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How to stop technology from ruining the employee experience

Author, speaker and futurist Jacob Morgan is writing a series of articles for Forbes exploring the employing experience. In part two, he explores the technology aspect of the work environment, laying out ground rules for introducing new tech to the office and keeping up with current trends.

Morgan says the technological environment of the organisation refers to the tools employees use to get their jobs done. “This includes everything from the internal social network your company might use to the mobile devices that are approved and the laptops, desktops and video conferencing solutions employees have access to,” he explains. “This also includes any apps, software, e-learning tools and user experience and design elements that impact how employees use these various tools.”

He believes technology plays a key role in employee happiness and it’s the company’s responsibility to keep up to date with modern tools in order to engage staff and boost productivity.

Here are some of his tips for leveraging technology as a positive element:

Understand emerging technologies
It’s impossible to improve what you don’t understand, so it’s essential for organisations to actively research advances in technology. Keep abreast of tech news by reading relevant publications and attending conferences. If something comes on the market that might help your employees, look into it and find out how to get the most out of it.

Observe your employees
“Oftentimes organisations will deploy technologies that meet requirements instead of meeting needs,” Morgan says. “In other words, they focus on specifications and look at this as an IT-related effort instead of an employee experience effort.” Companies should find out how their staff is using approved technology so they understand what they need. If employees are using other pieces of kit or software, find out why they’re using it and whether what they’re using is better than what the company provides.

In addition to doing research, businesses need to have a testing phase in technology deployment. Ask a select group of employees to use the new tech in a beta form. “This allows the organisation to mitigate risk while extracting valuable lessons learned that can later scale across broader deployments,” Morgan comments.

Focus on needs instead of requirements
Going back to the second point, Morgan reiterates that “a requirement is a specification on a piece of paper” that sets out what the technology has to do, but now how to do it. A company might require internal networking software to allow commenting, but if it’s a chore for employees to do it, it’s essentially useless. It’s therefore crucial to research how staff members work to determine the best way for software or technology to perform essential functions.

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