While 60% of IT organizations are investing in improving employee experience to support remote work productivity and performance, 92% of IT executives worldwide say their organizations are in survival or maintenance mode, according to a Forrester survey on behalf of Elastic released Monday.
Only 40% of the 1,000 IT leaders and CIOs surveyed say the department has the right tools, policies and procedures in place to support a remote workforce. Fifty-seven percent say budgets have been cut over the past 12 months.
To increase their impact on employee experience, 57% of IT professionals surveyed are collaborating more closely with the HR department. Almost two-thirds (64%) of CIOs say they work more closely with the chief human resources officer now.
Engaging employees in a scattered, remote environment requires IT-HR collaboration. IT handles the tech stack connecting employees while HR manages the employee experience.
"IT leaders will have an expanded role in introducing and normalizing new tools for working, beyond collaboration tools like Slack and Zoom, and will need to ensure company processes are able to scale in a hybrid work environment," Kim Huffman, VP, IT at Elastic, told CIO Dive in an email.
Some business communication and collaboration tools, for example, come with embedded data tracking and analytic tools. IT manages the logistics while the HR department can use the metrics as a digital touchpoint to measure employee well-being.
But workers weren't always satisfied with how the implementation of remote work tools played out over the last 13 months.
More than two-thirds of workers (68%) said they faced at least one challenge concerning the software they use to do their jobs, according to an October survey by The Harris Poll. More recently, a survey released last month by Eagle Hill Consulting found more than one-third of U.S. employees say the technology involved in daily work frustrates them.
"It’s time for IT leaders to put employee experience at the heart of every technology decision they make,” Huffman said in a statement. “They must quickly and dramatically evolve and accelerate their programs as they work to support their employees and adapt to the next normal and a completely different way of working.”
Hybrid work trends as the next iteration of the office. Some employees will return to in-person work while others will stay remote, fostering emerging tech niches to manage collaboration.
Salesforce, Bank of America and Autodesk all shared plans on how their workforce will navigate hybrid work. To start, companies must first fill the virtual collaboration, virtual office and virtual event gaps in their tech stacks.
"The big change with the hybrid environment is that all of a sudden you're going to need to have both: you're going to need to have the in-office depot for fixing devices, but you're also going to need to have something that's going to help the remote workers," Forrester analyst Andrew Hewitt told CIO Dive in February.