When people working in IT roles hear the term “employee experience,” they might think that it relates to creating a happier workforce – perhaps one that’s more motivated and engaged. Or they might think that it’s about treating business colleagues (or end-users) as customers to match how they’re treated as consumer-world customers. In having this opinion, they’re not wrong, but this is a limited view of what employee experience is about and, ultimately, what it means for IT support teams.
If you work in, manage, or are responsible for the performance of an IT support team – whether in-house or outsourced – and are looking to understand better how the increasing profile of, and demands related to, employee experience affects it, then this blog is for you.
Understanding what employee experience is
If you’ve taken the time to Google “employee experience,” you’ll have found that it’s a case of “if you ask ten people for their opinion on something, you’ll likely get eleven different opinions.” In some ways, such as situation is okay. But when you need to help an IT support team transition from what are potentially traditional IT support mindsets (fueled by traditional IT support strategies, policies, processes, and performance metrics), there must be a shared view of what employee experience is and what it means to your organization and its employees.
For many employees, employee experience is about their ability to do the work they need to do when they need to do it. Their ability to be productive and not be subjected to the frustration and unnecessary friction in corporate IT support capabilities that causes them to lose productivity. For example, our data shows that each time a support ticket is reassigned (where the employee and their issue is “bounced” between resolution groups or people), they lose an extra hour of productivity. Something that can only adversely affect the employee experience.
Avoidable reassignments are an experience and productivity-related issue that’s likely never fully understood or addressed using traditional IT support metrics and is a good jump-off point to look at what employee experience really means for IT support teams.'Avoidable reassignments are an experience and productivity-related issue that’s likely never fully understood or addressed using traditional IT support metrics' – @SamiKallioHki #EX #servicedesk Click To Tweet
Why employee experience is essential to IT support teams (and their organizations)
In some ways, “IT support” is a misnomer born of traditional IT management approaches (and when IT was managed as separate technology domains rather than consumable services). Thankfully more and more organizations have realized that what IT service desks, or similar, need to do isn’t IT support, but people support. Or, to be more precise, people enablement.
This view started to gain traction with what the IT industry termed “the consumerization of IT” – with this focused on the suitability of devices, applications, and potentially cloud services provided to employees for them to do their jobs efficiently. It then became as much about the offered service and support capabilities, with the now-better, consumer-like IT services also needing consumer-like service and support experiences too.'Employee experience management is far more important than IT support teams simply meeting higher employee expectations.' – @SamiKallioHki #EX #ITsupport Click To Tweet
This change might be a great response to the question, “Why should employees receive inferior service and support experiences at work (versus what they receive outside of work)?” But employee experience management is far more important than IT support teams simply meeting higher employee expectations. Instead, there needs to be the realization that while employees are struggling with IT issues, their productivity is being adversely affected – with them potentially unable to do the work they need to do (at least efficiently). This issue is shown in The Global IT Experience Report (H2/2021) data – when the various IT support channels for incidents are compared in terms of employee lost productivity.
So, suppose your IT organization encourages end-users to move from the telephone channel to self-service, where ten minutes of IT support time might be saved per “deflected” ticket. However, end-users believe that they’ve on average lost an additional 101 minutes of productivity by using the self-service channel. Plus, it needs to be remembered that this aggregated data view is from all HappySignals customers – old and new – and paints a better picture of the employee experience by channel than the global averages due to experience-related improvements already having been made.
What this means for IT support teams
The HappySignals approach measures employee happiness and lost productivity levels, with the causes captured as “factors.” This data gives our customers granular insights into experienced-based issues and their root causes and, importantly, fuels data-driven decisions on the changes that will improve employee experience (and business operations and outcomes as a consequence). But getting the data is just the start.
It’s a good start because it accomplishes many things – from demonstrating the commitment to improving service and support capabilities, through better understanding what’s working or not from an employee perspective, to creating a platform for data-driven improvement.
People might have questioned the success of your IT self-service portal based on low levels of end-user uptake, but did anyone know about the additional lost productivity? Or, using more of The Global IT Experience Report (H2/2021) data, for the average IT service desk, the most common factors that contribute to poor end-user experiences are:
- The end-user’s issue(s) not being solved despite ticket closure
- Slowness of service
- The end-user has to reexplain their issue and provide details repeatedly, i.e. they are bounced between people
All of which affect employee productivity.
How many of these adverse factors apply to your IT support team? The answer is that you probably don’t know, especially without experience-based feedback on what matters most to employees.
This blog only scratches the surface on the importance of experience data to IT support teams. If you’d like to learn more about the data available in the report, please watch our webinar recording.
Sami Kallio is the CEO of HappySignals, a company focused on helping businesses to improve their internal services by shifting the focus from traditional metrics to employee experience - by measuring and analysing employee happiness and productivity. Sami says:” I believe that enterprises should no longer try to save more money from support services. Rather that organizations should put more focus on business value. At HappySignals we help organizations to measure and understand their employees' experience and productivity in a new way."