We don’t just want instant access to the exact information we need. We expect it — whether we’re searching for our next vacation spot, or trying to access the data we need for work. Our expectation — and that of your company’s employees – is that business-critical information will be quickly and easily accessible.
Yet, according to a new report on 2018 global workplace trends, there’s a major disconnect between the ease with which employees access data in their personal lives versus accessing valuable information from across the work organization. Here’s a few examples: easy access to sales materials, budget and performance data needed to make informed decisions, or a real-time view of in-progress projects across a department.
In many cases, the report says, the consumer-grade technology experience employees are expecting at work is impeded by critical information being hard to access and nearly impossible to process. This is due in part to factors such as information silos, restricted permissions, and lack of centralized and updated content.
The Competitive Advantages of Increased Access
Providing your employees with the ability to access and process data is well worth the effort. In fact, it can create competitive advantages for your business in these four ways.
- Improve Customer Service
Giving employees ready access to relevant information can enable better customer service. When customers have an issue with your product or service, they don’t contact you hoping to be put on music hold for a while or to wait a couple of days for a response to their email. They want answers, and fast. You need to empower your team to provide them.
Informed, engaged employees with immediate access to critical data can get to work helping customers resolve their issue; those working in organizations where information is siloed cannot.
2. Build Trust
In 2017, the annual Edelman Trust Barometer report found that regular rank-and-file company employees have considerable credibility. That’s one of many reasons it’s important that employees feel integrated with the organization, whether it’s understanding the company mission or knowing how to access the data they need for superior customer service.
Not only are employees who feel connected more engaged when they interact with customers and partners, they become valuable brand ambassadors when the work day – or night – is over. Whether they’re vacationing on the other side of the world or taking classes across town, your employees are bound to be asked the one question that seems to translate effortlessly across cultures: What do you do? Simply put, employees who feel set up for success by leadership are more likely to say nice things!.
3. Drive Profitability
Employees who are connected to centralized sources of information make more informed decisions. If a customer spends time on the phone with one of your employees to resolve an issue, then has to start over from the very beginning with another employee to resolve the next issue, your company loses twice. First, you sacrifice a favorable impression in the service category. And second, by having employees perform redundant tasks, you’ve also taken a hit on profitability (never mind productivity).
On the other hand, however, according to a study by Gallup, companies that scored higher on employee engagement realized many benefits, including higher earnings per share.
4. Empower Business Leaders
Your business leaders need quick and easy access to business data in order to identify trends, visualize bottlenecks, focus on the most pressing issues, and quickly obtain the insight they need to make informed business decisions. This instant access to critical information can mean the difference between a fully aligned, well-oiled organization, and one that is overwhelmed by data, riddled by inefficient processes, and lacking the necessary visibility to stay competitive.