UC tools offer employees major benefits, so long as they’re actually used

UC tools offer employees major benefits, so long as they're actually used

The rate of unified communications adoption is accelerating. Around the globe, businesses of all kinds are eagerly turning to these solutions in order to remain competitive in their given industries. A recent Grand View Research report, for example, found that the global UC market will total more than $75 billion by 2020. Clearly, companies of all kinds are becoming increasingly convinced of the value that UC systems featuring video conferencing, instant messaging, voicemail to email and other channels can offer when combined into a single, unified interface.

However, there is a catch. While it is undoubtedly true that UC can offer tremendous benefits to a diverse range of companies, these advantages can only manifest when the tools are actually used by the company's employees.

That may seem obvious, and it is. But as a recent survey revealed, many companies are investing in UC tools that their workers simply do not utilize. To truly maximize the value of these investments, firms need to be more selective when developing their UC systems, and embrace strategies that will encourage employee use. 

Usage rates
The survey, conducted by Softchoice, included insight from 250 IT managers and 750 line-of-business employees. It found a major discrepancy between UC investment and usage, eWEEK reported. 

Most notably, the survey found that 71 percent of employees use half or fewer of the UC features available to them. Thirty-eight percent of these respondents said they don't know how to use all of the UC tools they have access to. 

Roll out issues
Obviously, these numbers suggest that company leaders are not making the best choices when deciding which UC channels to focus on and invest in. Just
as significantly, organizations are struggling to roll out new tools in an effective manner. 

The survey found that 77 percent of employees are not consulted before their superiors deploy new UC solutions. Nearly three-fifths of respondents said they typically do not receive any guidance after the rollout, either, eWEEK reported. This lack of communication has serious consequences. The survey determined that employees who do not receive any UC consultations are twice as likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs and three times more likely to see their current positions as temporary, rather than long-term. Survey respondents who were consulted about and briefed on their company's telecommunications deployments demonstrated far more positive results in all of these categories.

The right approach
All of this raises the question: How should companies go about selecting and deploying UC solutions to maximize results?

First and foremost, it is imperative for decision-makers to work directly with users to identify telecommunication needs and goals. As these survey results suggested, many business leaders look for UC tools first, without actually determining what solutions would prove the most useful to employees. As a result, workers gain access to resources that simply do not improve their job performance or satisfaction.

Beyond this, company leaders need to make sure that once the UC tools are selected and deployed, employees receive the guidance they need to effectively utilize these assets. Workers need to know what these solutions are, what they are capable of and how to best put them into action on a regular basis. To this end, training and demonstrations are essential. Decision-makers should set aside time for regular, in-depth discussions about the new tools and their features.

Without such attention to detail, many employees will not know the best way to incorporate the UC tools into their daily work lives. That will undermine ROI, along with worker satisfaction and the corporate bottom line.