Forget the Fancy Perks: Workers Simply Want Better Technology

Recently released Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Study shows tech workers are becoming more selective about the technology they want to work with – and it affects their decision when it comes to employment.

Fancy espresso machines, beer on tap and ping pong tables might seem like fun perks that will help retain talented workers, but the reality is that creative perks don’t keep key employees on your payroll. With retention being the biggest worry of many companies, the focus needs to be shifted to finding ways to keep people truly engaged in the business.

There are a lot of studies – our own PROTECH survey results included – that indicate that retention isn’t that complicated. In our tech workforce-focused survey,  workers simply want to be doing interesting work using modern technology, while being paid competitively under good leadership.

The Harvard Business Review study cited here targeted executives and management of mid to large enterprises.  In it more than half of the survey respondents reported that outdated technology has made it difficult to retain the highest value employees.   And these are all types of employees, not just tech, since all workers as a whole are becoming more tech savvy and expectations are growing.

63% of workers reported wanting to have more self-service access to important knowledge/data. It’s a story as old as time – there are outdated policies and procedures that create roadblocks preventing a worker from being able to complete their tasks – which results in time wasted and sometimes even deadlines being missed. It’s a frustrating experience to have to track down the right person in the organization to give you data or information you need – and pulling someone away from their own projects is disruptive. Organizations need to invest in tools to streamline this process or open access to allow employees to be able to get the information they need to do their jobs in the most efficient manner possible.

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The next want is the ability to choose their own device (50%). Tech workers like to be able to choose exactly what device they want to work on.  And although it may be a bit more challenging to have a variety of devices to support, ultimately giving your tech workers the devices they prefer to use for their daily work can significantly improve retention. The final big ask is more self-service setup and installation of software and devices (45%).

However, there are some challenges in meeting these asks – the biggest being budget (55%), legacy systems that don’t play well with new tech (44%), and concerns about security (34%). Another major concern is there’s too much time required to support legacy technology that it cuts into time needed to introduce new technology (30%).

Other key issues workers report that prevents teams from using technology to collaborate and connect?

  • Disparate information systems across the organization (44 percent)
  • Lack of training and education for employees (40 percent)
  • Lack of the right tools (37 percent) and
  • IT support/budget/resources (37 percent)

Although the fancy perks are certainly appreciated, nothing will keep your workers engaged like having the training and tools they need to do their jobs.

Forget the Fancy Perks: Workers Simply Want Better Technology

Elizabeth Becker

Elizabeth is Marketing Manager at PROTECH. Comments and feedback can be directed to her at