Outdated, poorly implemented, and cumbersome technology can cost your organization more money than you realize. This episode counts the human cost, diving deep into how bad I.T. affects employee morale, productivity, turnover rates, and even your ability to attract the very best talent.
Speaker 1: Welcome to the JMARK Business Innovation Technology Experience.
Todd: Welcome everybody to the JMARK Business Innovation Technology Experience. And today we have just the three of us, the core, the awesome team.
Christina: The OG three, that’s what I call it.
Todd: OG three. Awesome. Okay. To talk about how bad technology can kill morale. And it sounds a little bit cliche, but really, in a time when things are so chaotic, in a time when so many people are under stress and so many people are uncertain about the future, culture and morale is so vital to business strategy right now.
And I can’t imagine there’s anybody anywhere that has ever used technology that has gone to their life and just gone, “Man, I’ve never had a problem.” It’s just wonderful. But the truth is that there are always something going on with technology. There are risks in technology, there’s security threats, there are loads of email and different things.
And all of that coupled on top of everything going on in the world can kill morale in a company and technology is now helping in that. So what are some of the ways that you guys have seen based on personal experience? I mean, what are some of the things that you see as technology-related that kill morale and how does JMARK solve those problems with our clients? Why don’t we talk about that.
Dax: I mean, the first thing that occurs to me, Todd, is that it’s always personal. As an employee, everyone wants to get their work done. They want to be able to get it done efficiently, and they don’t want to have technology holding them back. We all know in the year 2020, everybody who’s in the workforce at this point has been sold for decades. The idea of technology as a problem solver, as an accelerator, and people don’t always look at it that way. But I think the reason people don’t is because so many people have been in the bad technology situations.
And so you kind of start disbelieving that, but we all hope it will be. And I think that’s where your morale dies when it’s not because you get so frustrated the things don’t work and that you can’t get your work done, and you can be, if you have a computer crash or if your network suddenly slows down, or any of these things when you’re in the middle of something, it can totally derail the work that you’re doing and throw you off your game. And that’s so frustrating.
Todd: Yeah. And it’s not always bad technology, even though that’s what we’re talking about. I mean, it’s bad technology, bad technology strategy, bad technology implementation, bad technology maintenance, bad technology monitoring, bad technology optimization. But the other side to all of that is also the unknown. I mean, there are so many issues in business where technology fixes it. In our company we have a volunteer committee called the culture crew, and the committee meets monthly and talks about problems in the company and how we can enhance the culture.
And nine times out of 10, the solution to the problem is somehow related to technology. We’re using technology to improve communication, we’re using technology to improve collaboration, we’re using technology to improve connectivity and connectedness in the company. And when you improve connectedness of employees, when you improve their ability to get stuff done, when you improve the communications and the collaboration between employees, you naturally improve morale.
Christina: Yeah. I mean, this needs to be taken very seriously because it goes so much further than just killing morale. I mean, people leave their jobs over this kind of thing. And I’ve heard it at trade shows people firsthand saying, “Oh yeah, I was in a bad situation with technology. I left, I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t get my work done.”
Todd: Yeah. The one case that comes to mind is there was a loan officer at a prospect that we were working with, and the loan officer… For those that are not in the banking world, a loan officer is, I mean, it’s gold. You lose a loan officer, you lose a lot of revenue. And this loan officer said, “If they don’t get their stuff together and fix the technology I’m out of there.” And Brad, our account executive, he called them up about a month later and he was no longer employed there.
He was at another company, and all that business went with him. And it’s very real. Like you said, Dax, people want to be productive. They want to get things done. People want to be going back to anybody used to watch Thomas the train, being a useful train. Everybody wants to be useful. And when technology doesn’t work your productivity can be derailed. Not to throw in a Thomas the train on there. But…
Dax: Yeah. No, it’s true. I mean, I think of even something as simple as collaboration. I mean, that is work that gets done through technology. Collaboration happens through technology these days. I mean, yeah, I think as soon as I said that anybody who’s listening, their first thought is going to be, well, obviously in 2020 when we’re remote. Yeah, of course, it’s happening through technology. But it was happening through technology long before.
I mean, we’re sharing documents. Even before 2020 I write a document, put something together. I sent it to Todd. Christina sends me emails with ideas. We’re having video meetings, and all of this collaboration that we’re doing technology is facilitating it at some point or another. And I think it’s easy to miss how much any glitch in those technology processes can derail creativity and collaboration, and innovation, because when you’re in the moment and I need to get ahold of Christina because I’ve got a great idea for a project we’ve been working on.
And if the solution to maybe a problem we’ve been banging our head against the wall to try to figure out and there’s a glitch, and then we can’t meet up to collaborate on that problem. And I say, meet up. But I mean, whatever. I can’t get the document to her. I can’t get ahold of her, whatever that means, it can be real that entire solving that problem and moving that forward, and that slows everything down.
Christina: Yeah. I feel [inaudible] a domino effect. I’m working on something or let’s say I have these things that have to be done today, well then my technology doesn’t allow it. Well, then I’m working late. I’m up late, I’m cranky, don’t want to come in the next day. It’s just this whole domino effect. And it’s much bigger deal than just maybe what looks like a small tech issue.
Todd: Yeah. I think you’re exactly right. I mean, it’s a ripple in a pond. It just keeps going and going and going, and it affects multiple people. And that’s the beauty of… It sometimes amazes me when I think about it. I mean, there’s so much that we do with technology that I don’t even think if we had to do it in a different way, it would be so much less productive. I mean, there are times when Dax and I are on a video call and it’s a spur of the moment video call.
We’re in two different states, and we’re brainstorming about the topic for a piece. And it’s the facial expressions, it’s just that interaction that helps fuel the creative process. Monday I was in another meeting, something came out in the meeting that I thought would be an awesome podcast. I sent it to Christina via chat. Later in the day, we had a meeting, a video meeting with us three again, and we decided to do it. And we recorded it earlier today.
And it was just like we’re using technology in so many ways to speed things up. I mean, there are times when you said we have to finish some kind of a document and we know we don’t want it to go back and forth and back and forth and we put it in a special share that we can access at the same time. And Dax can actually see me typing and I could see him typing, and we’re accelerating the work to get things done and increase our velocity. And at the end of the day, when you can feel accomplished, when you can feel you’ve got things done, you feel better about yourself and about your job.
When you hit roadblocks with technology or whether it’s communications or collaborations or whatever tool that might be, that is just the opposite and that it ricochets, and you’re frustrated in yourself, you’re frustrated in your boss, you’re frustrated in your IT, whoever’s in charge of it, you’re frustrated in your company. And it all stems back to just not allowing your employees to run when they want it to run.
Dax: Yeah. I think, you mentioned about technology facilitating that whole thing with the podcast. And I think we keep using this word technology, and all three of us know what we’re talking about the whole view of everything that we’re talking about. But I think there are so many technologies that feed into our workflows and the way that we work. And I mean, we as in everybody in America, everybody in the world these days. That we take a lot of it for granted. We forget that it’s technology.
I mean, for as long as I’ve been an adult there’s been some sort of electronic document thing. Now we use Word, different forms of that. And it’s easy to take that for granted that is a technology, and that there are other pieces of technology where you’re talking about sharing and creating a document together that you need internet for that, different things go into that, different services. But at the end of the day, this is how we get work done in the 21st century.
And there’s always a technology component to that. And you are either giving your workers the tools and the technology to thrive at their work, or you are throttling them to still work, Todd that you said earlier today, you’re throttling the work that they’re doing by not giving them access to technology.
Todd: Yeah. And it’s amazing how many things we take for granted, and we think our technology innovations are just a technology of the past. I mean, I was at doctor’s office a week or two ago for my annual physical. And I asked them about the forms that I have to turn in. And she said, “Oh, we’ll just fax them to your office.” And I was almost stunned for a minute, like twitched. And I was like, “Why would you do that?”
I mean, that’s so ancient. And it sounds weird, but in my mind I’m thinking, “Heck I could take a picture of it now and give it to my HR person quicker than you can walk over to the machine, figure out the number type in the thing, put it in, wait for it to come out, destroy it, or put it in a file.” I mean, it’s like, I’ll send the security email or something.
And then there’s on our side. I check with HR today. I was, “Hey, did my form come in?” She’s like, “Oh, well let me go. I haven’t been in the office. I’ll be in the office today. I’ll check the fax machine.” And there’s so many things with technology that are advancing that can just improve morale. And we don’t think about just little things like that, going to a fax machine and typing in a number. How inefficient that is. How inefficient email is becoming for certain types of things.
Email used to be the big thing, and that is becoming inefficient for many types of decision-making and communications. And so, when you’re thinking of technology in your organization or the technology services that you consume, or the applications you use, look at the generations that are in your company. Because oftentimes the younger generations are doing things way more efficient than the older generations, or differently, not because they’re being lazy and just because they found an easier way to do something.
And we’ve seen in the last… During this time of COVID, we’ve seen a huge personal to digital transformation where people are excited about working from home. And they’re not excited about necessarily working from home, and I say this as a general statement, even though it doesn’t apply to everybody. But we’ve seen every one on the study say people want to work from home after COVID ends. And that every single one of them is going up.
And the biggest one I’ve seen says 99% from buffer. I mean, it’s because people want to be productive. They don’t want to waste time commuting, they don’t want to waste time ironing clothes, they don’t want to waste time doing all these things that aren’t helpful and then being productive. And I think a lot of business owners are looking at it as, we need to bring people together so that we can collaborate more, and so that we can improve our culture.
But that’s the wrong question. Well, that’s the wrong solution. You need to look at technology and how people are using technology, or how you can use technology, because doing so will ultimately help your employees to be happier and help them to be more productive, which will make the company more successful.
Dax: Yeah. I mean, I just put myself into this frame of mind of what you’re just talking about. Okay, imagine this scenario where you’ve got these employees, they’re like, I’ve seen this world where I can work from home. I can get my work done, I can save where I live. Not commuting means saving two hours a day, plain and simple for just about everyone, no matter where you’re commuting to.
So I can say I have two hours of my day back.I have seen this world where this can happen. And suddenly, you’re telling me that I need to forget all that, go back to the office, go back to this old way of… Because that is the old way. All of a sudden, nine months ago going to the office was the regular way. Now in October 2020 commuting is the old way, that’s the past. And that is going to kill morale of people.
And if you are not looking at these solutions that you’re mentioning, Todd. If you’re not looking to technology and finding the solutions to make these things happen, you are going to lose employees. And you’re going to lose some of your best employees, because there’s a company out there that is finding these solutions and we’ll make it happen because they know how important it is, and they want your best employees.
Todd: Yeah. And I think we’re going to get to a point, and we may already be at that point where if you don’t offer flexible work from home arrangements, or don’t offer just remote work, you’re going to have a harder time finding employees. Because, I think that we’ve kind of matured as a society. And this has become enabled through this kick in the butt of COVID essentially, that we’ve discovered we can live anywhere we want to live and do most, if not all of our work.
And so, there are people that want to live in different places. I mean, you’ve seen Microsoft just recently announced that they are extending. I think they used the word indefinitely remote work, and they’re also going to make salary adjustments based on where you move. So you’re not stuck in Seattle, or in Northern California, or wherever. And Facebook has made the same announcements. I mean, there’s literally hundreds of companies that have made these announcements about going remote.
And, if you want to live near your family and being near your family makes you happy. If you want to be able to have two extra hours a day so that you can exercise, which makes you happy, or you can spend more time with your friends that makes you happy, or spend more time doing hobbies that you enjoy doing that make you happy. Your work life and personal life are so intertwined. People are going to be more productive and they’re going to be more passionate about where they work, and why would… Unless you’re desperate, why would you give that up to go commute a couple hours a day in a city or in a state that you don’t want to live in? And I think that’s the world we’re going to.
Christina: That’s true, because we are talking about bad technology can kill morale. But it’s so much more than that, a lack of technology can kill morale.
Dax: [crosstalk] Sorry. What did you say, Todd?
Todd: I just said the technology strategy.
Dax: Yeah. The word that keeps popping into my mind, too, is outdated technology. And I mean that in every sense of the word. I mean, we meet new companies all the time that are dealing with systems that are literally outdated as far as that they should have been replaced years ago. But I’m also talking about the… If your technology solutions that you’re … I mean, your technology strategy actually thought, “You’re right, that’s probably the best word.” Might be outdated.
And you need to reassess that. And at this point in time, whenever you are listening to this, your technology strategy might be outdated. You need to stop and think about it, and what it means for the way your employees work. And what solutions are out there that you’re missing and talk to an MSP about it. We’ve talked about this, that there’s a chance we work with companies, we work with bankers, and healthcare facilities, lawyers, accountants, manufacturers.
These are people that are experts in their field, and they’re focused so much on what they’re doing that there might be solutions out there. There might be technology strategies, things that you’re missing. And you simply don’t know because you’re focused on doing your own work. So you bring in an MSP like JMARK, someone who actually… That’s our job, our job is to be on top of these things so that you don’t have to.
So we can teach you these things and say, “Look, we’ve done our own exploring and our own vetting and research on all of these solutions. Here’s the solution that will work for you. Here’s the technology that will solve this problem that you’re trying to achieve of helping your employees work better.”
Todd: Yeah. It’s also true. I was thinking about the agility of where we are as a company right now. I could have my computer destroyed and tomorrow I could be working. I can literally go pick up another computer. I could boot up my son’s Chromebook, and I could get to almost all of the systems, if not all of them that I need to get to work and granted [crosstalk] security rules. But…
Dax: Well, I think it’s important to point out for listeners you’re in Texas and JMARK is in Missouri. [crosstalk] So when you say, “I could go pick up another computer.” You want to make it clear because that’s not just a drive to the office across town.
Todd: Yeah. And it goes into the discussion of morale, and it goes into discussion of remote work, and having a technology strategy that is agile, and that helps you to have a happy employees that can work where they want to work. I mean, a lot of companies if you have an issue with your computer, I mean, you got to take it into the office, you have internal IT or a managed service company that has to do something. And I mean, the way we’re structured.
I mean, I could literally boot up my son’s Chromebook and get to almost every application that I need to work. And we don’t have everything in the cloud. I mean, we have a strategy that allows us to collaborate. We have a strategy that allows us to communicate. And while that wouldn’t be acceptable in most scenarios for me to just go use another computer in an emergency, we have processes in place to make things happen.
And we’ve had to implement those processes at times when our office got flooded. But it goes into a… I mean, that’s a good point, too. I mean, when your company is agile, when your company has their plans and processes in place, and has a technology strategy that allows for redundancy and allows for things to work in emergencies. I mean, one sure way to kill morale is a disaster. But at JMARK, we had a flood come through our office and everybody was working the next day with no problem.
Not to say there weren’t some challenges, but now… And that happened, I don’t know. Six years ago, five years ago. Now where we’re at, I mean, we’ve continued to evolve and adapt as a company. I mean, we switched over to remote working. And it was just, “Hey, by the way, everybody needs to go home and go over my work.” I mean, there was a little bit more than that, but that was essentially the message. And it just happened.
And so, we have the security controls in place. We have the systems in place, the processes in place, and it can be extremely stressful to an employee to be in that type of situation and wonder, “Do have a job? Am I going to be able to continue to do my work?” And we saw a lot of companies that we called into that didn’t have the ability for employees to work remotely, that didn’t have the ability for communications to work in a remote situation.
And most business leaders that I have worked with aren’t just in it to make money. They’re also in it to make success for themselves and their employees, and to make a great culture and a great company. And all part of the strategy of doing that is making sure that you have plans in place. And that’s what JMARK does. We bring that redundancy and those processes, and our maturity, and expertise, and everything to all our clients.
Dax: Yeah. The other aspect I wanted just to touch on with this, which you actually kind of brought up a few minutes ago, Todd, in your story about going to the doctor and the fax machine and stuff is how your technology is affecting your customers or lack of technology, and how that in turn affects the morale of your employees. And I think you talked about the fax machine thing, and I will tell you, and I’ve said this to people, my friends and family, whoever in conversations, hundreds of times.
Everybody talks about the customer experiences they have, and even more so these days when people share these things on social media. And I am constantly just flabbergasted when I have bad customer experiences that have to do with technology, especially now that I’ve worked at JMARK. Because I think I know that there are technology solutions to this problem. I’m having this problem as a customer, and I know that you could implement something that would make this all go away.
And that makes me frustrated. And I have to work with an employee who it’s not their fault, and they know I’m frustrated, and we’re in this situation where we’re both frustrated, nobody’s blaming anybody, but nobody’s happy. And it’s because the technology strategy is not there, the technology has not been implemented. And that can have a huge impact on your frontline employees that are forward client facing, customer facing.
Christina: Yeah. That’s a good point. And it affects more than just the client experience. It could very well put… What’s the word that I just said? Affects, long day. It can very well affect you even getting new clients. It can affect the prospect meetings. I think, especially now that a lot of these meetings are starting to happen digitally more than not, it can affect you getting new business. It can affect your growth.
Todd: Yeah, absolutely. And kind of how we started out. And this will be true after COVID is over. I mean, morale and the happiness of your employees is of the utmost important because the happier they are the more productive they are, the more creative they’re going to be, the more success they’re going to help bring in into the organization. And organizations need to adapt and accept that technology is a way to help secure the organization, to help improve the morale, and help improve the collaboration and the communications, and the connectedness, and the many different aspects.
And in the same vain, it’s there to help protect your client relationships, your reputation. And all of these things play into the morale of the organization. And when morale goes up there are huge benefits to individuals and teams, and companies, and cultures. And technology can play obviously a big role in the morale of companies. And as you listen to this, we’d love to talk to you more about how technology can play a role in morale, and in a lot of other areas of your organization. So check out jmark.com, and give us a call, choose email platform, and we will begin the discussion. Bye-bye.
Speaker 1: Thank you for attending this podcast. We hope it has been informative and helps convey that at JMARK we are people first and technology second. To learn more and discover additional content relevant to your business, please visit us online at jmark.com. Or at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You may also call us at 844-44-JMARK. Thank you for your time, and we look forward to seeing you again.