In the ‘Age of the Employee’ where workers have more job options and leverage than ever before, the digital employee experience is not only the number one enabler of hybrid work, it’s also an important differentiator when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. In fact, one in five Australian employees and almost half of all C-suite executives have considered quitting their job because of tech frustrations, according to the new Digital Employee Experience report by Ivanti.

Impact of the pandemic on the retail industry

The pandemic ushered in a new era in retail as brands quickly digitised their consumer experiences. Businesses introduced home delivery, launched apps and automated processes, meaning employees had to adapt to new technologies and ways of working while often battling supply chain issues and resource gaps.

Today, retailers are managing a hybrid workforce and shopping model, where consumers want a consistent, seamless and personalised experience, a level of service that relies on the support of a fully engaged and motivated workforce.

As a result of the emerging hybrid shopping model, employees must manage more devices and apps, with nearly nine out of 10 (85 per cent) saying that they work across multiple systems and apps now. This applies to both front-line staff, who manage in-store transactions across devices, and back-office staff, who are running e-commerce platforms, managing stock levels and digital marketing campaigns.

Despite this new model, businesses are failing to prioritise the digital work experience. More than half (65 per cent) of C-level managers believe leadership prioritises profitability over the digital employee experience, even though six in 10 employees say that how they interact with technology impacts their morale.

Employees feel unsupported

Employees need to feel well supported to do their job properly, and that includes access to reliable, efficient IT. Interestingly, less than half (45 per cent) of Australian employees go to IT first when faced with technical difficulties. Instead, one in three (36 per cent) will turn to their coworkers for IT support. This is partly due to poor IT processes, as a quarter (25 per cent) of employees believe that the time it takes for IT to solve an issue is the greatest challenge in their digital work environment.

Fortunately, there are simple strategies businesses can implement to enhance the digital employee experience.  

Measure the digital employee experience

How do you improve something if you can’t see it? Go to the source, the employees. However, gathering feedback through surveys and emails can be challenging due to an already stretched team and preconceived notions that IT tasks are time-consuming. This resistance can make it difficult to build a holistic picture, so businesses should consider automating measurement processes. To better quantify the impact of the digital employee experience, businesses should also focus on insights around the common issues affecting productivity, such as slow devices and connection issues.

Ensure visibility of endpoint devices

Unfortunately, only half (51 per cent) of IT professionals believe their company has full visibility into all devices with access to their network. This means there may be undiscovered devices with access to important data. Ensuring that these devices are managed and visible in the network is imperative. This can be done by employing software such as Ivanti Endpoint Manager. Device visibility not only enables businesses to put essential cyber security measures in place, it also ensures that issues can be resolved efficiently and often through automation of processes.

Proactive communication

If businesses want to keep employees satisfied, they must implement a proactive approach to IT. This means alerting employees to IT outages and updates in real time, just as customers have become accustomed to receiving personalised, timely updates from their online bank when a transaction is made, or Amazon when a delivery is due. There is nothing more frustrating than experiencing an IT outage and not knowing what is happening or when the issue will be resolved. Leaders need to consider the employee journey when they encounter an IT problem and ensure employees can access support in a timely manner.

By improving the digital employee experience, retail businesses will have a significantly better chance of countering the talent shortage by keeping current employees happy and productive, while attracting new talent to bolster the team for long-term success.

Penelope Feros is vice president of Asia Pacific for employee experience management at Ivanti.