There's no doubt about it; running a small business can be a daunting and overwhelming task. Success hinges implicitly on positive employee experience and customer experience, and the collapse of either can be catastrophic.
Countless reports have shown that employee satisfaction and employee experience (EX), have a direct correlation to business outcomes. A business is only as good as its weakest employee, and thus it follows that by improving EX, small business owners can significantly improve their chances of business success.
While managing employee experience may seem like something more suited for larger businesses, it's every bit as important for small businesses. While technology purchases can be expensive for small businesses, the ROI on such investments is hard to argue with. In fact, according to a 2019 study by Forrester and Lenovo, one of the best ways to enhance EX is to invest in the right workplace technology that improves productivity, engagement, and enablement.
You can identify the right business technology that will both support your employees and your bottom line by following these five steps:
1. Map "A-Day-in-the-Life" of Your Employees
The Forrester-Lenovo study showed that 38 percent of the more than 800 small business employees surveyed felt that they work in a distracting environment. Distractions ranged from small things like personal messages on work devices to office noise and technology problems. Those distractions cause frustration for employees that can derail them at their most productive moments.
The first step in determining the right business technology to improve EX is to find out what daily work life looks like for your employees. What pain points are they experiencing when dealing with the current technology? Do they need more mobility? More flexibility? More collaboration?
Once you have an idea of what their daily routine might be and what might be missing in the current technology suite you have, you can sit down with other employee experience partners like HR, operations, facilities, and tech to map the day-in-the-life of your key employees to see if any main themes appear.
2. Talk to Your People
Employees are experts at getting their jobs done, and they can tell you exactly where they believe technology problems might be hampering their process. Once you have gathered their feedback, you can match those recommendations against the assessments you did in the first step to verify the data. It's helpful to quantify employee experience where you can to create a baseline. You can use common models, including employee Net Promotor Score (eNPS), the Employee Satisfaction Index, or Forrester's own Employee Experience Index.
3. Revamp Your Current Tech Strategy with a Focus on Employee Experience
Based on the findings above, you can then begin to update your current technology strategy. Keeping the goal of improving employee experience in mind, decide what types of devices you might need, how often you might need to purchase them, and how many you'll need to buy.
When reworking your technology equipment strategy, its crucial to take into account your current inventory, any technology policies you have, warranties, end-of-life replacements, breakage, and support.
4. Get the Corner Office on Board
Regardless of how large or small your company may be, budgeting is a common pinch point for technology investment. A key part of securing new technology is making a compelling case for the investment.
When it's time to present your budget to those in the corner office or convince yourself that investing in the right technology is best for your company and your employees, its best to lay out both tangible and intangible costs and benefits of the investment. Examples of tangible benefits could be things like increased closing rates, less downtime, and more productivity. Intangible benefits to highlight could include things like improved customer service response time, greater flexibility, and happier employees.
5. Choose the Right Technology Partners
Avoid the temptation to opt for the short-term bang for the buck. Sure, you might save some money this year, but a few years down the road, you'll likely have to spend even more to replace or repair old, outdated, or poorly designed technology.
Be sure that when you are choosing a technology partner, you choose someone who is focused on the future. It's important that your chosen partner has a solid understanding of what new technology may be on the horizon to future proof your technology strategy. Choose partners that can meet your needs for support, technology, and flexibility to ensure that you make a solid business choice.
In Conclusion: Investing in the Right Technology Can Make or Break a Small Business
The Lenovo/Forrester survey was conducted with the goal of getting better insights into customer needs and helping Lenovo to create solutions to meet those needs. As you can see, the study has provided tremendous guidance on the best ways to get the most out of your technologies and, in the process, your employees.
If you follow the five steps above, you're sure to create a winning technology strategy that can carry your small business well into the future. Gathering the right information from the right stakeholders ensures that employee productivity and, ultimately, happiness increases.