Finding a Path to Peak Digital Employee Experience

  • October 20, 2022

Improving the digital employee experience (DEX) has become a critical focus area for companies in every industry. In the modern ways of working, when nearly all work is tied to technology, it’s more important than ever that digital tools and services empower and delight employees, not frustrate them and impede their productivity. Eliminating friction points in the digital workplace ecosystem is key to boosting productivity, performance, and satisfaction, all leading to better business outcomes.

While the concept of DEX has been congealing for years, companies have just begun to recognize its true significance. A 2021 Digital Worker Experience survey by Gartner® found that by 2025, more than 50% of IT organizations will use digital employee experience to prioritize and measure digital initiative success, a significant increase from fewer than 5% in 20211.

Indeed, only a small number of organizations can claim to provide a peak digital experience for their workforce, and even for them, it must be monitored and refined continuously. Here are some insights and recommendations to help companies across industries reach the next level of DEX excellence.

Why do some companies struggle with DEX?

The world of work has changed dramatically over the last two decades as technology has gradually shifted away from traditional office environments and toward a hybrid model of in-person and work-from-anywhere arrangements. While most companies have been adapting at their own pace, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the transition and placed extreme urgency on firms to fully support a remote workforce. Even as the dust of the pandemic settles, many IT organizations are still scrambling to get their arms around the employee experience in today’s reality.

The employee experience can suffer as companies grapple with misaligned priorities across different departments. And a lack of internal experience and expertise in managing DEX can make it difficult to identify priorities and coordinate a cohesive plan.

Phases of the Peak Digital Employee Experience Journey

It is always recommended to think of DEX from a chronological perspective. Specifically, the employee lifecycle can be broken down into several key stages, which helps define a company’s approach to DEX.

  • Preboarding/Onboarding (0-30 days). When an employee is hired, their DEX with the company begins. As the IT team creates the new team member’s identity in the system, grants security permissions, and supplies them with required hardware and software, the goal should be to help that person hit the ground running and be productive from their first day on the job.
  • The Settling-in Phase (30-180 days). Even after employees’ base-level technology needs are met, IT should monitor for red flags that could indicate a less-than-optimal DEX. For example, repeated searches for basic information, overtaxed computing resources, or frequent service requests are hints that an employee may be struggling with technology.
  • Ongoing Adaptation. As long as employees work at the company, their digital experience continually evolves. Employees may gain more responsibilities, begin managing others, or change to a new role, which may impact their technology needs.

Thinking in these phases and being prepared to meet employees’ needs proactively can help companies prevent many friction points that spoil the employee experience.

Get down to specifics

It’s one thing to speak conceptually about DEX, but putting in place concrete actions that move the needle is quite another. To see real improvement, companies must grasp what DEX means to their employees and know how to measure what’s helping versus hurting. Here are three important aspects that digital workplace leaders must consider:

1. Go beyond generic personas. Companies intent on improving IT services often develop user personas to represent different groups of employees and their varying technology needs. But while some IT teams may be content to adopt cookie-cutter user personas like “accounting staff” or “sales executive,” it is recommended to dig deeper into a specific industry or functional attributes that make a person’s job unique. For example, a customer service agent at an airline may have very different technology needs than someone with the same title at a hospital or a bank. Understanding the nuances of employees’ day-to-day existence can go a long way toward providing the digital experience they need to be successful.

2. Use modern tools to monitor and measure. Anecdotal input may be helpful to gauge the quality of the digital experience, but there’s no substitute for complex data taken directly from IT systems themselves. Leading DEX management solutions can automatically keep track of known indicators and provide a dashboard of useful metrics. At NTT DATA, we typically monitor and assign scores to aspects such as Technology Assets (do employees have the right equipment and apps for their role?); Productivity (are employees working efficiently or are they getting stuck?); Security (are the proper settings in place to reduce risk?); Support (are calls being answered and tickets resolved on time?); and Wellness (are employees overscheduled and working too many hours?). When the data reveals undesirable patterns, it’s an opportunity to improve the digital experience.

3. Consider the complete client experience. While it’s important to measure DEX at the individual level, companies shouldn’t lose sight of the big picture. After all, the ultimate goal of improving the technology experience of employees is to drive better business outcomes. So it’s essential to look at how technology is serving the organization as a whole. At NTT DATA, we recommend our clients focus on holistic experience level agreements (XLAs) instead of traditional metrics like infrastructure stability (i.e., uptime), ticket volume, or time-to-ticket resolution. When XLAs are designed and implemented intelligently, they can help the IT department raise its game to a new level and, in turn, unlock heightened employee performance across the enterprise.

A worthwhile endeavor

Like many technology initiatives, improving the digital experience across an enterprise isn’t as simple as launching an employee portal or fixing a few bugs. It requires extensive research of what employees need, technical expertise to implement new technologies and services, and a fair amount of organizational change management to ensure new ways of working take hold. But while change won’t occur overnight, it is undoubtedly worth pursuing. Because now more than ever, employees judge the quality of a company based on its ability to provide a seamless and frustration-free digital experience. Like never before, they depend on it to serve customers, drive innovation, and make critical business decisions. By making DEX a top priority, IT teams and technology partners have unprecedented opportunities to define their company’s long-term success.

Learn more about how our Digital Workplace Services can help elevate the employee experience and improve productivity for your organization.


1 Gartner, Deliver Peak Digital Employee Experience Excellence in 4 Steps, Tori Paulman, Lane Severson, Jim Murphy, Jason Wong, Helen Poitevin, Dan Wilson,2nd February 2022

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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Vishal Brown

Vishal is the Chief Evangelist and Dynamic Workplace Leader at NTT DATA with over 20 years of industry experience. Focused on elevating the employee experience and productivity, he brings modern workplace expertise and leverages AI, automation, machine learning to enable the digital workplace ecosystem.

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