The great divide: Work Tech vs Employee Expectations

Is your current work technology keeping up and engaging your employees in this new world of work?
By: | July 15, 2020

The way we work has been changed overnight and there is no turning back. Remote working was touted as the next big thing in the world of work before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it has suddenly become the new reality.  

With employees working physically apart more than ever before, the need for the right technology to not only support them and keep them productive, but also to engage them, has never been more important. And while HR will undoubtedly play a critical role in this transition, the technology and the IT teams that implement it will play a vital role as businesses adjust to new ways of working – whether that’s remote work, transitioning back to the office or something in between.

To get a better sentiment and understanding of how employees want their organisations to better support them with technology, and how companies can use technology to improve engagement, Salesforce conducted The APAC Employee Engagement Report survey with over 3,000 office workers and IT leaders in Singapore, Australia and India prior to the pandemic.

And the message is clear: Nearly half of the respondents (49%) said their workplace technology did not fully support remote working. But this was just one of the challenges facing IT leaders tasked with keeping employees connected, motivated and productive.

The business impact of disengaged employees

Fully engaged employees will not only be productive, motivated and happy at work, they are also more likely to remain at the company. The opposite is true for disengaged employees. But unfortunately, there are more of the latter than the former. The survey found that four out of five APAC office workers said there are times when they are not happy or motivated at work — and more than three-quarters admit there are times when they are not productive.

Employee engagement also has a big impact on staff retention and corporate reputation. For example, disengaged employees are three times more likely to have considered leaving their current place of work in the past week than those who are engaged. On the other hand, engaged employees are three times more likely to have never considered leaving their workplace than disengaged ones. In fact, about half of engaged workers are very likely to recommend their company to a friend looking for a job, compared to just 5% of disengaged employees.

The divide between employee expectations and work technology

When it comes to consumer technology, we are spoilt for choice. But as employees, not only is there a difference between the technology we need and what organisations provide, there is also a divide between the quality of technology we experience as a consumer and the technology we use at work. In fact, according to the survey, nine in 10 APAC office workers said their expectations of workplace technology have increased due to the quality of the technology they use as a consumer.

When asked which areas could technology apps be introduced or improved, the top three were Learning, training and development (52%), Collaboration with colleagues (49%) and Messaging tools for customers to communicate with the organisation (45%).

IT challenged to provide engaging experiences

There is a need to improve workplace technology to better support and engage the workforce. While 57% of APAC IT leaders believe they are largely responsible for employee engagement, they face significant challenges in doing so, such as a lack of staff with the right skills.

IT leaders also feel that organisations need to view them as strategic business partners rather than a function. One of the biggest challenges they face is being “treated like a support function instead of business partners” and “insufficient alignment with business units”.

Ironically, 95% of them said they are now charged with the responsibility of implementing technology to improve employee engagement.

Reopening of workplaces

As countries around the world start to reopen their economies, the immediate challenge for businesses is to reopen their workplaces safely, re-skill employees and respond efficiently on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Workplaces will never be the same again. Safe distancing, contract tracing and staggered hours will be the new norm at work. And employers need to ensure they have the necessary technology and resources to implement these measures effectively if order to facilitate a safe transition back to the workplace.

To help employers do that, Saleforce has launched Work.com, new technology solutions and resources to help business and community leaders reopen safely in the form of employee wellness assessment, shift management, contact tracing, emergency response management, and grants/volunteer management. The Work.com Command Center brings all data streams together so that businesses and communities can make more informed decisions.

“Every company and community in the world is focusing on how to safely reopen and get to a new normal,” said Bret Taylor, President and COO, Salesforce. “With Work.com, we’re bringing together powerful new technology, our partners and network of experts to help organizations reopen and recover from this crisis while putting employee and visitor health and safety first.”

Find out more in the The APAC Employee Engagement Report survey.