Optimizing your digital employee experience (DEX): a complete guide

Your digital employee experience plays a crucial role in how productive and engaged your employees are. Learn to create an amazing virtual experience.

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Try to imagine a work setting that doesn’t contain at least one screen. 

These days, you probably can’t.

Retail associates use point-of-sale machines, truck drivers rely on GPS systems, and warehouse staff checks their schedules on mobile devices.

Though technology at work is a given, a satisfying digital employee experience is not. 

Due to the rapid adoption of new technology, there’s still plenty of room for workplaces to optimize the digital employee experience. 

Just as it is essential to make sure your employee’s environment is conducive to their work, it’s important that their digital work environment facilitates their work. 

Digital employee experience

The digital employee experience is the sum of the interactions that employees have with technology in the workplace. It covers everything from emails to internal comms and any technology they need to complete their job. 

What exactly makes up this experience? 

Let’s take a look:

  • Messaging: Real-time communication like chats, email, and internal feeds.
  • Productivity: Calendars and tools that enable work.
  • Communication: Blogs, announcements, new initiatives, and documentation.
  • Company resources: Human resources access portals, training manuals, and org charts.

These are just a few of the digital touchpoints that exist right now. The workplace is rapidly changing, largely due to the pandemic. 

McKinsey shares that 85% of companies accelerated their workplace digitization due to the pandemic, and the trend is likely to continue. 

Bar chart of how businesses have adopted various digitization trends.

It’s clear that remote work is here to stay, and going forward, the future of work can’t exist without a digital element. 

Respondents in a recent survey said that 98% of all meetings are projected to have at least one remote participant. 

Difference between employee experience and digital employee experience 

You already organize team-building activities and strive to create an open, productive culture. 

Why does the digital element of your employee experience need special attention? 

Though the digital employee experience is related to the overall employee experience, there are some key differences. 

First, there’s substantially more room for analysis and measurement in digital experiences. That means you can easily identify pain points in your overall system with the right tools.

But that also means you need a separate skillset and even software to optimize your digital employee experience. 

Second, the digital employee experience requires more emphasis on communication and collaboration. 44% of remote employees report missing important information that was only shared in person. 

Additionally, 20% of remote employees list communication and collaboration as their biggest challenges.

Pie chart of the biggest struggles with working remotely

With teams across time zones and countries and even just moments delayed on video chats, digital communication requires tech that makes collaboration easy and enjoyable. 

How to create an amazing digital employee experience

An excellent digital experience can make all the difference in your workplace. But it can be hard to know where to start. 

Here’re the key areas to focus on to get you started: 

1. Update technology

The bottom line is if your tech is frustrating to use, it will create a bad experience. 

35% of employees feel their job is harder due to outdated processes and technology. So the first step to creating a great digital employee experience is updating your software.  

2. Bring in the right resources

Perfecting a digital workspace takes work and know-how. 

That means you may need the support of a knowledgeable HR team, IT departments, and internal communications professionals. It’s also critical to invest in the right tools to support a digital workplace. 

Whether you pick and choose a variety of platforms or select an all-in-one solution, the right software is a vital part of the digital employee experience. 

3. Align with your overall employee experience

Ideally, your employee experience blends seamlessly both in-person and digitally. 

Observe your current employee experience across different dimensions. How do workers prefer to communicate with each other? What tools do they use most often in their workflows? 

If you’re implementing several tools, don’t go too quickly. This can overwhelm your employees and undercut adoption. 

4. Tailor each digital experience

Just as roles in your business differ, their technology needs vary as well. 

There won’t be a blanket solution that works for your frontline staff and your desk workers. That’s why you should develop user personas for your most common use cases. Then, work through what user experience would look like for each end-user. 

It can also be helpful to choose tools that let employees customize their own end-user experience. 

Impact of an amazing digital experience on the organization

While it may take time to get just right, optimizing your digital employee experience is well worth the effort. That’s because it leads to: 

Greater employee productivity

Employee satisfaction is the key to productivity. Connected workers with the tools they need to do their work are happier and better at their jobs. 

Research shows that organizations with strong digital social networks are 7% more productive. 

Higher employee engagement

Employee retention can be a high cost in a business. A disengaged workforce is more likely to jump ship given a better opportunity. 

But if you provide the tools to create relationships, grow their career, and help them do their best work, your workers are more likely to feel engaged and stay. 

More efficient and profitable business

An effective digital employee experience has a direct impact on your bottom line. SAP shares that 80% of organizations with a strong commitment to digital transformation see increased profits.

Visualization of 80% of leaders say the transformation has increased profitability versus 53% of all others. 

Best tools to support DEX

If you’re ready to start optimizing your digital employee experience, you’ll probably want to source some software to help you get the job done. 

Here’s an overview of the types of digital tools you can expect: 

HR software

Empower employees to manage their paychecks and time off from anywhere. A self-service tool like Namely allows you to manage paychecks, onboarding, and performance reviews.

Employee intranet

At a minimum, an intranet should create a centralized place for updates, company information, and conversations. 

Many newer offerings create a hub for experience management and employee engagement. For a list of top intranet providers, check out our recommendations

Collaboration tools

More than just messages, teammates need a shared space to work on projects and ideas. One of the largest providers of collaboration tools is Microsoft Office 365.

Communication tools

Workplace messages have come a long way from the days of email alone. 

Now you have a slew of options from video calls, chats, and virtual whiteboards. Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams are powerful communication tools for organizations big and small. 

All-in-one

Building your digital employee experience brick by brick could make it difficult to create a seamless, fully integrated experience. 

That’s why providers like Blink created a mobile-first employee app that does it all. From a personalized news feed to workforce metrics, Blink has you covered. 

Blink mobile app’s feed pages showing photos, text posts, and video.

The complete guide to optimizing your digital employee experience

Considering the digital aspect of your employee experience is more important than ever. Due to rapid technological transformation, today’s workplace exists across in-person and virtual spaces. 

By updating your technology, aligning your employee experience goals across all channels, sourcing tools, and customizing your digital experience, you will reap the many benefits of an excellent digital employee experience.

You will get productive and loyal employees and achieve higher profits.