The booming job market is pushing companies to work harder to attract and retain talent to avoid the time and productivity losses that come with employee turnover. These losses are costly, with reports finding employers spend approximately 33 percent of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement. For small business owners – which run lean and mighty teams – these costs can be especially detrimental, as they divert money away from mission-critical priorities like revenue growth and brand expansion.
Amid the competitive talent market, consumers are rapidly adopting cloud-based applications for all aspects of work and life to take advantage of the simple and personalized experiences they provide. This shift gives small businesses an opportunity to leverage technology to improve their competitive edge in attracting employees. In fact, more than half of business professionals report an organization’s technology factors into their decision to accept new positions.
By offering easy-to-use tools that simplify everyday job functions, small businesses can attract and retain stronger employees. If selected right, not only does technology improve business operations, it can create positive work environments that encourage employee loyalty.
So, what types of technology and features should small businesses look for? Here are a few tips to help small business owners choose solutions that can help keep employees around longer:
- Automate basic processes. Tasks that are tedious and repetitive, such as manually entering data, can severely compromise employee productivity, but the upside is they can likely be automated to save money and time. For example, when EDSI automated its travel, expense and invoice processes, its expense report reconciliation time reduced in half and reimbursement speed increased fourfold. Automation is also a gateway to attract younger workforces: 62 percent of millennials believe automation will improve productivity, and 46 percent affirmed that it would give them opportunities to learn new skills.
- Go mobile. As more employees work remotely and travel more frequently, mobile technologies help them perform tasks on-the-go. Small businesses should choose mobile-friendly solutions that complete a number of business tasks in one place. This keeps employees from feeling overwhelmed and helps them stay efficient and organized.
- Meet employees where they already are. Employees spend much of their workday in collaboration apps and email, so small businesses should look for add-ons that let them do more in these environments. For example, Slack integrates with common enterprise tools so employees can share files, schedule meetings or even book travel – all within Slack.
- Don’t underestimate ease of use. Employees often expect workplace technology to provide the same experiences as personal apps they use, so look to consumer tools for inspiration, or better yet their “business version”. For example, Alexa for Business lets small business employees tackle a number of tasks, from scheduling meetings to analyzing data, by using voice-activated commands. Deploying solutions similar to what employees already experience not only increases employee satisfaction, it will encourage greater adoption from the onset.
By leveraging these tips and tricks, small businesses can create positive work environments that foster productivity and talented workforces to position themselves for long-term success.
Ben Brewer is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the global Small to Medium-sized Business (SMB) division at SAP Concur, one of the world’s largest providers of integrated travel, expense, and invoice management solutions. In this role, Ben leads a sales organization of nearly 1,000 employees throughout North America, EMEA, and APAC.