The demands of modern employees are evolving. The shift towards remote working during the pandemic has led to hybrid expectations as the world returns to normality. Flexibility is now a requirement for many potential joiners and longstanding employees navigating a post-Covid world.
Despite this intention, new research undertaken by Apogee reveals that almost two-thirds of IT directors (63%) lack confidence in their IT estate’s ability to fully support the hybrid workforce. Even more concerning is that this shortfall is not being addressed with sufficient investment. Over seven-in-ten (71%) organisations are not placing IT spend at the top of the priority list.
This trend is deterring prospective jobseekers from applying for roles and culminating in unhappy employees, which is a far from ideal scenario in a time of talent shortages and technology skills proving to be a premium. It’s time for organisations to invest in IT solutions that meet the requirements of the modern worker.
Considering collaboration capabilities
Due to the current limitations of IT setups in many businesses, almost nine-in-ten organisations say that their collaborative capabilities are lacking (89%). Millennials and members of Generation Z have become accustomed to using the latest technologies to communicate and share files seamlessly in their personal lives. They also expect the same in the workplace. The top expectation among employees today is the ability to undertake effective collaboration with colleagues (38%), with the opportunity to work flexibly coming in at a close second (31%). Seamless video calls are a basic prerequisite for prospective joiners in the modern world.
With 48% of remote staff failing to gain access to the same solutions as office workers, any platform integrated must also match the expectations among employees to work under a flexible model. Inconsistent access to applications, depending on the location of the worker, can affect business performance and raise staff frustrations. Talented potential staff, who may need to work flexibly or remotely due to childcare or caring commitments, will also suffer unfairly.
Organisations must not only focus investment on video conferencing to provide parity between office and remote workers, but also consider the acoustics, quality of hardware used and software setups. Managed collaboration solutions are scalable to fit a variety of room sizes, feature easy-to-install hardware and require little technical expertise. Employees and potential new starters can make use of technology that matches their expectations, speeds up meetings, allows for rapid file sharing and enhances team efficiency.
Adopting greener practices
Effective hybrid working practices with readily available collaborative solutions can also help to retain and attract staff due to their compatibility with sustainable measures. Employees and prospective joiners are all too aware of their personal carbon footprints and the steps they must take to contribute to a greener planet. Investment in a comprehensive strategy can ensure that fewer cars are on the road for the morning and evening commutes and the carbon footprint of each member of staff is reduced. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of green practices.
Organisations can also invest in IT solutions that make a direct impact on the environment. Platforms can for example automatically convert business paper footprints into actual trees, with replanting taking place in forests that most need it.
The battle against e-waste, one of the leading sources of hazardous chemical waste, also needs to be considered. Rather than incorrectly disposing of aging devices in landfill, businesses can make use of refurbished devices. To ease any concerns around quality and reliability, these solutions can be provided with a full service history to ensure trust in the technology. This provides staff with the same value that new solutions would provide but at a reduced cost. Incorporating a mix of these sustainable measures will help businesses to meet environmental targets and contribute to governmental commitments towards net zero.
Supporting security measures
Under-investment in IT solutions can not only threaten talent attraction and retention due to a lack of collaborative and sustainable solutions, but also pose a risk to security. More people are becoming aware of the need to protect their personal data, and any information stored on work systems needs to be secure across disparate devices. As many as a quarter of organisations (25%) are concerned about the security challenges faced with remote and hybrid working, affecting IT transformation progress.
Key prospective talent is also likely to be deterred by an organisation that fails to take steps to audit its IT estate and protect sensitive data. One-in-three businesses (29%) only audit their equipment between once a month and once every 4-6 months, leaving networks and devices vulnerable to evolving cyber-attacks or data breaches.
Multi-function devices, which incorporate internet, e-mail and network access, should be fitted with hard drive encryption and data erasing software, which prevents data from being stolen directly from the hard drive. Pull printing, also referred to as user authentication, can be integrated to ensure that documents are only printed when the user is physically next to the device. This ensures that private information isn’t left exposed to other employees. To further meet the needs of the workforce, effective training measures should be incorporated to ensure that all users understand and conform with data protection mandates. This will help encourage responsible behaviour and also reinforce the message to sceptical employees that data protection is taken seriously.
The making of the modern workforce
Organisations are ultimately failing to invest in the technologies that meet the needs of the modern workforce. This is not only preventing current employees from working efficiently and securely but is deterring premium talent from applying for roles. Failure to address such issues will likely lead to skilled staff leaving the organisation due to poor morale and a growing number of technology vacancies remaining unfilled.
To be at the centre of talent attraction and retention, businesses should make use of workplace technology that enables them to integrate collaborative, secure and sustainable measures into their operations.
Aurelio is the Chief Executive Officer and has more than three decades of print industry experience. He is a seasoned leader driven by results, achieved through teamwork and empowerment. Aurelio currently serves as a member of the International Board of Directors for Apogee Corporation Ltd.