Creating a positive working environment to boost employee morale and productivity is an on-going challenge for any organisation. Staff who are happy in their job benefit from lower stress absence, and a higher motivation to achieve than individuals who are dissatisfied.

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The key to employee motivation rests in a number of factors, some of which may surprise corporations who still retain the view that remuneration is the primary driver for job satisfaction. Emerging research has actually demonstrated that the majority of UK workers are less concerned with salary scales than with rather more intangible factors in the workplace. Surprisingly, survey respondents to the Work in Progress report conducted by Adobe last month suggested that having access to technology is the single most important factor in determining their view of employment.

The report indicated that over two thirds of UK workers believe that improved access to technology would be the single factor which would enhance their job experience. Similarly, over 70% of employees expressed that having the ability to connect more effectively with their work colleagues would significantly improve their work environment. A similar level of respondents stated that they were able to achieve greater levels of productivity if their organisation invested sufficiently in the right technologies.

Reaping the benefits of efficient systems

Other than the obvious tangible benefits of an effective suite of software for communication, knowledge management and operations, technology also affords less measurable effects. Employees with the right tools to increase productivity will maintain confidence in their role, through consistently achieving objectives. In turn, this enhanced confidence will assist in increased ability to make decisions effectively, and improved job satisfaction as employees feel able to better combat stress, and maintain control of their career development.

Traditional approaches to employee engagement have focused upon perks such as relaxation areas, financial incentives and rewards, team building efforts or improved training.

However, as businesses become increasingly driven by technological platforms and solutions, neglecting to create streamlined systems will significantly impact employee engagement.

Currently only 15% of UK employees believe that they have adequate technology in place to effectively complete the requirements of their role. The outputs from the survey indicate that this lack of investment in solutions architecture may be a critical element of basic strategic development for firms wishing to improve working conditions and boost morale, motivation and commitment.

Leveraging the positive impact of improved technology

For many firms, the step-change required to improve technologies to a standard which will affect staff perception of the firm is potentially minimal. E-mail and conferencing facilities, efficient laptops, smart phones and data management systems tend to be the baseline for all business IT requirements.

If an organisation ensures that these fundamental technologies are reliable, robust and efficient, most UK businesses will be able to leverage the increased employee satisfaction that improved technologies enable. Similarly, systems-driven businesses in niche technical industries, manufacturing, or ecommerce services need to ensure that the systems they depend upon to achieve productivity are fit for purpose.

For firms committed to continuous improvement driven by employee feedback, it’s important to broaden the criteria used to gauge satisfaction, to identify whether processes with outdated IT or legacy systems need to be refreshed. In addition to measuring staff stress, leadership effectiveness and satisfaction with more pastoral issues, technology should be considered as another key element in the employee motivation mix.

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