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Work-enabling technology will empower your employees to excel

01/10/19 Cathy Swain - CertRP Principal Consultant, Contract & Interim

HR leaders in 2019 will focus on building critical skills, strengthening the leadership bench, succession planning and improving employee experience. Improving the employee experience is in the top three focus areas for global human resources leaders who want to support business growth in 2019, says Gartner.

Growing the business will be the top enterprise-level business objective in 2019, along with improving operational excellence and executing business transformation, according to HR leaders responding to the Gartner 2019 Future of HR Survey.


As HR leaders look to support these corporate ambitions, the survey shows their top three key initiatives in 2019 will be to:

1. Build critical skills and competencies for the organisation
2. Strengthen the current and future leadership bench
3. Improve the employee experience

It makes complete sense: a happy workforce leads to improved productivity, greater talent retention and ultimately better customer experiences.

What is employee experience?

According to Forbes, since customer experience (CX) is the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company, then employee experience (EX) is sum of everything an employee experiences throughout his or her connection to the organisation — every employee interaction, from the first contact as a potential recruit to the last interaction after the end of employment.

Employee experience means the offering employees the best working experience possible.  According to workplace futurist Jacob Morgan, author of The Employee Experience Advantage, this means offering employees a quality physical, cultural and technological environment. Organisations that invested most heavily in EX were included 11.5 times as often in Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work; listed 2.1 times as often on the Forbes list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies and  had four times the average revenue than those who didn’t.

Despite this evidence, the modern workplace doesn’t seem to exist amongst most employers who are failing to provide their employee’s with work-enabling technology in the workplace. Today’s employers are still providing a one-size-fits-all approach to how their employees are carrying out their tasks at work every day.

McKinsey reported that the average company loses 25 percent productivity simply by putting people together in one place. For example, an open office which does not have better productivity areas, such as stand up meeting areas and communal areas. Also, the research found that with each additional 10 per cent increase in staff headcount, firms also lose 2 per cent in productivity. 59% of respondents also said that the technology provided by their employer did not work as expected and actually prevented them from doing their job properly.

Cathy Swain, Redline’s Consultant in our R&D / Engineering division discusses further: “New technologies are transforming all stages of the high tech, engineering and R&D sector. Technology companies are creating new applications and tools that are changing how companies design, plan, and execute engineering and R&D projects. By providing advanced software and hardware, and analytics capabilities, these innovative businesses are eliminating many of the problems that have troubled the engineering and high-tech community for decades, including difficulties compiling and sharing project information. Such improvements could not come at a better time, since engineering projects are becoming increasingly complex and expensive, putting engineering managers under greater pressure to improve costs, timelines, and efficiency.

Some workplace place solutions are relatively simple like – connectivity everywhere, don’t forget the grounds, cafeteria and gym or the use of biometric security such as facial recognition or finger print readers to save the use of badge readers.

Many engineering and technical jobs will incorporate new technologies into their daily work activities and many  will be focussed on software tools that will enable digital collaboration.

The key to future proofing a business with work-enabling technology, is to consider the evolution of technology rather than the revolution. Making huge overhauls to technological strategies is not the way forward. Instead, think of evolving the technology and implement in a way that helps a business in a step-by-step process. Automation is one of the biggest technological changes impacting the design, engineering and manufacturing sectors. However, it’s important to provide employees with the right tools to drive business forward, as these changes take place.”

Cathy continues: “All engineering and manufacturing businesses will have differences in terms of their goals and requirements. Tailoring an approach to future proofing in a way that will benefit staff and business specifically, is integral to getting the most out of the technologies that are available. Consult existing employees to identify the most crucial needs of a  business in terms of technology. The input from a team is useful to help a business prosper.

Training, collaboration and teamwork must go hand-in-hand

New technologies are near useless without skilled people to operate them. Training is essential to ensure the development of employees, particularly on the latest equipment, innovations and approaches. Regularly upskilling a team will ensure  that they stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technological advances. Consider a team and their individual skill sets. Organisations that believe they have a skills gap in a certain area, should set out training plans that aim to drive a team forward with equal skill sets in their field. When new skills are needed, hires professionals with experience that can contribute to the future goals of the business.

As organisations shift to a networked, team-based structure, the employee experience becomes both more important and more complex. People today often have multiple roles with multiple managers. A recent study Deloitte completed with Facebook found that only 14 percent of companies believe their internal processes for collaboration and decision making are working well, and 77 percent believe email is no longer a viable tool for effective communication

Today’s workforce is curious about technology, and ready to invest time in learning. According to PWC’s ‘Tech at Work’ report, employees reported that they’re willing to spend up to two days per month on training to upgrade their digital skills, if offered by their employer—a median response of 15 hours each month. This is not to say an employer needs to take employees out of the workplace, but it does give insight into what people say they’re willing to do. At the same time, the shelf-life for skills is rapidly getting shorter as tech evolves. Employees who want to keep up need to adopt a continual-learning mind-set, and it’s up to business leaders to help find ways to integrate skill development into their jobs. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2022, more than half (54%) of employees are going to need significant training, with more than a third of that number (35%) needing at least six months’ worth of effort.

The engineering and manufacturing jobs sector has  great opportunities for candidates in terms of implementing and working with new technology. Many professionals seek new challenges and the chance to work on new projects such as digitalisation transformation.. Managing a teams’ training and development will ensure employees are best prepared to face future technological changes and ensures the future of the engineering workforce as a whole.

For further information on Engineering and Technical jobs, in high technology and engineering environments, click here, please contact Cathy Swain on 01582 878858 or send an email to

Redline has undertaken research into candidate offer to acceptance ratios for many years. For a copy of our most recent research on the Offer Vs Declination Analysis, please click here.

For more information regarding how we can help your business, please contact Redline Group on 01582 450054 or email