Mobility For Your Employees
It may seem a radical notion, the idea of selling your business to the people who work for you, but this is the era in which we now work. Employees of all levels are all incredibly aware of their options when it comes to mobility and employability. This doesn’t mean that jobs are falling out of the trees like fruit. Good jobs are still hard to find, but they are not “as” hard to find. A plethora of career websites and social media portals are available, giving motivated people great control over their personal career path. For CIOs this means adding an extra layer of internal sales to ensure employees remain engaged, productive, and present.
A significant development in this regard has to do with the devices employees use at work. The company issued laptop and phone just don’t cut it anymore. There is less prestige in lugging around a device that you don’t really like, and which doesn’t really fit; especially when the one you do like, the one you spent your own money to buy works better. Especially too, when the space between work and home is so conveniently bridged by the cloud.
The desire to use personal technology at work is called “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD), and it presents a dilemma for employers. On the one hand, the ease of use of a personally chosen device tends to increase engagement and productivity. But it does do at a price, primarily in terms of its potential as a security threat. Personal devices are generally woefully under-protected. Many devices lack adequate anti-virus related technologies, and their users enjoy the convenience of cloud-based storage tools such as DropBox, iCloud and Onedrive. Such online repositories make it very convenient to deposit company files, and although they offer significant levels of encryption and protection, it might not be so easy to certify where in the world the data is being stored, which can lead to legal and compliance problems for an employer.
Some employers are testing out a solution to this personal device problem by offering up a range of devices for employees to choose from, a technique called Choose Your Own Device (CYOD). This procedure gives employees access to the iPads, tablets, Chromebooks and smartphones they prefer, but which have been topped up with the appropriate security apps and protocols to ensure a company’s safety.
That such a procedure has to be enacted is a sign of the times. Where, in earlier years, employees would simply take what they were given, this no longer applies. Today’s professionals expect a level of work-life balance that matches their personal goals, and having access to technology is included in this.
Tables Are Turning
The tables have turned in business and the customer is the new boss. Companies must now focus on an audience of one, providing customized experiences for each – this is the new mantra. But few employers have taken the step of seeing their employees as customers also. But they are. An employee trades time and talent for a job and a salary. It may not have always seemed this way, but more and more professionals are recognizing this about themselves, and these numbers increase as the newer generations enter – and make an impact – on the workforce and on the economy.
A new entrepreneurial mindset is required in which subsets of a company, such as the IT department, are no longer seen – or see themselves – as cost centers, but instead see themselves as a business unto themselves, buying and selling to visibly generate profit. As such, just like any competitive business, a department must now turn to disruptive technologies and innovative practices to attract and retain key talent.
According to an IBM 2013 Global C-Suite study entitled, “Moving from the back office to the front lines: CIO insights from the Global C-suite Study,”
- 70% of CIOs expect to work with a wider group of partners in the future, and they’re doing so in order to generate greater strategic and business value, rather than increase efficiency or reduce costs. They’re also focusing on putting in tools to facilitate effective internal collaboration. CIOs in outperforming enterprises are in the vanguard of this movement:
- 82 percent aim to install social business tools to help employees and partners pool their brains, compared with just 69 percent of CIOs in underperforming enterprises.
- Mobile technologies play a big part in their plans. Most CIOs want to cater to the needs of the growing number of employees who work outside a traditional office setting. They also have an eye on the opportunities for improving productivity.
What many executives are noticing, is that transitioning to this new entrepreneurial approach to Workplace technology is not an albatross. Rather than slowing down progress and increasing costs, the technologies that are available on employees’ preferred devices are making things work better: better collaboration tools, communication tools, time management tools and more. These companies are discovering that by allowing a square peg to choose a square hole, more can actually get done.
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By Steve Prentice