VMware, a leading innovator in enterprise software, has released a study into the state of digital workspace technologies which reveals that high growth companies that invest more in the digital employee experience are more likely to achieve business growth, have a progressive culture, retain talent and be rated as a top place to work by their employees.
Two thirds of employees (66%) across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) report that the flexibility of digital tools required for work would influence their decision to apply for or accept a position at a company, with 70% of all respondents saying their current employer should be placing more importance on this.
However, if companies are to reap the rewards of digital workspace technologies, greater collaboration between HR and IT is needed to improve the digital employee experience. Employee education is required to remove ambiguity over who is responsible for providing employees with a positive digital experience, with 49% of employees not knowing if they should approach HR or IT about their experience, and 21% feeling this is another barrier to delivering a positive experience.
In addition, the research demonstrates how surveyed organisations that have higher rates of growth** provide more digital experience factors, that include having access to devices, tools, apps and technology wherever they perform work activities, to their employees (6, on average), compared to companies that have lower rates of revenue growth (3-4, on average). For example, those that are underperforming/not growing are much less likely to give employees the freedom to work from their personal device (36%), give access to applications that enable productivity from day one (36%) and provide applications on any device for their most important tasks (excluding email) (47%), compared to those experiencing high growth/hypergrowth (76%, 68% and 93%, respectively).
And while there are different people who respondents see as ultimately responsible for the digital experience, 84% of employees are calling for HR and IT to work better together, particularly given that only 18% of employees report HR and IT collaborate all of the time, with eight in 10 respondents saying HR should be given more responsibility in improving the digital employee experience.
“Too often, the conversation about digital transformation focuses on the technology and leaves out a key ingredient to a winning strategy – attracting and retaining the best talent,” says Ian Jansen van Rensburg, senior systems engineer at VMware. “To compete for the best talent, companies are prioritising employee experience, which encompasses technology, workstyle and culture.”
Delivering a better digital employee experience also plays a role in workforce sentiment.
Respondents who say their organisation gives them the ability to work from anywhere as easily as from the office are significantly more likely to say they are proud of their organisation, compared to respondents whose company does not enable the freedom to work from anywhere (72% compared to 27%, respectively). They are also more likely to claim their organisation has a progressive culture (73% vs. 25%), is recognised as one of the top places to work (71% vs. 28%) and provides good work-life balance (70% vs. 28%).
“It’s very important that we give our employees the opportunity to shape their working environment as they see best fit for themselves,” says Dirk Eckert, managing director, Individual Solutions and Products, Deutsche Telekom. “Traditional values influencing how people picked a company as an employer were job security, a good salary and company benefits, but choice of how, where and with what device you can work is becoming increasingly important, especially for young people.”
A third of respondents who say that there are challenges to delivering the optimum digital experience cite a lack of understanding of what employees want as the biggest obstacle, followed by it not being considered a business priority (20%). Almost two thirds (61%) of employees feel like they don’t even have a voice when it comes to the tools they can use at work, despite 83% of ITDMs believing they do give employees a voice in this area.
Says Jansen van Rensburg: “Leaders committed to improving employee experience are adopting the digital workspace, a concept VMware pioneered three years ago. A digital workspace platform fuels modern digital experiences, which is critically important to current and prospective employees as well as improving other key business outcomes.”
Jean Pierre Brulard, senior vice president and EMEA general manager, VMware, says: “The key to any company’s success is its human capital. It allows them to innovate, execute and lead in the marketplace. But as talented employees find more adaptable job options that are amenable to their lifestyles and career goals, employers have no choice but to compete harder than ever to attract and retain them.”
About the research
*In March and April 2019, 3,600 EMEA employees (1,800), IT decision makers (900) and HR decision makers (900) who use computer/smart devices for work purposes were interviewed. The number of respondents from each EMEA country were: UK (600), Germany (600), France (600), Italy (200), Netherlands (200), Russia (200), Poland (200), Norway (200), Sweden (200), Spain (200), UAE (200) and Saudi Arabia (200). They were from organisations in a range of public and private sectors and their organisation had to have an employee size of 500 employees or more.
**Companies cited as experiencing high growth/hypergrowth YoY on average have 6.3 digital employee experience factors out of ten, compared to 3.7 factors in companies not experiencing growth.