Using choice to keep and retain talent amid the 'Great Resignation'

The simple answers are often the best: when it comes to technology in the office, it’s time for employee choice.

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One side effect of the Great Resignation is that most employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find and retain staff. But many may be missing an easy way to boost employee satisfaction: Choice.

Meet your talent where they are

Statista reports that the number of workers quitting posts has now exceeded the rate pre-pandemic in the US. In the UK, Deutsche Bank says people are quitting more rapidly than since 2009. The impact on some industries — and particularly on the tech industry — is that there are more positions vacant than employees seeking to fill those seats.

On both sides of that equation, identifying and retaining staff is made all the harder by dumb decisions some employers make. Apple, for example, apparently redefines every worker as an “associate” when they leave, rather than bestowing them with their former job title. That makes it hard to find new jobs in the same field.

Quite frankly, that’s as ridiculous as expecting employees to return to offices full-time post-pandemic, or offering bonuses in such a way as to make some folks feel more valued than others.

How many times will tech firms talk about the employee experience before they truly begin to recognize how expectations are changing? HR needs to listen to its people.

People want better

We know employees want more. They want to work for companies that mean something. They want to do their best work for values they have faith in. They want to bring their own iPhone to work.

It’s only logical — if you are going to spend most of your waking time working, you’ll want that experience to be the best experience possible. And when there’s more jobs than there are people, you’d imagine every employer (including Apple) would wake up, smell the coffee, and push hard to optimize the employee experience.

So, why aren’t they doing so?

Take the UK (what’s left of it), for example. A recent Kandji-commissioned survey found 29% of UK employees would use Apple equipment at work if they could. It also found the same number would be more willing to take a job at a firm that offered them such choice. This is data that tallies remarkably well with almost every report on this topic I’ve written for a decade. At SAP, one quarter of the employees use Macs, for example.

“For new hires, the Mac ratio is currently higher than the overall average, so often new hires ask to get a Mac to be productive with,” Martin Lang, SAP’s vice president for product engineering mobile experience told me.

[Also read: Q&A: Cisco's Jeetu Patel on Apple, Webex, and the hybrid enterprise]

But, reflecting some weird form of self-hating UK nativism, just 14% of employees are being given complete freedom of choice in their work computers. Why? After all, the UK is having equal challenges filling those roles. In the UK, 90% of employees will take a pay cut to use their choice of platform.

Don’t ignore the obvious approach

Why would any company decline such low-hanging fruit?

It might be because over a third (36%) of UK businesses — and presumably enterprises outside the UK — have failed to come to grips with how enterprises should handle the remote-working age. They don’t seem to have got the memo, leaving it up to users to configure devices in the field. That’s almost guaranteed to be the worst possible approach to endpoint security. And I’m willing to bet many of those firms foster toxic cultures that mean when an employee is inevitably hacked, they get blamed for it. A note to those employers: It’s not your employees, it’s you. Do better.

It may, of course, also be because the business relies on outdated systems that are slow or cumbersome, which is a curse afflicting about 30% of US businesses, TRUCE recently said.

There has never been a better time

But those companies willing to make a change should fully embrace the change they make, and that means proper integration and support. There’s no excuse not to provide this. The times aren’t just a-changing, they’ve changed.

When it comes to Apple deployment, it isn’t as if there is any shortage of free or fee-based tools to help businesses, large and small, manage and protect their tech. Apple offers Apple Business Essentials, which is ideal for smaller employers. Kandji has its own solution. Jamf has the scale and reach to support any business. Addigy, Hexnode, there are others.

Really, if ever there were a time for enterprise to shift its mind-set around employee choice, the Great Resignation, surely, would be it.

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Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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