It impacts more than employee experience. Is workplace tech the new battlefront for brand reputation?
From slow speed and response time from helpdesks to ineffective collaboration and no access to the right technology tools, workplace technology not only affects productivity and employee experience but also leaves a mark on brand reputation.
Even though businesses spent around $15 billion extra a week on technology to enable remote working, during the pandemic, 61 per cent of business leaders still predicted their technology would not be ‘fit for purpose’ and able to meet the demands of the business.
Freshworks recently unveiled survey findings that reveal a stunning divide between employee expectations and the reality of the workplace tech experience.
In the wake of the pandemic, businesses have doubled on digital transformation. However, nearly half (47 per cent) of employees in the MEA report that technology issues at work have increased their stress levels.
Workplace tech pivotal in the war for talent
The majority (69 per cent) of MEA line of business (LOB) leaders expressed the need for good technology to win the war for talent, and 79 per cent recognise that high-calibre employees will consider looking for a new employer if their current job does not provide access to the tools, technology, or information they need.
This is reflected via half (56 per cent) of employees who said their company could probably dissuade them from finding a new job if they invested in automation. Technologies that support hybrid and remote working are viewed favourably by MEA employees, with half (51 per cent) saying such solutions have increased their happiness at work.
Irrespective of what innovations companies choose to deploy, it is abundantly clear that one feature is now a must-have – simplicity. A staggering 86 per cent of LOB leaders surveyed by Freshworks said their employees have higher expectations of technology to be easier to use since the pandemic.
“Easy to use technology that enables better employee communication and engagement, automation and better service delivery is no longer a nice to have. It’s business critical,” said Stacey Epstein, Chief Marketing Officer at Freshworks.
“In today’s hybrid world, employees demand the same experience at work as they do as a consumer. This is a global trend and those businesses who address this emerging divide now will be in a strong position to outperform the competition in this exceptionally challenging economic environment.”
Reputation, productivity, employee wellbeing hang in the balance
With over two-thirds (72 per cent) of MEA employees becoming increasingly dependent on technology, it now determines key outcomes for organisations.
The report shows a correlation between employees’ perception of their employer and the latter’s digital maturity, with 42 per cent stating that their company’s workplace technologies make them appear behind the times.
Perhaps more problematic, however, is that for over half (52 per cent) of employees, this shortcoming directly impacts productivity, and nearly a third (30 per cent) report this hurts their job satisfaction.
When implementing new IT solutions to address these shortcomings, organisations would be well served to understand employees’ barriers when embracing new technologies and tools.
The report highlights that MEA LOB leaders find resistance to change (72 per cent), employees not being consulted when choosing new software applications (69 per cent) and employees not being given sufficient time to learn to use new software (67 per cent) to be the top challenges.
“Businesses need to take a leaf out of the consumer application playbook and ensure business applications are as intuitive and convenient to use. The technology is already out there, delivering powerful, yet easy to use enterprise applications, all via the convenience of the cloud – this has effectively democratised IT. It’s time for organisations to now take advantage of such technologies that will help them bridge the growing employee/IT digital divide,” said Vishal Chopra, Sr Director of Marketing at Freshworks APAC & MEA.
There is little tolerance for archaic tools today. The technology must make the lives of their employees easier through automation, collaboration, speed, analytics and insights. Without this, businesses risk their reputation as well.