Much has been made of the “Great Resignation,” the exodus of workers who have abandoned their jobs during the pandemic. Employers are responding by trumpeting the “Great Onboarding” of 2022, a more positive spin that speaks to the energetic recruiting taking place across industries.
But digital agency and Acquia Gold Partner Phase2 is taking it a step further and bringing attention to efforts that can support the “Great Retention.” Of course hiring will remain key — Qualtrics XM Institute predicts that 72.4 million employees in the United States will look for new jobs in the first half of 2022 alone. But employers can stem the tide if they focus on improving the digital employee experience (EX).
“In a workforce that’s increasingly decentralized and remote, technology expectations are heightened,” says Terry Stephenson, Managing Director of Commercial Markets at Phase2. “There was a time when a certain degree of dissatisfaction with the company intranet or internal systems was practically assumed in the enterprise. But, in a remote context, these systems must be shared spaces to meaningfully connect. Having a consistently poor experience is an untenable liability.”
The Rise of EX Platforms and How They Intersect with CX
Stephenson is referencing employee experience (EX) platforms, which have become more central to workplaces with the accelerated digitization of all corners of our lives during the pandemic. Teaching transformed to remote learning, online shopping became the norm and, in the business world, customers, vendors and staff grew accustomed to virtual interactions.
Companies, be they B2B or B2C, reacted by enhancing customers’ digital experiences (DX) as clients, shoppers and prospects increasingly searched for, researched and made buying decisions on desktops and mobile devices. Yet lost in this change has been the employee experience.
According to employee evangelist Leslie Stretch, CEO of tech company Medallia, there can be a discrepancy between how companies treat customers versus how they treat staff. The outside world might enjoy incredible digital customer experiences (CX), while employees struggle with first-gen technologies behind the scenes.
Phase2 thinks balance is needed. “We believe good CX starts at home,” says Stephenson. “When companies invest in EX, employees feel more supported and a culture of collaboration and trust is fostered. This type of environment is what leads people to do their best work: thinking creatively, developing better products, innovating faster — everything that’s essential to a stellar CX.”
The Workforce of the Future Is Already Here
Recognizing CX and EX as two heads of the same body means acknowledging the workforce as it is today. According to Gallup, millennial and Gen Z workers together compose 46% of the full-time workforce. They also make up more than half of all jobseekers, reports Qualtrics XM Institute.
In other words, the bulk of existing and prospective employees today are digital natives. They’re used to lightning-fast information at their fingertips. Why should their expectations and experience be any different at the workplace, especially with the rise of flexible work options as a top priority among jobseekers and existing staff alike?
Creating an inviting EX can thus help with attracting and retaining talent. “This starts with empowering employees, both new and tenured, with the information and tools they need to propel themselves and their companies forward,” Stephenson says. “So much starts with prioritizing content that’s timely and instills a sense of belonging and value for employees, regardless of whether they’re on site or remote.”
Spotlighting Atmos Energy
Phase2 saw this firsthand in their work with Atmos Energy. The natural gas-only distributor needed to update its legacy EX intranet. Employees were finding it difficult to locate documents in the six-year-old system and often had to ask for help. Atmos Energy wanted an upgrade with a contemporary look and feel, and it had to be accessible on devices both on site and in the field. The company also wanted to speed up workflows and for this to occur on a secure, extensible platform.
To build what Atmos Energy was looking for, Phase2 turned to a trusted solution: Drupal Core. It “brings a core set of tools that are highly extensible and a community of thousands of open source developers behind it,” says Scott Henry, software architect at Phase2.
The result was a modern intranet that showed meaningful results across a broad range of categories. File downloads increased by a whopping 365%, and internal referral traffic climbed by 327%. Engagement was also high, with overall sessions jumping by 51% and adoption rising by 36%.
The Bottom-Line Value of EX Platforms
Those are encouraging figures when you consider how critical engaged employees are to a company’s success. According to Gartner, businesses with staff who “are largely satisfied with their experience are 48% more likely to meet organizational customer satisfaction goals, 89% more likely to meet organizational innovation goals and 56% more likely to meet organizational reputation goals.”
Happy employees, it turns out, are as essential to a firm’s prosperity as happy customers. So, give your staff a modern EX, says Stephenson: “a singular hub where employees start their day with the daily internal news, check their calendar and update to-dos, wish happy birthday to a team member via embedded chat and then launch whatever applications they need to do their work.”
By investing in technologies that value and honor the experience of their workforce, organizations can not only appeal to prospective candidates, they can also retain existing talent. Let the Great Retention begin!