How do you get the best out of employees when they loathe the systems they’re given to work with? When they regard the processes they are required to follow as being frustrating, cumbersome and outdated?
This is an increasing problem for businesses who are having to cope with the seismic shift occurring in the working world thanks to the arrival of digital technology.
It allows companies to replace old paper-based processes with faster and more efficient digital alternatives, providing a radically different way of working for employees.
From a HR perspective, it presents some interesting challenges in terms of recruitment and getting the best out of a workforce. It’s a particular issue for those organisations that are still using paper-based processes.
The potential issues this can cause can be seen with an accountancy task such as expense management. Traditionally, this has been an area of business life that has been universally loathed.
From the employees making the claims to the finance professionals tasked with managing and monitoring them, it has been viewed as a frustrating and fiddly menial chore.
In fact, the hassle of having to manage expenses regularly finds itself among the top of worker annoyances. But a 2016 study by censuswide showed that frustrations were linked to paper-based systems - fiddly form filling and having to process paper receipts.
To explore further these employee attitudes, webexpenses carried out a survey asking employees a simple question: Do you ‘love’ or ‘hate’ expenses?
The results showed that rather than universal disdain, a third actually chose the ‘love’ option and of the ‘haters’ - 75 percent were at companies who still used a traditional paper-based expense system.
It’s a snapshot which helps to highlight the way that the processes used within an organisation play a powerful role in shaping employee attitudes. It’s not just that a digital system is faster and more efficient, it’s the overall workplace experience it provides.
A 2016 webexpenses study found that 24 percent of workers were frustrated with the poor level of technology in their workplace when compared to their personal lives. So for companies who move to digital systems, it can provide a great HR advantage in terms of recruitment as a new generation of digital-savvy graduate enters the jobs market.
By removing the need for repetitive and manual processes it allows employees to focus on more productive and satisfying tasks. Work processes that were once hated can become so simple and easy, they can start to be ‘loved’.
It’s a move that be seen in all areas of life as digital technology takes the pain out of some of those things we like the least. It’s the ease of online orders and home deliveries compared to the slog of a weekly grocery shopping trip.
As we become accustomed to these conveniences in our personal lives, people also want the benefit of the them in the workplace. By providing digital tools and smarter processes, employers create an environment which is in tune with their employees.
For those organisations that continue to rely on those traditional ways of working which are the cause of discontent, they are going to face an increasing HR challenge to attract and keep the best workers.