It’s no secret that the more engaged employees are at work, the more they contribute to the success of the organization. But what drives the modern employee experience? And how can technology contribute to keeping employees engaged and to helping companies attract and retain the best talent?

For the past several months, we at Citrix have worked with the Economist Intelligence Unit to investigate the role technology plays in employee experience. We interviewed and surveyed more than 1,100 senior technology and business leaders, in eight countries, across a diverse range of industries to understand:

  • The drivers and prioritization of employee experience within business today
  • The key business outcomes from improved employee experience
  • The aspects of technology that drive engagement and productivity
  • What we can learn from those that are getting it right

The results, collected in The Experience of Work: The Role of Technology in Productivity and Engagement, echo what we’ve heard from customers, partners, and others. Companies can use technology to help deliver a superior employee experience that gives their people simple and flexible ways to get work done; that enhances productivity and engagement; and that enables improved business results.

Better employee experience = better business results

Across industries and geographies, organizations are finding — and proving — that a better employee experience leads to improved business results. Of our more than 1,100 survey respondents, 43 percent said that they expected or had seen better employee experience lead to improved productivity; 41 percent said improved employee productivity; 36 percent indicated improved customer experience and satisfaction; and 31 percent said improved profitability.

Technology That Removes Friction Is Technology That Works

Technology overload and complexity can hinder the employee experience and have a negative impact on employee engagement. We asked respondents about the enablers of stronger employee engagement and productivity. Most pointed to the ease of access to information and applications required to get work done as the top enabler of stronger employee engagement, followed by the ability to work from anywhere (43 percent). Other enablers that factor into improved employee experience and engagement involved choice — of apps and devices — and ease of use.

At the Intersection of IT and HR

Improving employee experience isn’t just the province of IT. It requires a “leader of the future” mindset and approach, with CIOs and CHROs collaborating to ensure that the technologies in place support user needs and adhere to HR and security policies.

Of the IT and HR leaders surveyed, 74 percent and 75 percent, respectively, feel personally responsible for improving employee experience in their own team or in the broader organization. Yet, barriers exist to effective collaboration between these functions with 34 percent of respondents identifying a lack of mutual understanding and performance metrics as their toughest challenge. But initiatives like developing shared employee experience metrics that both IT and HR can use will help (43 percent respondents in high-performing organizations in the survey indicated that they had these measures in place).

Getting the Best Out of Your Employees

Historically, technology has been a tool we wield to get the most out of employees. With a rising war for talent and a largely disengaged workforce, businesses are recognizing that their view of employee experience must extend beyond a myopic focus on productivity yield. To attract and engage talent, technology must be an enabler that helps organizations get the best out of their people. Workplace technologies need to streamline access to information and applications, removing the “noise” and distractions from the workday, and to empower employees with the right insights and apps to do their very best work. Such unified access and AI/ML-guided work can help employees speed and scale innovation in dramatic ways. The future of work is here, and organizations can redefine what work means, delivering the experience employees demand while improving business results.

You can read more of my thoughts on employee experience and IT on Medium and download the full report at