The world of work has undergone a tremendous change over the last year. From the way work gets done to the way employees operate, there are a number of new trends that inform future business outlook. And on top of the business priorities has been the health and wellness of employees, their families and friends.
There’s also been increased scrutiny on how engaged and productive employees were during this time. As companies realign themselves to a new hybrid workplace model – that will have both onsite and remote workers, there’s a need to look at the data on engagement over the past year closely – to better understand the interplay of employee engagement and technology.
Salesforce surveyed office workers and IT leaders in Australia, Singapore and India to understand how workers want companies to support them with technology and how companies can leverage technology to improve engagement.
“With technology, organizations now have an opportunity to create an even better workplace in a post pandemic world – one that allows employees to be more connected to each other and find more balance between work and home – ultimately leading to increased innovation and better business outcomes.” said Deepak Pargaonkar, VP Solution Engineering, Salesforce
The impact of disengagement
Engagement at work has been a continuous focus area for businesses as they adjusted to new business realities. Over the past year, companies have doubled down on engagement related activities – right from business leader-led virtual town halls to ensure employees directly hear from leaders on continuous business updates, technology based wellness applications to manage health and safety priorities and a variety of collaboration and communication tools to supplement day to day work. It is a known fact that engaged employees contribute actively to the business, they’re also more likely to advance business goals and recommend the company.
According to the research by Salesforce, about 4 out of 5 APAC workers said that there are times when they are not happy or motivated to work – and more than three-quarters admit there are times when they don’t feel productive. And 50 percent of office workers admit to taking a sick day off when feeling unhappy or lacking motivation. Conversely, 51 percent of engaged office workers said they were likely to recommend their company to a friend looking for a job, when compared to just 5 percent of disengaged office workers.
What caused the engagement gap?
There are a variety of reasons why employees can get disengaged. From work overload, increased meetings in a remote working world, increased stress due to longer working hours, the quality of technology used at work, the list goes on. Salesforce’s research captures data on the specific factors that negatively affect engagement at work.
60 percent of the study’s respondents said that technology failing or not working as it should, negatively affect engagement at work. 51 percent of the others said the quality of technology is critical. 49 percent of them cited the number and frequency of meetings as a reason and 45 percent of them cited email overload.
In order to work productively, employees need the tools to ensure there is a seamless access to the best of technology. At a time when companies are taking crucial decisions on the remote working culture, access to high quality workplace technology is an important determinant for the future of the business.
39 percent of the APAC officer workers said that their workplace technology helps them do their job effectively and efficiently. The research showed that APAC office workers waste close to 57 minutes of their workday due to outdated processes and inefficient technology.
In India, the number of office workers who said they struggled with out-dated and inefficient technology stood at a whopping 85 percent. The gaps in technology enablement are glaring, since most employees are already familiar with the best of customer grade technologies that they use outside work.
“Communication and collaboration between virtual teams is essential to success in this new normal. Digital communication tools have surely come a long way since the days of instant messaging platforms.” Deepak said. “At Salesforce, Quip is extensively leveraged by all our teams for collaboration. The access to presentations, reports etc in one repository, makes meetings more effective. Transparency among team members is maintained and the number of update meetings are reduced; resulting in an overall positive impact on individual productivity.” he added.
Find out insights on the apps that are on the employee wishlist and how to bridge the divide between employee expectations and work technology. Access the in-depth report here
The role of IT in boosting engagement
Only 53 percent of APAC IT leaders who participated in the study said they place a high priority on employee experience when selecting technology. However, most leaders seem to understand the problem: 72 percent said the quality of workplace technology has a large impact on employee engagement. And about 55 percent of IT leaders said their organizations have implemented remote access apps, and over 32 percent of them plan to implement them over the next 12 months.
The problems in implementing world class IT systems and processes tend to have a direct impact on the quality of work. But IT departments themselves have wide ranging issues – right from short staffed departments, lack of skilling on emergent technologies and also disparate systems and processes that do not allow for a unified experience.
84 percent of the IT leaders who participated in the research said that the lack of IT staff with the right skill poses a significant challenge. 60 percent said it’s because of being treated as a support function instead of a business partner. About 40 percent said it’s because of disconnected data and systems.
Find out what your IT leaders and departments need to do to boost employee experience by accessing this handbook that outlines key challenge areas and solutions for them. Click here to download.
The case for smooth and great employee experience is a collaborative effort of the HR and IT department. And increasingly, it seems IT leaders recognize this approach.
92 percent of IT leaders believe that improving technology that employees use is critical to the company’s ability to compete. In India, 80 percent of the IT leaders said that the quality of technology has a major impact on employee engagement, although 52 percent don’t place a high priority on employee experience while selecting technology.
Poor remote working solutions will have a negative impact on how employees view the workplace. Before the pandemic, 33 percent of the office workers in India said that technology didn’t fully support remote working. Even as businesses open up to new ways of working in a post COVID scenario, they will need to account for the need for flexibility. In fact, workers whose workplace fully supports remote working are 3x more likely to recommend their company to a friend than a company whose tech does not.