Great employee experience and freedom to focus

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We’ve all observed the exponential growth of benefits programs and wellbeing initiatives over the past couple of years, especially as recent reports show that 46%of HR professionals have seen an increase in wellbeing budgets during the pandemic. Employers are increasingly offering a variety of perks such as free breakfast, social events and extensive medical insurance options to keep employees content.

But employee experience doesn’t just sit with HR. As Harvard Business Review points out, the technology experience now defines the employee experience. It’s becoming central in attracting and retaining talent, fostering the right culture, and creating productivity. As with flashy benefits, the IT team needs to seek new promising solutions to increase productivity, help with every part of our work and, ultimately, make the employees’ lives easier.

However, the very solutions that are supposed to improve employee experience can be counterproductive and overshadow the most important task – getting the job done. While many organizations have introduced new tools and platforms to achieve that in the last two years, only half (53%) of employees feel that their organization pays attention to their actual needs when adopting new technology. In fact, constant collaborative noise and strenuous IT processes leave employees less focused and at risk of causing data security leaks. With that in mind, what can businesses do to improve employee satisfaction while ensuring productivity and security?

More isn’t always better

Although companies continue to invest in more software with good intentions, implementing too many solutions has its disadvantages. First of all, employees might not be aware of all the existing programs provided by the business or simply not use all of the features to the fullest. This lack of awareness can result in misplacing resources and losing money.

Furthermore, employees might feel overwhelmed with the variety and number of software solutions out there. From adopting new financial technologies to learning new software, employees have their attention pulled in multiple directions and aren’t free to focus on their core role. According to the recent Freedom to Focusreport, over a half (55%) of employees admit that the number and type of tools they use to communicate and share work information has increased in the last two years.

Often different solutions are designed and implemented across various departments and use cases, ultimately creating complex, employee-unfriendly digital environments. As a result, workers constantly switch between email, messaging apps, video calls and other forms of communication with their teams and clients. This is not to say that using a mix of communication tools is always a bad choice for a company. Many of these collaboration platforms were helpful in preserving communication and company culture throughout the pandemic. However, a gap has since emerged between how organizations think employees like to operate, and how actually they prefer to.

Despite the recent focus on instant messaging and video platforms, it turns out that email is still the type of communication that employees use the most frequently. Employees actively perceive email to be the most beneficial and secure form of communication, not just the platform they use the most. The vast majority (88%) of workers rely on email to get their job done, while 81% believe that email is the most secure way to send sensitive information.

Ultimately, employees are left dealing with a plethora of different tools and clunky systems which makes it difficult to do their job well. Although being able to complete tasks and meet all the fundamental responsibilities at work should be prioritized, it seems increasingly difficult to do. In fact, 98% of workers think it’s important that they are free to focus on their core role at work this year.

Negative employee experience

Many employees come to the realization that the constant bombardment of notifications as well as time-consuming processes have a detrimental effect on the overall satisfaction. Some of the personal impacts from this ever-growing IT ecosystem include the need to learn how to best use different tools (39%) and reduced ability to focus and do their best work as they are interrupted more frequently (34%).

Another consequence of the overwhelming IT bureaucracy is increased stress levels at work (29%), more difficulty switching off as a quarter (25%) of respondents feel like they’re always contactable and “on duty”. One of the most alarming problems that stem from the complexity of the IT systems is the threat to security. 23% of employees say they’re concerned about data protection and that they might share a document or a message they shouldn’t, risking a data leak.

Improving employee satisfaction

These challenges paint a worrying picture of employee experience and can have serious long-term implications on the workforce. However, IT leaders seem to agree that there’s an easy solution that could immediately improve employees’ experience.

It was reported that organizations should invest in tech which would stop employees from worrying about data security when using email. It would give them the freedom to focus on other things and bring other benefits such as improved productivity (49%), improved employee morale (34%), and better business relationships (29%).

Instead of looking for the next ground-breaking productivity tool, organizations should put in place platforms, and policies that allow every employee to focus, communicate freely, and confidently take risks to ensure employee success.

Giving individuals the freedom to work effectively, stress-free, and in a way that matters to them results in better employee satisfaction. It’s time for businesses to pay less attention to staff wellbeing when it comes to simply filling in the gaps with benefits and incentives. Businesses must put innovative ideas into practice if they want everyone to enjoy their daily jobs.

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Rick Goud

Founder and CIO at Zivver

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