How Important is Technology in Delivering the Opportunities and Experiences our Employees Want?

Employees want to grow and develop. Research regularly shows that having the opportunities to learn new skills and develop professionally are key reasons for joining a business. And for staying with a business too. Most feel they need to learn to help them do their jobs better, which is crucial in performance driven organisations. Professional development is key to having a satisfied and engaged workforce.

Technology is important. When Ultimate Software did their National Study on Satisfaction at Work in 2016 they found 92% saying that having the technology necessary to do their job efficiently affects their satisfaction at work.

Research I was involved earlier this year, partnering with Kelly Services to survey 14,000 European jobseekers, also found 76% believing that having the latest technology was an important factor in being successful at their job. This wasn’t the main factor though. Having collaborative working environments, a good work/life balance, strong leadership and businesses with clear vision and values all ranked higher. The way that some of these are experienced can be enhanced through technology.

This research also found that how a business treats its employees – the employee experience – is the most important thing jobseekers look for, with over 90% seeking some form of validation through checking online reviews, or from connections who may have worked there, or know people who have. In fact 35% said they had dropped out of an interview process because they heard something negative about the organisation after applying.

One of the key conclusions from this research was that for employees and jobseekers, their reality is more about how they do their day to day job and the ways technology can make their daily routines easier and more engaging, whilst offering greater choice over how and where they work. The way they are treated and supported is much more important than working for businesses who embrace the latest fads and trends.

So as we count down to the HR Technology Conference & Expo, the question is how important is technology in delivering the experience and opportunities that our employees want? And if it so heavily affects their satisfaction, do we rely on it too much as a differentiator? Fads and fashions driven by state of the art solutions may generate a lot of hype and digital noise, but do they enhance the lived employee reality?

And are we using it to maximise potential? One finding from the jobseeker research was that 70% of employees believe that they have the technology to work from home, but only around 40% feel that they can actually do their jobs working from home. And despite the myths around flexible working, the reality is more mixed. For example, 58% feel that working from home would improve their work/life balance, yet 48% believe the advantage of being office based is the ability to keep work and home life separate.

So the way we use technology, and integrate it into our organisations, needs to work for everyone. The business may be able to operate more efficiently and profitably with better data and insights, and processes that are seamless and integrated. But does this also support employees to grow, develop, be productive, work flexibly and achieve targets? And give them the work experience that will keep them happy and attract others to join?

In other words, will the way we use technology in our talent processes really deliver what our workers want?