To optimize their adaptability, many companies have abandoned the once-commonplace promise of lifetime employment in favor of a more dynamic environment where RIFs are an accepted means of cost-cutting and retention efforts are directed at top performers only.
As economies grow, however, employers are discovering that their failure to cultivate employee loyalty is costing them in turnover. In fact, Hay Group projects a 12.9 increase in employee turnover in 2014 as compared to 2012.
This is a serious concern. Skilled, entrepreneurial employees are more important than ever in today’s high-tech/real-time economy. Yet it is exactly these employees who are likely to take their abilities elsewhere as soon as they catch wind of what seems to be a better work opportunity.
HR, IT and LOB managers therefore need to create a work environment that optimizes employee engagement from Day One—and that eliminates obstacles between entrepreneurial employees and the fully equipped digital workspaces they want.
The Day 1 Message – Onboarding
The employer-employee relationship starts on Day One with onboarding. Companies are often slow to orient employees—and even slower to provide them with access to the IT services they need. This obviously impairs employee productivity. However, it also sends an immediate message to new hires about how nimble and responsive the company is. Or rather isn’t.
That message is especially problematic given how nimble and responsive we expect these employees to be. It actually creates cognitive dissonance when it takes a company two weeks to give an employee access to a database—and then asks that same employee to turn around a sales proposal in 48 hours.
Also, as turnover increases, onboarding becomes more frequent. So the number of negative employee experience increases too.
Highly motivated Millennials find it particularly frustrating to work for an unresponsive employer. This demographic—which constitutes a rapidly growing percentage of the workforce—is very sensitive to workplace technology issues. Slow, clumsy onboarding is therefore likely to consistently alienate the employees of greatest strategic value to a company’s future.
The Day…Next Message
Unfortunately, workspace-provisioning issues extend well beyond initial employment. Most companies are chronically slow when it comes to activating new services as employees’ needs change over time. This reinforces the message to employees that their enablement and engagement are of secondary value to the company.
In fact, every time a company fails to respond to the changing needs of its employees, it sends two clear messages. One is “Do as we say, not as we do.” The other is “You might want to work somewhere else.”
Of course, no company has unlimited resources to throw at the challenge of responsive employee enablement. That’s why companies need a highly automated and resource-efficient approach to onboarding and workspace agility.
But no company should neglect modernization for the way it connects employees with IT services—because that neglect will be very costly in a world where turnover is high and talent is hard to come by.