The Link Between IT and an Employee-Centric Culture

The link between an employee-centric culture, IT, and your company’s success

By Sara Moseley

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In the 1980s, Jan Carlzon, the president of Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) invented the concept of the employee-centric culture. To create this culture, he flipped the traditional organizational chart upside down and placed employees, who deal directly with customers, at the top of the hierarchal pyramid. Those in middle management and executive leadership constituted the bottom half of the pyramid and their most important role became meeting the needs of frontline employees. It was a bold move at the time, but the business results were undeniable. Within one year, Carlzon took SAS from losing $17 million a year to profiting $54 million a year. As Bill Logue, the CEO of FedEx Freight puts it, “If you take care of the people, they’ll take care of the service, and they’ll generate a profit.”  

Fast-forward to today, and the pursuit of an employee-centric culture has become the dominant trait of the most successful and admired companies, and is the one characteristic every company that makes the list of Fortune’s Best Places to Work has in common. Great Place to Work, the research organization that creates Fortune’s list has compelling statistics that link high-trust employee-centric cultures to measurable increases in productivity, profitability, innovation, engagement, agility, customer satisfaction and more. However, a recent report, designed to predict what the future of the workplace will look like, suggests big changes are on the horizon. Yes, workplaces will still be employee-centric, but technology is poised to take the lead in ensuring companies are able to keep employees happy and productive. In short, the results from the future workforce study revealed workplaces will be:

  • More Mobile: Employees’ in-house/on-site interactions will decrease, yet collaboration will increase
  • More Productive: Better, faster technology, and more digitally-connected employees, will increase productivity
  • More Capable: Employees will understand how to use technology to better accomplish workplace goals

While these results may seem an obvious prediction given the whirring speed of technological  advancements, according to corporate culture consulting firm, TINYpulse®, more than one in four employees do not have the tools they need to be successful in their jobs. Yikes! To ensure your employees are well-equipped to be successful in the modern workforce, we’ve gathered a few ideas to help you prepare.

The importance of fostering mobility in the workplace

Research organization, Global Workplace Analytics, has collected some fascinating statistics on how employee mobility impacts workplaces.

  • 80% of employees consider working remotely a job perk
  • Over two-thirds of employers report increased productivity among mobile workers, with some global multinational companies saying mobile workers are 35 to 40% more productive
  • 60% of companies that foster mobility report significant cost savings and reduced turnover

Video, the go-to tool for those on the go

To enhance mobility in your workplace, it is essential to equip the company and its employees with ways to connect quickly and easily. If you have not updated your video conferencing systems in the last few years, now is the time to install a modern video conferencing solution. Unlike the expensive and cumbersome legacy solutions of the past, modern all-in-one video conferencing devices, like Highfive, are economical, easy-to-use, and enable people to share screens, and collaborate from anywhere they wish. Devices, like Highfive, also feature wide angle lenses and HD video and audio, which replicate an in-person experience, allowing people to see and hear everything as if they were in the same room.

Fostering productivity in the workplace

It seems being productive is the most-talked about priority/desired outcome of most corporate leaders, and yet the future workforce study revealed that employees still use old school technology such as desktops more than laptops or tablets, and landlines more than smartphones. What’s worse is that this same study found that, nearly half of all employees say that the biggest time-wasters at their jobs are all tech-related.

  • 19% complain administrative tasks, such as set-up and updates, waste their time
  • 19% complain that slow software or software glitches waste their time
  • 17% complain that devices that are slow or frequently malfunction waste their time

Considering that 42 percent of millennials are likely to quit a job with substandard technology, this is scary news for companies that have allowed their tech to fall behind. So what can you do about it? Several things. First, take stock of your current systems and talk to employees about what’s working and what’s not. Ask for their input regarding apps and devices because they will ultimately be the end-users. Take a look at your current ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) and ‘Bring Your Own App’ (BYOA) policies, or establish both if you don’t have these in place already. Once you have identified the areas of greatest need, then you can set a goal for addressing these issues, and possibly save costs by instituting BYOD.

Productivity-boosting interactive whiteboards and online project management apps

At the intersection of productivity and technology are some cost-effective and user-friendly apps that can position your employees to collaborate with greater speed and efficiency. Once you have equipped your team with updated, compatible devices and video conferencing tools, you will want to choose an interactive whiteboard app that works well for both in-house and remote employees. To see which interactive whiteboards we think are winners, check out our recent blog: Top 4 Interactive Whiteboard Apps for Remote Meetings.

There are also several great project management apps out there, from Slack and Asana, to Trello, Podio and more. Some are free, and some are subscription-based, but all are helpful in keeping everyone on the same page project-wise. In addition, most of these apps are compatible with any device and are remarkable at reducing email in-box volume.

Prepare for the future workplace

In a future where employees are more mobile than ever, and require smarter technology to meet productivity goals, Highfive delivers genuine engagement at a remarkably affordable cost.  Not only that, studies show that Highfive’s ridiculously easy-to-use video conferencing solution reduces technical issues experienced by employees by more than 30 percent and reduces the time to set-up a meeting and share screens by 50 percent. To ensure your employees are prepped to succeed in the future, start by giving them a Highfive!

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