ServiceNow Research Assesses Impact of Digital Transformation on Employees

New research from ServiceNow, a leading enterprise cloud based provider of digital workflows, reveals employees in EMEA companies, embracing workplace automation, report greater job satisfaction (62%), customer satisfaction (71%) boosted productivity (72%) and increased time for creativity (62%). Two thirds say workplace automation improves their organisation’s financial performance and nearly half believe they benefit from job creation.

EMEA employees express that the rise in digitisation enables them to benefit from automating menial tasks, subsequently improving their opportunities for advancement (64%) and more meaningful work. Yet fewer than one in three (27%) of companies studied (27%) have automated the processes with which they work, leaving over two thirds of work processes with substantial manual activity.

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Employees worry more about change than fear of machines

There has been much rhetoric around ‘fear of machines’, yet employees studied worry more about change than robots taking their jobs:

  • 31% are concerned about learning new skills or processes and 28% worry about changing the way their job is performed
  • Only 17% worry about losing their job
  • Employees in highly digitised companies report they benefit from increased job creation (42%) as opposed to only 23% in less automated companies (23%)
  • 86% view AI technologies as the future of work
  • Under a fifth (16%) fear being told what to do by a machine

Employees have a desire to learn and improve digital skills

  • 66% of employees have a desire to learn or improve their digital skills
  • 15% say their job requires advanced digital skills
  • 75% believe they have the digital skills required to perform their job well
  • Only 18% find adapting to digitised work processes difficult

Increased financial success

Employees in ‘highly automated’ organisations are more likely than those with less automated processes to report that their firms have high revenue growth, exceed financial goals and are much more profitable than competitors.

  • 55% of those in highly automated companies see higher profitability than their competitors, compared to only 31% in less automated companies
  • In highly automated companies, 21% see ‘much higher’ profitability vs. 5% for others
  • 36% of highly automated companies report that they exceeded their financial goals compared to just 16% for others

“Highly automated companies are making use of digital workflows to simplify complex tasks, respond rapidly to users’ needs and take a predictive approach to maintenance,” says Chris Pope, VP Innovation, ServiceNow. “Automation enables employees to reclaim time spent on unfulfilling tasks and refocus it on more meaningful work. The result is significantly greater efficiency, productivity and job satisfaction compared to companies with more manually-led operations.

“Activities such as resolving customer issues are critical to customer and employee satisfaction, so they should receive more focus from an automation standpoint in the future. The question businesses need to be asking now is how they can make the necessary changes to realise these benefits,” adds Pope.

Guarantee Employee Job Satisfaction with Digital Workflows

Author: Chris Pope, VP Innovation, ServiceNow

The idea that company employees discuss and share their inner musings on corporate secrets when standing around the water cooler is probably more down to the movies than it is related to any form of reality. But if people are talking at work, one of the up-and-coming topics these days is their workflow—or lack of it.

Regardless of whether people talk at the water cooler, the tea station, or while queuing for lunch, we all discuss our working life experiences with each other in an informal way. It’s a sort of supplement―or you might say antidote—to human resources. And it’s where the crux of working lives is really played out.

So, in an increasingly connected and digitized world, may I suggest that the thread of water cooler conversations might be shifting slightly? Armed with new tools to transform the way many company processes are being carried out, people may now actually start discussing the state of their digital workflows and measuring their job satisfaction as a result.

A new yardstick for job satisfaction

People are now looking at the way work really gets done inside their organization in a far more granular and analytical way. Regardless of whether or not an individual is fully aware and cognizant of the digital workflow that their role may fall into, they are probably in one, nonetheless.

What everyone will know, instinctively, is that there is a flow of work between customers, partners and other members of an organization. What we can do with digital workflows is more accurately locate areas where work can be carried out more efficiently.

More than ever before we also know that people have more choice about the technology they use every day. We’ve witnessed the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work and the general consumerization of IT that came with it.

These experiences should tell us that if you don’t give people the right tools, then they will go and look for them. Equally, if you don’t give people the right applications, engagement systems and wider workflow patterns, then they will instinctively go and look for them, or make them.

Unrestrained innovation in a digitally native territory

The shift to digital business brings with it new opportunities. Non-techie business people are starting to embrace so called low-code software application development platforms that allow them to build elements of app functionality that work just the way they want them to.

As these new freedoms play out in the workplace, firms need to think about the unknown factors. Unbridled and unrestrained innovation is all very well, but the problem with custom-built point solutions is that they often do one thing well, but fail to provide scope for enterprise-wide scalability or an ability to integrate across the entire organisation.

If we think about platform-level technologies, we can build that innovation factor into software that is digitally native to the cloud era and so ready for a more structured approach. Because these applications have been built in a digitally native territory, they will be able to leverage fully integrated native device capabilities, such as maps, camera, and so on.

The virtuous circle of workflows

If we hinge our business models around digital workflows that define what data lives where, then we can more easily react to change and uncover new streams of profitable operation. Digitizing workflows means we can use defined data where it has the right impact, but also channel unstructured data to the data lake.

But even the information in the data lake need not go to waste―we can apply Machine Learning (ML) to these data resources and use algorithms to find patterns in business transactions where we weren’t even looking for them to drive new business outcomes. This can be a virtuous circle because workflows can be tuned and changed based upon the new insights uncovered.

The business process you didn’t know about

The best work processes are very often the ones that you follow, but that you didn’t even know about. If we define digital workflows and build our operational models around them, then we can increase productivity and create great experiences for employees who want to work anywhere and at any time.

A lot of employees have to take actions throughout the day that move the organization forward, but often these same actions prevent them from doing high-value work. It’s time to transform old, manual ways of working into modern digital workflows, so employees and customers get what they need, when they need it.

Create a joined-up experience

Kicking off digital workflow initiatives and getting your transformation started can be a real challenge and as a result, many companies struggle to even start their efforts. First of all, we all have disjointed internal systems and processes that make it hard to connect the dots. Trying to navigate these can feel like unravelling a ball of yarn, so the more you learn, the more complicated they seem.

Once you make sense of the systems and processes, you have to figure out the myriad tools and solutions that drive these. The end result you should be aiming for is a common, workflow-driven experience layer that is consistent across the systems in your organization.

Your typical company employee might still be more likely to discuss holiday plans, managerial peeves and whether or not the associate in accounts is being a pain about expense reports, but the water cooler conversation around ‘how is your workflow?’, is coming. Are you digitally hydrated yet?

About the author

Chris Pope - ServiceNow

As ServiceNow’s global VP of Innovation, Chris brings more than 15 years of C-level executive experience with leading technology solutions and platforms across Product Management and Strategy. Chris also has the rare, added-value, experience of having been a ServiceNow customer multiple times so he understands the client and the vendor perspectives on business transformation. Chris’ proven track record working at and with the largest organisations globally, has seen him recognised as a thought leader in process and methodology. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Electronic Engineering from De Montfort University in the UK, and is a well-published author and contributor to many leading digital publications and blogs.

People watching a presentation in a room

Employee Engagement and Experience Driven by “Culture First”

This is no more a secret that engaged employees are more likely to perform better and improve organizational success. And as the companies move more towards agile organizational models, there will be more increase in the employee engagement rates.

Employee Engagement refers to an employee’s job satisfaction, loyalty, and inclination to spend discretionary effort toward organizational goals. Companies measure engagement through an annual employee survey or by a continuous feedback culture.

The important characteristic to remember when thinking about employee engagement is that, it is a real-time assessment of how employees are feeling about their organization and their work.

Culture First

But this is not the only important one. We need to care about culture as well, for understanding what is happening within our organization. And engagement is a critical output of a strong culture.

For organizational culture, the definition centers on the concepts of values and assumptions which contribute to the development of norms, behaviors, and other cultural activities. Because employee engagement and organization’ culture both involve an individual’s relationship with their workplace, it is necessary to bring them always together.

But why the organizational culture is important here?

Check out the below INFOGRAPHICS on Organization Culture from Multigence. They are providing an efficient and scalable technology based solution that measures, evaluates and matches your organization culture with individual profiles of employees and candidates.

Organisation Culture in Infographics from Multigence

According to Multigence, organization must focus on fitting individuals into the corporate culture. Culture isn’t for your employees. It starts the moment a candidate first comes across your brand. And this immediate activate the drivers for your organization growth and success like below.

  • Right hiring and promotion
  • Proper alignments of skills, including the soft skills
  • Taking the right talent decisions
  • Fitting to the corporate branding

The culture of the organization is shaped by each single individual. Successful talent decisions will be driven by cultural fit.

And in the long term benefits, it also

  • Reduce in recruitment cost and higher success rate of recruiting with right hiring match
  • Increase in retention, employee satisfaction, performance indicators and productivity
  • Build and choose better leaders and find the right successors

According to Bersin by Deloitte, organizational culture, engagement, and employee brand proposition remain top priorities in 2017; employee experience ranks as a major trend again in 2017. “Employee engagement has become the top issue on the minds of business leaders, directing us to an entirely new model of management”. And companies need a new approach—one that builds on the foundation of culture and engagement to focus on the employee experience holistically, considering all the contributors to worker satisfaction, engagement, wellness, and alignment.

And according to them, the below figure shows the factors that contribute to positive employee experience. So it pretty clear that today organizations must focus on the employee engagement to have the right employee experience on the foundation of culture.

Simply Irresistible Organization Model

Back in 2015, Graham Massay, the Business Head of The House, came up with an interesting article Culture First Engagement Second. Where he mentioned the risk is that engagement becomes a once-a-year, box-ticking exercise, designed to prove that everything’s OK rather than actually making sure that everything’s OK. By contrast, a strong values-led culture keeps your organization healthy and your employees inspired.

Focusing on culture rather than employee engagement doesn’t mean giving up on measurement. Culture is an outcome. And the business cannot afford to focus solely on engagement at the expense of culture.

So the next question comes to our mind.

Why organizations should focus on employee engagement based on culture first approach?

Multigence has tried to bring the benefits of employee engagement driven by culture or based on a foundation of culture, with the below INFOGRAPHICS.

Employee Engagement Driven by Culture in the Infographics from Multigence

Now if the organization is looking to apply for these benefits, they must focus on employee experience and the world of digitalization. There are many digital tools available in the market which delivers great employee experience. These tools can be categorized as:

  • Productivity and Collaboration tools
  • Engagement and Feedback tools
  • Performance Management tools
  • Well-Being tools
  • Culture Fit tools
  • Employee Services tools

If one can commit to managing these aspects of your employee experience along with employee engagement and culture, then they can be surely a few steps ahead of their peers. The important thing is to consistently care about the employee experience and culture. The role of technology makes a great impact here and one should plan accordingly.

In beginning of this year there is also came up an article Culture First. Digitalization Second. (In German), by the writer Daniel Fuerg, an entrepreneur and according to him.

“It is about a cultural change in our society, triggered by the possibilities of digital technologies and innovations. But the change is not digitalization. The change is what the new possibilities with us humans make. It is a cultural change, which was triggered by technological changes. Companies must thus respond to cultural change and at the same time equip themselves with technology.”

So it’s clear that before we should plan and start considering about engagement, experiences, we must also consider culture the individual culture and off course the organization culture.

So it’s make sense to focus on “Culture First” approach over company first or even county first.

About the Author:

Soumyasanto Sen

Soumyasanto Sen — Professional Advisor, Consultant, Investor in HR Technologies having 12+ years of experiences focusing on Strategies, People Analytics, Cloud, UX, Security, Processes, Integration and Entrepreneurship in Workforce Transformation.

Blogger, Speaker and Evangelist in HR Technologies. Founder of HRTech Conscience.


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