From jammed printers to setting up a new employee’s email, office tech issues are a pain in the neck. Many organizations have accepted these as unavoidable occurrences, but according to a new study, these seemingly insignificant issues might actually be frustrating employees to the point of quitting.

The survey, which was part of a broader corporate processes report conducted by Nintex, found that one-third of employees are actively job hunting. Among those individuals, 86 percent said their company’s broken processes were a factor in their decision to search for new employment.

In many organizations, these broken processes cause a vicious cycle. When employees encounter inefficiencies day after day, their satisfaction steadily decreases, which contributes to the development of a negative workplace culture. As more employees become motivated to jump ship, they signal to their coworkers this could be a high-turnover environment. In the end, the organization absorbs the cost of offboarding and onboarding while also risking the loss of talented applicants who are now steering clear.

Pinpointing Broken Corporate Processes

According to Nintex’s study, the top five broken processes across today’s companies are technology troubleshooting, access to tools and documents, performance reviews, promotions, and employee onboarding. These results show that, surprisingly, faulty processes aren’t always high-level, complicated issues. Instead, they’re often as simple as asking IT for help.

Determining a solution to all of these issues may seem overwhelming at first, but organizations can start by evaluating the most prevalent broken processes that push employees out the door. Nintex’s report found that across all study respondents, 62 percent claimed their company’s IT processes were broken. Tech troubleshooting was the top complaint among this group. Other tech issues included equipment onboarding and offboarding, requesting new tech equipment, and app troubleshooting.

Because today’s organizations are increasingly reliant on technology, it makes sense that technology troubleshooting would be a top issue. Adding to the challenge, many companies are in the midst of implementing digital transformation efforts. While valuable to the business, these larger strategic initiatives occupy the bandwidth of IT teams. As a result, more line-of-business workers are responsible for learning and adapting to new programs. When organizations keep IT siloed, and when technology training isn’t a priority, employees may grow frustrated with even simple tech tasks. This, in turn, can motivate employees to seek new jobs.

A Major Security Risk

batteryThe correlation between these tech issues and employee attrition is clear, but turnover is far from the only problem caused by broken processes.

In the Nintex survey, 40 percent of respondents said they use apps and devices for work that haven’t been vetted by their company. This poses a serious cybersecurity issue.

This risky practice, known as “shadow IT,” is more common than organizations think. When a company uses outdated software or IT isn’t around to repair a corporate email account, employees are tempted to take matters into their own hands. For the employer, this common workaround invites security threats through unsecured programs.

The consequences of supposedly small tech issues go much farther than just small losses in productivity. It is apparent that something must be done to repair broken workplace processes before it is too late.

Fixing Broken Processes (and Retaining Employees)

First, companies should break down organizational silos separating IT from the overall business. Employees are quick to blame IT for tech issues, but as technology becomes more closely integrated with an organization’s overall strategy and core business, tech becomes a companywide responsibility. Company leaders need to give IT a seat at the table when it comes to high-level business strategy. This way, IT will be able to identify tech issues earlier and roll out more innovative technology that will keep employees engaged.

Additionally, organizational leadership should seek to automate the repetitive or broken processes in the business. A McKinsey report estimates that almost half of all current workplace processes could be automated, leading one to wonder what employees could accomplish with all of the extra time they would gain. With basic IT support tasks outsourced to automation tools, companies can more efficiently address employees’ tech issues while freeing up IT employees to work on broader tech strategies.

The Bigger Picture

Especially for recruiters and HR pros, it can be all too easy to brush off faulty technology as a simple annoyance. This is understandable. It may seem like addressing these issues at the source isn’t a recruiter’s responsibility, but once organizations understand the retention implications of broken processes, it becomes clear that something must be done. By investing in fixing broken processes at the source, organizations can subsequently invest in attracting applicants, boosting employee morale, and keeping workers on board for the long haul.

Ryan Duguid is the senior vice president of technology strategy at Nintex.

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