Riverbed survey: Millennials, gen z want employers to step up their digital employee experience

Nearly half of younger employees say that a seamless digital experience trumps traditional employee benefits like happy hours or free coffee

Riverbed survey: Millennials, gen z want employers to step up their digital employee experience

Failing to meet the digital experience expectations of younger employees could disrupt businesses, with 68% of millennial and gen z employees considering leaving their employers, according to the Riverbed Global Digital Employee Experience (DEX) Survey 2023.  

Millennials and gen z demand superior digital experiences 

Younger generations, particularly millennial and gen z employees, held the highest expectations for technology and digital experiences at work. 91% of respondents believed that advanced digital experiences would be necessary to meet their needs, with 89% acknowledging the heightened pressure on IT resources by younger employees. 

Leaders expressed concern that failing to meet these digital needs could lead to a talent exodus, as 68% of respondents felt younger employees might consider leaving their organizations. Furthermore, 63% believed such a failure could disrupt productivity, reputation, or overall performance.  

The study found that 95% of leaders considered delivering a seamless DEX crucial, with 56% deeming it critically important to maintaining competitiveness. 

“The rising influence of digital natives, shift in how and where people work, and IT complexity has put tremendous pressure on IT leaders to deliver on the digital experience expectations of employees and the organization as a whole,” said Dave Donatelli, CEO at Riverbed.  

“Delivering better digital experiences is getting harder, not easier,” Donatelli added. “What’s encouraging is the vast majority of business and IT leaders understand the challenge at hand and are taking proactive steps to invest in technologies.”  

Obstacles to achieving seamless DEX 

Despite the clear imperative, 95% of IT and business decision makers cited major obstacles to delivering seamless DEX. The most common challenges included budget constraints (36%), IT talent shortages (35%), inadequate observability tools (29%), insufficient SaaS or cloud services (29%), and data overload (28%).  

Additionally, slow-running systems, outdated technology, and understaffed IT departments hindered the growth and performance of 87% of organizations. 

To address these challenges, 81% of organizations allocated budgets for IT staff retraining, while 86% believed that Unified Observability technology, coupled with automation, could bridge the skills gap. 

Key findings from the survey 

  • Nearly half (49%) of leaders identified a seamless digital experience as the top factor in keeping their workforce engaged, surpassing traditional office perks such as happy hours (25%) and free coffee (14%). 

  • Almost half (47%) of employees worked in hybrid models, with 88% planning technology investments to support this trend. 

  • The survey emphasized the increasing relevance of IT in the C-suite, with 81% acknowledging its heightened significance following the shift to hybrid work models. 89% of leaders also planned to expedite digital experience adoption.  

  • Emerging and established technologies, including AI (45%), cloud (43%), automation (35%), Digital Experience Management solutions (35%), and application/network acceleration technology (34%), were deemed crucial to remain competitive.