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The Impact Of Bad Software On Employee Experience

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Lauren Pope

Quick – how many different software programs do you use at work?

Now, can you tell me what all of them do? Don’t worry if you struggled to find an answer, the truth is that most people can’t answer this question. Software is eating the world and as the new tech revolution catapults us into the future, we’re seeing more new technology being integrated into our daily lives.

Technology is becoming the core of our workplace experience. New tech companies are cropping up with solutions to problems that your business didn’t even know it had. And while that may seem like a good thing on the surface, it can quickly become a problem if you don’t know how to manage it or how to choose the right software.

If you’re not taking into consideration how software impacts employee experience at your organization, you’ve already made your first mistake. Software should organically fit your employee’s day-to-day and be tailored specifically to their needs. For example, if your employees are lacking a simple way to communicate quick updates, introduce a software like Slack; if you see an opportunity to increase employee engagement and productivity, try implementing a performance management software like 15Five.  

The first step to understanding where these common problems are is to actively listen to your teams. Creating the space for your employees to give feedback will invite more transparency and better insight into the roadblocks your people face on a daily basis.

Learn best practices for choosing the right performance management software here!

Bad software is affecting your employee experience

G2 surveyed more than 1,600 people in its State of Software 2019 study to get a better understanding of the effects the right—or wrong—software can have on employee experience.

According to the survey, more than half of all employees are unhappy at work because of the software they are using. You don’t need data to know that unhappy employees are less engaged in their work. When your employees feel uninspired and unhappy, the quality of their work and their investment in your company takes a nosedive.

And if that wasn’t alarming enough, consider this: a quarter of employees said the software they’re using has made them consider leaving their job, and one in eight employees has actually left a previous job over mismatched software.

Bad software isn’t just making your employees less productive at their jobs, it’s actually compelling them to leave your company entirely. This can be harmful, especially if you work in a niche industry with few direct competitors. Losing employees with valuable information and industry knowledge could cost you more than you think. You cannot afford to let bad software decisions drive your employees into the arms of your competitors.

A bad employee experience will cause your employees to quit

Here’s a dirty little secret about employee engagement—more of your employees are bored and disengaged at work than you think. You might believe you know how to spot a disengaged employee, but it’s harder than it sounds. Employee disengagement is one of the number one causes of employee turnover and the ones who aren’t quitting are sticking around and phoning it in at their job.

Can your business operate at peak performance when the people you rely on to get work done don’t even want to be there?

Employee disengagement is one of the greatest threats to the health of your business and a bad employee experience is at the core of the problem. There will come a time when even your peak performers can’t handle it anymore and decide that it’s easier to find a new job than fight back against poor decisions like software that’s not intuitive or lacks key functionality.

Employee turnover is costing you more than just your time. A study from The Center for American Progress showed that for all positions except executives and physicians, the typical (median) cost of turnover was 21 percent of an employee’s annual salary.

Not only will a negative employee experience cost you your top performers, those employees are taking money out the door with them. The time, energy, and cost it takes to replace employees who voluntarily leave can oftentimes be higher than the cost of just buying better software.

The wrong software is costing your company money

Every company has it: the trendy new software that was supposed to make your life easier but everyone stopped using after the first couple months. Or maybe you switched to a new software and nobody remembered to cancel your contract with the old software company. Don’t think it happens? It does.

According to data sourced for the launch of G2Track, unused software costs businesses $40 billion in overspend every year. Think about all of the software your company is currently using—can you name every platform? Most companies are not only investing in bad software,  they aren’t even using it.

Another problem employees are facing with bad software? Duplicative programs. There are employees in every industry who are currently being forced to use multiple software programs that do the exact same thing.

There’s always a human cost to bad software. Data pulled from the G2 State of Software happiness report shows that 62 percent of employees have felt like they were not reaching their professional potential because of the software they used at work, and 95 percent agreed that the right software can make them more productive.

It’s time to talk to your employees about their experience

This isn’t about scare tactics. It’s about helping you recognize the problem and finding the right way to fix it. Our State of Software happiness report shows that half of all employees would prefer having more control over their company’s software decisions. Get everyone involved by soliciting employee feedback about their experiences with each specific software.

Your employees are the people who work with this software every single day. Sit down with them and pick their brains on what they like about the current software, what tools would make their jobs easier, and what they wish they had known about certain software before you purchased it.

The most important thing to remember? You have to follow through. Your employees are expecting you to act on their suggestions and make a change for the better. If you give them false hope that you’re going to change the things that frustrate them, it will end up making things worse. Show them that you have been listening and are ready to learn from your mistakes.

The search for the right software begins now

Currently, the most powerful tool at your fingertips is the millions of user-reviews being left by real customers online every single day. There has never been more freely and widely available information about what people really think, and it’s something to use to your advantage.

But the real trick to finding the right software for your team is to talk to the people themselves. They are the ones who will have to use the program you ultimately decide on, therefore they should be involved in the selection process. You need to trust that your employees know what they need and give them the opportunity to communicate that to you. Nothing beats direct employee feedback from your own team.

Technology is a gift and when used the correct way, and it can transform the employee experience of everyone at your company for the better. Forcing your employees to work with bad or outdated software is only going to add to their growing frustration.

If you haven’t taken a hard look at your current company software solutions within the last two years, make it a priority in the next quarter. What you learn may surprise you, and when you take action you will not only save money, but that also tells your employees that you care about their experience at work.

Author Bio: Lauren Pope is an Employee Engagement Journalist at G2. Originally a St. Louis native, Lauren moved to Chicago after graduating from college. In her free time, Lauren enjoys listening to podcasts, watching true crime shows, and spending time in the Chicago karaoke scene.

Photo by Rock’n Roll Monkey on Unsplash