GUEST BLOG: Get the tech or lose the staff

Business, Employment, Technology | Mon 23 Jan | Author – Business & Finance digital workplace staff office

By Keith Tilley, executive vice president, EMEA and APAC, Sungard Availability Services

It is no longer the norm for employees to stay in one place for an extended amount of time – and the growing number of those choosing to work in a freelance capacity means that those in permanent employment is decreasing.

The world of work is changing. This change is further compounded with the influx of Generation Y into the workforce, otherwise known as the ‘head down generation’ for the way they move through life permanently glued to smartphones and tablets.

Digitally savvy, they are hugely demanding when it comes to the technology they want to use, placing organisations under severe pressure to attract and retain talent.

Combine this with the fact that the skills gap in Ireland remains a growing issue; this is a situation that must be taken seriously. Keeping the best talent has always been a challenge, and for many organisations it just got a lot harder.

POOR TECH, NO TALENT

This isn’t idle speculation: our recent research found that over a fifth of office workers in Ireland admitted to leaving a job because they didn’t feel they had access to the latest digital technology.

Of course, when you consider how important tech is to today’s workforce, it’s easy to see how frustrations can escalate quickly. Businesses that fail to listen to employee demands and invest in the tools they need could soon find themselves rapidly losing headcount.

People understandably want to work for the most innovative companies: the ones that are making waves. Yet half of Irish employees don’t think their employers are moving fast enough when it comes to digital transformation.

In the pressing war for talent, the simple answer lies in the need to invest in digital tools

In this age, not having the right technology in place can leave you trailing behind the competition, and is increasingly enough to cost a business its top talent. Businesses simply cannot afford to lose any talented employees, not when tech skills are becoming so valued and sparse.

In the pressing war for talent, the simple answer lies in the need to invest in digital tools. However, in established enterprise organisations, existing legacy IT can cause problems when integrating new technology.

New applications may not be compatible with current systems, meaning a full overhaul of an IT system would be needed. For most organisations, they simply do not have the resources or time to overhaul these systems; therefore the long-term gains of nurturing a digital business are often put on the back burner.

MIXED MESSAGES 

Another issue is the growing digital disconnect felt by employees. Although most of the workforce recognises the importance of digital technologies, a quarter noted that it has made their job more stressful, while 19% claimed these tools have made their role more difficult.

For many organisations, this is a serious obstacle in securing digital investment: if the IT department is met with push back from employees, it will be much harder to make a business case to those who control budgets.

That said, when used effectively, digital tools more than prove their worth. Over a third of IT decision makers felt that digital success equated to both increased customer service and satisfaction, and 44% felt it contributed to better security.

Irish organisations must consider continuous investment in training to make sure employees are competent and happy with the tech they must work with day-to-day

But the tools themselves are not enough; throwing money at the problem will only take you so far.

Organisations need to build the right environment and culture, as well as provide education for employees to help them use the tools to optimal effect. Having the right technical skills and receiving the right training were named as the two biggest challenges hindering digital transformation.

Irish organisations must consider continuous investment in training to make sure employees are competent and happy with the tech they must work with day to day.

With the IT skills gap getting bigger by the day, securing the future of your employees and business by investing in their skills has never been more integral.

AGILE CULTURE

Beyond this, assessing and developing an agile company culture is also a good way of ensuring a good return on the investment of digital tools. Early adopters of technology can help to increase a wider uptake if these people are harnessed to influence other employees towards the cause.

Once you begin to encourage employees to embrace changes to technology, future tech should be easier to incorporate – increasing adoption rates and impacting the business sooner, rather than later.

It’s clear that digital transformation isn’t a straight path to success. It requires various stages of investment, and can feel too time and capital consuming for the effort, especially when processes seem to be ticking over well within a business.

But to remain competitive, things can’t just tick over. They need to exceed and be innovative. If you don’t do it, your competitors will. And they’ll likely poach your employees in the process.

About the blogger

keith tilley sungardKeith Tilley is executive vice president for global sales and customer services, responsible for ensuring the company meets its customers’ business objectives and achieves its goals by geography and account.

Keith is also responsible for sales, marketing, consulting and customer services. His 35-plus years of business expertise keep Sungard Availability Services operating at the top its field around the world.

Connect with Keith on LinkedIn here.