Tim Flower: Digital Employee Experience Insights and Forecast
With a career built in enterprise IT, specializing in end user computing, Tim Flower has a long history of problem solving. "But there was always a missing link," he told Simpler Media Group. "IT doesn't don’t know about issues until you call the help desk. That always bothered me, and when we struggled with some significant impact, a shift to focusing on employee experience was a game changer."
For Flower, the moment when this idea clicked was with the CEO at financial services firm The Hartford, where he challenged the team about the scope of issues across the environment. “All we could say was, ‘We don’t know they have issues unless they call the help desk.’ Saying those words out loud was the ah-ha moment that got us to think differently.”
Equipping digital employee experience (DEX) leaders with employee feedback, giving them insight into how technology is functioning across the entire company and empowering them to proactively manage digital experiences made all the difference. “Providing DEX leaders and teams with the tools that allow them to spot problems before they impact end-users is the most effective way to achieve this proactive approach and create better digital experiences company-wide. It also creates an opportunity for IT to be more strategic and lead significant, innovative digital transformation within their company,” said Flower.
Nexthink is a sponsor of Simpler Media Group’s Digital Workplace Experience Summer Event, taking place online on July 15. Tim Flower, Nexthink’s global director transformation, will host a discussion on the state of digital employee experience and the implications of a new Nexthink survey into DEX salaries with Gil Cohen, founder of Employee Experience Design. They'll explore results of Nexthink’s 2021 DEX Career Capital Report, including important highlights from the research and implications for other companies.
We spoke with Flower for his insights and forecast on the role of digital in the employee experience.
What the Salary Survey Report Means for DEX Leaders
Simpler Media Group: Why are DEX roles gaining traction and importance?
Tim Flower: An employee’s digital experience has become an increasingly important — if not the most important — part of their job. The universal shift to remote work has accelerated digital transformations in companies across the world. For employees to be successful in their roles, they must have excellent digital experiences. As a result of this (emergency) contingency plan that was put in place, companies are placing more emphasis than ever on the digital experiences of their workforce. DEX-related roles have moved center stage with all eyes on IT departments to keep business running as usual. Our recent survey found one in five IT teams spend more than 70% of work time on Digital Employee Experience. It’s clear the role of IT is evolving to focus more on this area of digital transformation. And as it turns out, this is a good thing. When comparing IT professionals’ salaries in the United States, Digital Employee Experience professionals in senior leadership positions earned nearly 83% higher than the average IT salary.
SMG: What’s been challenging about creating digital employee experiences over the past year?
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Flower: IT teams have gone from managing one office with hundreds or even thousands of employees, to managing hundreds or thousands of offices with only one employee. Maintaining a consistent level of quality for every employee no matter where they are is no easy task. It requires a deep level of insight into both the quantitative performance of employees’ devices and applications, and the qualitative experience of how they feel about those technologies. And existing technologies don’t give IT teams the visibility they need to get those insights.
SMG: How can businesses best support the DEX of their workforce?
Flower: Businesses can support their workforce by equipping them with the tools they need to ensure they are delivering the best digital experiences possible. To effectively meet the needs of their employee base, DEX leaders need insight into how technology is functioning across the entire company — what employees like, what they don’t like. They need to be able to receive feedback from employees on a regular, ongoing basis and have real-time analytics that accurately show the performance of any device at any time. Moreover, they need to be empowered to proactively manage digital experiences rather than reactively putting out fires. Providing DEX leaders and teams with the tools that allow them to spot problems before they impact end-users is the most effective way to achieve this proactive approach and create better digital experiences company-wide. It also creates an opportunity for IT to be more strategic and lead significant, innovative digital transformation within their company. Our new survey found over a third (35%) of respondents agreed the proportion of DEX roles increased considerably in 2020. This shows DEX is getting increasing support — in fact 96% of respondents said their business leaders show support for DEX-related IT work, which means if your organization isn’t then you’re lagging behind considerably.
SMG: Given these findings, how do you expect IT roles to change in the coming months and years? Will the demand for DEX work remain high?
Flower: The future of the IT industry is digital employee experience. IT is spending more time than ever focused on DEX, and 70% of DEX leaders see themselves moving into a director, C-suite or CEO-level position within the next five years. This indicates that DEX is becoming a more integral part not only to the IT industry, but to business strategy overall, and that IT leaders and the digital transformation they create are changing the way businesses operate. What this tells me is that these roles will continue to grow in prominence, and fundamentally define the future of work.
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