SMB leaders commonly consider IT to be a cost of doing business. This perspective however can be very limiting to businesses that wish to lead their respective industries. The truth is there should be a financial return when delivering IT services proactively. The broader spectrum of IT services should be a means to drive profitability.
We recently posted an article on the impact technology can have on customer experience. Investing well in technology can have tangible effects on increasing customer value. This allows you to reduce customer churn whilst also maintaining or even increasing margins.
There is of course more ways to increase profitability. Increasing revenue and decreasing costs is the simple math behind profitability, and an engaged employee can deliver both.
In this post, we want to take a deeper look into the impact technology can have on employee engagement.
The positive effect that an engaged employee can have is two fold. On one hand an engaged employee is more likely to look after customers and their experience. This protects revenue and margins by delivering superior client value. On the other hand, an engaged employee is likely to be more productive, more attentive and perhaps most importantly today, likely to stay.
A Gallup poll gives some impressive insight into the results of having engaged employees. Businesses with highly engaged employees:
When you treat your employees well, they take a greater interest in the business and your customers.
In addition, with increased staff shortages being felt across every industry, high recruitment costs & salary expectations, there has arguably never been a better time to focus on employee engagement and retention.
There is a lot of factors that contribute to the engagement of an employee. One major prerequisite is feeling valued.
Someone is unlikely to feel valued in a 2nd hand uniform with no training and insufficient tools. Similarly, failing to provide office workers with effective tools to do their job (technology & business systems) has a profound effect on their productivity, frustration levels and ultimately, their sense of value.
Likewise capability is another major factor. All the enthusiasm in the world will ultimately wane if there is not the capability to achieve more. Technology plays a major role in modern business when it comes to capability and enablement. When a high performer reaches a ceiling, they will inevitably become frustrated. This can lead to diminished efforts and may cause them to look for greener pastures.
Some common situations we often find limiting engagement include:
Inversely, businesses we see that have mitigated the above show a noticeably different culture and level engagement from their people.
The above issues are commonly dismissed as costly endeavours that are simply 'nice to have'.
A more informed perspective however would argue that failing to provide fast, reliable and secure technology to your workforce is likely costing far more. In some cases, we've identified SMB's whose poor IT has cost their business 10x the cost of fixing the IT issues. This is largely due to the amount of impact technology has on things like customer experience and employee engagement. In turn, these have major impacts on profitability.
As an example, what if upgrading your technology would give you a 1% improvement of staff productivity?
While small, based on the current average wages in Australia, a 35 person business could expect an annual saving of approx. $30,000 in labour costs alone.
Many SMB executives say that with the right technology they would expect a 5%, 10% even 20% gain in efficiency. This puts unrealised profitability of a typical 35 person business between $150k-$600k.
This of course is only factoring in direct labour costs which is merely the tip of the iceberg. What further profitability could be unlocked with the increased innovation, motivation and focus of a well equipped, engaged workforce?
To reference a popular internet meme, one does not simply just 'put in the right technology'. In most cases, business executives don't have the information or time required to know what the 'right technology' even is. Bridging the gap between business challenges and IT requires a high level of analysis and understanding. Ultimately most businesses don't have this capability and their IT providers generally don't get involved either. SMB's who have partnered with companies that do are reaping enormous benefits. They know where they should invest their money and what commercial results they should expect.
Many SMB's simply evaluate their IT providers abilities by the amount of pain they experience relative to how bad it has been in the past.
Rarely do businesses consider what their IT providers are failing to provide them in terms of true value and insights. Profitable IT requires a further level of management, process and advisory. This enables business executives to make clear, confident decisions regarding technology investment. Successful businesses can make great ROI based decisions provided they are given the correct evidence & insight to make those decisions. If your business does not have that, then your IT provider is handicapping you.
At the heart of every business problem is a system or process that could be made better with technology. Most businesses postpone taking action on improving their IT because it is either too hard, or they believe the outcome will not justify the cost.
Even firefighters take time and resources away from the front lines to create firebreaks. Having greater insights regarding the trapped potential in your business could be the next step in achieving your goals.
If you're interested, we'd be happy to meet to discuss your business and share our insights on the above topics. There's no pressure to proceed with any changes, we would equally gain value from hearing another perspective and learning about another business and it's challenges.
Simply give us a call or book a time directly here: https://calendly.com/ray-sweeney