Executives tend to focus on employee productivity, often ranking it their number one priority. Areas like workplace culture and employee satisfaction land further down the list.
So it’s not surprising that research by Ivanti, an automation platform, found that 62% of the C-Suite prioritizes profitability over employee experience. This has wide-ranging ramifications. For example, as employee experience drops down the C-Suite’s agenda, IT leaders deemphasize it on theirs. When selecting new tools, only 21% of IT leaders consider the end user experience to be their main priority.Stunning. Shocking. Most executives prioritize profitability over employee experience. #HR #HRTech Click To Tweet
That may be short-sighted. “Ensuring positive employee digital experiences is the new cornerstone of modern business IT management,” said Steve Brasen, research director at Enterprise Management Associates. Improving workforce productivity helps attract and retain talent, accelerates business agility and competitiveness, reduces operational costs and drives organizational success and profitability, he said. “Understanding [digital employee experience] requirements is the key to adapting related technologies and practices that will support each organization’s unique environment.”
While Innovation is seen as the driving force behind hybrid work, many organizations still experience major challenges in its adoption, Ivanti said. Office workers say the top roadblocks include too many emails or chat messages (28%), a lack of connection to coworkers (27%) and software that doesn’t work properly (23%). But despite these challenges and executive skepticism, all groups believe they’re more productive when they take advantage of hybrid work.
Such numbers highlight the fact that it’s not so much the place of work that impacts productivity, but the experience people have when interacting with business technology. “How employees interact with technology and their satisfaction with that experience directly relates to the success and value they deliver to the organization,” said Ivanti CEO Jeff Abbott. “The digital employee experience should be a board-level priority.”
Priority or not, employees are less than thrilled with the technology their organization provides for them to work with, a notable bump on the way to remote and hybrid work. Among the biggest challenges that need to be resolved: the attitude of the C-Suite.
Nearly half of all employees, 49%, are frustrated by the technology and tools their employer provides for them, Ivanti said. Meanwhile, 64% believe interaction with technology has a direct impact on morale. In fact, 26% of employees are considering quitting their jobs because suitable technology’s been lacking. Some 42% have spent their own money to upgrade their tech, and 65% wake me upbelieve they’d be more productive if they had better technology to use.
At the same time, the C-Suite, IT and the workforce all have different – and often conflicting – views about the future of work and technology’s role in it. Only 13% of today’s knowledge workers would prefer to work exclusively from the office, Ivanti said. However, 56% of C-level executives believe that employees can only be productive from the office. Yet nearly three-quarters, 74%, of C-Suite executives say they’ve become more productive since the start of Covid-19. That spotlights a disconnect between what corporate leaders have experienced and what they believe employees need to do to be productive.
More Assets to Manage
Meanwhile, the growing variety of devices and networks used by hybrid workers has greatly expanded the inventory of assets that IT teams need to manage. But 32% of IT professionals still use spreadsheets to tackle the job, and only 47% agree completely that their organization has full visibility into every device that attempts to access its network. In fact, one of the biggest challenges IT faces is the need to enable a seamless end user experience while maintaining system security.
The challenge becomes more complex when the C-Suite pressures IT to bypass security measures. That’s not a small issue. About 49% of C-level executives said they have requested to bypass one or more security measures in the last year.
“Maintaining a secure environment and focusing on the digital employee experience are two inseparable elements of any digital transformation,” said Abbott. “In the war for talent a key differentiator for organizations is providing an exceptional and secure digital experience. We believe that organizations not prioritizing how their employees experience technology is a contributing factor for the Great Resignation.”
In truth, Ivanti’s conclusions aren’t earth-shattering. Last year, WorkForce Software revealed dramatically different perspectives between employers and workers on the quality of the employee experience during the pandemic. Across the board, WorkForce found significant gaps between what organizations believed they were providing and what employees actually experienced. That suggests employers haven’t been providing employees with the solutions needed to fully connect with the new world of work.