Today’s workforce is hyperconnected and mobile. And this year, millennials -- who grew up with technology at their fingertips -- overtook the majority representation of workers, according to the Pew Research Center, which analyzed US Census data. Across all generations, workers expect to use technology that allows them to work quickly and efficiently.
When employees, especially of younger generations, don’t have access to the information they need, frustration ensues. A recent report by Huddle found that trying to find co-workers contact details -- the simple first step to workplace communication -- was by far more frustrating for younger workers: 24% of 18-24 year olds and 14% of 25-31 year olds found it frustrating. CEB surveyed 5,000 workers at 22 global companies and reported less than 44% of workers knew where to find the information they need, such as a customer’s phone number.
When workers face frustrations with communication or collaboration technology, they are more likely to bring their own devices or seek out their own preferred applications, or worse, avoid communicating at all. Rogue employees who revert to non-company supplied tech put the business at high risk for security issues, while continuing to create silos across communication platforms.
Businesses that want to support the hyperconnected, mobile workforce shouldn’t try to fight their employees. Instead, they should evaluate collaboration and communication tools and find a way to integrate multiple systems to improve workflow. Here are five ways businesses can support their connected workers:
Quit saying “If it’s new let’s use it.” New tools don’t make your workers better collaborators. If it becomes difficult for employees to keep up with all the channels and methods of collaboration, it’s time to back off. Begin listening to employee feedback or suggestions on the front end so you deploy technology based on their preferences, instead of forcing them to mold to your preferences.
Build a better infrastructure. The promise of unified communications is a more consistent user experience across all communications and collaboration channels. Build an infrastructure that is capable of handling a surge of connected devices as employees find alternatives for the laptop.
Be prepared to retire old technology. While we might not be ready to say goodbye to email or the trusty desk phone, a more holistic approach is undoubtedly on the horizon. We have been using email for two decades and cannot imagine working another way, but today’s collaboration and quick-paced workforce demands a better tool.
Simplify business communications. By integrating communication functions like calling, faxing, texting, and hosting virtual meetings, with software suites like Google and Microsoft, everyday communication becomes easier. Consolidate the number of siloed tools it takes for workers to get their jobs done. Give employees the luxury of never having to toggle between multiple screens or search for customer contact information again.
Support texting at work. According to a RingCentral survey, 80% of people use texting for business and 15% say over half their text messages are sent or received for business purposes. Most of today’s entry-level workers cannot remember a time when they didn’t use texting as a primary form of communication. To these workers, and most others, texting is a viable way to communicate with customers, peers and even managers. To support texting at work, discuss proper text etiquette with employees as they are hired, and set straightforward guidelines about when it’s appropriate.
Supporting the hyperconnected workforce doesn’t always mean adding more technology to the equation. It’s better to focus on integrating the collaboration tools and applications your employees prefer with communication systems that break down the silos. Cut down on wasted minutes while making your hyperconnected workers less frustrated and more productive on the job.