Three Ways To Empower Employees Through Technology

Coronavirus is forcing companies to lean heavily on technology that supports remote work. But beware of the "more is better" approach to tech adoption.

Technology should foster a more efficient, creative and collaborative environment at your company. The right tools should help your team generate, capture and act upon great ideas that drive your business forward.

Technology should also make it easier for employees to work remotely and achieve a healthy work-life balance. The future of work is all about flexibility. People don’t want to be confined to a cubicle, a computer or a smartphone. They want to be able to engage with anybody, anywhere, and at any time.

Taking a more-is-better approach when investing in technology for your business will leave you with a collection of combating and conflicting systems. Instead, embrace a streamlined set of tools that enable your team.

Provide Solutions That Support Employees

To achieve these goals, you need to be thoughtful when selecting and investing in technology for your business. Follow these three tips:

1. Consolidate and simplify your approach. A study shows that 54% of business leaders want to invest in easy-to-use collaboration tools. Many companies have bloated tech stacks, leaving their employees to juggle multiple disparate systems to communicate, collaborate, share documents, and manage projects. This leads to a complicated, inefficient, and disconnected workflow.

You would be better off consolidating and simplifying your technology. Implement one system that serves as a one-stop shop for multiple functions. To identify the right system, take a bottom-up approach: Survey your employees to determine which tools they enjoy using the most. Ask them what they like about each tool. Then, select a system that resembles the tools they enjoy using. This strategy will ensure they buy into your vision and actually use the new technology.

2. Use artificial intelligence to automate. Don’t bore your employees with mundane, time-consuming tasks. Thanks to AI, you can now ask robots to crunch numbers, create reports, and schedule meetings. This frees up every member of your team to listen actively and contribute during discussions, boosting employee engagement and an overall sense of belonging.

AI can also be a great way to keep your teams on track. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, 54% of business leaders say AI adoption has positively affected productivity. Similar to how a smartwatch can remind you to take more steps and stand up more often, AI can send push notifications to employees to remind them of upcoming deadlines and milestones.

3. Preach digital accountability to your team. In a Gartner survey of global CEOs, 56% of leaders believe digital transformations will benefit employees. With the right technology in place, your teams will be much more connected and empowered. Their jobs will feel easier, but that doesn’t give them permission to slack off.

Send a clear message to your employees: Technology is here to help them be better at their jobs, and you expect this to be reflected in your company’s overall success. Set a high bar, and hold your teams accountable. You don’t need to micromanage, but you do need to ensure that technology doesn’t become a crutch.

When investing in technology for your business, start with a multivitamin. Seek one system that performs many vital functions. From there, you can add in more supplements if necessary.

Make your technological transformation a collaborative process, and keep tabs on your team’s productivity over time. You will know you made the right decision if your company is improving, innovating, and achieving new heights.

Cory Treffiletti
Cory Treffiletti is the global head of marketing at Cisco Webex. Cory pioneered digital and data-driven marketing efforts as the chief marketing officer at Data Cloud, BlueKai, and Voicea. Cory has been a thought leader, executive, and business driver in the digital media landscape since 1994. He is the author of “Internet Ad Pioneers” and has contributed weekly columns to MediaPost’s OnlineSPIN and Media Insider since 2000.