IT Service Desks: It’s Time to Understand the Importance of Employee Experience

InvGate April 8, 2020

One of the hottest IT service management (ITSM) trends right now is employee experience. But what does this mean for your IT service desk? Especially in light of the COVID-19 crisis, where employees might be working remotely and/or under different kinds of work pressures. Where it’s more important than ever to help up employee productivity, with employee experience playing an important role – and your IT service desk therefore needs to understand its importance. From what employee experience is in your organization’s context, to what needs to be done.

However, while there are lots of fancy definitions out there as to what employee experience is there’s not so much in terms of practical help. This blog aims to redress this, with our answers to a number of common employee-experience

1. Is a version of customer experience for employees really applicable in the workplace?

First, employee experience isn’t a direct translation of customer experience (CX) to internal service and support scenarios. More on this shortly. Second, we see it as being similar to asking whether bring your own device (BYOD) would become a reality over a decade ago. It, on the one hand, depends on the power of employees in driving business strategies and operations (like they did with BYOD). And, on the other, it depends on the productivity of these employees and the resulting business impact (again as with BYOD or the changing range of corporate hardware available to employees). 

2. So, employee experience matters to IT service desks then?

The short answer is “Yes.” First, getting the right type of employee feedback is important to your IT service desk’s ongoing relevance through focused improvement activity. Second, the “killer app” for employee experience is improving employee productivity. This is backed by Forrester Research’s statement that “Psychological research shows that the most important factor for employee experience is being able to make progress every day toward the work that they believe is most important.” 

In support of this conclusion, Finnish employee experience management company HappySignals has been helping customers to measure their IT service desk’s employee experience in terms of employee happiness (and the reasons for happiness and unhappiness) plus the level of employee lost productivity for much longer. They’ve also shown that these two measures are inversely correlated – the higher the employee happiness, the lower the level of lost productivity. And, consequently, the adverse impact the lost productivity caused by IT issues and the related support has on business operations and outcomes.

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3. Are budget-strapped IT support organizations on board with employee experience?

ITSM.tools research into employee experience adoption in 2019 found that half of the respondents already think that employee experience is important to their IT organization and another quarter will do so by 2021. Just 18% think that employee experience will never be important. 

For all IT service desks though, not only those struggling with funding, it ultimately depends on how their parent organization views IT support. If the IT service desk is merely seen as a cost of quality, and IT support is constantly being driven to reduce costs, then employee experience will be a hard sell. However, if they instead understand and appreciate that the IT service desk is a vital enabler to business operations, then they’re more likely to support and invest in the delivery of a better employee experience (given the positive impact on employee productivity).

4. How’s best to check if your IT support capabilities match up to employee expectations?

The simplest route is to speak with your largest group of business stakeholders, whether you call them customers, end users, business colleagues, or something else. Ask them what works for them and what doesn't. Some of what they share will be the “hurtful truth” and some will merely be their perception of how things are. Either way, it’s all good feedback to help you to understand where the improvement opportunities lie. Then there’s the need for positive action and the measurement of progress and success. 

Hopefully, the above offers helpful insight into the importance of employee experience to IT service desks. If your organization has successfully improved IT service desk, and even business, performance thanks to employee experience measurement, then please share any tips you have in the comments.

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