Randstad just released a report exploring the relationship between job satisfaction and an employer’s use of digital tools for employee development and support.
Based on responses from more than 800 C-suite leaders and department heads, as well as nearly 3,000 workers across the U.S., the Workplace 2025: The Post-Digital Frontier study uncovered that employees’ engagement is greatly influenced by the amount and quality of digital tools and development opportunities at work. However, only 42 percent of companies completely or strongly agree they are restructuring their HR departments or revising their strategies to leverage digital and mobile tools, and only 51 percent of those that are say they are highly or very effective at doing so.
“Our survey findings serve as a wake-up call to business leaders that their overall digital readiness could make or break them, as the digitally-driven expectations and needs of the modern workforce have changed,” says Jim Link, chief human resources officer, Randstad North America. “In fact, even the most time-honored frameworks for achieving fulfillment in the workplace, like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, need to evolve to include digital elements and how they can be used to deliver an exceptional employee experience.”
The research demonstrates how digital tools now play a leading role in employee satisfaction across organizations of all sizes and industries, and how a robust digital strategy impacts Maslow’s three categories of needs – basic, psychological and self-fulfillment.
Basic Needs: Digital Tools Trump Clean Bathrooms
It is widely accepted that certain basic, physical needs are essential for workplace satisfaction. Yet our survey uncovered the most important needs are related to technology. In fact, when asked to rank the importance of the physical aspects of their workplace, workers named:
- My work computer/laptop/device (75%)
- Fast internet and Wi-Fi (68%)
- My office space/cubicle space (55%)
- Air conditioning and heating (47%)
- My office chair (31%)
- Clean bathrooms (24%)
Psychological Needs: Setting Employees up for Future Success
In order for psychological needs to be met in the workplace, employees must have positive self-esteem, which has historically been tied to rewards and recognition from their managers and peers. However, job satisfaction is now also linked to an individual’s confidence in their ability to succeed not only in their current job, but also in their career long term.
“Feeling equipped with the latest digital and technology skills” was among the top factors cited for job satisfaction, followed by “savings or financial assistance programs (e.g., 401(k), tuition reimbursement, etc.)” and “vacation.” And, the majority of workers feel strongly about the need to acquire these skills and agree with the following:
- I believe every job requires technology expertise today (60%).
- I want to acquire new digital skills in order to further my career (55%).
- I am excited about the potential for technology to create new career opportunities for me (51%).
However, less than half of respondents (45%) say their employers encourage skill development, and only one-third agree their employers offer them ample opportunities to acquire digital skills with training or on-the-job learning.
Digital Tools Lay the Groundwork for Human Connection
Despite increased focus on digitization, the survey findings revealed that employees also have a strong desire for human connection in order to reach the highest level of employees’ needs as Maslow defined them (self-fulfillment and peak personal growth). When asked to name what impacted their sense of belonging at work, 72 percent named face-to-face interactions with their bosses.
“By ensuring the digital needs of employees are met on the basic and psychological levels at work, employers set the stage for better mentoring and leadership in the workplace, as the time and energy technology saves in day-to-day job functions frees employees’ time to make more meaningful connections with one another,” said Link.
To learn more about how new digital tools can drive exceptional experiences for your workforce, check out this infographic on Maslow’s Theory at Work: Employee Needs in the Post-Digital Workplace.
Research findings are based on two separate projects programmed and fielded by Research Now: Employee Study and Employer Study. The employee and employer surveys were fielded from October-November 2017. The employee study targeted respondents over the age of 18 that were employed and worked 20+ hours per week. For this survey, 2,691 respondents were asked about their views on digital transformation, automation and the future of the workplace. For the employer study, 819 hiring decision makers or C-suite executives that worked in companies with 10+ employees were asked about their digital transformation efforts, views on automation and the future of the workplace.