Majority of Kiwi staff feel their employers should do more to bridge the digital skills gap.
A new study by Microsoft highlights a major gap in the staff’s digital skills with the ambitions of their leaders in digital transformation.
“As the bar is raised with new technologies adopted across industries, deployment is uneven,” reports Microsoft in its Workplace 2020 Study.
“In fact, 76 per cent of respondents felt that more could be done to bridge the digital skills gap among workers.”
“The rise of digital technologies, along with a new generation of millennials entering the workforce, has brought about a need to address changing workers’ expectations, knowledge and skills, as well as the tools they use,” says Mark Walton, Microsoft New Zealand cloud productivity business leader.
“With the rise of apps, devices, services and security risks in the workplace, there is a need to streamline the IT management, break down service silos so that disparate data can be combined and reasoned in new ways and reduce complexity,” he says.
The study found respondents feel restricted in the way they work, with 54 per cent highlighting that they needed to be physically present in office as equipment or tools used for their line of work is only available in the workplace.
Microsoft says it interviewed for the study over 4175 respondents - including 321 from New Zealand - from its Asia Pacific markets. The respondents were pre-qualified as at least spending 30 hours per week in a full-time role, or at least 20 hours per week in a part time role.
Firms that focus on improving employee experience (EX) yield better customer experience (CX) outcomes and outperform their competition over time.
From customer experience ‘CX’ to employee experience ‘EX’
The survey results reinforce a key trend Forrester says CIOs need to prepare for through 2020 - designing employee systems of engagement using customer experience (‘CX’) practices.
“Firms that focus on improving employee experience (EX) yield better customer experience (CX) outcomes and outperform their competition over time,” according to the report by Forrester analysts Brian Hopkins, Bobby Cameron, Ted Schadler, and Rusty Warner.
“Employees loathe their firms’ static employee portals, transactional self-service, and dismal online and mobile solutions — and use them only when necessary,” they wrote.
“Companies get little engagement — much less customer or productivity value — from employees who fail to find the detailed information required to help a customer, answer a productivity question, or comply with corporate policies.”
For instance, a global automaker’s employee website contains lots of news and information as well as links to benefits and HR services. But it does not have the automated personalisation, social streams, and dynamic news feeds that employees want.
While few firms currently focus on EX, but this may change as they discover the benefits from an enriched, seamless contextual CX, according to the Forrester analysts.
They advise CIOs to “create employee journey maps to diagnose the root causes that prevent progress on important tasks — and measure how EX investments improve employees’ contribution to customer value delivery.”
Diversity and security
Microsoft, meanwhile, says another factor to consider in digital transformation is the rise of diverse teams.
The study found that 67 per cent of New Zealand workers are already working in multiple teams at any one point in time.
“This makes the availability of real-time insights and collaboration tools crucial to get work done,” says Walton.
By providing all workers with a universal toolkit for collaboration, organisations offer its people choice and ownership as to how they work together and collaborate in real-time, he says.
In fact, he says, the study found that around 29 per cent of respondents highlighted that access to technology for collaboration such that they can respond in a timely manner to internal and external requests was important in their line of work.
Another critical area is strengthening security as organisations embark on digital transformation.
Create employee journey maps to diagnose the root causes that prevent progress on important tasks
Today, 65 per cent of respondents are working on employer-issued PCs, but 53 per cent are also working on personal smartphones, which underscores potential security risks, according to the report.
In fact, 56 per cent of respondents admitted to checking personal emails on company-issued devices, and are doing so for convenience sake, reports Microsoft.
“Therefore, leaders need to strengthen their security not to put organisations’ confidential data at risk to address the need for workers to work without barriers and without impeding productivity.”
“Due to deployment of advanced and emerging technologies, organisations need to relook at reskilling its workforce to develop creative and strategic skills for the future.”
Even as three quarters of business leaders in New Zealand acknowledge the need to transform into a digital business in order to succeed, people are ultimately the main drivers of digital transformation, he adds.
“People are at the heart of digital transformation. The challenge organisations face now is how to implement new ways to foster a modern culture of work to better empower workers.”
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