How ERM Helps With Employee Retention

To enhance their competitiveness (or to address the expectations of stakeholders, in the case of government agencies), organizations have been investing in new and better technology for decades. These investments are generally made to meet one (or some combination of) of four primary objectives:
Technology that makes employees happy

  • to reduce costs;
  • to improve product or process quality;
  • to accelerate workflow; or
  • to enable new capabilities.

Employees were provided with and trained on the use of new technologies and tools in order to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. True, in many cases new technologies made employees jobs easier, but the primary objectives for new investments were still focused on operational and financial benefit for the enterprise.

But as digital natives enter the workforce, and employees of all ages change their expectations based on advances in consumer gadgets and apps, workplace technology is taking on a new role. Writing on the TalentCulture blog, Gareth Cartman makes the case for a link between workplace technology and employee retention:

“In today’s technology-led world, are we missing a trick in the workplace? Is our talent leaving us because the competition is using better technology in-house? Is our talent leaving in frustration at our inability to keep up with the times? Quite possibly.”

Cartman contends that the growth of BYOD, for example, “reflects a growing frustration with workplace technology.”  He goes on to state that employees are bringing their devices and consumer web apps into the workplace because too often the technology at work is “either dated or overly restrictive. As an employer, you have to face up to the fact that technology has become infinitely more simple than it ever used to be. It’s quicker and more adaptive, and yet workplace technology has hardly kept pace…Therefore, there’s a business case for investing in better technology — and that business case includes employee retention.”

Cartman believes that making workplace technology better reflect the experience employees have in their non-work lives helps improve employee retention in three ways:

  • it makes the “customer experience” of using workplace technology easier and more enjoyable;
  • it helps employees to be more successful in their jobs; and
  • it (social technologies, in particular) improves communications within the enterprise.

Though the contention isn’t entirely new, Cartman makes a compelling case with original arguments. As noted here previously, “Employees want the same type of user experience from internal systems that they get from consumer apps, ecommerce sites, and social networks; yet IT and other departments (HR, finance, facilities, etc.) generally don’t design employee-facing applications this way. ”

Implementing an enterprise request management (ERM) approach to internal service request and fulfillment processes is one key step organizations can take to improve the employee experience with workplace technology. ERM can not only help retain talented employees but also reduce service delivery costs and accelerate fulfillment.

Combining an intuitive request portal interface with workflow orchestration software that automates back-end approval, scheduling and fulfillment processes, ERM gives employees an “Amazon.com-like” experience when requesting any services or resources needed to do their jobs, from any shared-services function within the organization. Employees can also use the portal to check on the status of open requests at any time, from any device.

ERM plays a role throughout the employment lifecycle:

  • When onboarding a new employee, ERM can be used to coordinate fulfillment of everything the person will need to do his or her job, from a security badge and access to needed business software applications to a payroll account, laptop, and office furniture.
  • During the course of employment, that person can use the portal to request any type of service (password reset, equipment repair, PTO), resource (such as reserving a conference room or projector), or physical items needed for work.
  • At retirement or other termination of employment, ERM can be used to automate the processes of disabling application and physical access, starting COBRA and converting or terminating other insurance coverage, closing out the payroll account, etc..

Organizations can use technology to improve employee retention in other ways as well, from BYOD policies to providing easy, IT-approved tools for communications and file sharing to offering “Genius Bar” type scheduled service for IT issues, to eliminating the need to keep track of multiple user IDs and passwords through single sign-on.

These changes benefit employees by making their work lives easier and more satisfying,  while benefiting the organization through reduced service delivery costs, higher productivity, and improved employee retention.

As noted previously here in How to Reduce Support Costs with BYOD + ERM, “By incorporating schedule-based services, ERM and onboarding task flow into these policies, enterprises will be best positioned to compete both for talent and in the marketplace.” And, as Gareth Cartman writes, to retain the talent already on board.

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