How to keep your employees happy: Give them good tech

Employees who are unhappy about their workplace technology are more likely to quit, a study finds, and it's up to employers to fix it.

Video: Why do people quit tech jobs? Reasons range from being recruited to not liking the office environment. The number one reason, however, is poor treatment.

A report from IT research firm Enterprise Strategy Group examines how technology affects the work professionals do, what it does to their work/life balance, and what kind of tech employees want employers to provide.

The 35-page report is chock full of information for organizational leaders who are curious about the tech habits, desires, and opinions of their workforce, but one key takeaway stands out above the rest: If employees aren't satisfied with the tech they're using in their day-to-day work, two thirds of them would consider finding a different job.

With that in mind, here are three things from the report that should stand out to business leaders when they're considering how to keep their employees happy, at least when it comes to tech.

SEE: 10 ways to communicate more effectively with customers and co-workers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

1. Be careful of communication overload

More than one third of survey respondents (43%) say that they have a hard time keeping up with the sheer amount of communication they're expected to maintain at work. 

These distractions come mainly in the form of email, of which the average respondent receives 40 per day. Along with other forms of digital communication like text messages, phone calls, and instant messaging, workers receive an average of 79 work-related communications per day.

This deluge of communication need not be an issue, and meeting a satisfactory benchmark isn't difficult: Respondents who say their communication load is mostly manageable received 70 or less communications per day. The happiest employees report receiving 50 or less work-related communications per day--that's a harder standard to meet, but an important one if managers don't want to stress employees over communication alone.

2. Set clear standards for BYOD and company-issued devices

Organizations resisting the BYOD revolution have lost: 54% of employees "expect to be able to use the same smartphone, laptop, or tablet for both business and personal tasks," the report found.

Along with shared use of devices, 71% want personal information on devices they use for work to remain private, regardless of whether they're enterprise-issued or personally owned.

With those expectations comes a security conundrum: How do organizations protect sensitive business data while still respecting employee privacy? Mobile device management tools don't always distinguish between private and business data, and if an organization is going to protect its data some employee info may be gleaned in the process.

Organizations need to set very clear standards for both personally owned and company-issued devices. Make sure employees know what kind of device management will be in place, what is acceptable use, and what they can expect to happen if a device is lost or stolen.

SEE: BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy (TechRepublic Premium)

3. Listen, and respond to employees' tech desires 

The report includes a long list of what respondents said they wanted in terms of workplace technology, and it's a list leaders should pay close attention to, especially considering how easy some of the items would be to implement:

  • 33% want a simplified password/log-in process, like a password manager or biometric ID methods;
  • 30% want their organization to provide more tech training (and 83% expect at least some);
  • 29% want their organization to allow more remote work, and;
  • 27% want newer devices, be they newer PCs or mobile devices.

These desires are an aggregate, and while most organizations could benefit from implementing one or more its important for individual businesses to determine what their employees want. 

Organizations should poll their members to find out what kinds of tech changes they want. If possible try to implement some of those changes. With two thirds of employees likely to at least consider quitting if their tech needs aren't met it's worth figuring out what they want before good talent walks out the door for a preventable reason.

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