The Great Resignation of 2021 saw countless employees leaving their jobs. Many of their reasons are beyond employers’ control, such as the existential need to make life meaningful after surviving the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, there are many employee retention factors that you have control over, such as working conditions, workload, a team member’s highest and best use, and career path opportunities.
One proven way of retaining talent is by increasing employee engagement. According to Gallup, engaged employees are “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” They are your company’s most productive workers and most avid advocates.
So how do you increase employee engagement? One underrated but cost-effective way to do this is to invest in tech. In this post, we’ll tackle two of Gallup’s 12 elements of employee engagement and explore how IT bolsters these predictors of team productivity.
Your IT Environment Can Hinder or Foster Employee Productivity
Imagine being the first to arrive at the office, eager to get started on the day's work. You log into your desktop, which takes five minutes to boot and then promptly crashes. At this point, all of your eagerness to get stuff done has been drained out of you because the device you use for work blocked you from doing and achieving anything productive.
This hypothetical illustration shows how subpar IT hinders employee productivity. One way to assess whether your IT is supporting productivity is to turn to Gallup’s survey pertaining to their 12 elements of employee engagement. Specifically, ask your staff this question: To what extent do you agree with the statement, “I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?”
Clarify that “materials and equipment” do not merely refer to tangible tools, but rather also to intangibles, such as skills training and access permissions. You may have the latest tech, but it won't improve productivity if some staff refrain from using it because they don't know how.
Once you have your team’s feedback, consult with a Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) like Gant Systems to determine the IT solutions that meet your employees’ needs and align with your profit-producing activities. These IT solutions are likely to fall under three categories: solutions that ensure uptime, solutions that optimize efficiency, and solutions that increase productivity. Let’s take a closer look at each category:
Solutions That Ensure Uptime
These are some of the top tech tools that prevent business operations from stalling, even during adverse IT conditions:
- Cybersecurity tools – Cyberthreats like ransomware can block access to critical data and render machines unusable. Cybersecurity solutions like anti-malware programs and active threat detection will help ensure that workers can do their jobs.
- Backups and other business continuity tools – Blackouts and data loss due to corporate sabotage, accidental erasure, or other causes could bring operations to a grinding halt. This is why backups, data validation, recovery strategies, and other business continuity solutions are crucial for keeping your staff going.
Solutions That Optimize Efficiency
Today, the following are arguably basic business necessities. Remember our frustrated employee example earlier? They would definitely appreciate the following:
- Modern computers – New apps and operating systems have system requirements that outdated machines can’t meet. If you expect a lot from your staff, it would be unfair to ask them to use slow and crash-prone PCs. By providing your staff with fast and reliable computers, not only will you see gains in productivity, but you’ll also show that you care about them and their place in the organization.
With that said, your staff might not necessarily need the most powerful machines in the market today. Why try to determine if you need to issue your staff new machines? Consult with our Managed Services team and get set up with a cost-effective IT infrastructure refresh cycle. Who doesn’t love predictable IT spend?
- Fast and reliable internet service – As more and more business processes shift to the web and the cloud, everyone in your company becomes more and more reliant on internet access. However, if websites and business apps function at a snail’s pace, your staff will experience needless stress and frustration.
Solutions that Increase Productivity
Beyond the basics are web- and cloud-based IT solutions that are setting the new standard for individual and team productivity:
- Productivity tools with collaboration features – Now, Microsoft Word and Excel have cloud-based editors available, allowing people to work on files simultaneously, which saves everyone time. No matter where they are working.
- Communication apps – In this information age, sharing ideas and updates is easier than ever before with tools like Office 365 email, Microsoft Team video conferencing, and instant messaging tools.
IT Solutions Can Help Your Staff Excel
Employees are not robots — they are people with hopes and dreams. The more they achieve those goals and attain a sense of fulfillment by working for you, the more engaged they’ll be. They’ll exhibit high job satisfaction and loyalty to your company, so much so that they may attract other potential employees.
To gauge employee satisfaction, ask them the third Gallup employee engagement survey question: To what extent do you agree with the statement, “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?”
There’s a lot to unpack here. “Opportunity” refers to what the job requires and if it is aligned with the employee’s “highest and best use,” which is something they excel in because they get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it well. “Every day” emphasizes that the opportunity exists on a regular basis, not merely occasionally.
While there are no IT tools yet that could automatically gauge job-employee alignment, there are countless tools for helping employees exhibit their talents. There are accounting apps for accountants and 3D rendering software for product designers and architects, just to name a few. It’s up to the manager to determine what their employees’ talents are and foster these with the appropriate tech tools.
IT can also play a part in developing the skills of and transferring knowledge to staff. Online courses are now a popular way of teaching and training people, while virtual reality (VR) simulations and live sessions provide more engaging learning experiences. You can also set up online knowledge databases that people can refer to in case they want to review certain procedures or relearn specific job-related topics.
Increase Employee Engagement by Partnering with An MSP
Let our IT experts at Gant Systems help you determine the parts of your IT environment that keep your staff from becoming fully engaged at their jobs. Furthermore, with us as your technology partner, we’ll handle the day-to-day IT headaches so that your staff can focus on doing what they do best. And beyond setting IT infrastructure to help employees do their jobs well, we can also set up your IT in such a way that it helps your staff grow professionally and advance in their careers. To learn more, schedule a free Discovery Call today.