Despite IT Heroics, Technology Is Systematically Failing Employees

Today, 67% of people say their service desk is doing a good job — that sounds like things are going pretty well. However, only 42% say they don’t have long-running IT issues. That’s a problem we do need to talk about.

What Does This Mean?

First, the humans in IT are doing impressively well. Despite the remote work transition, IT is doing their best to help end users fight an unending tide of technical issues. With 67% approval, there is clear consensus — when people interact with the service desk (and IT in general), their needs are met.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that users have a good overall technology experience. Close to 60% of users say — to some degree — they have technical issues the service desk can’t fix. There is a systemic problem: Despite IT’s best efforts, technology isn’t meeting employee expectations.

Why Is This Important? 

Many may think of this reality as unfortunate, but it’s important to realize that this has a direct drain on productivity and employee experience (EX).

Think of it this way: Employees at your organization were hired to do a job. By and large, employees want to do that job — in fact, the primary predicator of employee engagement is being able to make progress in daily journeys or “being productive in their role.” This plays a massive part in employee’s professional lives.

Today, close to every action one can take at work — from calling a prospect to talking with a coworker to filling out a time-off request — is intermediated by technology. When that technology fails or is broken in an even non-total way — like a flickering screen on their laptop, a slow-loading VPN, or routine network stutter — it impacts each employee’s ability to perform their job. Unfortunately, systemic technology disruptions that prevent employees from filling their function is an organization telling their employees that their function doesn’t matter.

So, What Can We Do?

Why these failures persist is straightforward: IT has severe resource limitations and often lacks visibility into the user experience. IT has been seen as a cost center and overly “lean optimized” — a.k.a. underfunded. In most organizations, employee experience has only become a recent priority and is usually the last consideration when making enterprise technology purchases.

To better meet employee needs, there needs to be a shift in how technology experience is thought about. We will be talking about how orgs can pursue this in an upcoming report on the state of the service desk, but business leaders must learn that, to better provide for EX, ensuring IT has a seat at the table is step one toward understanding how technology can best serve employees.

To begin this process, organizations need to think beyond the service interaction and standard metrics. There are two parts to solving this problem:

  1. Develop a better understanding of employees’ in-environment experiences (which Andrew Hewitt and Bill Martorelli break down in their piece on experience-level agreements).
  2. Get more proactive (which we’ve written a bit about here) to resolve long-running employee-experience-impacting problems.

There’s more to come! If this topic interests you, reach out to our inquiry team (inquiry@forrester.com), and schedule some time with me.

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