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Global Gripe: Workers Say Workplace Lags Behind Personal Technology

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Employees wish their technology experience in the workplace matched the experience of their personal lives.

A global survey of more than 2,800 employees by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. found that workplace technology fails to meet employee expectations.

“Employees from all demographics are beginning to expect — and in many cases demand — workplace technology to be as easy to adopt as their latest consumer applications,” said China Gorman, managing director - America, UNLEASH; advisory board member, The Workforce Institute at Kronos. “Workplace technology needs to be intuitive and easy. No more manuals. No more classes. Adoption as easy as learning the latest online game.”

Workplace Technology Fails to Meet Employee Expectations

  • Nearly half of employees (48%) surveyed worldwide wish their workplace technology performed just like their personal technology. Fewer than one in five (18%) do not want their workplace technology and personal technology to function similarly.
  • Employees in Mexico are least at ease using their workplace technology: 8% feel their workplace solutions are more user-friendly than their personal technology. The sentiment is similar around the globe, as fewer than a quarter of employees in Germany (24%), the United States (22%), Canada (20%), France (16%), Australia and New Zealand (13%), and the United Kingdom (13%) feel their workplace technology is more user-friendly than their personal technology.

Consumer Apps Far Simpler to Navigate Than Business Processes

  • More than half of all employees surveyed worldwide (55%) agree it is easier to search for new movies on Netflix than to check the details of their employee benefits. In the U.S., employees in public safety (58%), education (55%), retail (53%), health care (51%), and manufacturing (49%) all find Netflix simpler.
  • It’s not just Netflix that’s simpler. For the U.S. financial sector, 51% of employees said shopping on Amazon to quickly find what they want is easier than asking their manager to take off a sick day, while 53% of contract and field service workers, who often don’t report to a central office, said it’s easier to talk to personal digital assistants such as Alexa, Cortana and Siri than to their manager.
  • Just less than half (43%) of logistics and transportation workers feel it’s easier to book a car through Lyft or Uber than to find out how many vacation days they have left.

Poor Technology Damages the Employee Experience

  • More than a third of employees surveyed worldwide (35%) feel their job is harder than it should be because of outdated processes and legacy technology. This attitude is most prevalent in Mexico (45%), France (43%) and the U.K. (40%).
  • For U.S. industries, employees in state and local government (55%), public safety (53%), and finance (43%) feel most strongly that outdated processes and technology makes their job more difficult. Employees in contract and field services (38%), logistics and transportation (33%), retail and health care (both 30%), and manufacturing (29%) do as well.
  • Younger employees in the U.S. are less tolerant of poor workplace technology than older employees. While a fifth (20%) of Boomers (55 and older) think outdated processes and technology make their job harder than it should be, that figure steadily increases for Gen Xers (38-54 — 34%), older Millennials (28-37 — 38%), younger Millennials (21-27 — 40%), and Gen Z (18-20 — 39%).
  • A quarter of employees surveyed worldwide (25%) disagree with the notion that their workplace technology makes common activities more complicated by adding extra or unnecessary steps.

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