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Why technology is critical to a better employee experience

For many employees the technology they use at home is far ahead of what they have at work. That needs to change rapidly

In its survey of the top priorities for HR leaders in 2019, Gartner identified improving employee experience as one of the top three. “Employees want their 9-5 to look like their 5-9,” said the firm’s group vice president Brian Kropp. He added: “And employees’ 5-9 lives are full of seamless, effortless experiences, largely enabled by digital technologies.”

At Civica (which was recently named as one of the top three cloud software companies in the UK), we’re seeing this play out among our HR software customers. We’re increasingly seeing people prioritising company culture and value systems when choosing an employer and their technology experience is a key part of this. People expect a simple digitally-enabled work experience, to access information quickly and easily – wherever they are and whatever device they’re using. There is a significant risk of frustration and disengagement when the reality falls short of their expectations.

With unemployment in the UK at its lowest level for 40 years, talent acquisition and retention is a key challenge for many organisations. So it’s not surprising that Gartner reports 51% of HR leaders and 62% of heads of diversity and inclusion view improving employee experience as a priority. But it’s a challenge to meet these expectations when it’s still easier and quicker for most employees to download a film on their mobile than submit an expense and mileage claim.

So while there’s broad agreement that technology is critical to achieving a better experience for employees, we’re not yet seeing those ‘seamless, effortless experiences’ in many workplaces. Yet there’s a strong case for upping the pace when it comes to investment in this area, because it’s not just employee experience which matters, but the positive impact that such systems can also have on HR and people teams.

With HR teams needing to concentrate on the critical strategic issues which face all organisations, it’s important to automate as many of its ‘traditional’ functions as possible. This becomes even more vital as the very nature of work itself changes. When you have a greater mix of different types of employee relationship than ever before – from full-time to self-employed contractors and flexible working – giving those employees more control via digital technologies is the best way forward.

Many organisations still struggle with poorly integrated systems, some of which are labour intensive to use and prone to, potentially, very costly mistakes due to human error. Moving towards highly responsive and digitally-driven people processes that actively empower and engage employees, is a challenge for anyone dealing with out-dated technology.

Yet the gains to be made from moving towards a fully integrated people, payroll and attendance system are considerable. Time savings alone are a huge benefit; it’s possible for an integrated system to achieve a reduction in monthly payroll processing time of 80%. That’s more time to spend on the things which really matter, plus the added benefit of accurate data which can be analysed to drive further business improvements. All that on top of providing employees with the workplace technology which they are all familiar with in their everyday lives. You’ll improve that all-important employee experience while also giving HR teams a more strategic focus and better tools to help further understand and refine focus to benefit the overall business. This includes technologies which allow that knowledge to be shared more quickly across the organisation.

As the workplace becomes more complex, technology needs to take centre stage. Employee experience is recognised as a vital way to drive business improvement, but this can only take place if you invest in the digital technology to allow that to happen. The good news is that the benefits which can be gathered from that investment in improved employee experience are considerable – and will be felt right across your organisation.

Still not convinced? To help you decide, we’ve created an easy-to-use tool which helps you calculate just how much your organisation could save by investing in technology that supports an improved digital experience. Just click here to find out how this could benefit you and make every day better for your employees.

Kirsty Fowler is HR and payroll managing director at Civica