Do you want to slow down the turnover? The right technology can help.
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Do you have the right technology to attract and retain top talent?
If you are surprised by this question, you are not alone. Prior to the pandemic, executives typically used more traditional perks such as attractive salaries or 401(k) matching to convince workers to join their ranks. Of course, it was important to equip people with the technology they needed to perform their jobs. But since the vast majority of employees worked from the office, leaders didn’t have to think about technology needs beyond the confines of their own four walls — or how they impacted their growth strategies.
However, as more companies move to hybrid working models, leaders need to broaden their view of technology needs. Unfortunately, few have taken up the torch so far.
In a 2021 survey, for example, a third of workers said their employers had not prioritized investing in better work-friendly hybrid technologies. Unsurprisingly, this affects their willingness to stay. A 2022 survey found that a third of employees say a major driver of their desire to change jobs is frustration over hybrid work technology issues. The lesson is clear: if leaders hope to retain their employees, they cannot ignore or undervalue the technology needed to create a seamless hybrid work experience.
Related: Where to Deploy Innovative Technology to Create a More Flexible and Engaging Organization
A void hard to fill
Most of our current work technologies were designed with the needs of in-person or remote staff in mind. Because the hybrid approach is so new, there just aren’t many tech tools designed with that in mind (at least not yet).
For example, your office conference room was probably built for in-person meeting attendance. Participants were seated around a table while the meeting host used a monitor and projection screen to present to the group. When people were sent home at the height of the pandemic, in-person meetings were out of the question, which meant attendees participated separately via a video conferencing solution. The host could share their screen and attendees could watch the presentation from the comfort of their couch. Quite simple.
But what is a hybrid conference room looks like? Some employees can join the meeting from the office, while others can connect from remote locations. Their meeting experiences will be very different and potentially headache-inducing. In fact, 71% of respondents to this 2022 survey said hybrid meetings are stressful. They identified content sharing, wrestling cables, and audio and video connection issues as their top technology concerns.
Related: What’s the best way to run a highly effective hybrid meeting?
How do you bridge this gap to ensure maximum participation and engagement from everyone? We don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer yet, but we do know that how companies use technology to facilitate hybrid working could mean the difference between employees sticking around and running for the exit. Here are some strategies for meeting the technological expectations of employees in a hybrid workplace:
Related: Losing Employees to Competitors? Modern workspaces can help you keep them.
1. Don’t let people flap.
Simply arm your hybrid workforce with the basic necessities (e.g. a computer with a decent microphone, camera, and speaker) and then leave them to fend for themselves as they integrate these digital tools into their daily work is a mistake – one that is, unfortunately, common. According to PwC, just over half of employees believe their employers meet their needs when introducing new technologies. This is in stark contrast to the 90% of executives who say the same thing.
Where is the disconnect? Consider this: most technology failures occur during deployment and implementation. This is often because the people who select the technology, introduce it to staff, and train it are not the same people who use it every day. Instead, ask your IT team to work closely with “power users”: the people who will use the equipment most often.
IT team members should physically sit and observe how power users operate new technology tools throughout the day. This allows IT to proactively identify any annoying technical issues that arise, no matter how trivial. (After all, when you add up all those minor inconveniences, they add up to a lot of wasted time.) Then IT can put solutions in place to fix issues that probably wouldn’t otherwise have been reported, because most people only report if- called “big” problems.
2. Conduct regular employee surveys.
It’s not realistic to let IT sit with power users every day for the foreseeable future, so you can fill in the gaps with regular company-wide surveys. When was the last time you consulted with your employees about their technology needs? This is one of the best ways to proactively improve the employee experience, which in turn will prevent voluntary turnover.
Intel, for example, surveys its employees twice a year to help managers get a better idea of employee satisfaction levels. It’s no coincidence that Intel is one of the top 10 companies men and women are excited to work for, according to a joint survey by Fortune and SurveyMonkey.
After the initial setup and deployment of your technology is complete, send out company-wide surveys every few months to gauge the effectiveness of your current technology stack and make it easy for employees to report any issues. Surveys not only help you uncover and overcome insidious technical issues, they also show employees that you value their opinions and want to make sure the technology is Actually meeting their needs.
3. Even the playground.
When everyone was working under one roof, you could probably maintain a consistent enterprise-wide technology setup. Everyone was connected to the same Wi-Fi, had the same computer, had similar office setups, etc. However, when employees are spread across multiple sites, maintaining this consistency becomes more complex.
Imagine that you employ two salespeople, for example. Everyone needs a solid tech setup to run effective sales calls – good lighting, work experience, strong internet connection, good quality camera and microphone, etc. Salesperson A works from the office, where the lighting is excellent, the Wi-Fi connection is rock solid, and they can sit in a professional-looking conference room while connecting to the audio conferencing system high end of the business. However, Salesperson B is working from home in a darker room using his laptop’s middling camera and microphone and a low-cost shared internet connection with a partner who is also telecommuting.
While the costs can add up to equip everyone with a work-from-home environment, you also need to consider the cost of not making these investments, especially for customer-facing team members. whom you have asked to work primarily in a remote work environment. A 2020 report found that only around a quarter of businesses paid for or at least shared the cost of work-from-home and internet equipment that year. As we venture further into the hybrid working model, you need to be more deliberate about your employees’ home office setups, which means investing company funds in accessible work-from-home tech kits. to everything employees.
The ability to work effectively from anywhere is essential. To ensure that your hybrid workforce is as productive and happy as possible – and, in turn, that your company retains that talent – you need to put the right technology solutions in place and make them accessible to everyone.
Related: Staff turnover is draining your business