72% of MEA employees have become increasingly dependent on technology since the pandemic.
Gone are the days when job placement advertisements were driven by brand names and their popularity as employees will soon begin to look for new employers if their current job does not provide access to the tools, technology, or information they need to do their jobs well.
The modern corporate setup has amplified the need for employers to provide a seamless digital experience at the workplace which was catalysed by Covid-19. The latest survey from Freshworks — a leading software company empowering businesses — revealed a startling divide between employee expectations and the reality of the workplace technology experience.
Censuswide, on behalf of Freshworks, surveyed 6,698 employees and 2,000 Line of Business (LOB) leaders aged 18+ in businesses with 100-500 employees across Europe, USA, Latin America, APAC, and MEA and statistics were collected in April 2022.
“Easy to use technology that enables better employee communication and engagement, automation and better service delivery is no longer a nice to have. It’s business-critical,” said Stacey Epstein, chief marketing officer at Freshworks.
“In today’s hybrid world, employees demand the same experience at work as they do as a consumer. This is a global trend and those businesses who address this emerging divide now will be in a strong position to outperform the competition in this exceptionally challenging economic environment,” Epstein added.
In the wake of the pandemic, regional businesses have doubled down on digital transformation, however, nearly half (47 per cent) of employees in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) report that technology issues at work have since increased their stress levels, causing a negative impact on their mental health.
Workplace tech pivotal
Unsurprisingly, with employee wellbeing now so heavily dependent on technology, it is becoming increasingly important to stem the Great Resignation.
The majority (69 per cent) of MEA line of business (LOB) leaders expressed the need for good technology to win the war for talent, and 79 per cent recognise that high-caliber employees will consider looking for a new employer if their current job does not provide access to the tools, technology, or information they need to do their jobs well.
This is echoed by over half (56 per cent) of employees who said their company could probably dissuade them from finding a new job if they invested in automation. Technologies that enable or support hybrid and remote working are also viewed favourably by MEA employees with half (51 per cent) saying such solutions have increased their happiness at work.
“Businesses need to take a leaf out of the consumer application playbook and ensure business applications are as intuitive and convenient to use. The technology is already out there, delivering powerful, yet easy to use enterprise applications, all via the convenience of the cloud — this has effectively democratised IT. It’s time for organisations to now take advantage of such technologies that will help them bridge the growing employee/IT digital divide,” said Vishal Chopra, senior-director of marketing at Freshworks APAC & MEA.
Irrespective of what innovations companies choose to deploy, it is abundantly clear that one feature is now a must-have — simplicity. A staggering 86 per cent of LOB leaders surveyed by Freshworks said their employees have higher expectations of technology to be easier to use since the pandemic.
With over two thirds (72 per cent) of MEA employees having become increasingly dependent on technology since the pandemic, it now determines key outcomes for organisations.
Freshworks’ report showed a clear correlation between employees’ perception of their employer and the latter’s digital maturity, with 42 per cent stating that their company’s workplace technologies make them appear ‘behind the times’. Perhaps more worrisome however is that for over half (52 per cent) of employees, this shortcoming has a direct impact on productivity, and nearly a third (30 per cent) report this has a negative impact on their job satisfaction.
When implementing new IT solutions to address these shortcomings, organisations would be well served to understand the barriers employees face when embracing new technologies and tools. Here too, Freshworks’ report provided invaluable insight, highlighting that MEA LOB leaders find resistance to change (72 per cent), employees not being consulted when choosing new software applications (69 per cent) and employees not being given sufficient time to learn to use new software (67 per cent) to be the top challenges.