Employees and Their Technology: The Battle You Want to Lose

August 6, 2014

Employees

All facets of technology are becoming more sophisticated, more cost effective and entirely fundamental in today’s workforce, but some employers are having trouble embracing this rapid change. There are now more mobile devices on earth than there are people. Technology is taking over at mind-blowing speeds, and some organizations are going to need to learn to pick their battles where employees and their technology are concerned.

“Perhaps you are still in a workplace that restricts or bans social media, but they are in decline. Perhaps your organization refuses cloud-based applications for privacy or security reasons, but they are in decline. The fact is: organizations that try to block out the world simply ostracize themselves. And they are in decline.” - Talent Management Professional, Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith

Social Media Is Not the Enemy

Initially, censorship was the answer to the social media “craze” for many employers. It hasn’t taken very long though, for us all to realize that social media isn’t just a craze, it is an established staple in communication. Censorship was the immediate reaction, because employers realized very quickly the reality that employees could now live tweet a company-wide layoff, or establish a large audience to listen to their workplace complaints. 

Employers also realized very quickly that censorship doesn’t work; educating, establishing guidelines and facilitating a positive brand image does.

“Your employees online represent the new front line of public relations, marketing and customer service. Just ask Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos who encourages his employees to spend time on Twitter to the extent that he offers classes in the micro-blogging platform. Employees can surface complaints or issues raised by members of the online communities in which they participate. They can hear ideas and gather intelligence that will enable the company to solve problems, improve customer satisfaction and adapt nimbly to changing customer needs and desires.” - Communication and Technology Consultant, Shel Holtz

BYOD Is Here To Stay

From the employer’s perspective, allowing employees to bring their own device to work can be a scary prospect. Intellectual property is often compromised when employees aren’t working on a secure server. In fact, 62% of employees think it is permissible to transfer corporate information to their personal devices and even cloud file-sharing apps.

So why allow workers the flexibility of BYOD? Here’s why: 79% of companies that don’t support their employees using personal devices for work purposes report that their employees use personal mobile devices anyhow.

Employers again must then educate and facilitate. Leaders in the embrace of BYOD and telecommuting, Cisco, have been using software and education programs that allow workers to connect to their secure server from anywhere.

The embrace of the tech that is important to their workers can actually work in the employer’s favor. By 2020, almost half (46%) of the US workforce will consist of Millennials. Did you know that 1 in 3 Millennials would prioritize social media freedom, device flexibility and work mobility over salary when accepting a job offer? Beyond providing flexibility, increased mobility and an improved work-life balance, thoughtfully crafted BYOD programs and policies can be used an attraction perk and a low-cost employee incentive.

Automation Is a Necessity

Let’s consider the Human Resources department alone, the amount of processes that can be automated through technology represent a massive amount of company resources -and that’s just one department. 

“The average business owner spends between 7-25% of his or her time handling employee-related paperwork, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. By reducing this burden, or eliminating it altogether, time and money-savings can be realized. There are many reasons why companies of all sizes are increasingly turning to HR automation solutions.” - HR.com 

This is a call for all of you technology curmudgeons to embrace the present of tech, and build a future with it. Technology is no longer a perk for frill; it is a totally necessary and fundamental part of any business and any department. Censorship or reduced functionality will only cause workers to turn to their own devices (pun intended). Organizations can benefit dramatically by embracing technology, they simply need to guide and educate their workforce.

Are you ready for the kind of technology that will help you reach goals and communicate your vision? Take a quick demo of our award-winning talent alignment platform.

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