A new global study commissioned by Lenovo finds that close to half (40 per cent) of all SMB employees who participated in the study are dissatisfied with their work environments. As an increasingly mobile workforce shapes employee expectations for access to technology that enables co-working, shared spaces and better work-life balance and integration, SMBs appear to have fallen behind the curve on delivering positive employee experience (EX).
SMBs are key to economic growth, representing over 90 per cent of the business population, 60 to 70 per cent of employment, and 55 per cent of GDP in developed economies. The new Lenovo study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, gathered responses from 813 employees and 803 device buyers from companies with fewer than 1,000 employees globally to evaluate EX trends among SMBs. The markets include the UK, US, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
According to an earlier Forrester report, enhanced EX leads to benefits including better work performance, lower turnover and improved customer experience, suggesting an imperative for SMBs to address the disconnect and prioritise technology that will create a positive work environment for employees.
To improve EX, the new Lenovo study suggests SMB employers actively listen to employee feedback on current work environments. Improving technology use is central, as most employees at SMBs still use desktops as their main device (71 per cent, according to the study). Additionally, a staggering 74 per cent of SMB employee respondents do not have access to cloud-based tools, nor have the flexibility to choose technologies that are most suited for their tasks. It will be key for SMB IT decision makers to invest in more mobile and portable device options, such as laptops, smartphones, 2-in-1s, and next-generation smart devices like augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) and smart office set-ups, to improve EX. Creating an environment where employees can work remotely and achieve better work-life integration is essential.
SMB IT decision makers need to build an effective and feasible device strategy that aligns to employees’ future needs. The research found that a third of buyers (30 per cent) will expand purchases for smart meeting room solutions, which will encourage more collaboration across different locations. However, SMB IT decision-makers are often faced with difficulties in refreshing workplace technology, with 45 per cent of them claiming that the budget they have is not adequate to cover all their requirements. Other challenges include internal IT teams not being equipped or trained to manage all device issues post-purchase (42 per cent), or not having the adequate information from device vendors (32 per cent), making it difficult to differentiate product offerings.
In a recent ‘This is Life’ global study conducted by Lenovo, it found that over half (58 per cent) of people believe technology is creating a more diverse work environment, with a further 58 per cent believing that tech is helping them get better jobs, enhance careers and be more productive at work by completing tasks faster and more efficiently. All these findings highlight the benefits of wider adoption of smarter technology in the workplace to significantly improve EX.
“SMBs pioneered the now widely-held ideas about the mobile workforce. However, this notion is unmatched in SMB organisations’ ability to offer their own employees more flexible technology for a better employee experience,” comments Dilip Bhatia, Vice President of Global User and Customer Experience, Lenovo. “While benefits and financial incentives remain important for attracting and retaining staff, SMB efforts must also be willing to invest in future tools and technology that are mobile, flexible and inclusive.”
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