Recruiting and retaining talented employees is increasingly challenging in today’s ultra-competitive landscape.
By Ronald Ravel, director: B2B South Africa at dynabook South Africa
Unlike previous generations who were content with staying in one organisation for a large part of their career, Deloitte’s millennial survey shows younger generations are more likely to job-hop and work for a number of organisations in their lifetime.
It’s therefore no longer enough to just offer a good salary and benefits package.
While these things can’t be ignored, the right technology and digital tools are growing factors in keeping employees engaged.
Traditionally it has solely been the IT department’s job to make such buying decisions, but in light of technology’s growing importance to employee engagement, this is increasingly something in which HR departments should become much more involved.
A satisfied employee might work their contracted hours without complaint. However, they won’t go the extra mile for a business. But an engaged employee doesn’t just work for a pay packet, or to achieve the next promotion – they are passionate about working towards the organisation’s goals. When employees are engaged, they don’t just do their work – they care about it.
Engaged employees have been shown to stay in a job longer. Retaining employees is a bigger concern for HR directors given it’s an expensive process to hire and replace someone. In addition, employees who feel positively about their job are more likely to feel a sense of purpose and optimism for their lives overall.
Businesses, or departments, which score highest on engagement metrics report 21% higher levels of profitability than those inhabiting the lowest quartile, according to Gallup.
Similarly, AON states that just a five percentage point boost to employee engagement can equal a three percentage point rise in company revenue – an important metric to demonstrate how HR influences the business bottom line.
Engaged employees can thus have a positive impact on business success and should fall under any effective business strategy. Employee engagement is also a positive force in a market being transformed by digital disruption, which has triggered skills shortages and uncertainty among the workforce.
Attracting and engaging skilled employees is increasingly challenging, and HR directors need to liaise with IT teams so that they also understand the growing importance of technology for retaining employees and recruiting new talent.
As a result of these insights, businesses must deploy a variety of tactics to ensure they get the right staff – and keep them.
Give employees the right tools
As the world becomes increasingly digital, and devices play an ever-greater role in day-to-day life, an increasingly prevalent factor within both talent acquisition and employee engagement is enterprise technology.
An overwhelming majority (93 per cent) of millennials state that a company possessing cutting-edge technology, services and solutions is an important consideration in accepting a job, according to Microsoft. Similarly, Ultimate Software reports that one in three workers would resign if made to use outdated technology.
Enabling infrastructure – which includes employee technology and processes – is the fifth largest global contributor to improving employee engagement, according to AON.
AON adds that, in Europe last year, enabling infrastructure achieved the highest growth in importance of any of the top five drivers for employee engagement – an increase of four percentage points.
To generate engagement, an employee needs to feel the technology they use enables them to do their job effectively and give the freedom of doing it remotely.
The rise of mobile working is here and has quickly become the norm in any HR strategy – allowing employees to work outside of typical 9-5 working hours and unconfined to the four walls of an office has been shown to empower employees. A company with a high digital culture has five times as many employees who feel empowered to get work done more efficiently and effectively, than a company with a low digital culture. This again demonstrates that workers care about the enterprise devices and infrastructure they use.
The consumerisation of technology has raised expectations further, with employees demanding stylish devices of the highest quality, as well as solutions such as cloud computing platforms which enable them to easily work from anywhere.
This is further amplified by the arrival of younger generations into the workplace, who have more demands around working remotely and have been using advanced technologies in their personal lives from a young age.
It’s for this reason HR directors need to ensure that IT decision-makers recognise their role they play in driving employees’ feeling of being valued. When delivering an enterprise infrastructure and investing in devices, the IT department needs to factor in core functional features like security, reliability and connectivity; but also ‘softer’ traits such as portability, form factor and ergonomic and aesthetic design.
After all, these are the factors a consumer would judge a laptop on, so the same criteria should be applied to devices which will be used by employees all day, every day.
Investing for the future
HR directors who are serious about attracting quality staff and retaining existing teams should push their C-suite colleagues to ensure devices are refreshed regularly, allowing employees to enjoy the latest range of cutting-edge features and digital solutions.
Moreover, if new employees are issued a top-of-the-line device, not a hand-me-down from an employee who has just left the business, their workforce planning and employment makes a statement to that employee that the business appreciates them joining.
HR departments which succeed in engaging new employees or company veterans, will increase a business’s chances of having the experience and expertise within their workforce. This is needed in a rapidly changing digital landscape.
By investing in enabling enterprise infrastructure, and devices which are a cut above, HR directors can leverage IT departments to make an essential contribution to that employee engagement drive and reap the benefits in overall business growth.