For professional services firms, your employees are your product. Are you doing everything you can to maximize their experience?

As a recent report from PwC explains, for professional services firms, talent, technology, and data are the three crucial pillars to staying competitive. Considering the importance of talent, it’s no surprise that PwC also found one in two leaders say they are prioritizing investments in the employee experience!

In other words, professional services firms – both in Pittsburgh and nationwide – are investing in the employee experience. Yes, this includes your competitors!  And it’s not surprising why: With the increasing expectations of your clients, it's more important than ever to ensure your employees have access to the right tools and technology. 

A well-supported workforce stays ahead of industry trends, delivers exceptional client outcomes, and keeps your business competitive in a fast-paced market. Prioritizing employee experience ensures your talent remains your greatest asset, setting your business apart from the rest.

In this article, we'll delve further into the importance of modernizing your employees' digital experience and the three key steps to help your business to offer an outstanding employee experience.

Why Professional Services Firms Need to Modernize Their Employee Experience

In early 2023, we conducted interviews with a number of Pittsburgh professional services firms. Our focus was on identifying the key goals and challenges facing them today. From these interviews, three major pillars emerged – all of which are deeply affected by the employee experience.

1. The workplace is now anywhere. Your team needs to be empowered to be productive no matter where they’re working.

For professional services firms especially, where employees are so crucial to the client experience, people need to be able to be fully productive – no matter where they work.

It may not be readily apparent, but the key to enabling “work from anywhere” is investing in the employee experience. Doing so enables seamless communication, collaboration, and resource access for your team, irrespective of work location. This boosts productivity and engagement, leading to greater client satisfaction.

2. Talent is hard to attract and even harder to retain. The employee experience is crucial to not losing dedicated talent to competitors.

A rotating door of staff creates a poor client experience – not to mention significant financial costs. SHRM has found it can cost 50-60% of an employee’s annual salary to replace, onboard, and train a replacement employee.

Turnover is often attributed to areas like pay and benefits, but don’t overlook the impact of frustration due to a poor digital employee experience! If you’ve ever struggled to access key systems, documents, or other information at work – you understand that challenge.

That’s why 77% of HR leaders agree that poor or unreliable IT services play a significant role in employee burnout and turnover. This isn’t to downplay areas like compensation and benefits – but if your technology isn’t keeping up, that frustration will eventually boil over, and your talent will take their skills elsewhere. The right technology is key to attracting, retaining, and engaging your talent.

3. Sustainable growth and cost management is top-of-mind. An exceptional employee experience is not just a cost center, it drives and sustains growth.

A strong digital employee experience fuels productivity, enabling your team to work more effectively. By providing your staff with the right tools and technology, you create an environment that encourages efficiency and focus. Many of our professional services clients rely on Microsoft Viva to help in this regard.

This platform combines communications, learning, insights, and employee engagement tools to create a unified digital experience. Viva streamlines collaboration, encourages continuous learning, and helps employees better manage their well-being and work-life balance. A platform like Viva can have a true bottom line impact, as that higher productivity and engagement translates to better business performance.

Finally, it’s important to remember the proven link between client experience and employee experience: Companies who are top performers with the client experience have 60% more engaged employees. It’s simple – motivated and satisfied employees deliver excellent service, which leads to happier clients. And happier clients means increased client retention and referrals

The bottom line: Empowering employees with the right technology means more success for your business. By investing in your employees' experience, you're not only benefiting your team but also creating a ripple effect that drives sustainable growth. But how can you actually start putting the right technology in place to deliver that exceptional employee experience?

Here are three steps you can follow:

1. Understand Every Employee’s Workflow & Tech Use

Start by having conversations with your team to understand their current workflow and identify gaps, especially when it comes to handling client projects and meeting industry standards. This will help you pinpoint the right software solutions that will truly make a difference in their day-to-day. 

What platforms are they using now? What could they be using instead? Assessing your current tools and pinpointing opportunities for improvement is vital for overcoming unique challenges such as high client expectations and stringent compliance requirements.

For professional services firms, modern technology can enable key workflows such as:

  • Seamless document collaboration: Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive allow teams to collaborate on documents in real-time and store files securely in the cloud.
  • Secure client communication: Microsoft Teams provides a platform for secure messaging, video conferencing, and file sharing with clients, ensuring data privacy.
  • Streamlined time tracking and invoicing: Dynamics 365 Project Operations enables efficient time tracking, project management, and invoicing, all within a single platform.
  • Efficient resource management: Dynamics 365 Human Resources offers a comprehensive solution for workforce planning, employee scheduling, and performance tracking.

Identifying and implementing the right tools for these critical processes boosts your team's productivity and effectiveness. This leads to better client satisfaction and gives your business a competitive edge in the industry.

2. Rally Support for New Technology

Next, it's crucial to get your leaders and colleagues on board with adding new technology. If you did your discovery well in step one, you’ll have a whole lot of examples of tech-related challenges you can solve. Because you built the list based on employee input, you should be able to find support for modernization and improvements.

When leaders are onboard and championing the change, they can help guide employees through the transition and alleviate any concerns or resistance that may arise. 

And concerns will arise! Not everyone has the same comfort with new technology, especially if there is a generational gap among your business’ employees. It's important to strike a balance to cater to different communication styles. Failing to do so may lead to frustrated employees and clients, and eventually, high turnover rates and a potential loss of revenue.

Involving employees in the decision-making process and addressing their unique client project needs can help build support for new technology. Demonstrate the positive impact of modern tools on their daily work, such as increased efficiency, better collaboration, and improved client satisfaction.

For example, someone may live and die by emails, but a younger employee might thrive in Teams. Some employees may prefer your long-standing legacy systems for client work. No matter what modern platform you select, you need to understand everyone’s point of view and engage them in the process if you want to succeed.  

3. Employee Training and Support

Modern training is essential getting the most out of your team and your new systems, while outdated methods can hold everyone back. Effective training today involves offering more flexibility, personalization, and interactivity. For example, instead of relying solely on one-size-fits-all training sessions, you can use tools like Microsoft Learn, a platform that provides tailored learning paths and resources for Microsoft products.

Without adequate support, your employees might not use the tools at all. The software will become a sunk cost, and your team could disengage. Keeping employees engaged is crucial for maintaining strong client relationships and staying ahead in a competitive market.

For example, one of our recent clients wanted to switch from Google Apps to Microsoft 365. We trained the whole team upfront and walked them through their new digital employee experience multiple times. However, due to a lack of internal communication from the project leader to their team, they missed telling their staff what we were doing and how our team was making a new experience. 

The project represented a large-scale shift in how people complete their day-to-day projects. A massive change like this needed more communication from leadership. Once we filled in the communication gap, the project was a major success and the company was in a better position to serve its clients. To avoid an initial setback like this, employers need to appoint the right person with the right tools to lead internal technology and change management projects. They also have to give them the time to do it right.

When building out your business’ experience, it’s crucial to consider these questions before you change their workflow:

  1. How will your employees get trained on any new tech? 
  2. Who will provide IT help for when your employees get stuck?
  3. What will be the process to fix any software issues? 
  4. Will we have a digital knowledge base for self help service?

If you don’t have answers to these questions, your employees will not have the support they need. This will lead to confusion, frustration, and overall a negative experience – which diminishes the quality of services you provide your clients.

Upgrade Your Employee Digital Experience with the Help of an MSP

By facilitating your employees’ current workflow, getting support, and providing training, your professional service firm will be well on its way to attracting and retaining the best professionals in the field. Many busy organizations choose to partner with a trusted Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) to make sure their new digital experience will be a success. An MSP can also ensure that your business remains compliant when migrating or upgrading to a new software platform. 

At Ceeva, we understand the unique challenges faced by Pittsburgh businesses. By partnering with us, you can alleviate the stress of software buy in, employee training, and day to day IT issues. This helps you focus on delivering an exceptional employee experience and fostering a modern work environment!

We’ve been serving Pittsburgh professional service firms for over thirty years – learn more about how we can start helping yours today.


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