It’s often seemingly insignificant things that make the biggest impact on employee satisfaction and engagement — for better and for worse. For example, a malfunctioning printer, complicated software, outdated and sluggish email client and inability to reserve a conference room sound like minor inconveniences to an otherwise happy worker. But when compounded, these frustrations eventually drive turnover.
Leaders talk a lot about creating better employee experiences by offering more work-life balance and an enjoyable culture. But the technology your workforce uses every day can have a bigger effect on employee happiness and retention than you might expect.
Here are three ways you can make sure your technology supports the great employee experiences your workforce deserves, and the business objectives you need to fulfill.
1. Focus on Growing Digital Dexterity
According to Gartner, digital dexterity is the desire and ability of an employee to use emerging technology to help drive better business outcomes. Or put simply, using innovative tech to do better work.
Putting in the time and energy to train employees on emerging technology — and selecting candidates who have previous experience with these solutions — can yield a significant return on investment. Not only will this help employees work more nimbly and efficiently (which empowers them to do even more), but the better versed your workforce is in new technology, the greater your competitive advantage.
2. Choose Workplace Technology that Mimics Consumer Tools
In previous decades, the only people who had the access and ability to understand data and analytics were business intelligence professionals. But today, everyone with a fitness tracker has experience compiling and reviewing data. While they may not all be full-fledged data scientists, people are familiar with dashboards full of metrics.
To aid in digital dexterity and capitalize on the experience most workers already have, choose technology that looks and operates like consumer technology. That is, technology with a user-friendly design and an easy-to-navigate interface.
It’s also a good idea to choose workplace technology that comes in a collection or suite, or can be easily integrated with existing technologies. The simpler and more streamlined the experience, the more likely your workforce is to not only use the tool, but also enjoy it and master it.
3. Leverage Machine Learning and Contextual Data
How is your workforce using your email client? IT ticketing software? Room reservations? Project management tool? Inventory tracking app? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, there’s no way of knowing whether or not your employees are engaged.
Today’s best solutions offer gigabytes upon gigabytes of utilization data. This means you can determine how your workforce is using tools within their environment and make changes where needed. And with machine learning, technology will automatically adjust to fit each user’s style to ensure they’re working at optimum efficiency.
Technology is the silver bullet to empowering and engaging your workforce to be highly capable, adept, autonomous and (most importantly) happy at work. But choosing the wrong tech can also mean driving employees to become disengaged, unproductive and unhappy. By using the above three recommendations, you can make sure you’re driving better outcomes rather than helping employees out the door.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.