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5 employee technology experience trends for 2023

The focus on employee technology experience is exploding. In just a few years, IT leaders have shifted their focus from meeting service level agreements (SLAs) to being a primary driver of the overall employee experience. In fact, the relationship between IT and HR is stronger than ever, with 85% of CIOs saying that they are working more closely with the CHROs than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

This focus on the employee technology experience could not come at a better time. As employees rapidly adjust to hybrid and remote working models, and teams become even more geographically distributed, IT leaders are coming to recognize a simple fact: poor technology experiences at work lead to lower employee productivity, retention and engagement.

In our 2023 Employee Technology Experience Study, we asked more than 33,000 full time workers across 25 countries and 26 industries how they feel about their experiences at work — and more importantly, how those experiences affect them.

As we continue into a new decade, the world of work is changing at an unprecedented rate — and it’s never been more important to understand just what employees want and need.

Here, we take a brief look at the top employee technology experience findings for 2023.

Finding 1: Perception of technology is okay, but not great.

Almost two-thirds (61%) of people say their technology allows them to be as productive as possible, but only 34% say their technology experience at work exceeds their expectations.

It seems counterintuitive. Technology is enabling nearly two-thirds of people to be as productive as possible at work, but even with this strong perception of productivity enablement, technology still does not exceed expectations. With the ubiquity and inexpensive nature of today’s consumer technology, this is the experience that people have come to expect in all elements of their lives, including the workplace.

Workplace technology is, in many cases, long-removed from homegrown solutions.

Finding 2: Focus must shift beyond the service desk to improve overall employee technology experience

Rapid response to issues, top-notch customer service and constant availability are hallmarks of today’s global service desks.

And it appears that this focus has worked.

In fact, 65% of people note that service desk agents at their organizations are courteous, and 63% note they are knowledgeable.

These are the first and fourth most positive items overall in our study.

Today, though, people are far more likely to be satisfied with these front lines of the IT department (i.e., service desk agents) than they are with how new technologies are rolled out.

Whether it’s lack of communication (52% say the IT department asks what it can do to improve service) or seamless rollout of system changes (54% say major systems rarely disrupt work), companies fall short when it comes to how it interacts with the business to improve services. These issues are particularly prevalent in the largest organizations (greater than 50,000 employees) where just 47% say IT asks what it can do to improve service and 39% say major changes rarely disrupt work.

Finding 3: ChatGPT and related technologies will upend expectations for ChatBots.

Much like people expect their devices and applications to mirror the simplicity and beauty of consumer technologies, they will quickly come to expect a ChatGPT-like experience from their internal virtual support mechanisms.

This is a challenge, considering that just 52% today say they are satisfied with their virtual chat agents (our study’s lowest-performing item). Given the speed in which AI-driven bots have exploded in 2022 and 2023, expectations will change as well. Leaders need to be cognizant of this and consider how they will adjust tools to meet these expectations.

Finding 4: Medium-sized organizations deliver the best technology experience

Picture yourself at a small organization: resources are tight, you’re running lean and mean, and there is little room for investments in infrastructure. Contrast that with the experience at the mega-size global organization: it’s rapidly grown via acquisition, there is technology redundancy across the organization, and people in different countries have very different applications for similar tasks.

In both of these cases, you might expect a suboptimal perception of technology, and in fact, that’s exactly what we found. People working at the smallest organizations in our study (100-499 employees) and people working at the largest organizations (more than 50,000 employees) report having the worst technology experiences overall, with only 57% of people at the smallest organizations saying their technology enables them to be as productive as possible, and 54% of people at the largest organizations saying the same. Further, just 23% and 24% say their technology experience exceeds their expectations, respectively.

Compare that to the people working at organizations in the happy middle — at companies between 5,000 and 9,999 employees, 65% say their technology enables maximum productivity, and a full 42% say that their technology experience exceeds their expectations.

Finding 5: Senior leaders have a far better technology experience than others

It’s 9:30 am, and the CFO is presenting to a global panel of investors in an hour. She opens her computer to find that the sound on her web conferencing application is not working properly. She calls the help desk on the dedicated exec hotline and immediately gets the situation resolved.

With perks like white-glove service to address technology issues, it’s no wonder that the senior-most leaders in our study are most likely to say their expectations are exceeded (49%).

However, their experience doesn’t stop with getting their immediate individual needs addressed. It starts far earlier than that. A full 66% of Senior Executives say IT is regularly consulting with the business to improve services (compared to just 41% of individual contributors).

Redefine your employee technology experience

So what’s this mean for you? What would your employees say about their technology experience? Does the technology they use to get their work done make them feel enabled and valued, or do they wind up rage clicking before they’ve even had their morning coffee? Do they see their IT department as a strategic partner or as a monolithic entity thrusting unwanted change in their direction?

Here are a few considerations as you think about the technology experience your company is delivering to its employees:

  • Collaborate closely with HR. HR owns employee experience initiatives, and the technology experience is inextricably linked with the employee experience for many employees.
  • Expand beyond the service desk. Many organizations invest a great deal in understanding the service desk experience, but the technology experience is much broader than that. Think about key interactions and moments (e.g., major system changes, apps that see the heaviest usage) and how you can measure these experiences.
  • Ask for proactive feedback to support technology investment decisions and then keep employees in the loop on what’s happening.
  • Upgrade knowledge management tools like chatbots as the underlying technologies improve. People will quickly expect human-like interactions with virtual agents, so IT departments should build tools to meet these expectations.

With the clear links between the employee experience, HR initiatives and the technologies that organizations choose to use, it’s never been more important to deliver a technology experience that not only allows employees to flourish — but ensures they stay.

In our eBook, How HR and IT can partner to retain top talent, we highlight:

  • How HR & IT teams can drive recruitment and retention
  • How HR & IT can work together to close critical employee experience gaps
  • How HR & IT can drive business outcomes, like employee resilience, productivity and the top and bottom line

See how IT and HR can partner to create a technology experience that allows employees to be more productive?