Employees Want (and need) More
Remember the days when no one had a PC at work, let alone at home? When a few people punched cards into computing machines that occupied whole rooms? Probably not. These days, an employee might not go on vacation without half a dozen computers—laptop, a couple of tablets, phones (that are really computers), e-readers, smart watches, and so on.
Long ago, the bar for technology started being set in the home, not the workplace. This means IT departments must recognize that choosing computers is not merely about finding a sweet spot between cost and functionality.
Like it or not, the bar is set at:
- Easy to look at
It doesn’t matter whether you’re ordering desktops, laptops, or tablets. Your desk warriors don’t want to look at a beige box, and your road warriors don’t want to be embarrassed in front of clients or competitors. The evidence shows that employees will look for another job if they don’t think the IT in their current workplace is good enough.
What’s the answer for IT?
1. Think outside the old model
Conventional procurement methodologies had IT departments balancing cost and functionality. Today, you have permission to take a broader view of cost.
What will it cost the company if employee retention rates fall because employees won’t work on clunky, ugly devices? What will it cost the company if it can’t attract quality employees because they don’t want to work in a dated workplace? What are lost productivity costs from slow, outdated machines? Often times the lowest cost machine ends up costing more in the long run due to repairs and lost time spent loading applications.
2. Loosen the reins
Bring your own device (BYOD) policies create freedom (great for your employment brand) and, to an extent, put the ball back in the employee’s court. Think ours are ugly or clunky? Bring your own.
The technology to manage employee devices—selecting software, rolling out security features, and so on—is mature enough to create room for a policy that allows both parties to get what that they need. Plus the money your company saves in hardware can be invested in other areas to assist employees like security and higher quality software.
If you’re uncomfortable with BYOD, a choose-your-own-device approach is a solid alternative. Employees don’t get to bring their own device but they do get to choose from a range of devices curated by IT. There’s less freedom, yet there’s self-determination.
3. Shorten your cycle
Refreshing organizational IT every three to five years means falling behind quickly. Advances in computing are faster than they were when those cycles were set. That means productivity losses occur sooner. Going back to the question of cost, the cost of refreshing faster should be considered against the productivity gains that come with new hardware and employee retention.