Advances in technology over the past decade have led to a big shift in how we live our personal lives. We’ve now come to expect that in our workplace too. Businesses that fail to recognize this and underinvest will discover that poor technology leads to high employee turnover.
As consumers, we’re used to fast internet speeds, finding what we want to know and buying goods with the swipe of a finger. Successful companies work to reduce the amount of friction their customers experience to improve their marketing and sales productivity.
Businesses must also reduce the friction their employees experience in their daily work.
Poor Technology Can Lead to High Employee Turnover
You may not view it as an issue if the internet is patchy, your cybersecurity is lacking or old PCs run slow. However, these can become huge issues for your team. They can cause workers to be less productive and more frustrated, while magnifying other issues. Eventually, these “little problems” pile up causing your employees to throw their hands up in the air and perhaps leave.
The Hidden Costs of High Employee Turnover
Employee turnover interrupts your business
When someone leaves, you need to find, interview, hire and train their replacement. Until the new employee is brought up to speed, the productivity of that position is hindered. Anyone involved in hiring and training will also accomplish less.
Your reputation is damaged
It’s frustrating for your employees if they continually face obstacles, like slow computers, when trying to work. It’s even more infuriating if no action is taken to fix the problem. Eventually, staff members will grow tired of inaction and leave. As they talk about why they left, you’ll start to gain a reputation around town for having outdated technology, refusing to resolve it and not supporting your employees.
If you lose 20% of your employees annually, you’ll have an entirely new staff within 5 years. Unless the original training is meticulously documented and/or recorded, standards will slip. Processes will become less defined with each person who leaves. After stumbling through a process 4 or 5 times, new hires will be told to “just do it.”
You lose customers
Loss of customers can be one effect of lower standards. Your team won’t know why they’re doing something or will make up answers because their training was incomplete. This behavior frustrates clients and causes customer satisfaction and sales to decline.
How to Know if Technology is Leading to Higher Employee Turnover
Natural turnover can be desirable and expected, yet if 20-30% of your staff leaves every year you’re losing a substantial amount of resources. In the 2021 labor market where millions are voluntarily leaving their jobs each month, you need to ask why. Replacing them is not as easy as it once was!
We know one company with high turnover who asked why in a survey and received an earful about technology. When they drilled into the results, they had responses like:
- My PC is 8 years old and always breaks
- The internet is so slow I can’t effectively use applications
- I can’t get timely support from IT when I have issues
The organization had always attributed a degree of turnover to the applications they were forced to use, but the survey uncovered how truly unhappy employees were with the technology and support available. The company had ingrained in their employees that they would use hardware until it died.
Further, the IT staff couldn’t keep up with the demand for support along with their other responsibilities. This also led to the loss of several frustrated IT workers.
Employees knew it was pointless to bring up technology issues. As a result, they stewed on the problems until many found new jobs and left the company citing this as a major reason.
Another growing source of staff frustration involves a lack of effective cybersecurity controls. The dramatic rise of cyber crimes like phishing and ransomware over the past several years has led to serious security incidents. These are often the result of innocent behaviors from busy employees. Contrary to what may have been perceived as an impediment to productivity, effective cybersecurity practices and tools can now reduce staff anxiety who are charged with company finances and customer data.
Ask questions about technology
Exit interviews are one way to assess if your company’s technology is a liability or is causing employees to leave. Another option is to survey your current team. In the interview and the survey, specifically ask if the technology your company uses does what the team needs it to.
Ask what people would want to see and be prepared to act. If you say no to every single request, you risk losing employees.
Strategic IT Consultants Can Help You Maintain a Tech-Forward Work Environment
Keep your hardware up to date and within budget
Updating all your hardware at once is expensive. Many businesses are now struggling with this expense. The mass migration of employees working from home at the onset of the pandemic has exposed the limitations of out-of-date equipment.
Instead of holding onto each machine as long as possible and not knowing when you’ll need to replace one, we recommend rolling updates as one approach. Replace 20-25% of your workstations every year. That way, no one will ever have a workstation more than 4-5 years old. And by taking advantage of Moore’s Law, you reduce your cost of computing power over time.
Maintain current versions of software
Many people use home versions of Microsoft Office 365 and are familiar with the more current versions. If your team is using the latest version at home and logging onto Office 2010 for work, they’re forced to relearn software they’ve outgrown and are limited in their ability to work efficiently with the tools they’re most familiar with.
Auto updates, like those available in Office 365, give you constant access to the most recent version. You don’t need to worry about allocating extra IT spend for the update because it is included in your monthly subscription.
Invest now, or pay later
Whether it’s employee retention or decreased productivity, not investing in technology will cost your company in the long run. It’s better to spend that money investing in the technology that complements your employees’ skillsets and allows them to contribute in meaningful ways.
Retaining employees with the right technology doesn’t happen on its own. Work with a proven IT services provider to create a technology plan that meets your business goals and fits within your budget. Eliminate poor technology as a reason for your people to leave.