Leveraging employee experience tech to cultivate a more supportive workplace

Employee Experience Tech - headshot of Shawnee Irmen-De Anda
Balancing production demands with employee well-being is no easy task — but it’s a puzzle many leaders are looking to solve. In a recent interview with Shawnee Irmen-De Anda, Chief People Officer at ThriveWorks, we discuss how human resources departments are leveraging employee experience technology and partnering with product teams to foster a more supportive, productive and inclusive workplace.

While the discussion is heavily influenced by Shawnee’s experience in the healthcare space, its lessons can apply to many other businesses and industries.

To learn more, read on for key takeaways and listen to the full podcast!

Turn culture into a competitive advantage

One of Shawnee’s prime responsibilities is to “strategize ways to attract, retain and engage top talent.” This extends to fostering a great culture and using the employee experience as a competitive advantage.

Exceptional employees are hard to come by, and organizations that foster the right environment for employee engagement and development can decrease employee turnover and improve productivity.

Some strategies to help make that happen include:

Hire the right people: The best organization in the world would still struggle if it didn’t have great people within it — so hiring the right people is important. “When we are recruiting, we really recruit and lead with our values to try to attract the right people, community, purpose, integrity, access and quality,” Shawnee says.

Merge culture and organizational goals: Choosing the right programs and initiatives to cultivate a culture that aligns with your organizational goals can drive significant results. At ThriveWorks, Shawnee explains, “we want to cultivate and maintain a positive culture that aligns with ThriveWorks’ values and really drives employee engagement.”

Foster an inclusive and positive environment: Shawnee talks about the importance of creating an inclusive workplace — and that starts at the top with inclusive leadership. An inclusive and positive culture can improve the employee experience and increase the appeal to new hires, but it can also extend beyond the company leading to “word of mouth that creates great brand awareness.”

Discover how your intranet can improve employee retention

The importance of breaking down silos

As in any industry, silos within the healthcare field have far-reaching effects — resulting in what Shawnee describes as a “fragmented approach to healthcare.” It’s critical to break down those silos in order to see the bigger picture and work together more effectively toward shared organizational goals. Doing so can improve everything from patient care to productivity.

This is one area where employee experience tech can make a big difference. For example, a modern intranet like Simpplr serves as a knowledge repository, with AI-powered search across both the platform and integrated apps.

According to APQC, knowledge workers spend an average of two hours every week recreating information and about 1.7 hours weekly providing duplicate answers and updates. And a study of a 200-agent call center estimated that knowledge silos cost the company $1.5 million as employees spent many of their working hours looking for information instead of providing answers for their callers. To avoid this type of productivity loss, tear down knowledge silos and build a shared knowledge base where employees can easily add and find information.

Taking a holistic approach to the employee experience

If you listen to the full interview with Shawnee, you’ll notice a common theme throughout much of the discussion — approach the employee experience from a holistic perspective. This idea basically stems from an understanding that each employee is different and has unique circumstances, values, ambitions and needs.

As the Chief People Officer, Shawnee strives to make ThriveWorks an inclusive and supportive environment for all employees. One of the best parts of her role is “the opportunity to make people’s lives better by making sure policies support their needs.”

Every employee is different, and it’s the organization’s responsibility to provide diverse and inclusive programs and systems to support the unique needs of each individual, as best as possible.

And employee experience tech can move the needle on that objective.

Employee experience tech: how you can support employees

ThriveWorks has close to 3,500 team members, between its clinicians and employees, with a majority of those working remotely. To oversee and manage the employee experience at this scale, Shawnee relies on different tools and technologies.

Employee experience tech and tools for efficient daily tasks

“Technology should make the day-to-day functions of our teams easier, not harder or longer,” Shawnee stresses. Technology and tools should improve the workplace and make everyone’s jobs easier.

That’s where a modern intranet that centralizes key resources, streamlines internal communications, and facilitates collaboration is a game-changer.

“The intranet or centralized resource repositories, things like that for employees are really important” to help everyone use available resources optimally, Shawnee says.

Technology that solves pain points

Another valuable benefit of technology is its ability to help you solve challenges — at scale. Shawnee describes an example of clinicians being unable to get patients to sign consent forms before visits and having to turn them away after arriving. This issue was leading to a poor patient experience and also wasting clinicians’ time. Now, the team is leveraging technology to make the entire client lifecycle easier while also ensuring that “all the checks and balances are in place.”

Employee experience tech like a modern intranet also solves a number of HR challenges — such as keeping employees engaged in their work. With access via desktop or mobile, employees gain easy access to transparent communication, personalized information, and ways to celebrate accomplishments together. No matter where or how they work, employees share a space to connect and align on company goals as one collaborative team. And AI-driven analytics surface hidden sentiment trends and other valuable insights to help people managers make more informed decisions.

Explore how a modern intranet solves top HR challenges

Partnering with product teams to drive progress

ThriveWorks’ product and tech team use surveys to collect important employee information and feedback so they can develop strategies to improve the employee experience. The goal is to uncover major pain points and then act on that information. Shawnee highlights using quarterly Employee Net Promoter Score (ENPS) surveys to identify important issues and themes to address.

Surveying employees is a snap with employee experience tech like Simpplr.

Simpplr offers three types of surveys, including the new employee engagement survey. It’s designed to capture a baseline measure of employee satisfaction and provide actionable insights for improving the overall employee experience. Survey analytics provide participation rates, sentiments from across the company based on Likert scales, and anonymous feedback left by employees.

Don’t lose the human-to-human connection

While the benefits of technology are evident, Shawnee also cautions against losing the human element. “Technology should always enhance but not replace that human-to-human connection,” she says.

Subscribe to keep learning

Connect with Shawnee on LinkedIn, and listen to the full podcast to learn more about the topics above and other ways Shawnee is cultivating a positive and engaging environment at ThriveWorks. And subscribe to the Cohesion Podcast to hear from other internal comms, HR and IT professionals, providing structured, high-value, quick-hitting strategies and tactics.

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