(Cross-posted on the Google Australia Blog)
Editor's note: Today's post comes to us from Down Under where a new report from Deloitte Access Economics Australia highlights finds that there is a direct link between workplace IT and employee satisfaction.
In the last few years, forward-thinking businesses have come to the same conclusion: it’s not only perks and pay that matter when it comes to attracting and keeping top talent. Up-to-date IT systems that support and encourage collaboration are also very important.
In the last year we’ve seen companies like Woolworths, Fairfax and Dick Smith move their communication and collaboration software to the cloud. These businesses cite the benefits of being able to have their remote teams work on the same document in real time, have editorial meetings via video conference or give their casual staff access to company updates and videos via their mobile phones.
Today, for the first time, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of the bottom-line benefits of giving employees the kind of IT systems that make them happy and productive. A new report from Deloitte Access Economics Australia now shows a direct link between flexible IT policies and employee satisfaction and retention.
Deloitte’s The Connected Workplace — War for talent in the digital economy shows that:
- Employees who are happy with their workplace IT are one third less likely to leave the company than those who are unhappy.
- Large companies with 500 employees could save up to $350,000 annually simply by investing in flexible IT policies. Over a ten year period this amounts to $2.6 million.
- Similarly, small businesses could save up to $22,000 a year by investing in flexible IT policies.
The Connected Workplace report comes at a time when Australian and New Zealand business leaders are experiencing a critical shortage of skilled employees. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 20% of businesses reported that an inability to find skilled workers within the labour market or within their company was a barrier to innovation.
Deloitte found that the businesses whose employees were most satisfied with their IT policies had a few characteristics in common. They allowed people to bring their own devices to work. They permitted access to social media while on the job. They let them work from home. They encouraged them to use collaborative technology.
The report also found that when people are given the opportunity to use their workplace IT to do personal activities, they spend an equal amount of time at home doing work tasks. So every 30 seconds an employee does something besides work will be balanced out by another half-minute of productivity later in the day.
Around the world, businesses are finding that it pays to be more flexible and let employees collaborate and work in whatever way suits them best. This includes more than 5 million businesses that now use Google Apps for Business to work from anywhere, anytime on any device. Businesses looking to win in the war for talent may find the same.
Based in Seattle, Artist Trust supports and encourages artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout the state of Washington. That can be difficult at times, since the state is large, with many remote areas. It's not uncommon for artists in rural areas to have to drive long distances simply to access the Internet.
"We really needed to think about how we should be investing in technology to align with our strategic goal to reach people statewide from our small office in tech-savvy Seattle," explained Margit Rankin, executive director.
Our guest blogger Amanda Aldrich is Regional Communications Specialist with the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio. Her experience as a volunteer, board member, executive director and regular-old-employee shape the opinions she shares here, which do not represent those of the American Red Cross.
I’m always moving a million miles an hour, and I know it’s likely the same for you. When you’re flying, it’s all too easy to forget the little things that help keep us afloat as we’re running from one meeting to the next. But it’s vital to keep your team (and others) in the loop.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “One more email to read? No thanks!” Seriously though – keeping your team, other colleagues, volunteers, and board members abreast of your activities pays off in the long run.
Conscious and consistent internal communications:
- Boost fundraising. Let’s remember that many volunteers are donors and vice-versa. Why miss the chance to share the great things you’re doing with others who can a) help out and b) support that work?
- Set things up for the long term. Not only do you need a succession plan for yourself, but also the rest of your staff. If just one or two people know the ins-and-outs of your major projects, what happens when they move on?
- Build relationships. There’s something about working within a team and knowing you can rely on each other that in the end makes the team better and more productive. We fail as a team, but we also win as a team. It also stops the rumor mill from churning.
Here are five ways you can fit communicating with your colleagues into each jam-packed day:
- Share the knowledge and the stage: Send a colleague to meetings, rather than yourself—key volunteers, interns, entry-level staff
- Make it easy to share updates, news and to-dos: Set up a private Facebook group (cheap and easy) or contact your local IT guy to create a simple employee intranet. Share content that’s fun, as well as the work stuff.
- Say no to meetings: Do you really need to have a meeting or can you have a casual conversation and accomplish your task? Don’t make it more complicated than it is.
- Launch Monday Downloads: Each week I share the top five things my colleagues need to know. It’s bulleted, color-coded, short, and sweet.
- Listen to, ask and learn from your team and other colleagues.
What are your best practices or challenges for internal communications? Please share them here.
P.S. Get more in-depth marketing guidance in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.
Editor's note: Our guest blogger today is Lisa DeLapo, Director of Technology at St. Joseph School, part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
Learning shouldn’t be limited to pen and paper, nor the computer lab. Rather than taking tests or filling out worksheets, the 270 students at St. Joseph’s spend most of their time creating projects using digital tools that show off their knowledge. Whether they’re telling stories of famous heroes using Google Sites, making group study guides with Google Forms, or listening to voice comments on their science fair projects in Google Docs, our students learn more from creating than they ever could from only consuming information.
My job as Director of Technology at St. Joseph’s is to make sure our educational tools are available everywhere. We have found Chromebooks to be the perfect tools – they’re portable and easy to use, have a keyboard and a large screen, and are secure. We’re piloting Chromebooks with several teachers now, and soon our entire faculty and staff will use them exclusively. We will also supply carts for the Chromebooks so students in different classrooms can share computers as freely as they swap lunches.
Because our teachers already use the Chrome browser and work largely in Google Apps, moving to Chromebooks has been easy. In addition to Google Apps, we also use Pearson PowerSchool to track grades, test scores and attendance, along with giving us a collaboration platform for parents. Accessing PowerSchool is extremely important but because it uses an older Java technology that is not supported in Chrome, I had to find a way to access it securely and easily from the Chromebook. I found out about the Chrome RDP app by Fusion Labs; it was exactly what we needed.
Chrome RDP lets users connect to any Windows desktop or server directly from within the Chrome browser. Since it uses Microsoft’s native Remote Desktop Protocol, no additional configuration or setup is needed after you install the app. It gives us secure access to PowerSchool and other legacy applications, and it’s straightforward for teachers to use. They download the Chrome RDP app from the Chrome Web Store, open up the app, and enter their login information for secure access to PowerSchool through the school’s firewall.
The introduction of Chromebooks to St. Joseph's has broadened what our teachers and students are able to achieve in the classroom. Chromebooks have helped everyone at St. Joseph’s enjoy the benefits of technology without expensive, complex maintenance. And now our students will have a new outlet for learning that helps familiarize them with technology and what we see as the future of learning.
Note from Beth: I am looking forward to the NCVS Conference. I will be doing a panel on using social media as part of volunteer recruitment and looking forward to hearing author Adam Grant talk about the ideas in his book, Give and Take. Another topic at the conference that I’m curious about is the notion of leveraging networks for capacity building and for career development for young professionals. Ben Duda is executive director of AmeriCorps Alums and graciously agreed to share some thoughts on this as guest post.
Let’s Help AmeriCorps Alums Use Their Experience to Keep Giving Back By Ben Duda
Last summer, I met a young man in Arizona named Kyle. He had spent his AmeriCorps term as a liaison between a mayor’s office and the homeless community, building relationships and creating resources. But even with all that valuable experience, Kyle was stuck working double shifts at a local pizza joint.
Countless organizations could benefit from Kyle’s skills, yet there is no system connecting national service alumni with nonprofits and public sector agencies most in need of young talent.
We at AmeriCorps Alums are working toward a solution by launching Employers of Service, a program exploring how we can link national service experience and a career pipeline. We’re kick-starting this initiative and conversation on June 20 in Washington, D.C., at Points of Light’s Conference on Volunteering and Service << LINK www.volunteeringandservice.org >>, which runs from June 19 – 22.
During the conference, I’m hosting a session, AmeriCorps Alumni as Leaders: How to Grow as a Leader After Your Term of Service – showcasing Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose platform, which applies lessons from social entrepreneurs to professional development strategies for young people looking to make a difference. The session will also feature a roundtable conversation and Q & A with three nonprofit leaders (all AmeriCorps alumni): Linda Kay Klein, director of Work on Purpose; Michael Omenazu, recruitment manager at Commongood Careers and Nakeisha Neal, executive director of Public Allies Washington, D.C.
The discussion is just part of a larger conversation about innovation and uniting communities woven throughout this year’s Conference, the largest gathering of its kind, assembling roughly 5,000 nonprofit, corporate and government leaders. It will feature such big names as Grammy award-winning singer John Legend, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Will you join us? Click here to register.
We often hear of an impending leadership shortage in the nonprofit sector. Meanwhile, more than 800,000 AmeriCorps alums are uniquely positioned to be the sector’s 21st century leadership pipeline. Together let’s figure out how to leverage this tremendous resource to benefit smart, young people with fresh ideas, while better serving our communities.
We’d love to hear about your experiences and ideas. Comment below or share them at email@example.com.
Having never managed a project, I was thrilled when the Executive Director asked if I wanted to be the project manager for the website initiative. As a team member, I had watched project managers explain a project and worked with them to determine the required work and assign tasks to individuals. I was accustomed to meeting weekly to discuss a project’s progress and resolve any issues and requested changes. Project management seemed easy and straightforward. What else did I need to know?