Stonly caught up with Arun Serikar, Vice President of Digital HR at Schneider Electric, to discuss his revolutionary approach to driving employee adoption at scale.

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What's top of mind over the next few years as you consider your digital adoption strategy?

The top three things I continue to work on are our employee experience, data interpretation, and streamlining processes and applications.

Enhancing the employee experience

Certainly, the primary goal in regard to employee experience is to enable our employees to effortlessly find and carry out their necessary duties. Reflecting on the initial stages of my career, the norm was to train a trainer, who would then instruct employees on technology usage. Yet, when I consider the perspective of employees and managers, it's clear they only use certain software occasionally—maybe once or twice a year or perhaps monthly. It's challenging for them to recall the functionalities unless the tool is designed to be highly intuitive and self-explanatory.

However, when they encounter challenges beyond their ability to resolve independently, we must ensure a swift and efficient avenue for user support. Whether through the assistance of an interactive chatbot or a dedicated support representative, it is paramount that the interaction is conducted in a highly streamlined manner, prioritizing speed and effectiveness. By doing so, we create a profoundly motivational experience for all users, fostering a sense of empowerment and enabling them to easily overcome obstacles.

Automating data interpretation

When it comes to data interpretation, vast amounts of information across hundreds of applications pose a significant challenge for manual data analysis aimed at achieving the intended results. Therefore, it's imperative to focus on utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and digital tools to carry out the analysis for us and automate processes where feasible. Our journey begins with the collection of metrics, stating:

  • How many users are using it?
  • When does a spike in volume occur?
  • What issues are reported?
  • Are the managers using the tool?

AI can indeed play a pivotal role in this context by examining data, interpreting the narrative it presents, and subsequently offering recommendations. This is the ultimate AI experience I anticipate from a data perspective, which I believe has the potential to revolutionize the marketplace.

Streamlining processes and applications

Another big focus for me is optimizing the efficiency and coherence of our established processes and applications. With operations in over 100 countries, solutions can be implemented independently within regional silos. Our paramount objective is to harmonize these disparate components, aligning them seamlessly with our organization's guiding principles without straying excessively. Simultaneously, we diligently ensure their conformity with local regulations and adherence to compliance standards.

Why is digital adoption a priority across Schneider Electric?

Schneider Electric, a global frontrunner in energy management and operational solutions, boasts a workforce exceeding 150,000 across over 100 countries. The subject of digital adoption resonates strongly across all our departments and works hand-in-hand with our sustainability objectives. We persist in investing in digital technologies to enhance efficiency, engage with customers, uplift customer experience, boost productivity, and establish definitive goals.

My primary objective within HR is to instill consistency. It's crucial to understand the principle of “going slow to go fast.” This entails conducting thorough research and investing in the appropriate technology, after which we can expedite our digital transformation. Introducing a “right” technology doesn't invariably equate to an increase in our tech debt. In fact, it can rectify many issues by automating certain procedures, potentially allowing us to phase out outdated technologies.

How do you communicate the value of digital adoption to the whole organization?

To foster trust among our stakeholders, I adhere to a policy of utmost transparency regarding the risks, data, and trajectory spanning from point A to point B. I believe in keeping our direct stakeholders apprised and ensuring that other members within our organization remain well-informed of the ongoing initiatives, thus cultivating a broader awareness. This approach serves as a compelling exemplar, facilitating the expansion of our endeavors beyond the confines of a particular department. Furthermore, it enables us to extract valuable insights that can be applied to our current project, such as leveraging similar implementations in different regions, thereby enhancing our overall efficacy.

How do you tailor digital adoption programs for different user groups?

Instead of relying solely on a document for reference, it is imperative to adopt an iterative approach that directly engages the intended audience. However, this process can be streamlined significantly by harnessing the expertise of the user experience team right from the inception phase. By involving them in design sessions and actively listening to their insights, you not only expedite the deployment of the solution but also enhance its efficacy.

I learned this valuable lesson through firsthand experience, as I initially pursued solutions independently before involving the user experience team. Unfortunately, this approach often constrained their capabilities as they grappled with aggressive timelines and limited deployment opportunities.

Rather than striving for absolute precision, it is crucial to prioritize an iterative approach. Upon deployment, engaging in direct conversations with customers, actively interacting with users, and diligently collecting feedback are essential components of our strategy. This enables us to refine and enhance our plans based on real-world insights.

For instance, in recent discussions with our business and IT partners, valuable feedback emerged during user testing. Of the 20 identified areas, ten are presently under active resolution, while the remaining ten are earmarked for future implementation as part of our strategic roadmap. By proactively disseminating this information, we alleviate users' concerns, assuring them of ongoing efforts and mitigating the need for them to initiate formal support requests.

About Stonly

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