Once You Get Used to It…

Why is the software a company uses never listed as a benefit?

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “enterprise software”? Does the phrase “It’s okay once you get used to it.” sound familiar?

Just off the top of your head, how many apps do you have on your devices that you would describe as “It’s okay once you get used to it.” I’m going to take a wild guess and say that would total zero.

Now it’s not exactly a revolutionary thought that happy employees are more productive. Just to be sure though we have a study. The University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity.

“The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.” –Daniel Sgroi, Dept. of Economics at the University of Warwick

So it’s fairly safe to assume that every successful company wants to have happy and productive employees.

Company Benefits — What’s Missing?

When doing a search at some of the top Fortune 500 companies, you see many of the same benefits listed.

  • Competitive Salary
  • Paid Vacation
  • Paid Holidays
  • 401k with matching percentage
  • Employee referral bonus
  • Medical/Dental/Vision/Life insurance
  • Picnics & Parties
  • Snacks

It’s pretty much the same regardless of the company, give or take a picnic, summer vacation, or racing team here and there. Seriously, one of them touts their racing team as a benefit. And before you ask – NO, you cannot drive the car, but it’s somehow still listed as a benefit.

Surveying over 50 companies, there is not a single mention of the investment into the enterprise software that they are committed to, more importantly, committing their workers to. Considering that the biggest part of their day will no doubt be spent using this software, why wouldn’t it be listed as a benefit? Unless it’s something they know is anything but?

The Exciting New Job Gotcha Moment

There is no doubt that each of these companies has a thorough candidate screening process with the goal of landing the ideal candidate. Each and every one of these companies knows the importance of not just hiring the right people, but keeping them. Hence the list of benefits we see.

After a well thought-out process, perhaps involving multiple screenings, interviews, etc., the right candidate is hired, and one of their first experiences in their new role that moments ago was so filled with promise is suddenly brought to a screeching halt when they are introduced to the company software and told “Once you get used to it…”

This moment typically happens in the first week. All of that exhaustive searching, interviewing to find the right person. The amount of expense put into benefits to ensure these great people are happy with their new company, and their first experience in this exciting new role is with something that looks like it was transplanted from 1999.

Yes, these are from 2016.

Our Digital Lives have Evolved… Outside of the Office

People now use software throughout every aspect of their lives. They use services like Evernote, Dropbox, Twitter, and Mint to organize and manage their lives productively and efficiently.

Bottom line, people know what is and is not good software. They are reminded of it daily when they add a recipe or clip an article to Evernote or when they check their stocks and balance their accounts. The tolerance for bad or hard to use software is minimal with the exception of their workplace and that will only last for so much longer.

Enter Slack

“This was a tool people were going to spend their day in, so we sought to bring an empathy to the design.” – Stewart Butterfield

To say that Slack –which launched in late 2013– has had a meteoric rise would be as big of an understatement as it would be to try and express the impact it has had on corporate communication.

Just a few interesting Slack numbers:

One last number for good measure:

Slack is the fastest growing workplace software ever.

Now this isn’t intended to be an advertisement for Slack. They hardly need it, and in full disclosure, at Headspring we use HipChat and to the best of my knowledge we are all pretty happy with it.

The rapid adoption of Slack by corporate culture and the passion that users have for it should be considered more the canary in the coal mine for companies everywhere.

Change Is Coming to Enterprise Software

A few years back some companies saw this thing called the internet as a fad. Others saw its potential and grabbed hold with both hands. Slack is the 2016 equivalent of the ‘internet’ for enterprise software.

Taking a look at these screens. Which do you think would make a new employee feel better about their choice? Which do you think is prepared to do business in 2016?

Let’s Be Clear

“It’s called work, because it’s work! It’s not supposed to be fun, otherwise we’d call it super-happy-fun-time!” — Red Forman

Enterprise software should empower employees, not be something they have to endure or get “used to”.

At the end of the day, it should be about getting the job done as efficiently as possible. Enterprise software is effective. We need it to be efficient too.