A Definitive Guide To Employee Experience Platforms

A Definitive Guide to Employee Experience Platforms

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz around employee experience platforms and “putting your people first.” And for good reasons too.

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the business world upside-down. Employees moved away from the office to remote locations. In some organizations, the talent pool also expanded and grew quickly.

Things were not the same anymore. Employees started working in silos and were isolated from their peers and colleagues. Lee Gordon, VP of Global Communications and Public Relations at Brunswick Corporation, echoed the feelings of millions of employees working from home when he said, “One of the many things I miss about being in the office is accidentally running into people at the coffee machine. Those chance encounters provide tremendous insight into what my colleagues were working on or what their kids did over the weekend.”

As social interactions dwindled and people dealt with the anxiety of the coronavirus, the grief of losing family and friends to the virus, and the mounting issues in collaborating and communicating with teams, leaders witnessed a complex and stressful environment and diminishing productivity and motivation at the workplace.

They soon realized it is no longer enough to talk about customer experience alone. Instead, customer and employee experience are indeed linked. After all, an enthusiastic and engaged staff works better and can serve customers more efficiently. Consequently, companies began taking cognizance of measuring employee satisfaction and experience and investing in employee experience platforms.

In its report, “Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021,” leading analyst firm Gartner has coined the term “total experience” as a strategy that “strives to improve the experiences of multiple constituents [customer experience, employee experience, and user experience] to achieve a transformed business outcome. These intersected experiences are key moments for businesses recovering from the pandemic that are looking to achieve differentiation via capitalizing on new experiential disruptors.”

Moreover, amidst the pandemic, 90% of the surveyed consumers said that they cared deeply about how corporations were treating their employees, with 67% claiming it is “very important.” Therefore, an employee-first attitude has become a crucial differentiator between companies that manage to acquire and retain top talent while maintaining customer affinity.

Which brings us back to the question – what exactly is employee experience? And most importantly, what are employee experience platforms, and how do they help build positive employee experiences?

A Definitive Guide to Employee Experience Platforms

As defined by Forbes, employee experience is defined as “the sum of all experiences an employee has with their employer over the duration of their relationship – from recruitment to onboarding and career development, to exiting the organization.”

Why is it essential? An exceptional employee experience breeds a conducive work culture, enhances individual and team efficiency, and helps deliver higher customer satisfaction.

A recently conducted survey that interviewed 500 HR leaders found that 92% confirmed employee experience as a top priority in 2021.

Gallup research has shown that employee experience matters because all of the individual moments of an employee’s experience play a role in how a worker feels about an employer’s purpose, brand, and culture. These feelings directly affect employee engagement, retention, performance, and development.

In a post-pandemic world, employee-centric initiatives like free meals, in-office perks, gyms, family days, yoga classes, etc., dominated the workplace. With a majority of the employees shifting to remote working models permanently, or at least for some time in the near future, organizations must recreate such experiences in a virtual setup.

According to Jared Spataro, Microsoft Teams and 365 leader, “The time has come to acknowledge a fundamental truth – for so many people, the “place” where work happens – today and here on out – is the internet. The digital experience of working for a company is the employee experience. Absent a physical presence, how does a company create a sense of working for that company – a feeling of culture, mission, and connection?

Here’s where an employee experience platform comes into the picture. An employee experience platform is a cohesive space that brings together tools for employee engagement, learning, well-being, and knowledge discovery directly into the flow of people’s work.

Moreover, employees who use such siloed, disparate systems and EX tools have to face multiple points of contact for everyday work, leading to what is commonly known as “app fatigue.”

Today’s technologies allow organizations to deploy a branded, unified engagement platform that creates a seamless digital employee experience and simplifies service delivery and accuracy. Such all-in-one platforms integrate core systems, incorporate automation and collaboration tools (e.g., chatbots) and enterprise social networking applications, and deliver personalized knowledge and meaningful content. Moreover, they capture service-level compliance, report adoption rates, and provide operational analytics so that systems can be continually upgraded and improved.

Key Features to look for in an Employee Experience Platform

  • Internal communication and collaboration tools – Flexible integrations with a host of everyday apps like Office 365, ServiceNow, SAP, etc., and legacy enterprise systems that allow employees to collaborate on projects and get work done seamlessly from anywhere. Employees can access all business-critical apps from a single window and needn’t waste time switching between multiple apps.

    Social capabilities, including blogs, discussion forums, messaging apps, and video conferencing tools, enable remote employees to communicate, discuss the latest news and upcoming events, coordinate on projects, and share their thoughts and views with others in the organization.

  • Cognitive enterprise search – A unified search engine that aids knowledge discovery and allows employees to retrieve relevant data, files, and documents from any internal or external app quickly, boosting remote employee productivity in the process.

  • AI-driven content recommendations – AI-driven personalized content suggestions based on the employee’s profile, geography, role, interests, etc., help drive remote employee engagement. They also allow employees to connect with the right subject-matter experts when needed.

  • Intelligent idea management – A gamification-based idea management system that allows employees to brainstorm and develop solutions to everyday work challenges and rewards the best ideas. This boosts innovation and gives remote employees a sense of purpose and meaning.

  • Multilingual and omnichannel capabilities – Give remote employees the option to engage with the organization in the language and channel of their choice.

  • Enterprise Chatbots – Enterprise chatbots that automate and simplify routine tasks, deliver personalized news and updates, and help remote employees fetch the required information quickly – anytime and anywhere.

If you are considering an employee experience (EX) platform to improve connectivity and boost engagement and productivity within your organization, here are some options you can consider.

1. VIVA - Microsoft’s latest offering in the employee experience space

Launched in February 2021, Microsoft VIVA is an employee experience platform that brings together communications, knowledge, learning, and insights and breeds a culture that empowers people and teams to be their best from anywhere.

Experienced through Microsoft Teams, the platform hosts several capabilities in the form of four different modules, namely –

  • Viva Topics – VIVA Topics automatically organizes the enterprise’s knowledge and expertise across its internal network and uses AI to deliver personalized and relevant content results.
  • Viva Connections – A one-stop-shop for news, top management conversations, events, and social networking tools, VIVA Connections allows each voice within the organization to be heard.
  • Viva Learning – A unified hub for employees to explore, discover, and share learning resources from organization-wide content libraries, VIVA Learning aims to make learning a crucial part of the day-to-day work lives of employees.
  • Viva Insights – Viva Insights improves individual and team efficiency with data-driven insights and recommendations that enhance productivity and employee well-being.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we, at Acuvate Software, help clients from different industries deploy Microsoft VIVA.

2. Mesh 3.0

Mesh 3.0 is Acuvate’s autonomous, SharePoint intranet solution built with the best of Microsoft technologies, including LUIS, Azure Search Services, Office Graph, and MS Natural Language Stack.

An AI-driven digital workplace platform, Mesh 3.0 brings all the digital workplace features like internal communication, collaboration, analytics, knowledge mining, etc., under one roof and delivers personalized digital experiences to your entire workforce across different applications.

The powerful functionalities of Mesh 3.0 that help deliver the ultimate employee experience are as follows –

Mesh is available on Viva Connections to deliver the central information hub on MS Teams.

To know more about Mesh 3.0 and our other EX services, please feel free to schedule a personalized consultation with our experts.

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    MESH 3.0

    Mesh 3.0 stands by the motto of ‘the right content at the right time to the right person’. An Employee Experience Platform powered with AI, it finely manages the data for enhanced collaboration, communication and engagement
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