November 3, 2022
The rising cost-of-living is impacting life and work in all four corners of the UK. Research from BCC has found that businesses feel compelled to increase their own prices. With costs rising, businesses are facing growing pressures. Not least the need to attract and retain the talent they can depend on to deliver. Research has shown that taking time to upskill current employees, especially in terms of their digital skills, benefits both productivity and engagement at all levels of an organisation. Our own Tech and Battle for Talent report recognises that 42 percent of employees in organisations across the UK would be more likely to stay in their current role if employers provided regular and intensive training, while 47 percent would be happier.
In a workplace that’s becoming increasingly digitised, we must not underestimate the importance of digital skills. It’s not just about investing in the technology and connectivity to work smarter and achieve more – it’s also about equipping people to get the best out of that tech.
Engagement and happiness at work is closely tied to employee productivity. Fuelling a sense of progress, belonging and purpose amongst employees, whether through training or alternative means, is key to keeping them fulfilled and engaged in the workplace.
However, numerous factors can threaten employee engagement and subsequently, their productivity. Instability caused by the pandemic, changing work structures, the personal impacts of the cost-of-living crisis, stress and burnout and can all impact an employee’s ability to work effectively.
A lack of decent technology to help get the job done, however, is one of the biggest culprits. Inadequate technology has the potential to cost the UK economy £35 billion per year as it wastes time, increases bottom line costs and impacts the quality of work.
This is supported by our research, which found that 72 percent of respondents are frustrated at least once a week by the quality or lack of business technology available to them. Moreover, 67 percent feel their performance is negatively impacted by the technology provided by their employer.
The lack of engagement to resignation pipeline
It’s no secret that when poor engagement is not taken seriously, it can lead to issues with talent retention. At the height of the Great Resignation in 2021, McKinsey found that globally, 40 percent of workers left their roles without having secured a new job, while 60 percent were speculating leaving.
Our research into the ‘battle for talent’ found that poor quality tech was enough to make 48 percent of those asked more likely to resign in the next six months.
So, there is a clear correlation between that of engagement, retention, and the technology which employers are offering. With 81 percent of UK workers agreeing that technology plays an important role in helping them stay engaged and happy, it’s clear that employers need to prioritise investment in both digital training and technology.
Meanwhile, the fallout of the Great Resignation has left a digital skills gap amongst the current workforce. And the top reason why workers believe this gap exists? People left and no one had the expertise to replace them. Add to this that 36 percent of UK workers report that their employer rarely, if ever, provides them with training opportunities.
This presents another problem for the disengaged worker: they want to feel valued. Training proves to employees that their organisation cares about them and wants to help them in their career progression.
LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report found that companies that prioritise internal mobility retain employees nearly two times longer than those that do not. On the contrary, employees who feel their skills are not valued are 10 times more likely to leave.
And it’s not just about the employee experience: training can also help to meet overarching business goals. According to McKinsey, three quarters of UK enterprises would benefit from upskilling employees, as it not only boosts morale, but also allows the business to increase workforce diversity, avoid onboarding requirements and control salary costs.
Improving the employee experience
Workers are proving to be more stressed than ever before, with Gallup finding that 44 percent of workers experience daily stress at work. Comparatively, less than 1 in 10 felt they were thriving and engaged.
Over a quarter of UK workers regularly work overtime to account for time lost due to issues with tech during the day. Indeed, using legacy systems severely diminishes productivity, heightening the workload of an increasingly burnt-out workforce.
Moreover, it makes collaboration between teams far more difficult. In this post-pandemic world, one which embraces remote, office and hybrid working structures, it is more important than ever for employees to feel connected to one another and to have the tools to work efficiently within their teams.
This is difficult to achieve when disparities exist between skill levels and access to updated technology. Yet, 55 percent of respondents in the Technology and Battle for Talent report said they would be happier at work if their employer invested in digital technology which helped them to achieve this.
And it’s not just about the employee experience: training can also help to meet overarching business goals. According to McKinsey, three quarters of UK enterprises would benefit from upskilling employees, as it not only boosts morale, but also allows the business to increase workforce diversity, avoid onboarding requirements and control salary costs. Although the Great Resignation has somewhat subsided, employers must not get complacent. Employee satisfaction is still imperative, and technology is a huge contributing factor.
When it comes to improving employee engagement, investment in new technology and digital skills training work alongside each other. Once these are made a priority, employers will be able to better retain talent.
In short, by pushing digital training up the agenda and continuing to invest in the right technology, UK organisations can help tackle the skills gap that’s threatening to prompt employees to vote with their feet.