Technology means a lot of different things to different people. Look no further than the release of the latest iPhone this week: people are literally lined up around the block for that thing. But why? Are they Apple brand cultists? Is it a case of “keeping up with the Joneses”? Maybe it’s the perceived bump in status attached to having “the latest and greatest” as soon as possible? Perhaps it’s a combination of all of these things; I’m not a consumer psychologist so I’m not entirely sure. What I do know is that people notice technology, and they know what technology says about you (or at least what they think it says about you).
For example, let’s say you see someone with the new iPhone tomorrow. You probably will immediately draw some conclusions about that person: they’re an Apple junkie, they’re financially well-off, they’re a tech junkie, they have a lot of free time in order to wait in line at the Apple store, etc. Maybe some of that is true and maybe some of it isn’t, but two things happened: you noticed the technology and you formed an opinion of the person with that technology. For lack of a better term, we’ll label this as “tech awareness,” and it can have a big impact on your business...
Just about every survey or study you find asking HR departments what their biggest challenge is will tell you the top answer is typically “attracting top talent.” And what does today’s “top talent” expect? According to this amazing infographic, 64% “of small-business owners reported that offering flexible, mobile and remote work options has assisted them in hiring or retaining key employees.”
This is where tech awareness comes into play.
Young professionals have a heightened sense of tech awareness. Young professionals also represent the future of your business. They are the “top talent” businesses are searching for. They want flexibility, mobility, choices and options when it comes to how, where and when they work. And they know if your company can deliver on those desires based on the technology your company is working with. If I came into your office for an interview and saw a rotary phone on your desk, that says something about the company-- you’re outdated, rigid, inflexible, etc. It’s the exact same process that occurs in our everyday lives when we see someone pull out their cell phone.
Businesses need to answer the challenge of tech awareness with tech appeal. Utilizing cloud-based technology, VoIP/SIP and unified communications systems will greatly enhance your business’s tech appeal among prospective hires as well as current employees. And younger, tech-savvy professionals understand the implications of these technologies: The flexibility and choices they enable are shown to improve job satisfaction (by 12%), innovation (by 8%) and job performance (by 5%). (Those numbers according to the same Gensler 2013 survey referenced above.)
Just like no one is waiting in line today at the Apple store for the the older model with fewer features and less functionality, the best-and-brightest won’t be lining up outside your office to work for a company with outdated technology that limits their capabilities. If you’re not giving prospects what they want then someone else is, leaving you just trying to keep up with the Joneses after all.