Digital adoption: The key to successful digital employee experience (DEX) management

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
Updated February 14, 2023

With more than a quarter of the US workforce engaged in remote and hybrid work in 2022, digital employee experience (DEX) is becoming more and more of an issue as enterprises adapt to the changing workplace. While the work-from-home (WFH) digital workplace arrangement is popular with employees, it can create significant gaps between teams and managers.

The physical distance between managers and their teams can make it difficult to support employees and ensure they have the tools needed to perform their jobs.  A good DEX management system allows managers to be agile in supporting their staff’s digital adoption.

To understand DEX management and how an effective digital adoption strategy can streamline the process, we’ll be covering the following points:

  • The advantages of a successful digital adoption program
  • The benefits of effective DEX management
  • DEX management challenges
  • Best practices for creating a positive employee digital experience
  • How to get started developing your enterprise’s digital strategy

But first, let’s go over a few definitions.

What is digital adoption?

The digital adoption process teaches users to utilize software to its fullest extent.  With this knowledge, they open up a new world of possibilities that they can take advantage of with a few clicks of a mouse or taps of a screen. Digital adoption benefits organizations by empowering employees to complete tasks more efficiently and to a higher quality than what was previously possible.

What is digital employee experience (DEX) management?

Digital employee experience refers to employees’ everyday experiences when interacting with colleagues and technology. Therefore, digital employee experience management (DEXM) is the key to understanding what works when your staff completes tasks using digital channels. 

These channels include websites, social media platforms, mobile apps, and the intranet. DEX management allows you to monitor every online interaction that staff has within your business so that you can identify areas for improvement quickly and easily.

How do digital adoption and DEX management intersect?

DEX management is central to ensuring staff can adopt new technologies efficiently and effectively. Both DEX management and digital adoption depend on maintaining strong communication and professional relationships so that technology usage is optimal at all times, allowing teams to become resilient to disruptions while staying flexible amidst updates and changes.

What are the benefits of a successful digital adoption program?

There are several ways employees and managers benefit from a successful digital adoption program:

1. Digital adoption makes employees feel more valued

When recruiting for a salesperson, it’s not enough to just hire anyone; you want someone with experience using Salesforce. Similarly, when hiring an HR manager, you need someone proficient in Workday.

To ensure your organization is functioning at its fullest potential, you require highly proficient operators of your digital tools to maximize productivity. However, if your employees don’t know about the technology your organization uses, it becomes more of a hindrance rather than an asset. 

This situation is where digital adoption platforms (DAPs) become essential – they are effective for onboarding personnel into unfamiliar systems and make them faster learners of how to use these services efficiently.

DAPs guide staff step-by-step through the software adoption process with no need for additional employee training sessions, saving both time and money. An ideal DAP can quickly enhance employee performance without extra effort from managers or supervisors.

2. Effective digital adoption promotes creativity

When an organization successfully implements a digital adoption strategy, innovation, and creativity increase. Digital adoption boosts employee productivity, freeing them to explore their creative skills, leading to a more innovative approach to problem-solving while strengthening resilience and positive attitudes to change.

3. Digital adoption provides a competitive edge

Ultimately, the advantages of digital adoption help ensure your enterprise remains competitive. With digital adoption equipping your staff with a positive digital employee experience and the latest tools and skills, you’re creating an organizational culture so effective that it will keep you one step ahead of your competitors.

What are the benefits of DEX management? 

DEX management holds many benefits for organizations and is essential to maintaining a positive digital employee experience. 

Improved workforce productivity

DEX management allows employees to dedicate more time and effort towards tasks instead of being distracted by tech issues. Workers become better equipped to meet customer needs and exceed business objectives by removing these hindrances in the workplace.

Sustained hybrid workforces

For hybrid teams to collaborate efficiently and reach the same level of productivity when working remotely as they do in-office, their IT services must function seamlessly inside and outside the physical office. Whether accessing the web or SaaS applications, using wi-fi, or another internet service provider – there should ideally be no dropped connections or delays while utilizing these technologies.

Lowered security risks 

Optimizing user experiences with security protocols can dramatically decrease the number of breach events and policy violations. It is clear why this occurs: when worker productivity is not hindered by the need to follow stringent security measures, they no longer feel inclined to bypass those controls to complete their job responsibilities.

For example, dissatisfied users can transmit confidential information over unprotected channels like public emails and even prevent the installation of essential security updates. Digital adoption of responsible DEX management solutions lessens roadblocks when accessing business resources while curtailing the effects of safety protocols such as patching and malware scanning.

Attracts & retains top talent 

Today’s tech-savvy professionals expect market-leading performance from their company devices and applications; so much so that if the IT services are lacking, they may resign without warning out of frustration. Similarly, many workers willingly accept a lower salary to work for employers who provide better IT implementations. 

This point is evidenced in WalkMe’s State Of Digital Adoption report, as “64% of enterprises say tech/end-user experience outranks office facilities to attract and retain talent.” Following this point, it is no wonder why modern businesses must invest in high-quality technology solutions to remain competitive.

Reduced workload for IT administrators 

A substantial amount of IT administrator energy and resources are devoted to resolving mundane end-user requests related to device or application usability. Many IT teams manually tackle these problems. On the other hand, DEX platforms leverage intelligent data analysis to tackle problems more quickly and effectively than human staff.

By reducing the time administrators spend on mundane tasks, they can refocus their energy on ground-breaking IT improvements and introducing new services. Enjoying a more rewarding job spawns higher job satisfaction levels for those who deem these projects exciting, offering a bonus. Administrators now have fewer daily distractions, making it easier to prioritize innovative ideas that could further benefit the business.

Although it is essential to be aware of the benefits of DEX management, it is also crucial to look at the challenges to plan effectively and use digital adoption to ensure success.

What challenges are associated with DEX management, and how can digital adoption help to overcome them?

Effective DEX management is a complex process involving many challenges that, if not overcome, can lead to poor employee motivation and engagement – even going so far as to reduce employee retention. However, companies can avoid this consequence by tackling the pain points, or challenges of DEX as part of a successful DEX strategy.

Challenge 1: Lack of software accessibility

WalkMe reports that 48% of companies use ‘easy-to-use software’ as a KPI for measuring the success of their digital transformation. There are many ways for companies to tackle this challenge using digital adoption.

The digital adoption response

  • Conduct user surveys and focus groups to discover why employees’ digital experience is poor with the new software, then action this with relevant additions to your digital adoption program.
  • Allocate champions in each department by making those proficient with your digital adoption platform  into contact points for questions and support.
  • Foster a shared understanding among staff, considering different learning curves and styles involved in the digital adoption process.
  • Move key content onto new software solutions to encourage staff to become used to it.

Challenge 2: Big-bang implementation

WalkMe identified that avoiding “big-bang” implementation, where companies implement digital changes too quickly and without adequate staff support and preparation, was reported by 41% of companies as a measure of digital transformation success and a challenge for DEX management. However, there are many ways to combat this using digital adoption.

The digital adoption response

  • Define what changes the digital transformation will involve and share these changes with the team at the earliest stage.
  • Establish clear, well-researched reasons for the changes and communicate these reasons to the entire team with opportunities to ask questions.
  • Encourage staff engagement at every stage of planning for the digital adoption strategy to boost employee engagement.
  • Implement change gradually.
  • Collect feedback and act on it.

Challenge 3: Inadequate training methods

With 39% of companies utilizing user training as a KPI for digital transformation, organizations need to ensure that their methods apply to employees at every level.  

The digital adoption response

  • Cater to every staff member’s training needs by liaising with HR and creating a ‘learning database’ of what each employee finds helpful when training and any personal learning challenges.
  • Learn by doing, using tools such as a digital adoption platform (DAP) that allow staff to carry out their daily tasks while building skills to use new technologies.
  • Leaders must lead by example, such as senior staff showing a genuine dedication to continuous improvement and learning and funding L&D as often as possible.

Challenge 4: Excessive duplication of apps

WalkMe shows that 22% of companies reported that removing duplicate applications was a challenge to achieving digital adoption. Digital adoption provides several quick and easy ways to reduce app duplication.

The digital  adoption response

  • Take a comprehensive look at your app subscriptions, user licenses, SaaS costs, and contracts to gain insight into possible duplications. 
  • Include all apps managed or unmanaged by IT in the equation so you’re not wasting money due to an incomplete picture of usage. 
  • When your app matrix is fully visible, it will make decision-making simpler when revisiting cancellations, renewals, and investments. This, in turn, will result in optimized SaaS spend with higher ROI.

Challenge 5: Insufficient staff incentives

Incentives to encourage uptake are named by 19% of companies in WalkMe’s report on digital adoption challenges. Staff needs incentives to help them see how their buy-in to digital adoption will benefit them, such as those listed below.

The digital  adoption response

  • Cash incentives such as annual pay raises at the end or the beginning of digital adoption as an acknowledgment of hard work can help staff to adopt new technologies. 
  • Financial bonuses throughout the digital adoption program to reward hitting personal or competitive targets can boost DEX management goals. 
  • Other incentives that may not necessarily be monetary. For example, experiential or opportunistic rewards like a ticket to an upcoming conference or the option of spending a day in a company role that interests them. 

These are the challenges of achieving DEX management along with the solutions to overcome the challenges using digital adoption. 

Next, we will look at how digital adoption helps improve employee productivity and satisfaction when you have overcome these challenges. 

How can digital adoption help improve employee productivity and satisfaction in the workplace?

In the current age of digital transformation, employees are engaging in more adoption of innovative new technologies than ever before. They also expect their work environments to enhance their experience of completing tasks. 

There are many ways employers can use digital adoption to improve employee productivity and satisfaction in the workplace. As a first step, it is important to establish how existing technology is being used.

Establish existing technology usage

Begin the process by defining how staff uses existing technologies by conducting surveys and focus groups. What do they find helpful and unhelpful for the tools they use in their current workflows? Can you use this data to inform purchase order decisions? The IT team can liaise with HR to use this data later when recording digital adoption progress for the new technologies when comparing the data sets.

Offer continuous learning opportunities

Training must be ongoing rather than limited solely to one introductory session. The continuous learning culture ensures that every team is up to date on the latest technology and fully understands how to use it and its purpose within the organization. 

This action includes sessions introducing new features and updates and advanced lessons for more experienced users who want to maximize their tools’ potential. Continuous instruction will create an environment where technology feels natural without disrupting regular workflow.

Prioritize integrated software investments

The most accessible and highest-ROI technologies for employees integrate into pre-existing tools. 

Integrated technology can connect with other programs through an API (Application Programming Interface), which acts as a bridge between one process and the next to share data and provide additional learning opportunities.

The best way to achieve employee productivity and satisfaction in the workplace is to follow best practices to create a positive digital experience.

Best practices for creating a positive digital experience for employees

Best practices for creating a positive digital experience extend beyond the need to gather employee sentiment and buy a DAP. There are many other elements to ensuring employee experience is optimal. The first element is offering new hires and existing staff remote work arrangements.

Offer remote working options

Forbes research shows that 97% of office workers didn’t want to return to the office following lockdowns and the enthusiasm to join the hybrid workforce persists as a high priority for job seekers today. Therefore, enterprises must offer hybrid work options, which will soon be mandatory in the UK under the new flexible work laws. The US also has legal guidelines for remote workers.

Streamlined business processes via well-led digital adoption strategies lead to more substantial business outcomes within a DEX strategy.

It is essential to remember that you must implement solid WFH policies to ensure staff maintains communication and efficiency as part of remote working practices. 

Implement robust onboarding

Onboarding is a crucial aspect of DEX management for new hires and existing staff as part of any digital adoption strategy. Onboarding is important for new staff as first impressions are essential to establish a positive attitude toward the new organization. 

It is also crucial for existing staff as they see how their organization treats incoming employees. The employee’s interaction begins at the interview but is more likely to be remembered more vividly on their first day on the job. When new staff receives adequate training, it avoids the resentment of existing staff having to take time to train new hires themselves.

Ensure that the WFH onboarding is just as robust as it is for on-premises staff, including new hires meeting the team via video conference or in person, being assigned a work ‘buddy’ and receiving a welcome package to help them become oriented. 

If your organization collects performance data on remote workers, ensure the policies reflect this and are transparent in how they show differences between WFH and on-premise staff performance data collection and, crucially, why these differences exist.

Digital onboarding is the first point at which a new employee experience begins in their lifecycle, so it is essential to get it right consistently for every new hire and existing team member to transfer to a new department or team.

Gather feedback

Asking and listening to your employees is the most effective way to understand their needs. Fortunately, many tools can help you capture ongoing employee feedback.

Pulse survey tools, open survey tools, and performance management tools make it easy for employers to gain insight into what’s working well in their organization and identify potential improvement areas. With regular use of such resources, businesses have an advantage in creating a productive environment where employees feel heard and valued.

To ensure honest feedback is provided, organizations must maintain a culture of respect and open communication. If your employees experience neglect or disrespect in the workplace, they likely won’t take the time to communicate honestly with you.

Seamless integration

New software investments must integrate with existing tools if needed to reduce frustration and promote buy-in for the digital adoption strategy. Internal communication tools such as MS Teams and Slack must be compatible with new technologies to optimize their usage for reliable internal communications. Procurement staff must be aware of these aspects of new digital tools.

Now we have looked at all the elements of planning your DEX management through a digital adoption strategy, it is finally time to get your hands dirty with the implementation. Let’s look at where to begin.

How can you get started with implementing a digital adoption strategy in your organization?

It is important to follow guidelines when you begin implementing a digital adoption strategy, beginning with fostering employee buy-in.

Foster employee buy-in

Are your employees apprehensive about the new software being introduced to the company? It is understandable for change to be daunting for most people. Ease their worries by reassuring them of all the support they will receive during this transition and emphasize how beneficial it is for everyone. Get them excited in exploring what this new system has to offer them, based on their role and interests – you’ll be surprised with just how much potential awaits.

Offer on-the-job training 

Manuals can be confusing, and expecting someone to understand how a new software program works just by reading it is unrealistic. To truly benefit from the features of the app, employees must have the opportunity to interact with it on-screen. With basic walkthrough instructions readily available within the application itself, training should be simple and efficient for everyone involved – both humans and software alike.

WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform is the leading enterprise DAP solution and is the perfect way to offer your employees on-the-job training that they will enjoy and find meaningful to their specific learning needs.

Ensure employees can access updates for new digital tools

Cloud-based software offers a distinct advantage over on-premise, as it is always kept up to date without the need for downloads. Businesses that utilize cloud solutions can rest assured their version of the application is never out of date. On the other hand, when updates must be downloaded manually, employees should ensure they are using only the most recent versions available to maximize efficiency and productivity.

Measure progress and schedule regular feedback collection

The most efficient way to gauge the success of your digital adoption strategy is to monitor it in real time. Ask yourself: are employees actively utilizing the app? If not, what kind of obstacles may be hindering them from doing so? You must create an environment where workers feel comfortable expressing any difficulties they’re facing so that these bottlenecks can be swiftly addressed and they continue using the digital platform seamlessly.

Utilize digital adoption to spearhead your DEX management strategy today

To stay ahead of the times and manage your company’s digital transformation, you must spearhead your DEX management strategy with robust and effective digital adoption.

The best way to achieve this is by investing in a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) today to empower employees. A DAP offers the best way to manage and automate the user experience at scale while improving operational efficiency across the enterprise. Doing so will help create a market-leading employee experience that boosts productivity and maintains business growth via outstanding employee satisfaction.


WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
WalkMe pioneered the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) for organizations to utilize the full potential of their digital assets. Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and contextual guidance, WalkMe adds a dynamic user interface layer to raise the digital literacy of all users.