9 ways to meet staff digital expectations
Technology is key to attracting and retaining talent
Creating a digital workplace that meets staff needs in their work and personal lives is the key to attracting (and keeping) the best staff. The technology you choose and the culture you build around digital transformation and innovation is important to switched on employees. Build your reputation as a workplace of choice by prioritising the tech user experience of every employee.
1. Embrace technology and invest in the latest systems
Weighing up the cost and benefits of digital transformation and new systems is about more than the direct ROI of processes the technology manages or automates. The Millennial workforce was born digital – they’re used to adapting to new technologies and they expect employers to do the same.
2. Allow use of personal devices
No one wants to carry 2 versions of every device around. The line is blurred between work and personal life, so modern workplaces offer employees choices on bringing their own device (BYOD) or going all in with company hardware configured to allow for personal use without compromising data security.
3. Offer genuine mobility and flexibility
The promise of flexible workplaces isn't always put into practice. Working with an IT partner to implement the right tools for your staff to work remotely is the easy part – it's tougher to build a culture where remote work is genuinely supported.
Start with your hiring process and recruit people you trust to get the job done, wherever they do it. Let senior management lead the way and show that remote working is encouraged and isn’t approved in a begrudging way.
In practice, this can mean a commitment to mobile-friendly applications – more than just your email and calendar – but customising key business apps to be mobile-friendly. Mobile versions are no longer a ‘nice to have’ or an afterthought, they’re non-negotiable.
4. Value user experience
Treating the apps your staff use like a customer-facing product puts user experience front and centre. Just like customers, staff want reliable, user-friendly, responsive technology. Not only does it increase productivity and engagement, it keeps staff on secure systems instead of risky alternatives.
5. Create an IT service centre not a dictatorship
There’s an age old battle between what IT says you have to do and frustrated users. Its fine for employees to work within mandated software and apps for the key apps and needs – but don’t let policy be so stringent that a new tool isn’t welcome. If staff are using something new, listen and learn to understand the gap it's filling. You can bring it into your digital suite or find a secure alternative through your IT partner.
Forcing your IT department to dictate use and enforce outdated policies creates a divide with staff. Reposition your IT team as a service centre with customers – your staff.
6. Support ongoing digital skills development
Make supporting your staff with digital and tech upskilling an ongoing investment, not one only considered when new systems are being brought in. Shake off the idea that upskilling staff is preparing them for a new job somewhere else - you can’t retain every employee and you shouldn’t want to. Focus on making everyday working life easier and you’ll keep the best of the bunch.
7. Make digital transformation business as usual
Part of living in a digital revolution is understanding that the only constant is change. Organisations can no longer take 2 years to roll out a new IT system – they need to build digital and IT updates into their BAU budgets and planning. Take the time to evaluate what’s working well and what isn't in a constant cycle of renewal and improvement.
8. Remember tech isn’t just for the IT staff
Creating a digital workplace isn’t about your IT staff – technology is key to everyone’s role in your business. Think beyond the IT department and ask staff from all areas of your business, at all levels, what they need to do their job better.
9. Link tech leadership to career advancement
For the Millennial workforce, career progression is a key factor in whether to take a job. If you can link tech evangelism and ongoing digital skills development to leadership and promotion opportunities (no matter what type of sector they work in within the business), you’re sending a clear signal that you're a 21st century business taking digital needs seriously.