As anyone who has been bombarded by customer satisfaction surveys can attest, companies are spending a great deal of effort these days making sure they provide a positive user experience to their customers. They understand that pleasing the customer translates into brand loyalty and repeat business.

The same basic concept applies to employees. Organizations that are able to create a positive work environment for employees can raise productivity in the workplace, encourage innovation, boost retention rates and improve business outcomes.

Of course, it is no mean feat satisfying the complex needs of hundreds or thousands of employees, each with his or her own work styles, interpersonal skills and career goals. But there are new tools and approaches that can empower both managers and employees.

Empowering managers with technology

Many companies have deployed productivity measurement tools that can track daily employee activity on a specific, task-oriented metric, such as number of lines of code written.

This is valuable information that managers can use to identify when a project might be falling behind schedule, so they can step in to help the employee or shift resources to make sure the project stays on track.

And there are newer, even more sophisticated systems that can aggregate and analyze data from software bots embedded in productivity and collaboration tools, as well as from other digital assets. These systems can automatically generate reports that go beyond a single metric and provide a broad system view of productivity that takes into account different employee workstyles.

This holistic view could completely change how companies measure productivity in the workplace, conduct performance reviews and do career development.

Empowering employees with technology

When organizations extend the life of digital assets such as computers and phones beyond their useful life spans, employees get stuck using ancient devices running on old, vulnerable operating systems.

Leading-edge companies, however, make it a point to invest in technology with modern capabilities and applications that enhance the user experience. That gives these organizations a crucial advantage in recruiting and employee retention. And morale is higher because employees are free to focus more on results than on overcoming the limitations of the devices they’re obliged to use.

Even the most technologically advanced companies can’t keep pace with every new consumer innovation, but there are tactics that managers can use to keep employees engaged. The key is to embrace employees who are interested in change and technology and adopt them as beta customers to accelerate innovation in an organization.

For example, most enterprises don’t have the budget to buy new smartwatches for everyone, but a certain percentage of employees are showing up at the office wearing the latest models. Creative IT managers might find a way to integrate those smartwatches into the enterprise ecosystem and let the employees use them as ID badges. In addition, IT managers can work with smartphone users to brainstorm other ways that embracing new technology can benefit the business.

Improving productivity in the workplace is one of those corporate challenges that never ends. The best approach is for the organization to adopt new technologies that empower employees and create a positive feedback loop that improves morale — all of which can lead to productivity gains.

Get a more detailed description of how companies can capitalize on change in the digital workplace to boost productivity.