Outdated technology in the office is proving to be an issue for employees, research shows. You can even risk losing your best employees.  Wow!  We could guess poor tech tools can make it difficult for companies to beat the competition especially when it comes to customer engagement and sales to production and innovation. But employees too! It makes sense really. Slow frustratingly outdated technology or systems that are confusing or super glitchy make anybody’s day at work stressful. They’ve discovered that this type of technology means your business can’t attract and retain top talent. And this is super important as the COVID-19 pandemic winds back and the labor market tightens.

Economists are projecting that it will be a few years until global economies return to normal pre COVID times. For instance, the Congressional Budget Office projects that the U.S. won’t hit pre-pandemic employment levels until 2024. And since it probably a quieter time, now is the best time evaluate your tech and ensure you are well equipped for a digital workforce that’s possibly still working remotely.  You don’t want to risk your employees walking away.

Are you finding it hard to believe?

To clarify, why researchers have made this claim, well according to the State of Software Happiness Report 2019 from G2:

  • 52% of workers said they have “become dissatisfied at work due to missing or mismatched software”
  • 24% of respondents said they have “considered looking for a new job” because they “didn’t have the right software”
  • 13% of employees said they have left a job because of the software their employer required them to use
  • 95% of workers said they would be “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with better software tools
  • 86% of respondents said they would be “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with more software tools

Since the COVID-19 pandemic technology has become increasingly important as workers became telecommuters, working from home. So, technology is now an ever-increasingly important factor when it comes to employee satisfaction.

Are you still not convinced?

That is to say that according to a recent report done just last month, March 2021 Adobe Workfront’s State of Work 2021

  • up from 22% pre-COVID. 32% of workers said they “left a job because the employer’s technology was a barrier to their ability to do good work.”
  • 49% of U.S. workers said they are “likely to leave their current job if they’re unhappy or frustrated with the technology they use at work.”
  • between February and March 2020 to November and December 2020 we see a 12% increase in the number of people “who report turning down a job because the tech was out of date or hard to use”
  • between February and March 2020 to November and December 2020 a 7% increase in the number of people “who reported applying for a job because of a company’s reputation the employees use great technology”

It seems that in today’s climate, Gen Xers are thriving in the world of remote work with millennials struggling by comparison, writes Dallon Adams on the site Techrepublic regarding the Workfront.

5 ways companies can improve employee IT satisfaction

In their desire to meet the needs of their customers in the “COVID normal” way companies need to step it up a notch and accelerate their digital transformation effortsto include a re-examination of the hardware and software their employees are using.

As a result, this will promote employee success, boost productivity, and build good will for IT we’ve included a few tips for building quality tech tools.

1. Make sure existing tools meet user needs and work as expected:

Firstly, a useful way to analyse employee needs is by conducting a user satisfaction survey. Anything that comes up a number of times with employees is worth investigating.  Certainly, it can start to pinpoint where best to spend your money. Secondly, ask your IT service management team to analyse service desk call logs or reporting tools to discover regular pain points for end users. Thirdly, do an asset report of all your desktops and laptops. Doing this exercise will give you an overview of all the machines that are starting to get old and in need of replacing. 

2. Give employees access to “new” technology

Since the COVID pandemic and our need to rely heavily on technology, according to the Workfront report employees want better technology tools now compared to the pre-COVID days. Above all, the report highlighted that “old technology” made it “harder to take on more work.” In other words, get rid of those 7-year old computers. I know businesses need to watch their pennies. But if the business is using old computers, you will want to increase your IT budget.

3. Offer employees choice as a rule not an exception:

Secondly, employees “expect their employers to trust and empower them to know how to achieve the right outcomes.” This was another point gleaned from the Workfront report. Certainly, modern technology has made it easier for flexibility when it comes to managing multiple operating systems, applications, and hardware platforms. So why not allow employees to use the tools they believe would achieve good outcomes and make their productivity better and more pleasurable? IT should’nt lock people into a particular way. But in saying that were not suggesting 2 different finance or 5 CRM systems. There is no reason not to support multiple productivity suites such as ExcelPowerPoint, and Google Docs. A  Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace can coexist. In other words, if someone makes a legitimate business request it may help them do their job.

4. Support flexible/remote working environments: 

It seems like the nature of work has been forever changed by the pandemic as people can enjoy the office/home – work/life balance. So even if COVID dies out or we’re all vaccinated and there’s no threat anymore, employees will still want a flexible work arrangement. Therefore, more people will be working remotely. As a result, the IT department will need to adjust to home/office demands of staff. Such as extra hardware like monitors, keyboards, mice, cables, software and cloud services.  Because people need to be able to work effectively from their home as well as the office.

5. Balance security with ease of use:

Keep it simple when it comes to your security. If it’s too inconvenient people will find a way around it. But this doesn’t mean security isn’t important, especially in a world of constant cyberattacks. Above all, companies need strong security tools and to follow best practices. No business wants to deal with a security breach. But there are some that overdo security, making it hard for people to get on with their job or “there are many tools that can actually reduce the effectiveness of defense”, says Charlie Osborne for ZDNet’s Zero Day in her article on the report. And the research report IBM released in 2020 shows simply deploying lots and lots os security tools doesn’t lead to stronger security

If you need some practical ideas on balancing security and user friendliness, take a look at the list of cybersecurity do’s and don’ts by Scott Matteson.

Companies need to foster employee satisfaction when it comes to IT otherwise risk not hiring the cream of the crop and keeping their top talent. Afterall, employees just want to do the best job, with the best tools to get the job done. And in the most efficient, stress- free way.