Employees say companies use IT for pure profit, not worker empowerment

A survey of white- and gold-collar employees show they're suspicious of companies' motivations for using IT. Oddly, older employees say they believe in technology for productivity more than their younger counterparts.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer
Texting woman

"I hate this new technology they've put in. Will be home late."

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bosses want their employees to work like machines.

I suspect, however, that more and more bosses would prefer it if more and more of their employees were actually machines.

It cuts out the middleman, you know.

Currently, then, the relationship between employees and the technology bosses offer them can border on deeply suspicious, tending toward marginally resentful.

I am overcome with productive feelings, therefore, on receiving the results of a study performed on behalf of a company called Zensar.

This claims to be a leading digital, oh, solutions company.

It asked more than 1,000 white- and gold-collar workers (the latter being the truly elevated sorts such as doctors and, um, engineers) how they saw their bosses' implementation of IT.

Upliftingly, 52.7% said they believed companies only introduced new technology if they could see it turning a profit, rather than if it would empower their employees to become more productive.

Some might gaze at this and consider that, if the employees became more productive, their companies might be more profitable.

It seems, though, that the employees aren't merely meaning that they'd do more work better. In this study, you see, almost one-third said having better IT tools makes them happier.

It's rarely wise underestimating the value of a happy employee. In these times of relatively full employment, retaining cheerful employees would seem at least as important as squeezing out an additional 40 shillings of profit.

Even employees with golden collars -- and, for all I know, golden cuffs -- know that they are threatened by the inevitable Dance of the Apocalypso, when artificial intelligence will be routinely preferred to its human counterpart. Especially because it'll be robots making those decisions.

Amusingly, however, a recent survey showed that most people would rather be replaced by humans, just as they'd prefer their co-workers to be replaced by robots. (Humans are awful beings.)

Still, this Zensar study offered up another humanistic gem.

Conventional human thought -- and likely most robotic thought -- would surely surmise that younger workers have the most faith in technology making them more productive.

These white- and gold-collar types had a different view. A fulsome 80% of workers aged between 35 and 54 believed technology makes them more productive. A seismic 83% of the over-55s agreed.

However, among the 18 to 34s, a mere 68% nodded their AirPodded heads. Perhaps being the most comfortable with technology, they see -- and loathe -- the imprisonment embedded within it.

I'm often -- well, always -- skeptical about such surveys. This one, though, may have kicked up an accidental truth.

If you implement only the IT that (you think) will make you more money, employees will see through it.

If you actually bother to consider IT that might make your employees happy, you might have a longer-term proposition.

Oh, who cares about longer-term propositions these days.

The bucks must be made ever more quickly before the buck stops at the CEOs -- or the founders' -- desks, and then they have to make really important decisions. The sorts of decisions which no technology can make for them.

Build your own IT pro toolbox - Holiday 2019 edition

Editorial standards