UK Organisations Risk Retention Crisis Due to a Lack of Digital Working Practices

Research from Sungard Availability Services® (Sungard AS), a leading provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud and recovery services, has revealed that UK employees are leaving their current employers if digital expectations are not met.

The study found that having access to the latest digital tools is considered crucial by 76% of UK workers, whilst a third (33%) admitted they would be embarrassed to work in an organisation without them. Worryingly, 21% of UK employees have actually left a place of employment as they felt they did not have access to the latest digital tools to remain competitive within their industry. While this figure is not as high as the US (32%), it should still serve as a cause for concern for UK businesses especially given growing fears of an ever widening skills gap within the region, as well as the stiff competition to attract, and retain, the best talent on the global stage.

Investment and Upskilling

Investment in digital tools is only half the battle. Organisations must also invest in their employees, ensuring that they have the skills and knowledge needed to make the best possible use of digital technology.

While employees recognise the need for digital tools, many are struggling to get the most out of them. Nearly a third (31%) believe new digital tools are making their jobs more stressful, while 30% claim it has made their role more difficult. Troublingly, 23% say they do not understand how to use the new digital tools their employer has provided. A comparison of this research across different regions found that the UK is the most pessimistic country when it comes to digital confidence, with just 24% feeling that they are able to make the most of digital tools, this is in stark comparison to both the US and Ireland who are the most confident – with 42% in both regions feeling assured in their use of digital technology.

Obstacles to Overcome

Over half (52%) of UK employees cite having the right technical skills as the biggest challenge hindering digital transformation, with receiving the right training coming second at 37%.

Meanwhile, 34% of workers complained they were not given enough or any training to get the most from the digital tools provided by their organisation, with nearly a quarter stating that the little training they do receive is not relevant or up to a good enough standard.

Keith Tilley, Executive Vice President, global sales & customer service management at Sungard Availability Services commented:

“Digital tools, from mobile working solutions through to cloud-based collaboration applications can be a game-changer for businesses and a powerful tool for growth. However, while deploying these tools may fall to the IT department, they must be adopted across the entire organisation in order to have any real or lasting impact. From the C-Suite down, all employees must have the right tools and training they need if organisations are to implement an effective digital-first strategy. Not doing so would prove an own goal and undermine the investments made in people as well as technology.

“Happily, our research shows employees already understand the importance of digital transformation and are keen to learn more around the tools and techniques they will need in this new era of business. This is an important moment for the IT department, the CIO and their peers to further demonstrate the value they can offer. Not just in delivering digital tools, but also in offering the guidance and knowledge in helping employees to gain the most value from them. By doing so, they really will have a true digital transformation on their hands, and create a business ready to reap the rewards.”

Eddie Curzon, Regional Valley Director at CBI added:

“While technology is important, it is only part of a wider story. IT only does what it is told; its success depends entirely on the competency and acumen of those operating it. While employees understand the value of digital tools, it doesn’t necessarily mean they already have the skills in place to use them effectively. Businesses must take the time to invest in the workforce – closing any impending skills gap by offering staff the training they need.

And with employees now demanding the implementation of digital working practices, the impetus is with senior managers to ensure that everything is being done to answer these demands and provide the workforce with the tools needed to help the organisation thrive. As ever, businesses that listen to and act on the suggestions of their staff will prosper, while those who fail to heed employee demands place themselves at risk of familiar staff retention issues. As the research shows, technology is now a critical factor in keeping staff productive and fulfilled in their roles. Ignore this at your peril.”

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