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Employee-Centric Solutions Need to be First Stop on the Enterprise Software Journey 

Summary: In a ReWorked magazine article, the author highlights the overlooked importance of enhancing employee experiences through suitable digital tools. Despite recognizing employees as a valuable asset, many companies fail to prioritize usability and satisfaction. The article suggests that a well-designed tech stack not only attracts and retains talent but also has financial benefits. Challenges in enterprise software stem from neglecting the employee perspective, leading to workarounds and security issues.

For all the effort companies are making to reimagine and improve customer experiences across every touchpoint, they’re often missing the mark because they haven’t put enough focus on another audience – their very own employees.

This is a topic I explored recently in an article for ReWorked magazine. Many of us have heard companies touting that their employees are their biggest asset, yet they’re often not giving them the right digital tools to make their lives easier. Very often, usability, user satisfaction and user friendliness is an afterthought at best.  

Today, when there continues to be a shortage of talent for critical enterprise positions, an innovative tech stack can be a competitive differentiator. Beyond its ability to attract and retain employees and boost brand image, software that provides a good employee experience has financial consequences as well. Software that is intuitive, easy-to-use, flexible and makes an employee’s job easier saves billable time, increases productivity and reduces costly errors.  

So why has enterprise software failed to deliver when it comes to employees? This is a question I tried to address in my article. Part of the problem is that enterprises have never been obligated to consider the employee perspective. Yet, when employees find the digital tools they’re given to be an obstacle to productivity instead of a solution, they’ll often develop their own work-arounds, or pull in their own solutions and tools, which not only cause IT chaos, but can pose security challenges as well. 

Boosting the employee experience, however, is easier said than done. Below are some best practices for bringing your employees the digital tools that truly help them succeed. 

Make employees the customer.  In reality, your employees are the customer of your value, culture and mission, and should be treated as such. This means valuing their input, treating them with respect and investing in the tools that empower them to succeed. 

Begin with human-centric design. Before any product search begins, meetings and workshops should be conducted with all employee end-users and stakeholders to understand their pain points, identify the real business problems and clearly articulate the goals. 

Understand that there’s more than productivity. While productivity, efficiency and a robust system is important, ask yourself if a particular solution is desirable and can bring enjoyment – two traits that have not been part of the conversation until now.    

Design work/life solutions.  The lines between work and personal life are blurring and today’s employees are looking for enterprise software that can make their lives easier, healthier and bridge the work/lifestyle gap. For example, can software tell you when you’ve been sitting for too long and suggest that you walk around the office? Can it integrate with your iPhone apps to remind you to pick up dry cleaning before 5:00? 

Look for constant feedback. By gaining regular employee feedback, continuous improvements can be integrated to ensure that the solutions employees use remain relevant, usable and provide a good experience. 

According to a Wall Street Journal article, which referred to a Microsoft study, the average employee spends 57 percent of their time using office software for communication. It’s time that software is designed to give them a better user experience, by giving them a say in the decision-making process.

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