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Why removing IT systems challenges is more vital to employee retention than you may think

This Unisys report examines how employee experience defines the digital workplace, and vice versa.

Video calls have become essential for remote and hybrid worker. (Photo by Pexels user Anna Shvets via a Creative Commons license)
This is a guest post by Alan Shen, VP of solution management and digital workplace solutions at Blue Bell, Pennsylvania-headquartered IT firm Unisys.

Yes, hybrid work may well be here to stay: Seventy percent of employers believe the hybrid work environment will persist as the primary workforce model, according to Unisys’ recent survey, From Surviving to Thriving, conducted in partnership with HFS Research.

A hybrid work environment is one in which employees work some days per week from home and some days per week in the office. For this research, 2,000 employers and employees were surveyed across the US, Germany, Australia and the UK in 13 industries with enterprises with revenue of more than $500 million (or $250 million for Australia). We surveyed nearly 700 employers, identified as managers and above, and more than 1,300 employees with non-managerial duties to understand the commonalities and tensions between the two groups.

We found that as employers embrace hybrid and remote work models, organizations are more reliant on technology than ever before. Employees fundamentally agree with this new way of working: Over half prefer hybrid work to other models, and nearly 90% of hybrid workers rate it as a somewhat to very effective model.

No matter the perception of employers and employees, technology can have a significant impact on a hybrid or remote model’s success. At the heart of it all is IT’s role, and removing IT systems challenges is vital to employee experience, productivity and retention.

See the report

Effective technology begets satisfied and engaged employees.

Technology can have a tremendously positive effect on employee engagement.

Eighty-nine percent of employees working in a hybrid model report being more engaged or similarly engaged in their jobs compared to six months ago. Sixty-two percent of employees who are more engaged, and 42% of those whose engagement remains the same, find having access to the best technology highly motivating.

When employees are engaged, businesses benefit from a natural increase in productivity and employee satisfaction — two key components to employee retention.

Aside from salary, employees rank access to technology tools and support to effectively do their jobs as the most influential factor in deciding whether to stay or leave an employer. Sixty-three percent of workers believe investment in collaboration tools beyond basic chat and video apps is somewhat or very important to their experience.

Companies need to be thoughtful and examine which technologies would most improve the employee experience.

IT challenges negatively impact employee productivity.

IT issues cost 49% of employees one to five hours per week of productivity and another 23% lose more than six hours weekly. By solving technology issues, companies can improve employee productivity and increase revenue.

Currently, 42% of employers don’t measure lost productivity from IT issues, but employees are willing to partner with their companies to fix these challenges. In fact, 92% say they’d be willing to share data, such as app, device and network usage and performance, to improve IT support.

Collaborate and plan to ensure effectiveness of workplace technology.

The survey results demonstrate why IT and HR teams should collaborate more closely: Effective technology is essential to a successful employee experience, especially in a hybrid or remote work environment. Understanding IT’s role and pain points, HR can better measure employee engagement by surveying employees’ thoughts and experiences with technology and tools in place. Both teams can work together to leverage employee insights, which can be invaluable in their quest to reduce friction.

Consistently surveying employees can also help the C-Suite determine what technology to implement and how, since employers and employees don’t always see eye to eye on which technologies are most important for collaboration and efficiency. Sixty-seven percent of employees rank video conferencing as very important, but only 38% of their companies have deployed it. While 60% of employees rank smart assistants or chatbots as very important, only 21% of them say their companies have implemented the technologies.

Successful adoption of any new technology or process requires strong organizational change management. This includes a robust plan to communicate the change, convince employees of the value the adjustment brings and roll out the new technology with training.

But organizational change management doesn’t end there. Companies must continue to measure performance and adjust as needed to optimize effectiveness. Removing IT systems challenges may not be a frictionless process, but it is essential to improve the employee experience, productivity and retention, and ultimately enhance an organization’s success.

Companies: Unisys

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