Employees who are happy with workplace IT are one-third less likely to leave their company, according to a Deloitte study commissioned by Google.
Deloitte surveyed 500 employees across Australia and New Zealand and found that employee job satisfaction increases when businesses have up-to-date technology and flexible IT policies that allow social media usage and working from home, and let employees use their own mobile devices for work (BYOD).
Deloitte found that 62 per cent of employees without access to flexible IT policies reported feeling satisfied at work and 9 per cent were dissatisfied and said they planned to leave their job in the next 12 months. This compares to 83 per cent who did have flexible policies said they were satisfied; only 6 per cent of employees in this category said they planned to leave their current employer.
Better job satisfaction means reduced hiring costs for companies, according to the report, The Connected Workplace. Large companies could save up to $350,000 a year, while small business could save $22,000, Deloitte said.
A skills shortage in Australia and New Zealand has made finding good talent increasingly challenging for businesses, said Deloitte Access Economies partner, Ric Simes.
“For every 100 people retiring over the next five years, there are less than 125 people exiting education,” he said.
“This is the lowest ratio in Australia’s history and it’s stalling business innovation."
However, satisfying employees' digital needs is no easy task. Keeping business technology up to employee’s standards has become increasingly difficult with equipment at home often more powerful and user friendly than work computers, according to the study.
“It’s a real conundrum as to why the Australian consumer is so aggressive in adopting these technologies, yet businesses have lagged behind,” said Deloitte Digital national leader, Frank Farrall.
Compared to what they have at work, 46 per cent of employees surveyed said their home equipment was more user friendly, while 38 per cent said it was faster and another 38 per cent said it was more up to date.
It’s not surprising that employees would rather use their own smartphones, tablets and laptops, said Google Australia industry director, Claire Hatton.
“People want to work the way they live. People don’t want to step back in time as they walk in the office door.”
The challenge for businesses is how to keep pace with constant advancements in consumer technology, said Farrall.
“The business case takes six months, the procurement process takes six months [and] the project takes six to 12 months and then runs over.”
“In the meantime, there’s innovation happening in the technology world which no longer respects that kind of timeframe,” he said. “The cycle’s now over in months and not years.”
Going BYOD is one quick way to give employees the devices they want, but comes with data security and other challenges, Farrall said.
“Few people would debate that we should enable people with smartphones and tablets and enable them to work in a mobile way,” he said.
“The challenge is then how do you make the correct calls around what those devices should be? Or should you just give up and not try to do that, let the kind of market ... amongst the employees sort that out?”
Deloitte advises clients to focus on the core technology environment including device management and the data access services layer, Farrall said.
“That allows you to protect your IT environment but enable a lot of choice.”
Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam