More than one in three U.S. employees is frustrated with their technology at work every day, finds a new national poll of working Americans from Eagle Hill Consulting. Also, less than half say that their organization places a high importance on deploying technologies intended to make their jobs easier. Instead, one in five employees says that technology makes their job harder, according to the Eagle Hill Consulting Employee Experience Survey 2021.
Failure to engage employees at every stage of technology decisions and deployment can create more problems than it solves, according to Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill Consulting president and chief executive officer.
“Organizations depend upon technology advancements to improve customer and employee experiences, as well as business results. But failure to engage employees at every stage of technology decisions and deployment can create more problems than it solves,” said Jezior. “Failure to engage employees throughout the technology change process can have deep negative impacts on productivity, morale, work quality and workforce retention – all key drivers of business outcomes.”
“Our research shows that far too many employees are frustrated with technology at work, and no one wins under those circumstances. The challenge for companies is to shift their technology culture and mindset,” she added.
“For example, implementing ‘the best’ technology does not always lead to the desired outcomes. Instead, the maximum return on technology investment hinges on fostering a culture in which employees provide input and embrace technologies that are incorporated into their daily work to drive efficiency and performance,” Jezior explained. “Technology change should focus on responding to employee needs and shifting ingrained worker behaviors to deliver more value – and that’s where organizations often fall short.”
The research finds that:
- Thirty-five percent of all U.S. employees are frustrated with their organization’s technology in general.
- Forty-four percent of workers say that technology either does nothing to enable them to be happy in their job or makes work harder.
- One-third of employees say that technology at work either does not help or makes it harder for them to serve internal and external customers.
- Thirty-seven percent of employees maintain that technology either has no effect or makes it more challenging to collaborate with colleagues.
Organizations can embed technology change behaviors into the company culture, well beyond technology “go-live” events, by implementing the following five principles:
- Make technology change everyone’s responsibility. Technology should be viewed as a relationship that IT does not fully own. End-users, supervisors, and teams must be engaged, knowledgeable, and accountable for the specific actions they must take to adopt new technologies successfully.
- Ensure that every C-suite leader owns the transformation. The brand promise, employee experience, customer service, finance—everything the company does every day—is tied to technology. As such, leaders at the highest levels must act as agents of transformation when it comes to their responsibilities, skills, and accountability for technology change.
- Evolve performance measures to reward connectors. In technology change initiatives, connecting and collaborating are desired behaviors to be acknowledged. To encourage employees to embrace these behaviors, organizations should reward cross-team problem solvers, connectors, and educators.
- Create feedback loops to align tech change with people’s needs. Organizations should seek to incorporate employee input and feedback to identify what technology would be most helpful to increase productivity and success.
- Continue to make a case for change with purpose and vision. Employees should be connected to IT decision-making and planning, know the why, what, and how of changes before, during, and after launch. And, employees should know the connection to the broader organizational strategy and purpose.
The Eagle Hill Consulting Employee Experience Survey 2021 was conducted by Ipsos in January 2021. The survey included 1,003 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S. The survey polled respondents on employee experience aspects, including technology, diversity, employee engagement, and customer service.