Industry Insights: Taking the Goldilocks Approach to Technology Can Enhance Employee Experience and Performance

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goldilocks approach to technology


I am a huge fan of technology, having spent my career fixing it, building it, and leveraging it to drive growth and improve operations. As COO of Nordis, I have heard time and again how our Expresso® platform and related products deliver the control, agility and automation that revolutionizes our clients’ work life, productivity and effectiveness. Isn’t this what we want from all our investments in tools and technology, but often can’t achieve?

I’ve learned through trial and error that it’s critical to hit the sweet spot with employee tools and technology.  That sweet spot might be automation of the workload, or it might be the technology support for the employee – either way the right fit matters. Think of it as the Goldilocks principle: Too much, too little, or the wrong tools for the job can undermine improvement efforts while discouraging employees and affecting operational performance. It can mean technology investments go to waste and reinvention opportunities are squandered.

With so many people who’ve left their jobs in recent months or who are thinking about doing so, employee experience must be a strategic priority for all organizations. Equipping people with the right tech and tools is fundamental to helping employees flourish at their jobs and feel good about their work. Both are key to organizational success.

Here are some traps to avoid:

  • Too much of a good thing

Tools of the month or niche tools for everything place a heavy burden on employees to learn and apply new applications, adding stress and affecting productivity. It’s especially true if employees are not consulted about the functionality they need or if little to no rationale is given to explain the frequent swaps.

  • Too little or too old

Companies stick to legacy technology for a variety of reasons, but it can put them behind in the competition for recruiting and keeping top performers. Top talent seeks and prefers advanced technology.

  • Starting with the technology instead of the problem 

Artificial intelligence has tremendous potential but starting with AI and looking for a problem is a backwards approach. You’ve probably heard this saying: If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Same story for technology.

  • Creating silos instead of connections

When every department or business unit picks out its own applications, companies end up with islands instead of the power of connections–shared data, common platform, and standard processes. Integrated businesses can leverage the parts to make a better whole.

  • Automating inefficient or outdated processes

Technology doesn’t fix processes; it simply automates them. Before investing in expensive technology, it’s important to redefine processes and rethink roles and responsibilities to optimize investment and engagement.

  • Not investing in training

Just as processes need to be optimized to get the most out of technology, people need the skill building and education to use tools quickly and effectively. Training is the key to extracting the value from any system because training blends the what (process) with the how (technology).

One place to invest in employee tools: Onboarding

First impressions matter, especially when onboarding new employees. Onboarding tools make the company feel real, for better or worse. Done right, they can make new employees feel prepared, well taken care of and secure, enabling recruits to bond early with their new employer and preparing them for success.

After onboarding, tools alone won’t keep an employee connected and invested in the company. It takes ongoing opportunities, often facilitated by tech-based training and tools, to learn about the business, its culture and how they fit in, why their contribution matters and how to build their skills and knowledge as a part of being in the company.

Much like most companies, we at Nordis are on our own journey when it comes to tools. We now take a Lean approach to decisions when it comes to tools; first we seek to improve processes, so we don’t end up with 15 tools when 3 could do the job. We are consistently evaluating our tools and while there are no sacred cows, we also avoid tech-jumping to new, exciting products just because we can. Investing in tools is an expensive and time-consuming venture, including engaging employees, training them and bringing them up to speed on how the change matters in the scheme of our business and the culture. We know tools can make things better, but it’s the right blend of process and tools, with a calculated approach to the investment that keeps us striving for the Goldilocks effect.

For more information, please contact us.