Anthony Lamoureux, CEO of Velocity Smart Technology, the Smart Locker provider
90,000 hours. That’s how long the average person spends at work over the course of a lifetime
Around a third of our entire lives are spent working so it would make sense that we choose something we enjoy or find value in, if we’re going to spend so much time doing it.
The ‘employee experience’ has become as important as the customer experience in recent times. Reductions in available talent on the jobs market mean employers have to offer more to retain staff and keep them happy. According to one study, employers tend to do well initially, with 85% of workers saying they were enthusiastic about their job when they started.
But only 63% say they sustain that initial enthusiasm and happiness in the long term - a 22% drop in employee satisfaction over the course of working for a company. This is concerning for businesses in itself, but failing to get the employee experience right can also lead to falls in overall business performance and falling profits.
One Gallup poll found that business’ deemed to provide a good experience by their employees saw a 51% decrease in absenteeism, a 64% reduction in health and safety incidents, and a 29% increase in work quality.
With so much riding on the employee experience, it’s important to understand what it takes to provide such an experience that will help retain talent, but also what the benefits can be to getting it right.
Benefits of better employee engagement
As we’ve already mentioned from the previous Gallup poll, a better employee experience results in fewer staff absences from illness. With employees more excited to come into work they’re less likely to try and find an excuse to avoid work.
Happier employees are far more likely to be engaged with their work and become more productive. This can help increase both the output and quality of work being produced which, in turn, leads to an increase in profitability. One poll found that businesses with more engaged employees saw a 21% increase in profitability compared to those with a poorer experience.
3-Better staff retention
Around 60% of employees say that they’re more likely to stick with their current employer if they feel happy and fulfilled at work.
With fewer qualified candidates on the market it’s critical businesses manage to retain the staff they have, but a reputation for a great employee experience could also help you entice more employees to come to you.
4-Faster business growth
It’s not just employees who will benefit from a better experience and more engagement. The payoff comes straight back to the business too. According to one survey, companies with a higher level of employee engagement see, on average, a 19% increase in operating income. Conversely, companies with lower engagement see income drop 33%.
So, knowing what the benefits can be, what are the biggest frustrations employees feel at work that can make them disengage?
Lack of necessary equipment
Around a quarter of employees say a lack of equipment, or up-to-date, was a big issue for them at work because it stopped them from being as productive as they could be and made their jobs harder. According to another study by PwC, 90% of the C-Suite believe they pay attention to staff needs when introducing and deploying new technology, and only 53% of staff agree.
Lack of leadership and direction
More employees than ever are looking for companies that share an overarching vision, whether sustainability or personal growth. Many employees say that this lack of any leadership or direction can be a big problem that results in less engagement.
Slow resolution of IT issues
This probably isn’t that surprising and we’ve all likely been in the situation where a laptop, phone or piece of software malfunctions and we have to wait a long time for it to be fixed. This could be time spent being productive and, worse, it’s lost time that we’ll have to make up for later.
With more people working from home, it’s becoming a much bigger problem too. More than a third of employees said they’ve experienced more prolonged IT issues since they stopped working exclusively from an office.
Improving the employee experience
This is the bit businesses need to know. Given the problems and the rewards or penalties you face regarding the employee experience, how can you improve the experience.
Some of this is obvious. Things like pay, benefits, feedback, growth and defined career paths are all important. It’s the new problems that come with relying on technology that you need to focus on.
Let’s take IT resolution as a key point for improvement. The biggest problem with most IT resolutions is that it’s a convoluted and time-consuming process, especially now with employees spread out because of remote working. And this is only exacerbated when it involves a problem that can’t be resolved quickly.
Simple investments in IT ticketing and bringing in new technology like Smart Lockers can resolve this simply.
Here’s how it works. Rather than phoning an IT help desk, raising a ticket and waiting for a problem to be fixed, you can simply pick up a replacement laptop from a designated Smart Locker (which is already mirrored to your own laptop) and continue working.
Your broken laptop can be picked up and fixed and then returned to the smart lockers for employees to pick up later.
During this time, employees are still working. Smart lockers also provide great opportunities for remote workers who want a secure environment to have equipment delivered to when they’re working from a shared workspace.
Adopting new technology like cloud, mobile, machine learning and newer technology like smart lockers will all combine in the future to create a more modern, productive and profitable workplace that also increases employee engagement.
And it’s the business that acts first which will see the biggest benefits.