Can bad tech become a reason for employees to quit?

As flexible working models continue to explode and more interactions are based across digital tools, Breckon Jones explores the impacts of a bad tech experience on employee retention. A conversation particularly relevant to HR Tech that has traditionally relied on compliance as motivation for employees to engage with the tools. Perhaps this is no longer good enough?

Hi team, Breckon here Crewmojo advisor and Deloitte HR leader. Well can a bad HR tech stack really annoy people so much that they quit? Maybe. Maybe. There's lots of reasons why people quit their job and there's lots of research around at the moment to get under the hood of what the main reasons are for the great resignation. I've seen the data and technology that sucks doesn't usually come out as one of the top reasons. It rarely comes above "I want a better career opportunity" or "I want better pay" or lack of recognition or "I just need a change of scenery". Let's think about it.

Expectations of Digital Natives

So in this new covid-induced hybrid and hyper-flexible way of working that we are all in or most of us in where we have to be so reliant on technology to do our jobs, particularly when we've been in lockdown here in Australia and where many organisations who could, haven't gone back to the nine to five, five day a week in the office model that used to be the norm. But they've trusted their people and they've said we believe that you can work in a way that suits you better and the employee experience now is a digital experience, and technology obviously enables that.

So if I'm a digital native, if I was a lot younger than I currently am, who'd lived my entire life with technology and my phone deeply embedded within my day-to-day life, relationships and everything experienced through that phone. Then you know I have a Tik-Tok or an Instagram or a Snapchat expectation of a consumer-grade digital experience of every other aspect of my life. So why not work as well? I come to work somewhere and my employees technology is crummy, my laptop's old and my zoom keeps dropping out constantly. Then, yeah, maybe I get so frustrated that I quit.

Communication, Technology and Surveillance

One of the main reasons why people stay is feeling like they belong at work and having a sense of connectivity to their teammates and to their organisation and to its culture and the purpose of the enterprise as well. And now in a hybrid or virtual work environment, the way that things get done is, and the way that people experience that culture is virtually and digitally for the most part. If you want to get that cultural hit when you're in a digital world, you need to have a solid HR tech stack. A HR tech stack that talks to each other. It doesn't feel like it was created in the 1990s, and now more than ever, that's a weapon in the war for talent.

The big watch out though in this space is to avoid employee over surveillance. Most companies will have a policy that asks employees to consent to appropriate use of the hardware and the software that you give them. And part of this transparency is that your workplace digital footprint is probably going to be traceable by your employer but nobody wants big brother to be watching their every single move at work or at home and both are blurred now and forever more probably. So trust should be the driver here and not wanting to erode that trust by monitoring people's screen activity and mouse clicks or, you know time connected to the internet. So the answer to the question is yeah, probably, and now more than ever a HR tech stack that sucks might be a reason why people quit!

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