Simon Ma, Director & Regional Manager, ASEAN at Freshworks
As the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt, businesses are shifting to flexible or hybrid working arrangements to adapt and build resilience in the new normal. With every new business challenge, businesses and their employees will encounter various hurdles with new work models, and the 2022 Delight Divide survey is determined to uncover these various struggles.
The survey, which was conducted earlier this year, focuses on key challenges faced by employers and employees alike, the hybrid workplace, and how technology plays a part in talent retention and development.
Technology, The Heart of Business
The hybrid workforce being a new concept is still being improved continually through technology and human resource policies. Obsolete employment policies make it harder for genuine engagement, with 61 percent of businesses recognizing outdated HR processes as being a hindrance to the hybrid workplace. While more than three-quarters of businesses feel technology will enable them to win the war for better industry talent, legacy technology has been a drag on digital transformation. Currently, many businesses making the transition to a hybrid workforce are facing pushback and dissatisfaction from employees regarding both legacy and sophisticated technology - easily addressed with prior engagement and consensus.
Retaining Talent In The Great Resignation
In Asia, especially Southeast Asia, companies are reeling from higher levels of employee attrition, as workers shift towards flexible or hybrid job openings, making it harder for businesses with inflexible work arrangements to retain and even hire new blood. Our survey affirmed this notion, with 40 percent of employees leaving primarily due to inflexible work opportunities, and another 35 percent exclaimed the lack of support when adopting newer technologies.
While new technologies will always come with their own challenges, it is up to the business to mitigate and manage the digital adoption risks. Providing the latest and brightest software to employees without providing equally important training and IT support can result in frustration and a drop in productivity in the office.
A survey revealed that 47 percent of businesses with a full work-from-home model believe their employees always experienced frustration with technology versus 22.8 percent of hybrid model businesses experiencing the same frustration.
Supporting The Talent Growth
The frustration from grappling with technology means that businesses have not provided sufficient IT support and software training to overcome user experience hurdles. From the survey, 82.4 percent of employees surveyed expect immediate responses from IT to assist them on technology issues, minimize downtime, and provide a resolution to get productivity up again, and 80.6 percent of employees agree and expect technology to be easier to use.
Freshworks survey also found that 80 percent of businesses encounter resistance from employees when it comes to embracing newer technologies. While this will be perceived by many as a fear of change, our survey reveals the truth that 81 percent of employees struggle with these technologies due to the lack of training.
These figures indicate a greater and more attentive role for IT and HR - not just in providing support for a hybrid workforce, but to ensure the user-friendliness of digital platforms with a healthy dose of employee competency training. This means, pushing through an agenda or a single vendor without consideration of the workforce, a reality that 76.4 percent of employees claim to be experiencing, could detrimentally and irreparably impact employee retention and recruitment.
77.8 percent of good employees will consider greener pastures if the employer remains the hurdle to better tools, technology, and information. As such, business owners and IT departments can no longer go with a one-size fits all approach. The needs of every individual and department should be given more attention, not just to empower productivity, but also to leverage technology to retain talent.
Help Them, Help You
It isn't just tools, however, that keep the workforce productive. It's about enabling the workforce to harness timesaving and productivity-boosting features in software. With today's practice of data-proliferation and analytics, technology has enabled businesses to use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation.
Unsurprisingly, 77.8 percent of employees have an expectation that repetitive tasks can be taken on by software automation, freeing more time for more relevant and human-centric tasks. Today, there are many business suites that enable the automation of customer service and support, providing customers with self-service portals, while limiting the most crucial of customer service functions to humans. This enables the business to optimizeits operations, not just in customer service, but in many other areas such as marketing, sales automation, workflows to recruitment.
Happiness, The Ultimate Win-Win
Employees that struggle with technology will not be as content as the employee that excels at them. 84 percent of respondents agree that competency and productivity achieved from technology results in a greater impact on their happiness at work. At the same time, employees also found that recognition, having a business purpose, and consistent communication equally help the organization in making more impactful internal engagements.
Management is keen on building resilience in this new era, and need to consider the human factor when it comes to processes, automation, and productivity. Without careful consideration of the organizations' needs, technology can actually be a hindrance rather than a boon. Plug-and-play, low-code Software-as-a-Service end-user engagement products are the gold standard in this new normal, empowering businesses to drive internal and external collaboration.