Is the Internet of Things a game-changer for employee experience?

  • Posted on July 5, 2016


employee experience

We’ve all heard about the benefits the Internet of Things (IoT) can bring to your business – from boosting productivity to unlocking new revenue streams, the potential is huge. But what about your end-users? As companies increasingly strive for a more engaged, talented workforce, can IoT have a positive impact on the lives and satisfaction of your employees, too?

The answer is yes…but only if done correctly.

To begin, let’s take a quick look at how IoT actually benefits a digital workforce and the employee experience:

  • Efficiency: Getting more done in a day is a huge priority for all employees, especially if they are compensated on results. The IoT, when combined with other technologies such as analytics, CRM and ERP, is a sure-fire way to drastically cut down on the time it takes to complete tasks and deliver finished products. Think, for example, about maintenance workers in an industrial setting. IoT can alert them to needed repairs before a machine even breaks down. With one of our mining clients, we’ve also seen IoT be used to speed up the time it takes for supervisors to get up to speed when starting a new shift, cutting down the hand-off time from hours to just a few minutes.
  • Expertise and context: Another major benefit is giving employees contextual information and access to expertise in much more seamless, integrated ways, thanks to the combined use of Augmented Reality, mobile and IoT technologies. Think about the sales person who gets an alert when a repeat customer walks in the door. Or, the same repair worker above, who can pull up detailed diagrams of the machine they are working on with a Microsoft Hololens, showing them step by step instructions to finish the job.
  • Strategic smarts: The IoT’s core value lies in its ability to serve up actionable insight by using data a company collects. This has real benefits to the end-employee, too. That same sales person can be told exactly what products to focus on when speaking to the customer. In industrial settings, IoT data is being packaged in ERP and business intelligence apps to help make smarter decisions and long-term planning.

But, as with most technologies, the value IoT brings to the digital workplace is contingent on one key thing: adoption. If no one uses the technology you invest in, then it’s return to your business is nil.

As such, making sure adoption is as high as possible is one of the most crucial components of your IoT strategy. In my experience, successful IoT projects all share these elements in common:

  • Intuitive: No one needs a user-manual for a smartphone app. Today’s modern worker demands that same level of intuitiveness to IoT applications you introduce to the workflow
  • Focussed on returns and pains: Technology for technology’s sake is worthless. Every good IoT strategy is driven by a tangible result, either by focussing on objectives, or helping solve a pain felt by your employees.
  • User tested and validated: Let your users be the compass that guides your solution – from wireframes and UX right up to ongoing support and fixes. Include them early and often in the solution process.
  • Tied to purpose: The IoT solution you bring needs to be connected to a higher purpose – if user’s see it is connected to a businesses overall vision, and especially if it aligns with their professional goals or compensation, positive results will follow.

IoT can have a fundamental impact on the employee experience, if done correctly. It brings about better ways to get their jobs done, with more smarts and satisfaction than ever before. But if you want your own IoT project to succeed, you will need to design your solution with the needs and expectations of users and the business in mind.

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