Everyone loves working from home. But employees both in and out of the office aren’t utilizing enterprise collaboration tools. Here’s why.
The advancement of technology has brought about a vast number of changes in the workplace—namely virtual collaboration and teamwork. In fact, allowing employees to work remotely has increased productivity for many companies. Remote access to corporate networks has increased, and businesses are working to develop effective collaboration tools to keep up with the new workplace.
Unified communication (UC) tools—any form of call and multimedia/cross-media message management functions—are a way for businesses to connect remote users and increase collaboration. But a recent study by Nemertes showed that UC success is on the decline.
The Nemertes Study
Nemertes found 45 companies (mostly with 2,500 or more employees) and interviewed 50 senior-level IT leaders. In 2014, the study found that 61 percent of respondents believed their UC efforts at the company were successful. In 2015, that number had dropped by 18 percent.
The main measure of success was defined by employee usage of the tools. The main reason for failure? Lack of use. Let’s take a look at why that is:
The UC Failure Rate
Telephony, video capabilities, cloud, conferencing, and collaboration apps are the latest and greatest UC tools in play these days. With these technologies, employees have access to superior collaboration tools. But while the resources are exceptional, as mentioned above, the study found that employees were not taking advantage of them.
Irwin Lazar, vice president and service director at Nemertes, noted that many employees simply weren’t aware that the company had these UC tools. Other employees knew they were available, but they weren’t adequately trained to use them. It’s no secret that email and telephone are commonly used collaboration tools, and 99.9 percent of employees know they have access to these tools. They’re also well-versed in how to use them. It only makes sense that they’re used for collaboration, on average, 90 percent of the time. But what about the others?
Must Have: Training and Education Strategies
If companies expect employees to use new UC innovations, they need to make sure they’re aware of and trained in the technology when it’s rolled out. According to a Siemens survey conducted in North America, 43 percent of employees feel frustrated or overwhelmed by their collaboration tools. Employees use UC resources when they’re simple, and avoid them like the plague when they’re not.
Ease of use includes making educating and training of employees easy also. Once a company tests a new tool and is ready to introduce it to the workplace, it needs to develop a strategy to get employees acquainted with it.
Executives should also consider placing all of its UC tools on a single platform, allowing users to easily transfer between them. Integrating tools into an employee’s routine as opposed to making them adjust or toggle between platforms increases the likelihood of use. By making them easy to use, companies can enhance collaboration on a remote network.
Not employing training programs or education strategies can cause a continual decline in the use of UC tools. While a company may tout a better bottom line initially by not implementing an education strategy, employees will likely continue to ignore new UC tools. Rolling out a new tool only to have employees not use it leads ultimately to a loss—and a burden on the bottom line.
As newer UC and collaboration resources develop and current technology evolves, companies should ensure their employees are adequately trained. Enterprises that have recognized the benefit of remote work can only grow by employing strategies to ensure their employees are comfortable with collaboration tools, and use them in their day to day work.
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