The Link Between Software and Employee Performance
The massive (and overwhelming) impact technology has had on businesses and the workplace, in general, over the last 10 years is undeniable. But have you ever stopped to think about the impact that technology has on not only your own workplace, but on employee engagement in your company too?
The link between technology, the employee experience, and the success of your business is something no business should ignore. As some companies race to be the first to innovate and invest in a comprehensive software implementation plan, others are being left in the dust due to their hesitation to adapt.
John Chambers, former CEO of Cisco Systems, has even gone as far as to claim that “40% of today’s businesses will fail in the next ten years” due to their failure to shift to a digital-focused business model. And if this isn’t enough, many who are trying to make the shift will fail regardless.
This should definitely be a wake-up call for all modern businesses. But believe it or not, there’s a more immediate threat to your business than being left behind. Bad software, outdated tech, and legacy processes aren’t just making you slower than your competitors, they’re also affecting the way your employees and customers view your company.
Bad software can mean a lot of things – software that isn’t up to date with the latest technology, software that doesn’t do the job you need it to, or even software that isn’t user-friendly. The one thing that all bad software has in common, though, is that it has a negative impact on employee productivity and makes your employees’ job harder than it needs to be. So with this being said …
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How Does Bad Software Affect Your Employee Performance?
To get a better understanding of the impact software has on employee engagement, G2 surveyed more than 1,600 people in its State of Software 2019 study to assess the effect the right – or wrong – software can have on the daily lives of workers.
According to the survey, more than half of all employees are unhappy at work because of the software they are using. When your employees feel uninspired and unhappy, the quality of their work and their investment in your company take a nosedive.
And if that wasn’t enough, consider these statistics from the same report: a quarter of employees said the software they’re using has caused them to consider leaving their job, and one in eight employees has actually left a previous job over mismatched software.
Bad software isn’t just making your employees less productive at their jobs – it’s actually compelling them to leave your company entirely. Think of your direct competitor and the work they’re currently producing. Would that sort of environment seem tempting to an employee who is fed-up with the status quo and bad software at your company?
How Does Employee Performance Affect Your Business?
Think you don’t have an employee engagement problem at your company? Think again.
Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report recently found that 51% of workers are not engaged and 16% are actively disengaged. This spells bad news for any business looking to grow and outpace their competitors.
Employee disengagement is one of the greatest threats to the health of your business. Time and time again we see that unengaged employees are more likely to miss work, less likely to get involved in extra projects at work, and contribute less to their companies overall than employees who are more actively engaged.
These are all smaller pieces of the same pie. Bad software discourages employees and creates an environment where they feel disengaged from their work. That disengagement then affects their productivity, and ultimately, if left unchecked, leads to employees becoming so frustrated that they choose to leave in search of greener pastures. If you’re not optimizing your employee experience, then you’re already behind.
How Does Bad Software Impact Your Bottom Line?
According to a study conducted by 1E, US companies wasted about $30 billion on unused software over the course of a four-year period. The study assessed data on about 1,800 software applications installed on 3,6 million desktops in 129 companies across the globe and further discovered that on each of these desktops, there was almost 300 dollars’ worth of bad software.
Now think about all of the software your company is currently using – can you name every platform? Probably not. Most companies are not only investing in bad software – they aren’t even using it.
Another problem employees face regarding bad software? Duplicative programs. There are employees in every industry who are currently being forced to use multiple software programs that do the exact same thing.
And it doesn’t stop there, either. There’s always a human cost to bad software and how it affects your bottom line. Data pulled from the aforementioned G2 State of Software happiness report shows that 62 percent of employees have, at some point in their career, felt as though they were not reaching their professional potential because of the software they used at work, and 95 percent agreed that the right software can make them more productive.
Requiring your employees to use bad or ineffective software is the equivalent of shoveling money into the trash. This is wasting your employees’ time and your own money in the process.
What Can You Do to Fix the Problem and Improve Employee Performance?
The good news is that the problem of bad software is fixable – you just need to find a way to fix it. The first step is getting your employees involved and finding out whether or not your company has a problem with bad software. According to J. Lance Reese, COO at The Limu Company, “Companies buy software they don’t need because of a lack of communication and alignment between decision makers.” In other words, employees, in general, would prefer to have more control over their company’s software decisions.
Depending on company size and culture, take some time out of your day to gather your employees in a conference room and ask for their honest feedback about the current state of the way you conduct business. Or, if you’d rather give them the option of anonymity, send out an employee satisfaction survey and tailor your questions specifically to software.
Once you’ve pinpointed where the current internal pain points are, you can utilize the feedback as your greatest resource for finding a solution. Remember, your employees are the people who work with these software solutions every single day – they are the ones with first-hand experience with these products.
Sit down with them and pick their brains on what they like about the current software, what tools would make their jobs easier, and what they wish they had known about certain software before you purchased it.
One way to improve engagement with your current software is to implement interactive onscreen guides for continuous performance support. This way employees can be guided step-by-step in real time while they accomplish their tasks.
The last tip for fixing your bad software problem? Follow through. Your employees are expecting you to act on their suggestions and make a change for the better. Show them that you have been listening and are ready to learn from your mistakes.
Where Can You Find the Right Software for Your Team?
The most powerful tool at your fingertips right now is the millions of user-reviews being left by real customers online every single day. There has never been more freely and widely available information about what people really think, and it’s something you should be using to your advantage.
But the real trick to finding the right software for your team is to talk to the people themselves. They are the ones who will have to use the program you ultimately decide on, and, as such, they should be involved in the selection process. You wouldn’t buy your kid a bike without letting them ride it first, so why should your approach to buying corporate software be any different?
Trust that your employees know what they need and give them the opportunity to communicate that to you. Nothing beats direct feedback from your own employees.
It’s Not About Buying More Software, It’s About Buying the Right Software
There are few software programs that are universally bad, and there are many reasons why companies are wasting money on bad or unused software. It could come down to poor software asset management. It could be because companies are trying to use a ‘one-size-fits-all-approach’. It could even just be as simple as people not talking to each other. However, it’s more than likely that they’re just not the right fit for your team and their needs.
Jen A. Miller, writing for CIO, discusses how there is a misalignment between business units and IT departments: While the business unit wants a software application that meets the company’s needs, IT departments are more concerned about how software gets things done and not necessarily what it actually does. This can lead to IT departments fighting against software purchases that would actually benefit the company in the long run. So the ultimate solution here could be as simple as communication and compromise – and consistently working towards the company’s goals.
So, if you haven’t taken a hard look at your current company software solutions within the last two years, then you should definitely make it a priority in the next quarter. Companies simply cannot afford to waste money, time, and productivity by the mismanagement of software purchases and use. By actively striving to address this challenge before it manifests into a larger issue, reap the rewards of a more engaged and productive workforce.
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