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Is Tech Improving Your Employees, Or Is It Replacing Them?

– Contributed content –

10 July 2017. Technology in all its facets is something that is meant to aid businesses from the marketing strategies to the payment processes to the customer engagement, and anything else you can think of that fits into your business. If you are reading this as someone who runs a business and is looking for how technology is meant to fit into the current business model without it affecting the human aspect, it is a very sensible question to ask. Because if tech is improving your employees, then it makes for a vastly efficient operation where the staff is engaged and working to the best of their ability. While on the other side of the coin, having technology completely take over human workers does mean a cheaper workforce and, quite possibly, increased accuracy but who actually wants to talk to a robot when calling up customer services?

Robots illustration

(HypnoArt, Pixabay)

The most prominent use of tech in the modern business world is through automation. With systems like CRM, businesses are used to communicating with customers on a regular basis, drip feeding the information rather than having human hands type out an email and sending one out at a time. As a marketing strategy, it is very effective to have consistent communication with customers while not actually needing to do much work on the business side. You could create emails and marketing materials beforehand and then set the CRM to send out the information on a semi-regular basis at a time of your choosing. But, for this specific process, it does mean that humans are an essential part. For every aspect of automation, you need someone to do the automating, and while this may mean that you can cut down on members of staff because the machine is doing your work, you still rely on human input to an extent.

The best combination is to have the human and the machine working together in conjunction with each other, where one can complement the other and vice versa. This would seem to be the best process going forward, as you are making the most of the human input while cutting down on unnecessary costs, and at the same time, you are speeding up your business.

Examining technology in the age of the startup, it is unfathomable that any company would be standing were it not for virtual offices and, the most obvious of tech tools, the Internet! The most important thing that we have seen in the last 17 years in business is the rise of communication tools. Everybody has one now, whether it’s in the form of a smartphone or a laptop or an iPad, this is practically all you need to start a business now!

 

Chart on tablet

(Burak Kebapci, Pexels)

The technology also works to improve basic functions like access. For example, eye recognition software is now making for better security in addition to the standard firewalls, antivirus programs, and malware detectors. The automation of payments, not just from the customer perspective, but also from the perspective of human resources or for the payments of wages. There has been an increase in the 3-way verification process, which is also cutting down on paper documents and condensing them into digital data that can be used by an in-house computer system. While the reduction of human input into certain business processes may set off alarm bells for many staff members, the idea for a lot of automation-based processes is to make better use of the employees they already have.

And it’s not just automation and communication that have thrown up massive changes in businesses. We have already seen what technology can do for employees when it comes to learning and development. The process of gamification has been seen to be a “game changer” in how employees are engaged with the learning process. Software such as E-Learning or learning portals has been a way to deliver up to date information while also making the most of the staff time and reducing the need for outsourcing training specialists.

The reliance on tech in the modern world for professional and personal use is becoming more widespread than ever before. The use of smartphones in startup companies has been a great way to cut down on costs while also pushing the business forward. Businesses only have to invest in a secure network rather than a whole fleet of computer systems. Smartphones also help with mobile learning from a human resources perspective as well as a development one. The increase in remote working combined with a yearning for work-life balance has heralded a new wave of remote working tech, and for businesses to keep up with this has been more essential than ever.

And it’s not just allowing staff members to work like hermits on their own in a remote location, the tech will also help to increase collaboration with these types of people. In a work setting, it helps to increase productivity on a massive scale which helps employees to engage in key projects and tasks without feeling that they’re not out of the loop. You can find a lot of collaboration software, and when you combine it with instant messenger tools, it makes for an all-encompassing and effective method of generating ideas alongside a healthy dose of collaboration which cements better relationships with staff members.

It also helps very much with project management. It doesn’t need to be explained that the increase in software capabilities brought on by the cloud has helped businesses no end. It reduces the need to hire a personal assistant to keep track of everything, but it also increases file sharing between colleagues which, again, increases communication and collaboration.

So is tech improving your employees or is it replacing them? Judging by the reliance on human interaction right now to develop companies with a more holistic mindset, this is something that cannot be achieved by a virtual reality or AI alone. The main function of technology right now in terms of springboarding a business as a fantastic communications tool and this is where every business will improve. Man learned how to make fire with the stick, and so if we use technology as our “stick,” our businesses can burn very bright.

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