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As companies accelerate technology investments, few employees say new technologies have a positive impact on their organizations

Lack of Employee Input & Training Puts Technology and Automation ROI at Risk

Arlington, Va., October 6, 2020 – Corporate executives have been investing heavily in technologies such as automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to reinvent how work is done. But as companies increasingly deploy new technologies, they may miss major opportunities to get the most out of their investments because of a missing critical factor – employee engagement.

According to a new national survey of U.S. workers by Eagle Hill Consulting, just 23 percent say technology changes have had a positive impact on their organization. Only 19 percent say their company invests in the right technologies to help employees do their job.

Also, more than two-thirds of workers say they need more skills to adapt to advancing technology. But only 22 percent report that their company gives them the right level of support to understand and benefit from new technology solutions.

Download the research here.

“COVID-19 has triggered a surge in technology investments, with some estimates as high $15 billion per week during the first wave of the pandemic. But, companies won’t realize the full potential of their investments if they fail to engage their workforce from selection to deployment of new technologies,” said Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill Consulting president and chief executive officer. “

“Technology advancements can be a game-changer in terms of strengthening operational capabilities and improving the customer experience. But technology doesn’t stand alone – employees play a critical role in every stage. Yet, our research finds that companies aren’t asking their employees critical questions before new technologies are deployed. And they aren’t training employees to utilize new technologies. Technology continues to be deployed at a rapid pace, but it’s problematic that engaging and upskilling the workforce is lagging,” Jezior explained.

The Eagle Hill Consulting research reveals a significant gap in values between technology investments and how employees experience them:

  • Employees understand that tech advances offer important possibilities. Yet, they say technology investments do not necessarily improve performance. Only 19 percent say the company invests in the right technology to help them do their jobs And just 23 percent think technology change has had a positive impact on their organization.
  • Employees are not confident about technology change because they are not getting necessary support from their employers. More than two-thirds of workers say they need more skills to adapt to advancing technology, yet only 19 percent report that their company gives them the right level of support to understand and benefit from new technology solutions.
  • The best way to give employees the right support when implementing technology is to ask them what they need. Yet, employers are not communicating with employees about technology decisions. Less than two in ten workers are asked for their input on technology decisions. And, eight percent are completely unaware of technology changes in their company. For the outlier companies that do solicit employee feedback, they typically do so after a solution has been purchased. The lack of early feedback from the employees actually using the solutions can undermine the investment in technology.

There are simple but important actions companies can take to get the most from technology investments.

  • Understand the real problem at hand. A new technology won’t override outdated business processes, broken cultures or skills gaps.
  • Test the hypothesis and gain vital insights in the process. Resist the urge to conduct root cause analysis of a business challenge in isolation of the employees doing the work every day.
  • Understand the human ROI. The best technology solutions get the most out of humans.
  • Assess tomorrow’s impacts today. Think strategically about how implementation of a new technology will impact the current and future workforce.

The Eagle Hill Consulting “Technology in Workplace Survey 2020” was conducted by Ipsos. The survey included polled 1003 respondents on aspects of the impact of technology such as artificial intelligence, automation and robotics on their current and future work environment.

Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides unconventional management consulting services in the areas of Strategy & Performance, Talent, and Change. The company’s expertise in delivering innovative solutions to unique challenges spans across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, from financial services to healthcare to media & entertainment. Eagle Hill has offices in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Boston, MA and Seattle, WA. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com.

Media Contact:
Susan Nealon | 703.229.8600 | snealon@eaglehillconsulting.com | @WeAreEagleHill