Tim Bodill, Enterprise Business Director, Jigsaw24
Businesses today have to work harder than ever to attract and retain employees. With the best talent just an email or LinkedIn message away from being snatched by competition, offering an attractive salary and benefits package is no longer enough. Not only is finding replacement hires an expensive and time-consuming process, but superior talent is up to eight times more productive than average, meaning that investing in attracting and retaining the right employees from the get-go is a business-critical opportunity. One method that many employers are turning to, in a bid to entice the latest talent and build the best working environment, is offering employee choice when it comes to technology.
Personal development, training, health and wellness benefits are all factors that can’t be ignored by businesses when looking to appeal to potential employees. However, one of the growing factors effecting employee retention, especially among millennial workers, is flexible working.
Gone are the days of a four walled, 9-5 working environment. Today’s workforce is increasingly mobile, connecting and collaborating in unprecedented ways. Whether it’s conferencing with colleagues based thousands of miles away or sharing information over collaboration apps, technological advances have transformed the way we communicate. It’s becoming the norm for employees to be able to work at any time and from almost anywhere in the world. This level of flexibility is a powerful motivator for many employees, who are shying away from rigid deskbound jobs, and has raised expectations around autonomy in the workplace. Providing this autonomy comes down to the technology an organisation offers to staff.
HR meets IT
Part of cultivating a productive mobile workforce is about investing in technology that enables employees to do their best work. Employees now expect to be able to work where, when and how they want in an efficient and frictionless way. Fostering motivated, engaged and high-performing employees, and then retaining them, is no longer just a human resources issue. As employee expectations have increased, and a new breed of workers has grown, this has given birth to a renewed partnership between HR and IT departments.
Traditionally during the process of choosing business technology, HR had little say and workforce engagement was often an afterthought or forgotten altogether in favour of cost. Despite HR now having much more of a say in these decisions, many organisations still fail to recognise that employees want to use the same technology at work that they do in their personal lives. For many individuals this is now a deciding factor as to whether they accept or stay in a role. As a result, there is a growing divide between consumer and workplace technology. In fact, according to a recent survey by Accenture, nearly half of employees stated that their own devices are more effective than the ones provided by their employers.
Empowering through choice
Businesses who are serious about attracting quality candidates and retaining existing talent will know that technology plays a critical role. However, it’s more than just offering employees the latest technology. Workforce technology is now personal. For some workers – whether in the office, in the field, or on-the-go – technology is often the most important tool they use. To build an employee-centric environment, where workers feel empowered and fulfilled, it is now vital to offer flexibility and greater choice of device in order to get the best out of workers. Part of offering this choice is also about advocating an open environment where employees can voice their expectations about device, type upgrade cycles, training and support. According to a Gensler Workplace Study, 76 per cent of employees say that choice of technology would affect their job performance, 60 per cent claim it would affect their job satisfaction and 40 per cent said the same about innovation in the workplace.
The Apple effect
It’s no surprise that Apple products top most employee choice lists. With the iPhone one of the best-selling products in history, selling over 52 million globally in the first quarter of 2018, Apple is certainly the king of consumer tech. However, the company is also making waves in the enterprise space as today’s employees demand frictionless experiences across both their personal and work devices. As a highly desirable brand, Apple’s popularity can help to attract top talent. If a potential employee knows that an organisation is dedicated to investing in the latest Apple technology over outdated PCs, they may well be more likely to accept or remain in a role.
For many organisations, it’s hard to ignore the benefits that Apple products offer in a business environment – seamless integration, strong security and good value for money, with a high residual value and lifecycle. In addition to enabling access to Apple’s App Store containing more than 230,000 business apps, Apple products are compatible with applications that employees already use, such as Microsoft Office and Google’s G Suite.
So how can businesses adopt Apple products in a cost effective and manageable way? Support for implementing Apple devices has never been easier. Organisations can now lease, finance or purchase devices depending on their needs and objectives. There are now also options to work with partners on everything from device management, deployment, support and repairs, enabling businesses to offer choice to every employee.
Now or never
Retaining employees is one of the hardest challenges for companies in today’s talent marketplace. To remain competitive, it’s now vital to offer employees the best tools for their work. Those that don’t take heed and step up to meet employee expectations risk being pushed to the bottom of the pile and unable to reach the best talent. Apple products are built with the future of employee retention at their core. Ultimately, when employees are able to choose products they love and know, they’re more engaged, efficient and will stay in a job longer. A company’s best asset is it employees and investing in keeping them engaged and satisfied through technology is priceless.