We have been misled into believing that employees fear artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies. The truth is that they willing to welcome it and are quite eager to embrace it. A study by O.C. Tanner reveals that whatever fear employees experience is centred around how the organisation implements new tools or technology. That means, it will be ideal for organisations to weigh the effect technology will have on employee experience and work culture. A significant 65 per cent of employees are optimistic about introduction of new technology, whereas 32 per cent organisations are culturally fit and ready to embrace new technology.
If organisations align technology implementation to their culture, there is 644 per cent higher chances of employees feeling successful, 424 per cent higher chances of employee engagement and 296 per cent more likelihood of increase in revenue.
What is worrisome is, that organisations seem to be ill-equipped in terms of technology infrastructure. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant work-from-home situation, organisations were lagging in terms of technology infrastructure. Almost 20 per cent of respondents reported that their organisation had ceased to spend on latest technology. A good 31 per cent admitted that the existing technology was not easy to use.
The pandemic surely took organisations by surprise. The 2021 Global Culture Report by O.C. Tanner, rightly states that “The world has never seen workplace cultures change faster than they did in 2020”. The report examines how cultures can be affected by “crises, technology, recognition, inclusion, leadership and a new generation of workers.” When it comes to factors challenging organisations now, the top five responses were: losing business due to Covid-19 (45 per cent); adapting to changing economic conditions (37 per cent); dealing with new government regulations (34 per cent); downsizing or layoffs (24 per cent) and dealing with changing international trade conditions (23 per cent)
Organisations that have become more transparent with their employees since March, have experienced 85 per cent more employee engagement. The organisations with no formal recognition programme in place have witnessed 20 per cent higher intention to leave.
When it comes to diversity and inclusion, 44 per cent employees feel that their company’s D&I efforts are not sincere. About 31 per cent of employees who self-identify with any minority group by race, gender, disability or sexual orientation are more likely to feel that the D&I initiatives at their workplace are insincere. About 67 per cent are likely to consider that the D&I policies are more to do with labelling such employees than actually accepting them. A good 83 per cent are likely to feel that organisations talk about diversity in such a way that classifies employees into conventional categories that are inaccurate representations of their true selves.
The study reveals that minority employees face microaggressions at work more often than the others. While only 17 per cent able bodied employees are likely to face microaggression from senior leaders, 48 per cent employees with documented disabilities are likely to face microaggression from their senior leaders. Similarly, while 17 per cent able bodied may face microaggression from team members, the figure is 56 per cent for those with disabilities. Also, those with disabilities are 54 per cent less likely to feel they belong and 115% more likely to suffer from acute burnout. Gay, lesbian and bisexual employees are also 63 per cent less likely to feel they belong at an organisation and 98 per cent more likely to suffer from severe burnout.
Clearly, employees who identify as “different” from the rest in any way, are more likely to suffer greater burnout, and feel lesser sense of belonging and experience more instances of microaggressions.
If D&I agendas are not adequately implemented by organisations employees are likely to be 78 per cent less engaged.