Tag Archives: productive

IT’s technology experience problem gets HR tool

Bad technology experiences can leave employees unhappy, less productive and may even prompt some to quit. It’s a point backed up by studies and analysts. And it’s a problem Qualtrics sees as an opportunity.

This week, Qualtrics announced EmployeeXM for IT, an IT-specific employee engagement tool. It measures and monitors employee satisfaction with the IT stack on everything from hardware to applications.

Because technology experience has a direct relationship to employee engagement and productivity, IT managers who deploy the tool will likely have to work with HR, according to Qualtrics.

Qualtrics, which is based in Provo, Utah, was acquired by SAP for $8 billion in 2018. The firm’s platform measures brand, product, customer experience and employee experience. It has a dedicated employee experience platform, EmployeeXM.

EmployeeXM for IT assesses whether employees can do their jobs effectively and efficiently. It also measures the quality of help desk services. Its features include technology experience benchmarks against other IT departments.

Technology experience stakes

“How does the organization generally feel about the internal IT department?” said Jay Choi, executive vice president and general manager of EmployeeXM. CIOs don’t usually have a good understanding for how their employees feel about their services, he said.

The product will give satisfaction scores on a firm’s technology such as productivity and collaboration tools, marketing automation tools and ERP tools, Choi said. The EmployeeXM assessment tools will also look at specific functions in the applications. It can integrate with management platforms, such as ServiceNow, to generate a ticket in response to a service problem, he said.

“One of the big drivers of engagement are people who are feeling like they’re making daily progress,” Choi said. That’s a finding from a recent study Qualtrics did with Microsoft. To Qualtrics, that means making sure employees have “the tools and capabilities, the processes and the support they need to get their jobs done efficiently and effectively,” he said.

CIOs generally want more engagement data, according to David Johnson, a Forrester Research analyst who works with CIOs. IT managers want “to keep a better pulse on how well things are working for people.”

Tech is implicated when employees quit

“Technology is being implicated in departures by employees,” Johnson said, and CIOs are aware of it. “They want to be proactive and stay on top of this,” he said.

Technology is being implicated in departures by employees.
David JohnsonAnalyst, Forrester Research

If people are struggling at work, “sometimes there is a technology root cause — it may be impossible for them to search and find the information that they need to be successful,” Johnson said.

Bad technology experiences have a direct impact on employee satisfaction, according to a study this year by G2 Crowd Inc. In a survey of 1,600 workers, it found that more than half of survey takers are unhappy with their software tools, and nearly 25% said the poor technology experience made them consider leaving their jobs.

Interest by CIOs in getting a better understanding of tech’s impact on employee engagement is prompting IT managers to collaborate more with HR managers, said Josh Bersin, an independent HR analyst.

“The employee experience is a combination of things: the employee’s job and work, the IT environment, the management environment and the environment and culture of the whole organization,” Bersin said.

“It turns out that all employee experience [EX] programs need to involve HR, IT and often facilities and operations,” Bersin said.

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Microsoft Research Dissertation Grants: Broadening the PhD pipeline to increase innovation – Microsoft Research

Research shows that diverse teams are more productive teams. Diversity, particularly in the area of computing research, means including unique perspectives that otherwise might not have a voice, fueling innovation. These are some of the key reasons that Microsoft is committed to diversity. One aspect of demonstrating that commitment is that, for the second year in a row, we are awarding Microsoft Research Dissertation Grants to talented PhD candidates from groups that are under-represented in computing. The goal of these awards (up to $25,000 each) are to widen the narrow pipeline of women, African-Americans, American Indians, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and those with disabilities who earn PhDs in computer science or related fields. These awards are given to students in the “last mile” of their PhDs, where a little money can push them over the finish line by helping them to complete their dissertation research.

I am pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Microsoft Research Dissertation Grants:

  • Cynthia Bennett, University of Washington, “Toward Disability-Informed Human-Centered Design”
  • Eric Corbett, Georgia Institute of Technology, “Trust, Technology and Community Engagement”
  • Ryan M. Corey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “Array Signal Processing for Augmented Listening”
  • Maria De-Arteaga, Carnegie Mellon University, “Quantifying and Mitigating Risks of Algorithmic Decision Support”
  • Jane E, Stanford University, “Artistic Vision: Providing Context for Capture-Time Decisions”
  • Sahar Hashemgeloogerdi, University of Rochester, “Computationally Efficient Modeling and Audio Enhancement Algorithms for Reverberant Acoustic Systems Using Orthonormal Basis Functions”
  • Francesco Pittaluga, University of Florida, “Privacy Preserving Computational Cameras”
  • Ramya Ramakrishnan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Human-Guided Reinforcement Learning in Real-World Environments”
  • João Sedoc, University of Pennsylvania, “Hierarchical Approaches to Improve the Flow, Style, and Coherence of Conversational Agents”
  • Mina Tahmasbi Arashloo, Princeton University, “Programmable Network Monitoring and Control”
  • Sarah Tan, Cornell University, “Methods in Interpretability and Causal Inference for Better Understanding of Machine Learning Models”

From the almost 200 research projects submitted, these PhD candidates were selected as grant recipients based on review by scientists at Microsoft Research of the quality of the students’ dissertation research, the potential impact of their research, and the uses toward which they would put the grant monies awarded.

For example, Ryan Corey’s grant proposal included funds for purchasing high-quality recording equipment to capture and separate sources of audio to prototype products that augment people’s ability to hear, and also to fund outreach efforts for him to go into community schools to demonstrate his research. Ramya Ramakrishnan will use her grant to hire undergraduate women as research assistants, so she can further amplify the mentoring she receives from this award. Cynthia Bennett, who has a visual disability, is using her grant to increase the ability of people with disabilities to design products that other people with disabilities will use.

There were interesting themes running across this year’s set of awardees, including the ethics and sociological impact of their research. Eric Corbett’s research on using technology to increase public trust and Maria De-Arteaga’s research on mitigating risks of algorithmic decision support in the criminal justice system are two such examples.

In addition to monetary grants, each award comes with an all-expense paid trip to a two-day Microsoft Research workshop in Redmond, Washington, in the autumn of 2018. There, the awardees will present their research, meet with researchers in their field, and receive career coaching.

For a complete list of awardees and their projects, visit our Dissertation Grant Program page.