Four trends in workplace user experience can explain the paradox of why increased digital adoption has resulted in more talent attrition.

The past year has been testament to the value and importance of digital adoption. According to a recent Deloitte study, the enablement of digital platforms has allowed small businesses in the Asia Pacific region to become micro-multinational enterprises, as they now engage in cross-border operations and services for global buyers. 

With new organizations joining the fray daily, digitally transformed enterprises are now seeking to marry the digital with the human. Using analytics and data, organizations will now move on to monitor how employees are utilizing the technology platforms provided to them.

Sandie Overtveld, Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific, WalkMe

According to Sandie Overtveld, Vice President and General Manager (Asia Pacific), WalkMe: “In 2022, the (workplace) user experience will become paramount for true digital adoption: while technology is indeed digital, users are human. We believe that organizations that can bridge the gap between the digital and the user will achieve greater ROI.” 

Overtveld cited four user experience trends for the year ahead:

  1. Taking stock of DX with lightbulb moments
    Digital transformation (DX) has spurred a lot of investment over the last few years. In 2022, organizations are going to take stock and ask whether they are actually getting what they paid for. The result will be a lot of lightbulb moments where—rather than figure out why employees are leaving, organizations will review why the expensive DX projects did not produce the expected results.

    The good news is the identified problems can be fixed. Analytics can indicate where new technologies have not been adopted, and where the organization needs to focus its attention. While there may not be a 100% one-size-fits-all approach to increasing digital adoption, with the right tools organizations can onboard employees smoothly and give them the training and support they need to embrace new technology, instead of avoiding it.
  2. User-centricity will issue an ultimatum on workplace IT
    As with most technology, commonality in design and purpose is important to ensure its seamless use. As user-centricity becomes the standard for new technology success, most people will not find the same user-centric design when they return to the workplace. Research is showing that a substantial portion of workers would now quit over poor workplace technology: 2022 will be the last chance for many organizations to get their user experience right to prevent employee exoduses.

    Overtveld commented: “CIOs today understand that the bigger the company technology stack, the harder it is to go beyond the basics in terms of analyzing and improving employees’ user experience. If organizations can view across the entire ecosystem, they can analyze which applications are popular, which are ineffective, which ones employees avoid altogether; and exactly why that is. Does the onboarding process even explain how the application works? Are there easy ways for users to get help when they struggle? And have staff actually completed tutorials? Without this overarching view, organizations will struggle to match, let alone exceed, employees’ IT experience expectations.”
  3. With the Great Resignation must come Great Acceptance
    If new employees are frustrated with core areas of their new job, such as the technologies they are using, they will quickly become disengaged, be prone to error, require more assistance, and ultimately be more likely to quit.

    Organizations that are not prepared to accept and onboard new employees risk seeing these new hires walk straight back out of the door.

    “Businesses that want to avoid spending on average 50-60% of employees’ annual salaries finding replacements must accept that new hires are not overwhelmed and are well-equipped. A key part of this is giving a proper introduction to the software they will use, and reinforcing their understanding of these tools over time—in a way that itself is easy to understand, easy to use, and does not bury employees in a blizzard of tutorials for different applications. This will set them up to succeed, and give employers confidence that employees are definitely using the tools they have been given,” Overtveld said.

    Other than providing technological support, organizations can also tap into data to improve workplace communication at a time when remote workers grapple with making themselves ‘visible’ to their team and supervisors.
  4. Office frills will not retain talent: the tech stack will
    Gone are the days where ball pits, juice bars and air hockey are touted as key benefits in a working environment. With remote- and hybrid- work becoming a mainstay, the digital environment will be much more important than the office environment.

    This will make the technology stack an organizations’ head office and shop window—all rolled into one. If employees (or prospective employees) do not enjoy their digital experience, or feel they cannot use the tools they are given, they will be demotivated.

    In the same regard, customers would avoid a business that is frustrating to interact with.

Organizations need to be certain that all their technology is as easy to use as possible, with the right help and support at hand so that users can get the advice they need at any time. “Otherwise, they will find that, however glamorous their offices are, they are showing their worst face to the world,” Overtveld said.

With the right DX mindset and the right workplace UX to synergize technology with talent, the resultant ‘holistic workplace experience’ could pay off big time, according to other research.