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As Seattle 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

Seattle, Wash., October 6, 2020 – Seattle companies continue to invest heavily in technologies such as automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to reinvent how work is done. But as companies in the Seattle area 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 survey of Seattle workers by Eagle Hill Consulting, only 29 percent say that their company invests in the right technologies to support them. And just 38 percent agree that technology change has had a positive impact on the organization.

Also, about three-fourths of Seattle workers say they need more skills to adapt to advancing technology. Yet only 37 percent report that their company gives them the right level of support to understand and benefit from new technology solutions.

Download the research here.

“Seattle is a global hub and leader on technology and innovation . But, to sustain its leadership position, employers have to do a better job at employee engagement. That means ensuring employees are involved at all stages – from selection to deployment of new technologies,” says Jordan Henry who leads Eagle Hill Consulting’s Seattle office.

“Our research finds that one significant problem area is training. Technology cannot realize its full potential if employees don’t fully understand how to use the tools. Investing in employee training will help companies reap the benefits of its technology investments and substantially improve customer outcomes,” Henry explained.

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

  • Seattle employees understand that tech advances offer important possibilities. Yet, they say technology investments do not necessarily improve performance. Only 29 percent say the company invests in the right technology to support them. And just 38 percent think technology change has had a positive impact on their organization.
  • Greater Seattle employees are not confident about technology change because they are not getting necessary support from their employers. Nearly three-fourths of workers say they need more skills to adapt to advancing technology, yet only 37 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. Only one out of every five Seattle employees say they are asked for their input on technology decisions. And, 14 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 549 Seattle-area employees 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