Raise your hand if you have your smartphone with you right now. We all rely on technology to make every aspect of our lives easier — from finding an ATM to directing us away from traffic delays to checking the weather. So, the question I ask you is this: Why do we expect our employees to be any different?
When it comes to work, many business leaders get lost thinking that employees care only about salaries and perks. Sure, free yoga classes, weekly lunch buffets, and a ping-pong table in a meeting room may sound like fun. But they will not convince the most talented and qualified people to join a growing company and stay for the long term.
What entices the right talent is the ability to convert digital investments into meaningful employee experiences.
Technology Avoidance Takes Growth Out of High-Growth Companies
According to Oxford Economics study “The Transformation Imperative for Small and Midsize Companies,” two-thirds of executives believe that retraining programs for existing employees and business managers will benefit from technology. When learning is useful and productive, employees are more engaged and consistently prepared to do their part to deliver a great customer experience. In fact, the report states that increasing employee engagement is a key driver of revenue growth, ahead of strategies such as entering new markets, risk management, and merger and acquisition.
Some growing companies are hesitant to embrace technology, and this is a problem. Our world is changing as acceptance of digital experiences become a fact of life. Businesses that ignore the momentum of innovation may become obsolete. But if a deliberate commitment to digital investment is made, the workplace culture will mature with technology to the point where employee expectations are met without delay.
Employees Are Key to It All – Give Them What They Want
All too often, businesses look at their people as resources or, worse, a necessary cost of doing business. This internal dialogue couldn’t be more wrong. Just like businesses need to put the customer at the center of every process, product, and service, HR organizations would do well to remember that the entire workforce is their most valuable asset.
In every industry, products and services are already commoditized by technology. The main thing that sets a company apart from the competition is its workforce. Growing companies need to replace outdated ways of working with technology-enabled processes that amplify the best outcomes for all employees – and HR organizations are a critical link to bring this to life.
When I reflect on my career, the times when I feel most engaged are when I know my work impacts the success of my employer. This is when I openly accept any opportunity to take on new responsibilities, learn new skills, and adopt new practices. By connecting my talent and time to a specific purpose aligned with the company vision, I am thrilled to devote myself to the ultimate success of the business.
If growing companies improve the way they work, they can better connect employees to the purpose of the business, which is the biggest opportunity of all. When people buy into what they’re doing and are treated as human beings, they’ll deliver better work because they want to be there. They’ll even work in the back shed if that’s what’s needed. What all your people really want to know is why they’re there – and what difference they’re making.
Prepare your growing business for digital transformation with strong technology to continually improve the total employee experience – from recruitment and reskilling to retention. Read the Oxford Economics executive study “The Transformation Imperative for Small and Midsize Companies,” sponsored by SAP.
Stephen Spears is chief revenue officer for SAP SuccessFactors.