Given the pervasive role that digital technology plays in our lives today, it’s unsurprising that employees see the tools and tech they use at work as a cornerstone of the employee experience and the employer value proposition. They expect to find state-of-the-art devices and technology when they come to work at a world-class bank and insurer – and that applies to older generations as well as millennials.

A 2015 study by Jason Dorsey, The Center for Generational Kinetics and Ultimate Software in the US, for example, found that respondents from all generations expect speed, simplicity and efficiency in the business applications they use at work. Furthermore, almost half of millennials want to be able to complete key transactions with their business software from a tablet or mobile device.

This is why we are starting to see leading financial services companies begin to place so much focus on the digital workspace as they prepare for the future. They are starting to think about the digital tools and technologies they offer internal customers as part of the employee experience – beginning with recruiting and on-boarding employees and stretching through to talent retention, rewards, learning and career planning.

This isn’t just about employee self-service and giving employees the ability to update their address or print a pay slip. It’s about aligning business processes and talent management using powerful digital tools. We are seeing a range of social and market-based tools emerge that will let employees manage almost every aspect of their professional lives digitally.

Savvy employers across industries are starting to look at how they can use digital technologies to deliver ‘wow’ experiences to their employees at every moment of truth in the employee lifecycle. When someone is applying for a job or doing the on-boarding admin, for example, the process should be slick and digital. Many employees will simply abandon a discretionary interaction if it is slow or involves printing and signing reams of paper.

One way to get it right is through the integration of HR services and systems with functional shared services for employees including IT, finance, facilities, procurement and more. For example, on-boarding activities might span traditional HR services, including orientation and training, benefits and payroll management as well as broader services such as obtaining a personal computer, building access and a mobile device.

We recommend that financial services companies uses techniques such as agile development and design thinking to create employee-centric digital experiences.  These approaches enable them to rapidly roll out minimum viable products in a prototype > test > iterate cycle.

This reduces time to market for new employee experiences and apps, and allows the HR and IT teams to deliver solutions that are tailored to the needs of the employee. In my next blog post, I’ll delve into how employee-centric digital technologies can promote more agile and flexible ways of working.