So often businesses are told that customers come first, but global enterprise Virgin has shown us that this is not always the case. For Richard Branson it is quite simple: happy employees are likely to result in happy customers. And happy employees are often a result of the experience their workplace is able to create for them. In their day-to-day lives, employees are used to their seamless use of technology thanks to smartphones, tablets and the countless apps like Uber that make life easier.

When it comes to the technology they use in the workplace, employees have the same expectations of a seamless and easy experience. But many businesses still rely on clunky, legacy technology that is slow, difficult to use and counter-intuitive. When we think of a good digital experience, certain elements immediately come to mind –mobile-first, chatbots, a great user interface. But we often overlook the power of collaboration. Enabling your employees to easily work together and seamlessly communicate with customers can help to improve productivity, motivation and employee well-being. For retailers, employees are often the face of the business, so getting employee experience (EX) right is key. Here are three ways collaboration tools can lead to a better EX:

Boosting productivity

When multiple people work on documents and content separately it makes it difficult to keep track of ‘the latest’ version – especially when someone forgets to ‘track changes’. This results in back and forth, stop/start conversations that take more time than they should, as well as version control issues. We are all too familiar seeing a folder with five versions of the same document labelled V1, V2, V3 and so on.Rightly or wrongly, there’s something about an email attachment that is sent for ‘approval/review’ that makes people feel compelled to change that document in some way, to leave their mark and suggest ‘improvements’. When working collaboratively however, this dynamic shifts. Working collaboratively on one document makes for greater ideas and less internal review time as colleagues build instantaneously on others’ ideas to reach the end point much faster. It is not only a time saver -a collaborate approach allows for that ‘light bulb’ moment to happen much quicker by working together.

Making motivation a priority

Recent research by Atlassian found that people who work in teams are 80 percent more likely to report high emotional well-being. Working with one goal on one piece of work as a team actually helps employees to feel valued and connected to their work. This positive team-player mentality has an integral link to how motivated an employee is and their attitude towards their workplace.

For REA Group, a leader in the Australian real estate space, deploying Box has helped their teams to work better together. By collaborating, they have transformed how their teams work on content to be more productive and efficient. But it has also helped them to transform to a truly digital workplace. Given 86 percent of employees and executives identify a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as a reason for workplace failures, according to research by Salesforce, it is clear that being connected to colleagues plays a big role in how employees are committed and motivated to their job.

Enabling more seamless communication between employees and customers

Retail is a customer service-based industry, meaning employees will inevitably be communicating with customers on an hourly or daily basis, from placing orders to sending invoices to managing returns. For customers,there is no greater annoyance than having these touch points with retail staff be repetitive and result in them having to re-share information over and over again. Collaboration tools make it easier for customers and employees to work together so the communication process is seamless, without any repetitive interactions.

For REA Group, enabling better communication with customers was one of the key outcomes of their deployment of Box. REA Group’s sales team often work on the road, visiting prospects and new clients to run through their offerings. Easy access to key product information and customer information while on the road is key to this. Using Box, the sales team are able to save 15 hours a week by accessing key documents from their devices. Not only a time-saver for the sales staff, it made the process of working with customers quicker and easier.

The benefits that collaboration tools provide are no longer ‘nice to haves’ for an organisation. No matter what industry a business operates in, finding high quality talent is becoming a big challenge.

Organisations should be implementing best of breed applications to give employees the best experience possible at work. Without good EX, organisations will run the risk of losing their talent to more agile competitors.

Scott Leader is regional vice president for content management and workflow company, Box ANZ