As the employee experience has evolved over the past decade, so has the role of HR leaders in managing the employee journey.
This shift in responsibilities has given rise to new HR technology designed to help them better support their workforce. Enter the employee experience platform. Analyst Josh Bersin uses the term to refer to systems that make it easier to manage the many different needs of the workforce, from recruiting, hiring, and onboarding to performance management, internal communications, and the way employees navigate the office.
If you’re considering investing in an employee experience platform to simplify some of these functions, ask these 10 questions first.
Employee experience platform considerations
What’s driving our need for this platform?
While there will be some overlap, not every employee experience platform offers the same features. Before you start reaching out to solutions providers, you need to have a clear understanding of what objectives you hope to achieve and what level of ongoing support you need.
One good idea is to survey your workforce to find out what would make employees’ daily lives easier. This will help you determine the most important features so you only pay for what you and your employees will actually use.
How does it enable a safe return to the office?
Your employees’ most basic need is to feel safe — and if they don’t feel confident you’re taking reasonable measures to protect them from COVID-19, they won’t return.
It’s your job to put them at ease with new policies and return-to-work solutions.
That includes screening employees and visitors and helping them maintain at least six feet of space between themselves and others. Many employees also expect their employer to notify them if they may have been exposed to someone who tests positive.
An employee experience platform should allow employees to see which spaces are occupied so they can reserve a workstation a safe distance from their colleagues. It should also support wellness checks and contact tracing.
Does it empower employees?
The technology you provide to your workforce has a direct impact on the quality of the employee experience.
Any technology you invest in should empower employees by giving them everything they need to be productive at their fingertips. It should give them greater control over where and how they work and foster a sense of community. And it should fit easily into their daily routine without creating distractions.
Does it support a hybrid workplace?
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated flexible office space trends and inspired new approaches, including a hybrid workforce composed of remote and on-site employees. However, moving to a new model goes beyond updating your company policies.
If you’re considering making the transition to unassigned seating, a hybrid workforce, or any other flexible workplace management strategy, you’ll need an employee experience platform designed to help you manage it.
It should make it easy for employees to find the people and resources they need, reserve meeting rooms and workspaces, submit service requests, and receive packages or visitors wherever they are working.
It should also help you and your facilities team manage capacity and seating, make adjustments as needed, and plan for the future.
How does it help employees navigate the office environment?
When employers begin welcoming the workforce back into the office, they’ll have many new employees who will be there for the first time. With all you have to manage, you may not have time to give everyone a tour. Even for employees who are returning to the office after a year or more of working remotely, so much has changed.
They’ll need to know where to find cleaning supplies, closets for their personal belongings, and other essentials. They may need to navigate the office differently to avoid crowded entrances, exits, hallways, and stairwells.
They will also need help finding their colleagues if you no longer have assigned seats.
An employee experience platform that includes interactive maps anyone can access from their phone or digital displays helps bring calm to the chaos of returning.
How will it be incorporated into your existing workplace solutions?
Each year, companies waste thousands of dollars on technology that turns out to be redundant or underutilized.
If the platform you choose solves some problems but duplicates efforts in other areas, it may not be the best solution. Before you invest in anything new, work with your IT team to determine how the new system will integrate with the technology you already use. This keeps your technology solutions stack from becoming overly complex and difficult to manage.
It also reduces the need for expensive upgrades and maintenance — a big problem with on-premise software systems.
How easy is it for employees to use?
A report from IT platform Blissfully found the average mid-sized company uses 123 different apps, which means employees use about eight per day.
That’s a lot of toggling between apps and remembering different passwords.
A good employee experience platform should reduce the number of systems employees need to log into each day.
It should include mobile apps they can access anywhere. And the user experience should be so simple that they don’t need training — they can just download the app and get started.
Is it cloud-based software?
When discussing the platform with a potential provider, ask them if the solution is hosted, on-premise, or SaaS (software-as-a-service)-based. SaaS platforms generally take less time to implement and are more secure than hosted or on-premise solutions because the provider manages security and deploys updates automatically. They also tend to be less expensive and are accessible remotely.
You should also ask the provider how easily the solution can be scaled and configured as your organization’s needs change.
Does it facilitate collaboration and open communication?
Finding effective ways to communicate and collaborate in the digital workplace has never been more important (or more challenging).
An employee experience platform should enable employees to securely exchange information anywhere. It should break down data silos and simplify cross-team correspondence by acting as the single source of truth for all departments.
What types of data does it provide about your workforce?
An employee experience platform should support the productivity, safety, and well-being of the workforce while simultaneously providing HR professionals with valuable, real-time data about the workplace and its occupants.
It should offer visibility into workplace analytics such as average occupancy levels, workspace and meeting room utilization, and types of service requests.
In addition, it should offer analytics dashboards and reporting so each department can keep track of the metrics and KPIs that matter most.
For instance, the facilities management team will want to know about the average response time for service requests and the cost of maintenance labor.
Your IT team will want to know about response times for tech support and technology user adoption rates.
And your corporate real estate leaders need to keep a close eye on building occupancy and total costs per person.
With this insight, your leaders can make better decisions for your employees and your bottom line.
See our employee experience platform in action
An employee experience platform can revolutionize the way your company operates, helping you attract and retain top talent. Taking the time to ask the right questions can help you get closer to finding the right provider.
But the best way to evaluate solutions is to see them for yourself.
Our integrated experience management system (iXMS) is designed specifically to support your employees throughout their journey. It brings all the critical functions of workplace and facilities management into a single platform, giving you unprecedented visibility and functionality.
Ready for a closer look? Request a free demo today.