Technology is intended to make things easier -- especially in the workplace. Employers are implementing more and more platforms in the hopes of simplifying everyday tasks and communication.
However, technology can inadvertently contribute to a negative employee experience, if you’re not careful. When tech suffers from clunky integration, non-intuitive interfaces and weaknesses in the configuration department, employees get frustrated by the complexity and poor design of the very thing they rely on every day to succeed at their jobs. Plus, working with too many software platforms at work can contribute to information overload.
Leaders recognize this but are not sure how to resolve the problem. In fact, a March 2014 study from Deloitte found that 65 percent of over 3,300 executives surveyed said they considered the “overwhelmed employee” an urgent, important trend, but 44 percent also said they were not ready to deal with it.
Perhaps the solution lies with HR. After all, human resources plays a vital role in simplifying the workplace -- and today’s HR professionals need to turn to "design thinking" if they hope to improve the employee experience.
As outlined in Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2016 report, the concept of design thinking is founded on each employee’s personal experience. Utilizing digital HR and developing new digital tools with intuitive, simplified technology directly combats the overwhelmed employee by eliminating information overload and improving communication.
If employees like the technology they work with, and it helps them do their jobs better, then platforms can contribute to a meaningful employee experience.
The time to act is now -- be proactive, not reactive. Let’s take a look at how employers can simplify their technology to make work easier for employees and reduce their burden:
Use one platform
Invest in integrated technology that balances ease of use with necessary features. When employees need to access programs for work management, communication, benefits, calendars and reminders, they do not want to be lost in a maze of different resources.
The advent of social media has informed how humans interact with technology in several ways. Let’s face it: The ubiquity of Facebook means that employees know their way around user-friendly, simple software. Several companies offer software platforms with a similar feel and can give the same inviting experience to users, including comparable engagement features like news feeds and recognition.
The purpose of work simplification is obvious: to simplify. Bloated processes are filled with excessive information and clunky operations. The first step in work simplification is identifying the waste. What steps seem unnecessary? What does each team need to complete its task? Are certain processes and technologies superfluous?
Create an action plan to remove the excess and simplify what needs to be kept. Utilize only what is essential to strong performance and goal achievement.
For example, if employees have to request time off through a portal separate from their HR platform -- where they typically review their benefits, pay stubs, and timesheets -- that adds an unnecessary step and also makes the staff responsible for yet another login and password. Integrating time-off requests into your HR platform solves that problem.
Where else is ineffective technology wasting your time? Are you losing time monthly by processing payroll in one software, then inputting information into another program that contains other HR information? Find these time-wasters and cut them out.
Manage in person
Electronic correspondence can be burdensome and even detrimental to one’s health. An April 2015 study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology coined the term “telepressure” to describe the human urge to quickly respond to emails and messages. The study found that of 303 participants, those who obsessed over responding reported poorer quality of sleep and missed more work due to health problems.
Avoid flooding people with emails and messages. Set clear expectations about response times to help employees manage their workloads. Encourage setting specific times throughout the day to address emails and messages to prevent telepressure.
Despite the bad rap, meetings can indeed be productive and efficient, if conducted within a limited time frame. In-person meetings can also be improved with management platforms that assist employees with creating agendas and taking notes during team discussions. These meetings are best for addressing big policies, practice changes and strategic planning.
Technology is meant to simplify work processes, so learn to maximize its benefits without overcomplicating the employee experience.What does your work simplification plan entail?