Workers Globally Wish for Better Technology

The following post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, executive director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos.

Consumer technology is intuitive and intelligent, which is likely why an overwhelming majority of employees surveyed worldwide by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated wish their workplace technology was as easy and powerful as their personal technology.

The final installment in the three-part Engaging Opportunity research series from The Workforce Institute at Kronos (view part one, part two) conducted with Coleman Parkes Research surveyed more than 2,800 hourly and salaried employees across a variety of industries in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S. to explore the impact existing and emerging technologies have on the employee experience. This final part of the research focused on how employees feel about the technology they are using at work.

Years ago, most workers would probably have experienced more sophisticated technology at work than in their personal lives. With the proliferation of consumer internet-enabled devices, though, that day is long gone. The proliferation of the on-demand and gig economy apps that now dominate our everyday lives should prompt organizations to walk a mile in their employees' shoes.

According to our board member China Gorman, 
Employees from all demographics are beginning to expect - and in many cases demand - workplace technology to be as easy to adopt as their latest consumer applications. Workplace technology needs to be intuitive and easy. No more manuals. No more classes. Adoption as easy as learning the latest online game.” We certainly see this in our data, with 48 percent of respondents saying they wish their workplace technology performed just like their personal technology.

More than a third of our respondents indicated that their job is harder than it should be because of outdated processes and legacy technology. Read on to see additional research results. And let us know what you think in the comments section below.

  • Back to the drawing board: Workplace technology fails to meet employee expectations
    • Employees in Mexico are least at ease using their workplace technology: a scant 8 percent feel their workplace solutions are more user-friendly than their personal technology. The sentiment is similar around the globe, as fewer than a quarter of employees in Germany (24 percent), the U.S. (22 percent), Canada (20 percent), France (16 percent), Australia and New Zealand (13 percent), and the U.K. (13 percent) feel their workplace technology is more user-friendly than their personal technology.
  • A growing gap: Consumer apps far simpler to navigate than business processes
    • More than half of all employees surveyed worldwide (55 percent) agree it is easier to search for new movies on Netflix than to check the details of their employee benefits. In the U.S., employees in public safety (58 percent), education (55 percent), retail (53 percent), healthcare (51 percent), and manufacturing (49 percent) all find Netflix simpler.
    • It's not just Netflix that's simpler. For the U.S. financial sector, 51 percent of employees say shopping on Amazon to quickly find what they need is easier than asking their manager to take off a sick day, while 53 percent of contract and field service workers - who often don't report to a central office - say it's easier to talk to personal digital assistants like Alexa, Cortana, and Siri than to their manager.
    • In an ironic twist, just under half (43 percent) of logistics and transportation workers feel it's easier to book a car through Lyft or Uber than to find out how many vacation days they have left.
  • Making work more difficult: Poor technology damages the employee experience
    • More than a third of employees surveyed worldwide (35 percent) feel their job is harder than it should be because of outdated processes and legacy technology. This attitude is most prevalent in Mexico (45 percent), France (43 percent), and the U.K. (40 percent).
    • For U.S. industries, employees in state and local government (55 percent), public safety (53 percent), and finance (43 percent) feel most strongly that outdated processes and technology makes their job more difficult. Employees in contract and field services (38 percent), logistics and transportation (33 percent), retail and healthcare (both 30 percent), and manufacturing (29 percent) do as well.
    • Younger employees in the U.S. are less tolerant of poor workplace technology than older employees. While just a fifth (20 percent) of Boomers think outdated processes and technology make their job harder than it should be, that figure steadily increases for Gen Xers (34 percent), older Millennials (38 percent), younger Millennials (40 percent), and Gen Z (39 percent).1
    • Just a quarter of employees surveyed worldwide (25 percent) disagree with the notion that their workplace technology makes common activities more complicated by adding extra or unnecessary steps.