How IT Can Support Your Employee Happiness Initiatives
by Elaine Evans, on Jul 22, 2020 12:34:25 PM
Leaders tackle many challenges on a daily basis. Understanding how technology supports your employee experience can (accidentally) fall to the bottom of your list. However, did you know that there are multiple studies that show how important a good technology strategy is to your team? You may be experiencing fallout from this oversight and not even realize it.
According to a study done by Zensar:
“More than three-fourths (76%) of the 1,000-plus survey group said having the digital tools they need at work makes them more productive. More than half (53%) said it makes them more successful. The same share said they would be more empowered to better manage workflow if provided with the IT tools they needed, and 42% said it speeds up boring tasks.”
In Verne Harnish’s “Scaling Up,” he wrote an entire section on People. “The Managers (Coaches)” are tasked with many things, but one of them is to “stop demotivating [and] start ‘dehassling.’” [Harnish, Verne. (2014). Scaling Up.]
IT gets a bad rep when it comes to “dehassling;” in fact, we’re often made fun of for adding roadblocks. However, the right IT strategy actually enhances your employee experience.
Here are four ways you can leverage IT to support your People strategy:
- Offer your team a way to easily get their technology problem solved/get support
- Let your team choose their work device
- Find security products with less friction for end-users
- Have HR work with IT to tackle other employee experience initiatives
1. Get your team technical support
Many growing companies that haven’t hired dedicated IT find that “IT person” has been accidentally added to someone’s job description (a tech-savvy owner, a developer, or an office coordinator). In fact, many times we’re introduced to an HR person who is in charge of IT because it is looked at as a people problem.
Be honest: do you really want your CTO or HR Director to spend their time installing new printer drivers?
But it happens every day even though it wastes a lot of valuable time and money. Your end-user doesn’t want to bother a (defacto IT person) developer and may struggle with an issue that prevents them from doing work. Your (defacto IT person) office coordinator may not have a lot of tech experience and take a long time to figure it out or worse, make a mistake that loses data.
You need to set up a standard way for your team to get IT support through someone whose job it is to not only fix the problem but also log the problem. You’ll get two main benefits:
- End-users will feel supported and have less downtime
- You’ll get a log of common technical problems that you can use to prioritize what you tackle in your IT strategy
Hiring for this can be difficult and managing an IT person when you have no background can be even more challenging. Depending on your organization’s size and complexity, you will want to consider using an outsourced solution until you need to plan your own internal IT team.
2. Let your team choose the device they work on
Most of your organization may be standardized to a certain device. This is helpful for IT in having to only accommodate a single type of operating system. However, to become more competitive and to make your team even happier, you should consider offering a choice.
A study by Jamf found that 68% of employees are more productive when they are working on a device they chose and 35% of employees are more collaborative. It’s even more important to the largest segment of the workforce, millennials, who were 78% more effective in their job.
Traditional business structure has tried to force people to work on Windows when offering Macs might not only get better talent but also help with employee retention. A forward-thinking IT strategy should plan for this inevitability as Apple continues to grow in popularity in the business world.
3. Invest in security products that think about user experience
Security is vitally important to your organization and needs to be carefully thought out in order to protect your customers, employees, and your business. However, the traditional IT thought process of “lock everything down” is outdated.
Businesses today need to use modern tools that remove friction while still protecting the business, such as:
- Single Sign-On (SSO) allows you to use your email to sign in to apps/services. It will make your user’s life easier while also helping to harden your organization’s security
- Password managers help your users create unique, complex passwords while making it easy to remember them
- Computer management tools can update software in the background so users have less downtime
Apple has designed their hardware and software to consider security, privacy, and user experience. You can let your team use their iPhone and “contain” company data so that it doesn’t mix with personal data. They’ve built-in settings like Gatekeeper that prevent users from accidentally downloading malicious applications from the web. Take a look at your technology stack and make sure it is something that holds both security and user experience in high regard.
4. How can technology power up “HR” functions?
Human Resources and IT naturally have to work together on very critical items like onboarding and off-boarding accounts, but are you having them work together on other problems like ongoing learning/development, submitting feedback, communication, and more?
It’s proven that employee happiness is affected by their ability to learn and develop in their position, but doing it that manually can be very time consuming for leadership.
Some ways that IT can enhance your HR efforts include:
- Research e-learning platforms to spread knowledge and help employees develop in their positions
- Investigate ways to ensure employees have access to current legal information, benefits, and more
- Develop systems to manage personnel files and make sure they are easily accessible to the right employees
- Automate technology onboarding so users can focus on learning the company and position as opposed to how to get logged into all the different applications
By working with HR on ways to contribute to positive employee experience, IT will be even more key to your people strategy from now on.
Your organization should embrace technology and IT as a way to positively improve company culture and values. Don’t fall in with the majority of organizations -- take a bold stance and always be evaluating how IT strategy goes hand in hand with your employee happiness. To learn more about how an effective IT strategy could benefit your employee experience, schedule a call with our experts.
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