By Matt Alder


The digital revolution has changed our expectations of how we receive products and services. Whether we are shopping or engaging with other online services, we expect connection, on demand customer service, and transparent communication.

The Covid pandemic has turbocharged this, with digital technologies playing an even more significant role in our everyday lives. It is estimated that five years' worth of growth in digital engagement happened during the first lockdown.

The level of expectations we have of the technology we use for work absolutely mirror those in the rest of our lives. Unfortunately though, the systems and software used in our working day don’t always measure up to the standard we expect and receive from consumer software.

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The software companies use to help their employees communicate, do their jobs, and engage in broader work processes has struggled to keep pace with the rapid innovation of consumer technology. This is particularly the case in terms of intuitive interfaces and overall user experience.

The implications of this are pretty serious. Employers are finding it a continual challenge to engage and retain employees in this period of high turnover, which is being compounded by skill and labour shortages. There are obviously many aspects to this, but poor technology is a factor, and perhaps a more significant factor than some business leaders realise.

Indeed, research has suggested that there is a strong causal link between employee productivity and a positive user experience of workplace technology. A recent report from neurological research company Emotiv revealed that good technology can improve worker productivity by a factor of up to 43 per cent.

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Investors have spotted an opportunity here, and billions of dollars of venture capital are being invested in communication, collaboration and HR technology. Several “unicorns” have been created, and analysts have renamed this category of software “Work Tech” to reflect the blurring of consumer and enterprise software barriers.

The good news for employers is that these levels of investment mean the market is developing and evolving rapidly with appropriate priced solutions for every size of business. Employee experience is an absolutely critical element of attracting and retaining talent. Good workplace technology is a big factor in this.

As employers look to the future beyond the pandemic, many are reviewing the technology they use with their business. Quality of user experience should be top of the list of priorities. The benefits in terms of productivity and engagement are enormous.

Matt Alder is producer and host of The Recruiting Future podcast.