As Greater Boston Companies Accelerate Technology Investments, Nearly Three-Fourths of Employees Say They Need Additional Skills to Adapt to Technology Advancements
Lack of Employee Input & Training Puts Technology and Automation ROI at Risk
Corporate executives continue to invest heavily in technologies such as automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to reinvent how work is done. But as companies in the Boston area increasingly deploy new technologies, they may miss major opportunities to get the most out of their investments because of a missing critical factor – employee engagement.
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According to a new survey of Greater Boston workers by Eagle Hill Consulting, only 29 percent say their company invests in the right technology to support them. Only 38 percent think technology change has had a positive impact on their organization.
Also, seventy-three percent of Greater Boston workers say they need more skills to adapt to advancing technology. Yet only 38 percent report that their company gives them the right level of support to understand and benefit from new technology solutions.
Download the research here.
“Boston remains a leading technology innovation hub, both in the U.S. and globally. But, to sustain and expand this leadership position, employers have to do a better job at employee engagement. That means ensuring employees are involved at all stages – from selection to deployment of new technologies,” says Jonathan Gove who leads Eagle Hill Consulting’s Boston office.
“Our research finds that one significant problem area is training. Technology cannot realize its full potential if employees don’t fully understand how to use the tool. Investing in employee training will help companies reap the benefits of its technology investments and substantially improve customer outcomes,” Gove explained.
The Eagle Hill Consulting research reveals a significant gap in values between technology investments and how employees experience them:
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Boston employees understand that tech advances offer important possibilities. Yet, they say technology investments do not necessarily improve performance. Only 29 percent say the company invests in the right technology to support them. And just 38 percent think technology change has had a positive impact on their organization.
Greater Boston employees are not confident about technology change because they are not getting necessary support from their employers. Nearly three-fourths of workers say they need more skills to adapt to advancing technology, yet only 38 percent report that their company gives them the right level of support to understand and benefit from new technology solutions.
The best way to give employees the right support when implementing technology is to ask them what they need. Yet, employers are not communicating with employees about technology decisions. Less than one-quarter of Boston area employees say they are asked for their input on technology decisions. And, eight percent are completely unaware of technology changes in their company. For the outlier companies that do solicit employee feedback, they typically do so after a solution has been purchased. The lack of early feedback from the employees actually using the solutions can undermine the investment in technology.
There are simple but important actions companies can take to get the most from technology investments.
Understand the real problem at hand. A new technology won’t override outdated business process, broken cultures or skills gaps.
Test the hypothesis and gain vital insights in the process. Resist the urge to conduct root cause analysis of a business challenge in isolation of the employees doing the work every day.
Understand the human ROI. The best technology solutions get the most out of humans
Assess tomorrow’s impacts today. Think strategically about how implementation of a new technology will impact the current and future workforce.
The Eagle Hill Consulting “Technology in Workplace Survey 2020” was conducted by Ipsos. The survey included polled 602 Boston-area employees on aspects of the impact of technology such as artificial intelligence, automation and robotics on their current and future work environment.