The way employees think about their work has changed completely. Today’s workers expect employers to be responsive to their needs about how they want to work and where, and promote greater flexibility, trust, listening and purpose. But many companies remain locked in the past, their leaders unsure of how to go about making the shift to the new employee-focused culture of work.

These organizations are jeopardizing their ability to attract and retain top talent. That’s dangerous, because finding and keeping employees is much more difficult now than it was just 2 years ago. The reasons are many. Employees have more opportunities to work remotely, and they benefit from a growing market demand for advanced technology skills and record levels of job openings.  

If your organization can’t find a way to put employees at the center of your culture under these conditions, your talent will find employers who can, and from anywhere in the world.

Clearly, creating an employee-centric culture is important to business success. In one recent survey, 70% of workers said their feelings about their day-to-day work affect their productivity, and nearly as many said those feelings affect their ability to do meaningful work.

A friction-free culture

One of the first steps businesses should take to create an employee-centric culture is to remove the friction staff may experience with technology, processes and policies.

To do that, employers need to think about these things from the employees’ perspectives — take the outside-in view as their guide. But for many companies, it’s challenging to understand what’s working for their employees, and what’s not, on a continuous basis. They don’t have a way to measure the true employee experience at scale, whether it’s their sentiment about leadership, pay, training or technology. In the case of technology, for example, IT can gain insight by reviewing operational (O) data — how quickly IT support calls are handled, or systems set up — but that’s only part of the equation. What’s missing is experience (X) data.

You should factor in X data when, for example, you’re planning on deploying new technology, so that you can account for employees’ expectations around implementing it. If you can gauge employee sentiment about how you typically handle technology deployments ahead of making a major IT change, you can use that data to help ensure a smooth rollout. By taking your employees’ input into consideration, you’ll demonstrate to them that their opinions matter and that you listen and respond to them — key elements of an employee-centric culture. They’ll feel that the company has personalized the experience to meet their requests. They’ll become more engaged with the business.

When employees feel that they have a voice in the organization, the chances that they’ll stay with the company increase. A benefit of this is that they’ll continue to give you feedback that provides insight into what needs to be done to reduce friction and keep them engaged. It’s a virtuous cycle. 

Friction also occurs when employees feel that, given a task’s perceived business value, the exertion required to complete it is simply too high. That was the case at a healthcare company with cybersecurity policies so onerous that its employees could spend up to 2 hours a day logging in to the various systems they needed to do their jobs. While cybersecurity is important, employees rightly perceived that extra time as excessive.   

Never forget: Frictionless businesses win.   

A collaborative culture

Another important cultural issue to address is collaborative equity in a hybrid work world. That is, the work environment must be inclusive to all, regardless of location, physical abilities or the medium of communication people are using.

Many organizations overlooked this during the early days of the COVID‑19 crisis, when the priority was to quickly get equipment to employees who had to start working from home. Now that a hybrid work environment is becoming the norm, businesses need to make sure remote workers feel they have an equal voice with their colleagues in the conference room and an equal opportunity to collaborate with them. The communications practices that defined the traditional workplace won’t work anymore.

Your organization must ensure that all employees can effectively interact with each other to enable a flexible work environment. Flexibility is critical to an employee-centric culture, particularly as it relates to remote work. In fact, over one-third of employees say they’re more likely to look for a new job if they’re forced to work in an office full-time, according to the 2022 Employee Experience Trends report from Qualtrics, a provider of experience management solutions.  

If you use technology to derive X data, you might find out that you haven’t been effective at building collaborative equity; you may be providing the flexibility to work at home, but you haven’t accounted for making sure employees are satisfied with their ability to fully participate from remote locations. You may discover, for example, that remote employees feel excluded during videoconferences when they see colleagues who are together in the same space leaning over and whispering to each other. That may indicate you need to make a change in corporate policy or processes to discourage that practice.

Also, as they continue to mature, immersive collaboration tools will play a greater role here — creating virtual offices in the metaverse, for example, where it will be easier for all employees, wherever they are, to work together more effectively.     

Next steps on the journey

As part of your efforts to create a culture where the employee experience is front and center, you need to keep in mind that as much as anything, employees want technology that supports them in their jobs. That sounds obvious, but truly meeting that need in effective and efficient ways eludes many companies.

To achieve results, you must modernize the workplace with technology that’s as easy to use — and as personalized and rich — as the consumer apps and devices employees use in their daily lives. Employees’ technology should align with their job roles so that from day one they have the right hardware, software and processes to do their work efficiently and collaborate effectively, and there shouldn’t be any “middleman” holdup to get technology refreshes or other updates when they need them. That’s how you eliminate the friction of making it hard for employees to get the tools they need to do their job.

Having a friction-free culture also means ensuring that all your employees’ interactions with IT are easy and fast. Technology must be seen as an enabler, not a barrier. It’s that simple. But think about the friction that surrounds a typical IT support experience, like having to suffer through long waits when you call the help desk to reset a password. Why shouldn’t you be able to have the issue taken care of automatically just by clicking a link?

Getting the vision of a modern workplace right can help recruitment. According to Adobe Workfront’s 2021 State of Work report, there was a seven-point increase in the number of people who reported applying for a job because they heard a company’s employees use great technology.

Advanced technology can also improve worker retention. The same Adobe report finds that nearly a third of workers who quit jobs did so because workplace technology made their jobs harder. Flip that around by making workplace tech easier to use, and those employees will be more likely to stay.

How DXC Technology can help you

DXC is focused on helping employers create a culture that revolves around an excellent employee experience by providing the enabling technology for removing friction and supporting collaborative equity.

All our Modern Workplace services are integrated with DXC UPtime™, our employee workplace engagement platform. The IT portal provides employees with a centralized, personalized and optimized experience to access the services they need, such as managing any device they are using, and from anywhere they are using it. They’ll be able to access a fully integrated, conversational, always-available AI virtual support agent to answer their IT questions, as well. In addition, IT gets a centralized and real-time view of O data across the organization and can use analytics to proactively identify potential IT issues and prevent them from becoming big problems.  

DXC also is helping companies measure, report and act on employee feedback through our partnership with Qualtrics. We have embedded capabilities from the Qualtrics EmployeeXM platform into DXC UPtime to collect X data from employees about the technology they use. Paired with the O data we capture on service delivery, customers gain a true 360-degree, continuous view of their employees’ sentiment about their technology experience, and can use these insights to drive greater engagement, collaboration and productivity.

DXC is on this track. As the first customer for our Modern Workplace services, we’re using our solutions internally to transform the digital experiences of our 130,000+ employees, more than 90% of whom now work remotely in the virtual-first workplace that we’ve embraced. We’ve taken steps into the metaverse, using virtual world technologies to connect for training and other applications.

It’s never been more important than now to create an employee-centric culture, one that empowers your team with the tools and capabilities they need to be successful. This approach is a game-changer, and companies that apply it will set themselves up to be the employers of choice.

Are you ready to put employees at the center of your corporate culture?

 

Learn more at dxc.com/modern-workplace

 

 

 

About the author

About the author

Mike McDaniel is president of Modern Workplace at DXC Technology. He is responsible for DXC’s Modern Workplace business, leading innovation and growth, managing all activities and a global staff, and achieving customer expectations.