Matching the right technology to the right employee
About the Author
Pang Yee Beng is the Senior Vice President for South Asia and Korea at Dell EMC
The right technology has the ability to empower workers to make the most out of their day. Advances in technology are on par with the demands and expectations of the workplace but the adoption of these technologies is in fact still rather slow.
Gone are the days where employees willingly chain themselves to their desk from 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM. Now, armed with the latest technology, the modern worker has the choice to venture out of his or her office at any given time and continue working without issue – and enterprises need to be able to meet this growing demand to attract the best and the brightest to join their ranks.
Of course, there are challenges: six in 10 enterprise leaders in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region are struggling to keep up with the pace of change according to the latest Realizing 2030: A Divided Vision of the Future research.
For employees, there are high expectations: 84% of employees stated that technology influences which job offer they accept. This is where the different factions of the enterprise need to come together to ensure that the gap between resources and employee needs are being addressed but how do they go about doing so?
Drive synergy through stronger collaboration
The first step in understanding the expectations and needs of the current and future crop of employees is to assess user habits – which is a rather daunting task as it calls for closer collaboration between different functions in the business. While IT makes the purchasing decisions for technological products, it is other departments like HR who are often privy to employee habits and needs.
Hence, it would be important for the HR team and other departments to develop effective processes to work closely with IT to ensure user roles and business needs are taken into consideration during IT purchases. Such processes would include regular review of workplace technology and timely updates on changes in business needs.
Adopt user-oriented technology that fits with work habits
After the HR-IT team have derived the needs, expectations and the habits of the enterprise’s employees, they can work towards implementing technology with a user-first approach. This is integral to truly enhancing your organization’s competitive advantage.
For employees working on-the-go, the design of a laptop should not only be focusing on aesthetic appeal alone – if the laptop has a large footprint, it would be difficult to work in confined spaces such as an airplane tray table. If it’s a device that was bought a few years back, its battery would definitely not be able to last a day trip.
Such factors make it imperative for us to match user habits to equipment functionality when looking for the optimal workplace technology for your employees.
Moreover, it is also crucial to match users to devices based on their needs, rather than factors like job titles or seniority. Considerations must include working style, requirements of their roles, and the complexity of their jobs. For instance, a sales director would require a smaller, lightweight laptop with longer battery life for offsite meetings, while a “big data” analyst may require a 15-inch laptop with higher computing power and monitor docking options to edit and run complex documents.
Using this approach, employees can be matched easily with the right technologies according to their needs and working habits, better enhancing efficiency and improving productivity.
Enable flexibility in working hours
In addition to technology, HR teams should work with the management team to evaluate policies that support a fully remote and flexible workforce.
Almost nine in 10 Asia-Pacific leaders surveyed through Realizing 2030 research believe that this is a crucial component impacting digital transformation at the workplace. Working remotely brings about benefits like saving time on commuting, providing better care for dependents, or achieving healthier work-life balance.
Half of the business leaders in the Asia-Pacificexpect to have a more globally connected yet remote workforce by 2030.
In fact, many of the younger employees value the balance of productivity and quality of life, with almost half of them believing that automated systems will help to free up their time and increase their job satisfaction through offloading undesired tasks to machines.
In Asia, there have been a number of public and private sector initiatives that recognize the benefits of remote, flexible work arrangements, such as the Tripartite Standards on Flexible Work Arrangements led by Ministry of Manpower in Singapore. This flexibility will be achieved by equipping your employees with technology that provides them with access.
In this digital era, organizations have to adopt a holistic and collaborative approach to fully leverage technology and improve on job satisfaction amongst their workforce – all eventually helping the enterprise to improve their productivity and bottom line. IT, HR and other business unit leaders must work together to ensure that the technologies complement working practices and are a positive draw for new employees with different technology expectations.
Taking these steps towards achieving workplace transformation will go a long way in setting your enterprise up for success till 2030 and beyond.