IT Deploying Communications Tools Employees Don’t Use

Just 5 percent of the employees said they use video conferencing every day, despite the fact that 70 percent have been provided the tools to do so.

IT management and UC

While employees have more communication options at work than ever before, many IT managers are hesitant to invest in new collaboration technology, claiming what they’ve already implemented is not being used, according to a survey of 250 IT managers and 750 line-of-business employees from managed services provider Softchoice.

Just 5 percent of the employees surveyed said they use video conferencing every day, despite the fact that 70 percent have been provided the tools to do so.

"Video conferencing has taken off if you look at the investment in the tools themselves. Our study shows that 70 percent of employees have video-conferencing tools available to them. The challenge is in the area of usage and adoption," Erika Van Noort, director of consulting at Softchoice, told eWEEK.

Email was far and away the most frequently used (and provided for) communication technology, followed by a desk phone and then mobile phones.

When IT implements a new communications tool, more than three-quarters (77 percent) of employees say they’re not consulted before the new tool is rolled out, and 58 percent of employees say they’re not consulted on the tool’s usefulness post-implementation.

One-third of employees say they don’t receive training, and of those that do, half say they get less than 30 minutes.

"Most IT departments own the unified communications project of getting the technology out to the users in the organization," Van Noort said. "Rarely does anyone, or any group, own teaching it to employees or communicating why it helps them be better and more efficient in their jobs."

In addition, the survey revealed 71 percent of employees use, at most, half of a communication tool’s features, and 38 percent of employees say they have access to communication tools they don’t know how to use and, thus, never use.

Employees who are not actively consulted on communication-tool rollouts are two times more likely to be dissatisfied at work, three times more likely to not see themselves at their current employer long-term, and 18 percent more likely to have to troubleshoot their own support issues.

However, employees who have been consulted on the rollout of these tools are 18 percent more likely to feel the tool makes them more productive, 23 percent more likely to be satisfied in their current job and 26 percent more likely to feel they’re given the tools to do their best work.

The survey found 69 percent of employees use wireless communications tools in meetings, but around three-quarters (76 percent) of those employees said they’ve also been distracted by them in meetings.

While Millenials are more likely to bring communications tools to meetings, the survey found that baby boomers are more likely to be distracted by them.

Millennials are more likely to say that having many communications tools at work makes them more productive, and Millennials are also most likely to know how to use at least half of a communications tool’s features.

The survey also indicated it is difficult to implement and support communications tools—44 percent of IT managers surveyed said they struggled to deploy a unified communications (UC) solution, and 54 percent of IT managers seek the help of a third-party solutions provider for UC implementations.

However, two out of three IT managers said they think UC solutions are easy to manage post-implementation, and four out of five IT managers said less than one-quarter of support calls are related to malfunctioning communications tools.

The survey also indicated uptake of integrated voice, video and data solutions is soft, with just 11 percent of IT managers that haven’t yet deployed a solution planning to do so soon.