CIOs can improve the employee experience by making technology more accessible

Technology is always the answer.

Young group of employees collaborating at desk with laptops
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I still remember the first time I parked my car in front of the massive, glass-front building that would house my first office job. It was more than a little intimidating passing through security for the first time.

Being recruited by a Fortune 500 company is exciting, but the sheer scale of the operations that take place behind the lobby doors is awe inspiring.

It’s funny how emotions stick with you. The feelings of my first day in “the big leagues” have always served to remind me that every member of the c-suite has a responsibility to create a safe, yet challenging environment for the employees on their teams.

CIOs have the largest impact

I know, everyone’s had that one supervisor or manager that made their lives miserable. Those rotten apples certainly damage the employee experience. But CIOs are responsible for every piece of technology that employees interact with. From the moment they walk through the door, or check their email on their phone, team members are interacting with the network that CIOs build, maintain and upgrade.

And in the world of Big Data, we are witnessing a revolution in how predictive analysis impacts human resources. Companies that have heavily invested in HR analytics enjoy “…stock market returns that are 30% higher than the S&P 500, they are twice as likely to be delivering high impact recruiting solutions, and their leadership pipelines are 2.5X healthier.”

No matter how good or bad a line-level manager may be, their temperament doesn’t hold a candle to the frustration that network glitches and poorly conceived tech policies can have on the employee experience in the digital age.

Human resources personnel rely on CIOs

Designing, building and maintaining a network is important, but that’s largely old news. The new frontier of employee experience is the jungle of cloud-based platforms that promise to improve employee engagement, HR effectiveness and overall productivity.

That’s a tall order, and it’s up to the CIO to keep the barbarians at the gates. Big promises have to be backed up with some serious data to prove their claims. Case studies are important, but CIOs would be wise to spend some one-on-one time with the different vendors that offer HR software.

A great deal has changed in the HR space, and now, more than ever before, employees expect their employers to deliver an employment experience that mirrors the best customer experiences. The line between consumer tech and employee tech is being blurred.

Here’s how you can ensure you’re having a maximum, positive impact on the employee experience:

  1. Meet with your top-performing human resources personnel. Find out what they are experiencing when working with employees – from onboarding to maintaining their records and providing solutions to common issues.
  2. Create a focus team comprised of HR and employee advocates. Use these personnel to test-drive products from different HR platform vendors.
  3. Assign an individual within your team to monitor the HR software and solutions your employees count on every day. Don’t let vendors off the hook after signing a service agreement. Have this individual pay careful attention to the technical requirements of the platforms – especially when patches or new modules are released.

Let employees get their hands dirty

One of the biggest perks of working for a Fortune 500 is the opportunity to try new things. Large firms have access to advanced tech that startups can only dream of. An employee-focused CIO will create opportunities for motivated or curious employees to interact with advanced technology.

It isn’t about teaching someone how to code or install a server rack. It’s more about showing them that they can try new things and have a positive impact on the company they call home. This might involve working with outside vendors to deploy easy-to-use products to your team.

For example, this Wix review highlights how easy it is for virtually anyone to use a drag and drop website builder. Allowing teams to build their own websites, complete with calendars that coordinate team-building exercises and blog articles that provide peer-to-peer guidance can be an excellent way for team member to engage with technology, learn a new skill and grow closer together.

There are literally hundreds of apps and platforms that can help teams work together to accomplish new things. I mention Wix because it is so easy to use, and flexible enough to complete a lot of different missions, depending on the needs of the team – communication, collaboration or just a showcase of the team’s latest work.

CIOs have an enormous impact on enterprise tech and the employees that interact with it every day. Use your powers for good and you’ll be able to do your part in fighting a problem that costs US business more than $500 billion per year: employee disengagement.

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