Channel well placed to balance digital transformation with employee experience
What I am about to tell you may come as something of a shock. I apologise if it does but I feel this is something that needs to be shared. Apparently, businesses often think they know what’s best for their workers but – and you may struggle to believe this – they’re not always right.
That’s one of the findings to emerge from recent research conducted for Ricoh Europe which looked at the effectiveness, or otherwise, of technology being introduced to improve the employee experience.
Conducted by Opinium and analysed by CEBR, the research polled 6,000 workers and 1,500 decision makers across seven countries in Europe (including Ireland). It revealed quite a disparity between employers and employees on the subject of how to improve the working experience.
Nearly three-quarters of decision-makers (72%) claimed they designed employee workplace processes and systems with employee experience in mind, but only 58% of workers agreed that new technology had achieved that goal. In addition, more than a third of workers (36%) said that the new technology being rolled out across their organisation would not affect their work.
According to Ricoh, the findings suggest “that many employers are failing to understand and reflect the needs of their people when it comes to digital transformation. As a result, technology investments designed to improve the working experience may be missing the mark”.
It warns that failing to act could also have an effect on trying to attract and retain talent.
Ricoh Europe CEO Nicola Downing says the results suggest employers are “failing to connect with employees on the processes and services that will make working easier, more efficient and, in many cases, more enjoyable”.
She warns that “people need to be at the centre of any workplace transformation, with their needs and pain points listened to and actively addressed. This is vital to talent attraction and retention, boosting collaboration productivity and ensuring a sense of fulfilment through work across the organisation”.
The disparity between what employers think employees need and what workers really want is clearly a cause for concern but it’s also an opportunity. If employers implement digital workplace technology that actually enhances their workers’ experience, there will be a clear benefit in productivity, growth and employee retention.
So how do they make sure they’re providing what their employees really need?
Often, when it comes to technology, it doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel every time, so one of the best ways to make an informed decision over what to buy and why is to consult someone who knows about this stuff. That doesn’t just mean the people who sell the technology, it means people who sell it but know how, why and where to use it.
One of the best places to find these people is in the channel. Successful partners make a point of understanding why technology should be deployed and what it is supposed to achieve. They have experience of making it work not just in its own right but for the benefit of those it is intended to serve.
With nearly all technologies, there are practical trade-offs and partners know what they are because they have come across examples before. They can explain what those trade-offs and limitations are to their customers – and to their workers.
If there’s a gap between employer expectations and employee experiences of technology, partners can play a role in helping to close it before it even happens. In other words, partners can use their experience to help ensure businesses improve the experience of their employees.