Employees are being denied opportunities to interact and collaborate with each other, with four-in-ten (40%) considering leaving their current job due to a lack of access to the right digital collaboration tools. This comes as businesses fail to meet staff’s demands, with a fifth (20%) of HR directors admitting they don’t know where to start in meeting their workforce’s flexibility needs. These are among the findings of new research.
The research, which surveyed over 200 HR directors and 200 employees across SMB organisations and the public sector, reveals a significant disconnect between HR departments and employees, with over a quarter (28%) of employees identifying insufficient tech as the biggest barrier to feeling more connected to their organisation and colleagues. Poor digital collaboration across hybrid work settings is having an extensive range of impacts on staff, from frustration (29%) and isolation (28%) to an inability to do their job properly (28%).
HR directors currently underestimate the impact the right technology has on long-term employee loyalty and retention, ranking it a distant fourth behind work-life balance (40%), career development opportunities (28%), and hybrid/remote working opportunities (27%). Conversely, over half (52%) of employees rank technology as the most important feature of their ‘ideal’ workplace.
The research also uncovers a disconnect and lack of understanding around employees’ flexibility needs. Despite 39% of HR directors saying that hybrid and remote working arrangements are the top flexibility demand they are seeing from employees, 73% of employees fail to strongly agree that their workplace needs are being met by their employer. For over three-quarters (76%) of HR directors, employee expectations around flexibility are simply incompatible with the needs of the business.
By overlooking the crucial role technology plays in supporting flexible working, HR departments risk driving away workers, with 40% saying that a current lack of access to the right tech is stopping them feeling optimistic about the future of work. 29% of employees say they would leave their role if flexibility wasn’t offered, while over one-in-three (37%) cite flexibility as key to doing their best work.
The widespread lack of tech-enabled connection and flexibility is leading to woes around attracting new talent, with 18% of HR directors citing employee recruitment, development, and retention as the biggest obstacle for employers to overcome in the workplace in the next 1-2 years. On the other hand, employees are concerned about being impacted by inequalities between hybrid and office-based employees, which was identified as the biggest future challenge among workers (24%).
Julian Broster, VP of Strategic Business Development at Apogee, commented: “While employers have made great strides in transitioning to remote and hybrid working over the last three years, HR leaders now need to help build a compelling case for stakeholders to invest in the technology their employees require to collaborate seamlessly across different working environments. Without these connections, employees are left feeling frustrated and isolated by inadequate technology – and are even looking at other jobs as a consequence. HR has a great opportunity to close the gap between employers and employees by adding value to how the workforce collaborates with digital tools.”