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Accentuate the positive

Billy MacInnes asks if employee experience is as important as we think
Image: Stockfresh

9 December 2019

I’m often more interested in surveys for what the people who commissioned them don’t say about them as opposed to the results that they choose to highlight. A case in point is recent research for Lenovo, conducted by Forrester Consulting, that gathered responses globally from 813 employees and 803 device buyers in companies with less than 1,000 employees.

The Lenovo press release on the results was accompanied by the following statement: “[Our] Study finds that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are not meeting employee expectations, with only 60% satisfied with their experience at work.”

Now, while what Lenovo has stated is factually correct, I have a few quibbles about that “only 60%”. Admittedly, it’s not an overwhelming endorsement of employee satisfaction but anything over 50% has to be viewed as a positive, doesn’t it?

What would happen, for instance, if you decided to flip that statement on its head for some reason and said “just 40% not satisfied with their experience at work”? Would that sound strange or worrying to you? Or would it seem to be a positive, all things considered? Sure, you might think, there’s obviously room for improvement, but you’d be starting with an optimistic viewpoint.

The headline to the release is more interesting because it gets to the heart of the matter in terms of why there might be “only 60%” who are satisfied with their experience at work. “Lenovo Global Study Reveals Employee Satisfaction Gap with SMBs Linked to Poor Tech Provision,” it states. This refers to the difference between 79% of employers who believe they offer “a good employee experience” and the 41% of employees who say they don’t have the technology for flexible working, along with the 38% who complain that technology issues are a major distraction at work.

That’s quite a big gap but is it really that surprising? How many employers do you know who aren’t blithely confident they’re giving employees a good working experience? And how many are happy to acknowledge their employees aren’t happy with their working environment? The answer is somewhere between ‘not very many’ and, as they say up here in Donegal: damn all.

What’s interesting, however, is that 77% of employers consider improving employee experience as a high priority, even though 79% of them believe their companies offer a good employee experience. So maybe they’re not quite as confident as they appear.

Still, that could be quite positive, potentially, for IT partners dealing with smaller companies – if they can convince them to invest in the technology that makes working easier. One of the big problems is money, or the lack of it. The survey reported 45% of SMB IT decision makers claimed the budget they had was not adequate to cover all their requirements. Nothing new there.

If anything, the surprise is that it’s ‘only’ 45%. Still, I suppose if we were going to emphasise the positive, then the good news is that a majority (55%) of SMB IT decision makers have the budget they need.

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