Employers need teams that can help propel the business through economic recovery to capitalize on opportunities in the coming months and years, but to build those functions they need to rethink the employee experience to halt a mass exodus of workers.
Critical to those efforts is how companies equip workers to perform their roles with the devices they want and access to data and applications wherever they are. It is a rethink of current approaches to personal technology, but the prize is a better employee experience, lower churn and a more engaged workforce.
The Great Resignation, the Great Attrition – whatever you want to call it – has seen a huge shift in employer-employee relations over the last few months. After years of companies being warned that a failure to put workers first could have dire consequences for their staff retention, it looks like it is actually happening.
According to Microsoft 41 percent of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year. This is already reflecting on the number of vacancies in the Dutch market. The number of vacancies has grown over the last eight years from 95.000 to 371.000, while in the same period the unemployment number declined from 681.000 to 294.000.
The shift in employee-employer relations
What’s caused this dramatic change? For employees, it’s the realization that there is more than one way to do their job. Proven by their own experiences of remote working, they are no longer prepared to put up with jobs that do not support the ways they want to work. In addition, many have become used to their own technology, connected by domestic broadband. Unsurprisingly, a return to office-based cubicles, old devices and limited opportunities for a flexible lifestyle, balancing work and living, does not appeal.
Of course, the clamor to replicate personal technology experiences in the workplace is nothing new. From the consumerization of IT to the bring-your-own-device trend of a decade ago, there has long been friction between what the office provides and what employees are using in their own lives.
What the pandemic has done is create an added urgency. Companies were already fighting desperately for talent, and they need to hold onto their new recruits long after they accept the job offer. Whether retaining existing staff or ensuring new joiners stay beyond the first days and weeks, companies need to understand that the way they provision technology contributes to the overall employee experience. One study (Workfront’s 7th Annual State of Work report) found that nearly a third of workers (32%) have left an employer whose tech was a barrier to their ability to do good work. In addition, it reported that candidates were now more likely to apply for a job because they heard a company’s employees use great technology and turn down a job because the tech was either out of date or hard to use.
It is clear that whether retaining existing staff or ensuring new joiners stay beyond the first days and weeks, companies need to understand that the way they provision technology contributes to the overall employee experience. The onboarding and support of employees is now becoming a key differentiator.
Building the right employee experience
So, what will contribute to building an experience that not only retains staff but acts as a core part of the employee value proposition to attract that all important new talent? What is it that workers want?
It depends: on individual preferences, on the needs of their role, and yes, on business requirements. The point is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore, the solution needs to be able to support a wide range of requirements. That’s not limited to devices, however. It covers apps as well, more specifically the ability to access the apps and services employees need by just selecting what they want and having it on all the devices they use for work.
This isn’t new, of course. Any device, any app, anytime, anywhere, any how – it’s been part of the vision for the digital workspace for some time now. Yet, for most organizations, it doesn’t quite work.
The reason for that is the complexity of those workspaces. Yes, your employees have access to all the tools they need in their day-to-day work. But in many cases, these are implemented in silos without the benefit of an overarching toolbox, which is killing your employees’ productivity. According to Pega, employees are using an average of 35 job-necessary applications more than 1,100 times a day. Switching between all these apps and different systems and portals is a big enemy of employees’ productivity and stress level.
Employees are using an average of 35 job-necessary applications more than 1,100 times a day.
A new way to equip your employees
To remedy this issue, you should start implementing a digital toolbox – the workspace portal -, which simplifies access to everything an employee needs based on role, device and location. This workspace portal is a single digital starting point, where employees have the required access to all their applications and data they need to do their jobs effectively. To enhance engagement, the digital workspace portal integrates social intranet which gives your employees access to all company information in a consistent way, regardless of the device they are working on. It’s a workspace designed for culture, communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing.
This ultimately means a consistently high level of employee experience throughout the workers’ time at the company. It is the sort of experience that makes individuals advocates for businesses, improves churn and boosts talent attraction and retention. Or, to look at it another way, get through the Great Resignation with a skilled, engaged and well-equipped workforce.