You’ve probably heard the numbers: According to Gallup, 67% of U.S. employees are disengaged at work.

Why? Because work is far more complicated than it needs to be. What’s making it so hard? Ironically, the same technology that was supposed to make it easy.

For decades, information technology (IT) has been putting solutions in place to automate and streamline entire functions, from procurement and finance to sales and marketing. In addition, employees have introduced new devices into the workplace and embraced a new wave of productivity and collaboration apps — not to mention the personal applications and websites they access at work. The result is a labyrinth of systems and communication channels that require employees to navigate multiple passwords and interfaces and a cacophony of notifications and alerts that increasingly distract them and keep them from doing their best and most mindful work.

Over half of knowledge workers use four or more communication apps. With critical business information tied up across a multitude of apps and communication channels, workers struggle to access the insights they need to make timely and informed decisions. In fact, knowledge workers spend nearly 20% of their time searching for the information they need to do their jobs and more than 32 days each year moving between applications to complete tasks. It’s keeping them from doing the work they want and are paid to do and from performing at their best.

Employees are fed up, and they want better. In the old days, it would have been up to human resources (HR) professionals to tackle the problem. But when it comes to delivering a modern employee experience, they can’t do it alone.

According to “The Experience of Work,” new research conducted by the Economist and sponsored by Citrix, companies that provide employees with tools to make work more efficient and meaningful not only attract the people they need but also keep them engaged and productive and improve business results — which is where IT comes in.

Putting the UX in EX

At the end of the day, modern employees don’t have access to the information and tools they need to focus and do their best work, creating an increasingly frustrating work environment and disengaged workforce.

There’s no doubt that HR has made great strides in creating a culture and physical environment that attract and retain the right talent, including improving benefits, defining a clear mission and purpose, and ensuring that the work environment delights. But by teaming with IT to drive the convergence of physical workspaces that are conducive to collaboration and mindful work and digital ones that provide simplified access to information and tools, they can take it to the next level and create an environment that removes frustration, engages employees and inspires them to do great work.

Keep It Simple

Employees expect things at work to be as easy as they are in their personal lives — particularly millennials and members of Generation Z, who together account for the bulk of the global workforce. At home, they can book a flight in fewer than six clicks. At work, they need to navigate through multiple apps and drill through six levels in to accomplish an equally simple task. And they’re over it.

Among the key enablers of strong employee engagement identified by respondents to “The Experience of Work” are:

  • Ease of access to information required to complete work (47%).
  • Applications that are simple to use (39%).
  • A consumer-like user experience (33%).
  • Choice of devices (32%).


Modern employees also want to freedom to work where and how they want. According to a recent study, 70% of knowledge workers living in urban locations say they would be “very likely or fairly likely” to move to outlying areas and work remotely if they could continue to do their jobs at the same level. To attract and retain talent in today’s tight labor market, companies need to rethink what “workplace” means and create digital environments that accommodate flexible work models and deliver the tools and information employees need to work anywhere, anytime, from any device, in a simple, unified way.

See the Forest

Employee experience isn’t just a buzzword. According to Gallup, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share, and engaged teams together result in 22% greater profitability for a company.

It takes a village. In joining forces, IT and HR can create a world-class experience that enables their employees — and their business — to thrive.