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Why IT is an integral part of employee experience

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Learn everything you need to know about IT’s role in shaping employee experience and how to help your teams embrace the tools they need to do their best work.

Have you heard of employee experience before? You might not know it yet, but your job as an IT manager or admin is absolutely crucial in shaping it in your organization.  

Think about how IT solves people’s problems. Think about the interactions created in this process. Do you know how people feel about IT? And when people work remotely and join virtual meetings or use their online tools, do they feel included and integrated? Or do they feel overwhelmed? 

Well, employee experience is about that—but not only that. In this article, we’ll discuss the impact IT can have on productivity and employee experience and how you can improve it.

What is employee experience?

Employee experience (EX) is how a team member absorbs and internalizes any interactions or touchpoints throughout their journey with your organization. Those can be:  

  • Interviews during the hiring process  
  • Onboarding & offboarding  
  • Training
  • Interactions with the manager and team  
  • Dealing with health and well-being  
  • Managing remote work  
  • Promotions  
  • Employee surveys
  • Etc.  

Designing EX is not a process or a project but a strategy that the C-suite needs to embrace and the employee must recognize. It’s also cross-functional, meaning it’s not encapsulated in HR or any other department. Ultimately, EX impacts retention, health, productivity, leadership, and trust.  

In a way, employee experience also relates to how different industries deal with other “experiences.” It’s not that different from, say, retailers optimizing the “customer experience” or a startup building a meaningful “user experience” for a mobile app or software. All these examples are about fostering better interactions, making people feel good, and driving results.  

As Marc Anderson said in our expert roundtable, “The Evolution of IT:”

“We used to talk about building good UI, then we started to talk about user experience, and now we’re talking about employee experience. It’s a progression of the same concepts.”

Marc Anderson, Microsoft MVP

The role of IT in shaping the employee experience

As mentioned before, planning a successful EX should consider many different factors and stakeholders—such as technology and IT. The role of IT is central since employees depend on the information and support you provide to use their online tools properly and access the digitally stored files and documents needed to do their jobs.  

Also, given the recent upswing of remote work, where interactions take place almost exclusively through apps and virtual platforms, it’s safe to say that the role of IT in shaping the employee experience is now more relevant than ever.  

Now let’s look at some practices and actions IT can take to ensure it’s fulfilling its role in shaping EX.

Helping people do their best work

From a tech standpoint, creating a meaningful employee experience means way more than just a few actions, like, say, revamping your intranet. First and foremost, organizations should focus on helping employees embrace the tools needed to do their best work. IT’s the main facilitator in this, enabling people to use the right tools, the right way, with more efficiency and less confusion.  

Here are just a few elements in which IT is central in helping coworkers:  

  • Clearly communicating what tools can and can’t be used and why  
  • Easily provide resources and information for the best possible tool usage  
  • Keeping communication channels open to provide support when needed  

However, as obvious as this mindset might be, it doesn’t happen easily. We know promoting the right tools is crucial to prevent shadow IT, mainly for security reasons. The problem is that, by preventing people from using specific tools, IT ends up being perceived as a blocker in their daily work. That’s why, as Microsoft MVP Maarten Eekels remarked in our expert roundtable, IT teams are often called “the Department of No.” 

The reason for this friction is that building trust can be challenging. First, it takes empathy: IT and coworkers must acknowledge that trusting and relying on each other is a two-way process. It also takes a lot, I mean a lot of communication, to ensure everyone’s on the same page about how this relationship needs to work. Doing that will pave the way to keeping people happy and in the fold while IT does its job of empowering employees and building a more secure workplace.  

“Make it easier and understandable where people can find things and how to use them. That’s what an employee experience platform is about.”

Maarten Eekels, Microsoft MVP

Empowering employees by enabling self-serve

Digital dexterity is a well-known fact in the modern workplace. People are more exposed to digital platforms in their daily lives than ever, dealing with user interfaces that make it easier for them to find their way and get through tasks. Besides, people don’t want to wait forever to get things done (as in creating an IT ticket for every little task and waiting for it to be resolved).  

This reality makes it easier for IT to enable self-serve. By dealing with tech-savvy coworkers, IT can feel better about being proactive and letting people do what they need by themselves, like running reports, finding documentation, or creating teams without waiting a long time before IT clears up their ticket queue. Meanwhile, IT can stop worrying about extinguishing fires and free up their own time for more value-add projects.  

To make it happen, it’s essential that IT sets the proper guardrails. Security shouldn’t be the price to pay for empowering employees, so delegating tasks to coworkers must come with the proper governance in place. For example, if you want to build templates so people create their own teams, you should do it with your organization’s governance policies built right in. (This is something you can do with ShareGate! More on that later.)  

“Instead of taking the steering wheel, we set the guardrails. This way, we still let people drive, but more safely.” 

Marc Anderson, Microsoft MVP

There’s one caveat, though: you might see digital dexterity everywhere, but it’s not the same as digital prowess. Don’t assume all coworkers will find their way seamlessly into the tools just because everybody has a smartphone these days, so be ready to provide efficient support when needed.

Being more proactive and involved

You know the stereotype: IT is this bunch of nerdy guys, isolated from the rest of the organization, who just care about technology. Is that always the case? Certainly not, but this image reflects the false perception that IT is a separate entity within organizations, who aren’t focused on the business’s goals or productivity.  

As an IT leader, you want to ensure your team is fully integrated with the rest of the company, sharing the same mission, values, and overall goals and understanding the difference they can make. Microsoft MVP Jasper Oosterveld mentioned that, in his work, whenever a governance strategy must be defined, IT and Business are brought together so they know from the start what’s essential and what the responsibilities are.  

That’s an example of how IT can be more supportive of the organization, building a proactive mindset where everyone in the team listens to the business and uses their expertise to help coworkers become more efficient and innovative.  This mentality also helps the rest of the organization understand IT better and makes its job more manageable.   

“I think IT is moving towards the COO (Chief Operating Officer) because this is the person who needs IT for their processes to become as efficient as possible and to stay ahead of the competition.”

Maarten Eekels, Microsoft MVP

ShareGate: your new best friend for shaping employee experience

One of the messages here is: the tools you use and promote will be central in designing the employee experience in your organization. And with ShareGate, you’ll have intuitive, best-in-class features and resources to bring forward the best possible EX in your Microsoft 365 environments. Let’s see how.  

  • Provisioning – With ShareGate’s provisioning, you’ll guide people to create the teams they need, the right way. Build templates that allow end users to collaborate the way they need to with your governance policies, increasing adoption and ensuring people only create the teams and resources they need.  
  • End-user app – Our end-user app’s intuitive interface will help you promote self-serve like never before. Here’s where your end users will easily create Microsoft teams using IT-approved templates, manage their own teams from start to finish, provide additional information when prompted, and resolve teams-related issues so you can free up time to keep your tenant secure and organized.  
  • Reporting – With our smart reports, you can go quickly from insights to resolution directly in your SharePoint and Teams analytics reports without leaving ShareGate. They enable you to take action and clean up your environments, monitor policy compliance, and modify permissions, making life easier for everyone.  
  • Administration – ShareGate’s management features allow you to declutter your environments and employ metadata best practices to make it easier for end users to find the content they need. They also simplify your day-to-day operations, helping you to resolve issues faster for people and cut your ticket queue in half.  
  • Automation – With ShareGate, you can automate your policies and everyday IT tasks to get your governance plan rolling. What’s more, automation also increases collaboration, helping you engage with owners to clean up, organize and govern your tenant in a snap. 

If you want to learn more about designing your employee experience with ShareGate, don’t take our word for it. Take Astrid’s, from Oxford Instruments, who improved collaboration with end users and streamlined her Microsoft 365 environments through ShareGate’s management features. 

Want to see more? Try ShareGate for free for 15 days—no credit card required. Or book a demo today and let one of our experts guide you through it!

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