJam, provide your staff with a one stop shop where they can view their schedules, set their availability, and even clock in and out. On top of this, you can provide your staff with the ability to swap shifts in an online marketplace. All of this dramatically increases the ease with which your employees can take on work. It also provides them with more autonomy over when they want to work and reduces manager overhead to boot.

Task management also lets you and your managers set a checklist of tasks for your employees that can be accessed and managed online. Even better, tasks can be switched between teammates if someone else is better positioned to complete. Documentation provides updates on where the task is and you can even track the time to complete the tasks to help with payroll planning.

I’m sure you can see how this empowers your employees and increases engagement—but how does it help improve your workforce management system’s efficiency? Simple. Mobility platforms connect with your workforce management system to receive and send data. This means all the information your employees generate on the mobility platform goes right back to your workforce management software. This in turn makes your forecasting and scheduling more accurate.

The Digital Employee Experience: Engagement

The modules on the right side of the graphic are excellent employee engagement tools that the traditional WFM vendors are just beginning to test. But the mobile first vendors are where you need to go for now to find perfected versions. The Administrative functions discussed above give employees an easy way to engage with the WFM system itself. These engagement tools give workers a digital space to engage with one another, their company, and their work.

You can use your employee mobility system to provide your team with a communication space where they can have work-related online conversations. They are undoubtedly having these conversations in other applications you’re probably not even aware of. So why not integrate them into the daily work experience? A similar functionality ensures everyone can easily access your corporate communications, and even give feedback directly to the correct teams.

You can also use your employee mobility system to distribute digital rewards, recognizing your team’s hard work. And you can use surveys and polls to test how your staff are feeling about new policies or even have some fun. Ever wondered how many New York Islanders fans work at your company? Now you can find out!

Finally, mobility platforms give you a great opportunity to engage more directly with your employees. You can make sure company policy documents are easily accessible to all employees and upload short training videos and certificates. I’m sure you can see how this makes on-the-job learning or refreshers an easy task.

Employee Mobility is Employee Engagement

So, what can the digital employee experience do for you? These platforms provide a digital experience that empowers your employees and increases their engagement in their work. And if that’s not enough, they also add a new data input for your workforce management system, making it more effective and efficient.

But does this translate to real-world results? In our experience, yes. We’ve seen the results work for many of our clients. During the recent flooding in New York City, an employee mobility platform helped one of our clients to communicate up-to-the-minute news about store closures and evacuation updates directly to their employees’ phones, helping to keep everyone safe.

In a future blog post, we will examine the ROI of the digital employee experience to help you build a sophisticated business case that clearly links these abstract concepts like “employee engagement” to the clear-cut realities of increasing your organization’s bottom line.

The employee mobility space features a variety of companies, all with different specializations. Finding the right fit for your company can be a daunting task. But don’t worry! Axsium’s experts are ready to help you understand what each platform can offer, choose the one that will make engage your employees, and make your WFM system more efficient.

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