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Digital Generosity Pt. 1: How Internal Software Can Help Employees Feel Fulfilled

Gabby Caton
July 17, 2020

When it comes to digital transformation, business leaders often make the mistake of focusing only on the ROI of the software project. What they fail to acknowledge is that custom technology can have a substantial impact on job satisfaction as well. Employees who are given the freedom to spend time on more valuable areas of work feel a greater level of fulfillment. According to an analysis by PwC, the hallmarks of a fulfilling work experience include:


  • Relationships or a sense of belonging
  • Progress toward a goal people believe in
  • Personal challenges to be overcome (growth)


As a nationally-recognized Great Place to Work, we’ve seen firsthand how a generous culture can foster internal innovation and create a safe space for exploratory learning (For more details about our learning process, you can read about the Adaptive Loop).  


Time and time again, we’ve heard professionals lament the clunky, outdated software they’re forced to work with on a daily basis. Though their company is fresh and thriving, their focus on externally-facing products has left their internal software collecting dust. While customers may be happy, employees are drawing sticks on who has to enter numbers into their 90’s-era spreadsheet system. Technology can be the source of a lot of people’s frustrations at work, so it pays off to invest in tech with all users in mind.


In this article, we’ll explore how internal enterprise software can boost your employees’ retention and satisfaction while simultaneously freeing up their time to explore more valuable areas of work.


The three types of digital generosity


In our experience, we’ve identified three types of digital generosity:


  1. Generosity toward internal staff (productivity and automation software)
  2. Generosity toward customers (user testing and frictionless experience)
  3. Generosity toward the world (solutions that will help everyone)


We’ll be looking specifically at how you can show generosity toward your employees by investing in custom software to help make their jobs easier and more enjoyable.


Throughout our ten years as a digital product agency, we’ve seen firsthand how custom, internal efficiency software can streamline outdated processes and free up time for your employees to focus on innovation. We want to share one of those stories.


Saving millions with custom templates


We partnered with an insurance brokerage consultancy to streamline the client presentations and communications they were creating for their clients’ employees. The consultancy ships 14,000 unique proposals every year, resulting in an estimated $5.4 million in hard costs. Their 40+ designers were working in Adobe InDesign to create thousands of standard and bespoke documents to accompany proposals. Not only that, but every change had to be manually updated by a designer instead of an account executive. Everyone was recreating the wheel over and over again, resulting in wasted time and an inconsistent work product. On average, 12 hours of design labor was put into every document.


Alongside their team and Typefi, we built a custom presentation template solution from scratch that can convert CXML to InDesign files. This new frontend allows users to go through and choose a base template to then customize with their own data. That means the user can go back in and reformat the presentation all on their own, without having to engage their design team and wait between 24–48 hours to get revisions back.


Projections to show the payoff of software investment


The truth of the matter is that some automation and efficiency software may make certain jobs obsolete. However, the tasks that software is automating aren’t typically the fun ones. No one enjoys doing the same thing over and over again. By taking these tasks off their plates, you give employees the chance to re-skill into a position that (1) provides more value to your company and (2) allows them to focus on high-level strategy and innovation initiatives that could grow your company at a rapid rate.


Turning fear of automation into a re-skilling opportunity

Automation is about implementing a system to complete repetitive, easily replicated tasks without the need for human labor.


Now, you may be thinking: How am I being generous to my employees by potentially automating a process that was half their job? Doesn’t that put their job at risk? If your internal software is replacing a large chunk of manual labor, it might be time to re-evaluate whether your initiatives and process are bringing value to the table and the efficiency of your business.


Are you leveraging the full potential of the bright, curious people you hired to grow and maintain your business? In reality, you’re doing your employees a favor by re-skilling them to be more adaptable in the wake of increased automation. Giving someone ‘busy work’ for the sake of keeping them employed only serves to undermine their potential and drain your profits.



It takes intentionality to build professional development and re-skilling into the foundation of your company, but companies with an agile mindset will be able to lean into innovation and survive in an increasingly competitive market. According to an article from Business News Daily:


"There's a lot of focus at the moment on these tasks that humans don't want to do. But what's going to happen in the future is … automation will not just be about automating those tasks humans are doing today, but it will be about realizing potential opportunities.”


The article goes on to discuss the potential for professionals to create income on their own without a traditional, hierarchical company. By embracing automation and dedicating time to continuous learning, we might see a society of entrepreneurs and small companies rather than departments hunkered down into a niche.


Now, imagine having a team of employees that have the mindset of an entrepreneur alongside a suite of turnkey tools designed to carry out their strategic initiatives with zero effort on their part. Those who invest in efficiency software now will reap the rewards for years to come.


Leveraging a results-based culture to optimize efficiency software


In our own Growth Team, we use software like MailChimp and Kajabi to automate the mundane tasks that would keep us from more impactful initiatives, like creating video content or building strategic partnerships. With a results-based culture, we’re able to use this freed up time to ideate ways we can add more value to the company. Because management trusts us to get creative with our skills and sets time aside for learning, we don’t have to worry about “getting stuff done” that may not actually have a direct impact on our profit.


When duties aren’t dictated or set in stone, employees are empowered to evaluate their own skill sets and professional development goals in relation to company benchmarks. It’s much harder to motivate people who don’t understand the purpose behind their tasks, but it’s a breeze when employees are setting those tasks for themselves. With internal software, you give employees the agency to pursue the initiatives that they’re really excited about.


Another key to employee happiness: La Croix


Want to build internal software for your company?

At Crema, we build solutions. Whether you’re looking for a coach that can help you leverage your existing software or a full-stack product team that can design and build the efficiency tool you need to get the most out of your team, contact us to start a conversation.

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