Technology influences many aspects of our lives, as well as how we do simple, everyday tasks.
Consider this handful of examples. Do you recognise any of them?
- Watching at TV show on catch up.
- Ordering shopping for delivery in just a few hours.
- Downloading a film and watching it there and then.
- Sharing photographs online with friends and family.
- Streaming music straight from Spotify.
- Controlling your home’s heating and lighting from the train or the office.
- Tweeting a brand to tell them about your customer experience.
- Ordering a taxi via an App.
- Checking out customer reviews before making a purchase or booking a holiday.
What do these experiences have in common?
Information and services, right there at your fingertips. Technology has made it easier and easier for us to have and to do what we want, when we want it. Everything on demand.
All we need is Wi-Fi.
Many of the examples listed above are also individual and personalised. These experiences are increasingly curated too, as the particular technology understands our tastes and needs.
We don’t just use technology occasionally or daily but hourly, even constantly. It is both routine and seamless integrated into the way we live our lives.
If you were to take a ride on a train and walk along the aisle during your journey, you will see this in action. There will be people listening to music on their phones. Others scrolling social media or using it to chat to friends. Some taking the opportunity to do some work on the go. Others watching films or videos. Maybe even doing the weekly food shopping.
How does technology influence the world of work?
Many of our traditional ways of working are not immediate or personal. Take the annual performance review as just one example. Objectives are set annually and often reviewed only occasionally. Feedback can happen months after the event. In most organisations, there are lengthy forms to fill in too. Compare that with the speed in which you can provide feedback on a shopping website via a mobile device.
The same applies to the way we communicate within organisations. Newsletters sharing information from months past. Committees meeting quarterly and annual surveys representing employee voice. In our world of instantaneous news and information, these updates may well be as out of date as the approach. Compare instead the Twitter timeline or Facebook feed of corporate brands. Updates, new releases and product information all in real time.
Whilst these represent different situations to those found in the typical employment life cycle, there is still much we can learn from the consumer experience in terms of speed and ease of use.
Here’s the thing. Employees want at work what they have at home and in their pockets. Immediacy, transparency, technology. A good experience.
In practice, this means quick answers to questions. Information about what is going on. Feedback in the moment. A way to connect, collaborate and share. Options for development or benefits that are personal, not one size fits all. Access to technology that enables work to be done anywhere or any when.
Hanging on to outdated approaches to the way we recruit, reward, train, recognise and communicate brings with it the risk of frustrating your employees.
As the expectations of our people shift and are ever more increased by the outside experience – is your organisation ready to respond?
Related article: Technology in HR management – how does it save money?
Written by Gemma Dale
Gemma Dale is an experienced HR Director and CIPD Chartered Fellow. She is a regular speaker and writer on HR topics like employee engagement and social media.