Employees held back by out-of-date practices and IT systems
Employees say they feel excluded from decisions that impact on the way they work
The struggle to cope with the data explosion and manage business-critical information has created a disconnect between employees and their bosses, undermining employee effectiveness in the workplace, according to a survey commissioned by Ricoh Europe.
Based on 1,075 interviews in organisations across 13 European countries, including Ireland, 82 per cent of employees don’t believe they are as effective as they could be because the way they are asked to work is out of date. In businesses with more than 1,000 employees the figure rises to 89 per cent.
Ageing IT systems are holding back 79 per cent of Irish and European businesses from maximising their full capabilities. And even when new technologies are rolled out employees are not always consulted about its introduction or given adequate training. Tellingly, 93 per cent of senior directors said employee feedback was gathered before a new technology was introduced but only 73 per cent of employees agreed.
“While this gap may not seem huge, it does still mean a significant number of employees do not feel fully involved in the roll-out of a new technology,” says Chas Moloney, director of Ricoh UK and Ireland. “Business leaders will be familiar with the need for a process of change management, but it seems in many businesses across Ireland and Europe, this process simply is not taking place. The result is employees feel excluded from decisions that impact the way they work, and businesses risk new investments not delivering their full potential.”
About 91 per cent of respondents said an increasing amount of data is having the most impact on their ability to manage critical business processes. Employees cited regular reviews of working practices rather than the latest technologies as the best way to combat the challenges, and the need for a higher level of executive sponsorship to champion improvements.
The survey also highlighted the emerging challenge of managing four or five generations in the same workplace, each with its own expectations. Generation C (where “C” stands for “content”) are the under-25s who want the structure of a workplace where they can learn. Generation X are the 36- to 47-year-olds who want to work from home, placing more value on work/life balance. Generation Y, also known as the “millennials”, are the 25- to 35-year-olds who want to be more mobile.
“It’s important that senior management can understand the needs of different generations and be able to give them access to business information and structures that they are comfortable with. Employees are a valuable resource that should be front and centre of any document process improvements,” says Moloney.
All this matters to Ricoh because it is busy reinventing itself, moving away from selling print hardware to becoming a service company selling solutions around workflow and document management.
IDC research director Arnaud Gagneux says the Ricoh strategy typifies a move away from technology that was prevalent around print in the 1990s to a greater interest in processes and document management.
“Organisations want experts to take over these services, freeing them up to drive savings,” he says. “Technology is no longer a differentiator but managed services are.”