A few months ago my team over at Chess Media Group ran a survey exploring a few key issues around the future of work. We looked at things such as encouraging and motivating employees to collaborate; flexible work environments; bring your own device (BYOD), and the overall impact that these have on an organization. The survey included responses from just over 600 employees around the globe and provided us with some very interesting and actionable insights. The full report can be downloaded for free but based on the survey data we learned a few key things:
Collaboration software is mainstream
Over 2/3rds of the employees surveyed said that they are using some form of collaboration technology within their companies and over 1/3rd of them have been doing so for the past three years. Clearly organizations are becoming more mature, at least from the standpoint of deploying new and emerging collaborative technologies. The top reasons for why these technologies are being used within organizations include: general communication, peer-to-peer collaboration, ask/answer questions, share and retrieve files, and idea generation and innovation. While e-mail is still broadly used within organization it is no longer the most effective way to communicate and collaborate internally.
- Conduct employee surveys to find out what technologies are being used currently.
- Experiment with new collaborative technologies to understand how they work and what they do.
- Get familiar with the many leading vendors on the market today.
Employee adoption is crucial but challenging
It doesn’t matter how great the technology is. If employees aren’t using it then it’s worthless. Employee adoption is something that all organizations of all sizes still struggle with. The report shows that by far the greatest thing that employees are looking for in terms of motivation to use the collaborative technologies is a way to more productively and efficiently complete their work (80%). This can be a powerful thing that organizations should focus on as far as internal marketing efforts are concerned. Leveraging single-sign-on capabilities comes in second place (50%). Employees don’t want to have to use multiple usernames, passwords, and websites to get work done. Other crucial factors to help motivate employees to use collaboration tools are knowing that your management/executive team is looking at the content you are sharing (49%) and seeing your managers use the same tools that you are using (48%).
- Leverage the message of employee productivity and efficiency in internal marketing efforts.
- Deploy single-sign-on solutions to make it easy for employees to get their work done.
- Educate and train management on how and why they should use these technologies.
- Encourage management to use small actions that can have big impacts, such as “liking” an employee idea or comment.
BYOD is becoming a top priority
BYOD is a policy that allows employees to bring any device to work that is able to access company information and applications (vs using devices that the company mandates). In order to create a more nimble and flexible work-space it’s going to become crucial to allow employees get access to people and information on any device that they choose to use. Over half of the employees reported that their organization has a BYOD policy and over half of employees stated that a BYOD policy helps motivate them to use social and collaborative tools at work.
- Focus on education and training around BYOD, what it means and why it’s important.
- Understand any security or regulatory restrictions that might need to be addressed.
- Work with both IT and business unit leaders on creating a strategy.
Flexible work arrangements now the rule not the exception
Over 80% of employees reported that their organization offer flexible work arrangements. This includes everything from working from locations outside the office to working varied hours. Not surprisingly over 90% of employees believe that offering flexible work arrangements makes the company more attractive to prospective new hires. Imagine if you are someone graduating college, would you rather work for a company that offers flexible work arrangements or one that doesn’t?
- Start the conversation with employees and ask them if flexible work arrangements are attractive to them and why.
- Educate and train employees on what flexible work arrangements are and why they can or should be beneficial.
- Develop a policy for what is considered acceptable and what isn’t.