When the pandemic made waves in 2020, workplaces shifted to remote or hybrid seemingly overnight. And this adoption of remote work gave people more career options than ever before. Thus began the Great Reshuffle, or Great Resignation. According to a study by Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics, one in four people either changed jobs or was actively looking for a new job in 2021 for a number of reasons, including:
- Better opportunities
- Improved work-life balance
- More flexibility in when and where they work
- Increased compensation
This puts pressure on business leaders to offer more to retain employees. And with 84% of employees saying working remotely indefinitely would make them happy, and some even willing to take a pay cut to do so, it’s become clear the future of the workplace is digital. Companies require tools and people to support this remote future. Chief information officers (CIOs) play a critical role in ensuring workplace technology works for everyone, no matter their location.
SaaS Supports Digital Workplaces
Software as a service (SaaS) proves critical in powering hybrid and remote workplaces. Without the proper tools in place to support flexible work arrangements, employees are left to figure it out for themselves. This leads to teams downloading their own software (shadow IT), or worse, dissatisfaction in their jobs.
So how do you retain top talent? One way is by letting staff use the tools they prefer, especially if you employ Millennials and Gen Z. According to a recent survey, 90% of employees say they would take a pay cut to use their preferred software. Additionally, 70% state the ability to choose their own technology makes them more likely to join a company.
It’s up to today’s CIOs to allow for this tool autonomy while keeping tabs on IT costs and existing applications. With more of a hand in employee satisfaction and retention than ever before, IT leaders should focus on:
- Navigating the intersection of people and technology: CIOs must ensure all employees — regardless of location — have equal access to opportunity, information, resources, and technology.
- Architecting the employee experience: From Zoom fatigue to SaaS burnout, CIO leadership focuses on creating optimal work experiences that blend seamlessly with technology and require as little “code switching” or lost productivity as possible.
Find out more about how CIOs balance tech needs with employee satisfaction in the Q&A below.
Tech Helps Retain Employees: Q&A With Megan Nail
Megan Nail, VP, Total Rewards Practice at First Person Advisors/NFP, and former State Director for Indiana SHRM, advises clients on how to meet their organizational goals through total rewards and compensation strategies. Read along as Nail discusses technology’s role in creating a digital workplace, enhancing company culture, and improving employee satisfaction.
What is technology’s impact on the employee experience?
We can have the best people strategies, but if we don’t execute them well, we will fall short of meeting our employees’ expectations and our business goals. In an increasingly digital world, more and more of the employee experience occurs through technology. And, this is much more than the traditional HRIS (Human Resource Information System). It’s how we communicate, collaborate, and partner with colleagues and create culture.
Whether it’s Slack, Zoom, recognition programs, or pay equity programs, the employee experience is being defined by technology more than ever before. To retain employees, we must have top-notch digital and collaborative workspaces.
An employee’s first day and subsequent onboarding sets the tone for their experience at the organization. How does technology fit in?
Onboarding starts before an employee is hired (“pre-boarding”) and goes well into their first year of employment. Your recruiting and hiring process sets the tone and speaks volumes about your company and what the employee can expect.
A streamlined and welcoming technology experience that allows employees to not only complete the necessary administrative steps for the hiring process, but also starts to integrate them into the culture, is key. Enhancements, which may include videos from leaders, interactive mentoring sessions, and digital benefits guides/offer letters, can set an employer apart in a positive way.
The perks and benefits that attract employees to an organization are also things that can help retain them. How is technology being factored into the total rewards conversation?
A reward that is unseen, unfelt, or unused is not a reward at all; it’s a missed opportunity. This is why it’s critical to communicate your total rewards package to your employees in a way that is timely, relevant, and personal. Technology plays a huge role in this as the foundation for total rewards communication. Total rewards microsites, regular emails, and webinars are just three examples of useful tools that provide employees with access to the information they need. Paired with meaningful conversations with managers and leaders around total rewards, it’s a powerful combination.
Technology also allows us to better understand what total rewards different employees or groups of employees value. For example, financial wellness technology can help us understand where our employees’ needs are so we can provide customized solutions, such as student loan repayment or retirement planning advice.
What does technology mean for productivity and delivering business outcomes?
A strong digital workplace allows for communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing across the organization. As Deloitte shares, “by integrating the technologies that employees use, the digital workplace breaks down communication barriers, positioning you to transform the employee experience by fostering efficiency, innovation, and growth.”
Do you have any examples of how technology has negatively impacted the employee experience or driven employees to leave their jobs?
When employees lack connection to the organization, they’re more likely to leave. And in a tight labor market with a high level of competition for top talent, the risk is even greater. We’ve seen employees, particularly those who were onboarded remotely during the pandemic, lack that connection and then leave. Whether your teams are working in the same physical workspace, working remotely, or a combination of the two, it’s critical to create collaborative digital workspaces where employees can work together.
SaaS and The Great Reshuffle: Key Takeaways
As The Great Reshuffle wages on, business tech leaders can’t afford to get it wrong. An astonishing 4.3 million people quit their jobs in January 2022, compared to 3.3 million in January 2021. Modern CIOs must:
- Support hybrid and remote work
- Allow for tool autonomy (and employee flexibility within a framework)
- Create a rich digital onboarding process
- Frame tech/tools as benefits
- Ensure a collaborative workplace
Want to learn more about how CIOs are elevating their roles within organizations and empowering optimal employee experiences? Download our 2022 SaaS Trends for CIOs ebook.