Software giant VMware has released its annual report into the state of digital workspace technologies and its impact on UK businesses. The new study* reveals that UK companies that invest more in the digital employee experience are more likely to continue business growth, have a progressive culture, retain talent and be rated as a top place to work by their employees.

Flexibility of business digital tools influences job applications

According to the findings, for almost two thirds of UK employees (63 percent) the flexibility of digital tools required for work influences their decision to apply for or accept a position at a company, and nearly three quarters (74 percent) believe their current employer should be placing more importance on this. These statistics are even more relevant in the context of recent figures indicating that the UK’s employment rate hit its highest ever level, and providing a digital employee experience that is flexible, consistent and inclusive of how employees want to work is critical to helping organisations keep and acquire the top talent they need to grow as businesses.

More collaboration needed between HR and IT

The study also highlights how greater collaboration between HR and IT is needed to reap the rewards of digital workspace technologies, in the form of increased productivity and a greater retention and attraction of talent. Eighty percent of employees are calling for HR and IT to work better together, with only 10 percent reporting HR and IT collaborate all of the time and almost eight in 10 respondents saying HR should be given more responsibility in improving the digital employee experience.

Employee education is also a fundamental requirement in order to remove ambiguity over who is responsible for providing employees with a positive digital experience. Close to half (45 percent) of employees stated they don’t know if they should approach HR or IT about their experience, with 17 percent feeling this is another barrier to delivering a positive experience.

Clearly, employees want HR to share their insights with IT teams, but the lack of communication between the two is currently creating challenges for businesses as they seek to deliver the optimum digital experience. A third of respondents see a lack of understanding of what they want as the biggest obstacle, followed by it not being considered a business priority (18 percent). Almost two thirds (65 percent) of employees feel like they don’t even have a voice when it comes to the tools they can use at work, despite 79 percent of ITDMs believing they do give employees a voice in this area.

Tech linked to business growth

In addition, the research also demonstrates how UK organisations that have lower rates of growth** provide fewer digital experience factors, including access to devices, tools, apps and technology wherever they perform work activities,  to their employees (4, on average), compared to companies that have higher rates of revenue growth (6, on average).
For example, those that are underperforming/not growing are much less likely to give employees the freedom to work from their personal device (37 percent),  give access to applications that enable productivity from day one (56 percent) and provide applications on any device for their most important tasks (excluding email) (61 percent).

 “Every company’s greatest asset – and its key to success – lies in its human capital, thus listening to employees’ voices is critical for success in our digital present and future. These individuals can drive organisations forward by innovating, executing and leading in the marketplace, but only if they have the right digital tools to do so” says Jordi Ferrer, Vice President and General Manager UK & Ireland, VMware
“Focusing digital transformation on technology only omits a key ingredient to a winning strategy – attracting and retaining the best talent. Businesses must prioritise an employee experience that encompasses technology, workstyle and culture to compete for the best talent.”

About the research

*In March and April 2019, 600 UK respondents were interviewed as part of a survey of 3,600 EMEA employees (1,800), IT decision makers (900) and HR decision makers (900) who use computer/smart devices for work purposes were interviewed. They were from organisations in a range of public and private sectors and their organisation had to have an employee size of 500 employees or more.

**Companies cited as experiencing high growth/hypergrowth YoY on average have 6.3 digital employee experience factors out of ten, compared to 3.7 factors in companies not experiencing growth.