Employees Love Using Google Chrome – But Do Their Employers Want Them To?

Employees Love Using Google Chrome – But Do Their Employers Want Them To?
July 13, 2022

What’s your web browser of choice? Ask an office full of workers that question and you’ll get a few answers, sure, but one has emerged as a clear favorite: Google Chrome. Holding a collective 60% of the market share in 2021, Chrome has separated itself as the preferred web browser for the general public and modern employees. 

Here’s the problem: a majority of businesses still set other browsers (predominantly Safari or Firefox) as the default browsers for their employee devices. This isn’t because these businesses are out of touch with the times – rather that they consider these browsers to be more secure than Chrome, which has been labeled the most vulnerable of the leading browsers. 

At first glance, this might seem like a minor issue. Web browsers are all pretty similar, right? But look beneath the surface and you’ll recognize that this issue highlights a much more significant disconnect between the tools employees want to use and the tools their employers believe are the best options. 

Employees have more control over their technology experiences than ever before. 

A decade ago, an employee’s preference for a tool as a simple as a web browser would’ve been a relative afterthought at most companies. But times have changed considerably – we’ve come a long way from the days of employees adopting whatever tools they’re given without having a voice in those decisions. 

Today’s employees arrive at a company with far greater digital dexterity than ever before; they’re familiar with many different tools and they know which ones best suit their needs and working styles.

{Read More: How to Foster Digital Dexterity In Your Workplace} 

Simultaneously, the digital workplace has become increasingly employee-driven. Employees have gained autonomy over where they work – and more importantly, how they work. If their employer doesn’t listen to their voice, make decisions based on their feedback, and equip them with the tools they need to be as successful as possible, employees have shown an increasing willingness to leave that company to pursue more favorable experiences elsewhere. 

All of this raises the question: can a compromise be made? What is an employer to do when their employees want to use a certain tool, but they have a good reason – especially a security concern – to set standards that don’t include that preferred tool?  

How IT Can Build a Bridge Between Employee Preferences and Company Priorities 

Employee expectations aren’t the only thing that have changed in the workplace over recent years. The function of the modern IT department has also evolved – and IT plays a critical role when it comes to this issue of compromise between employees and employers. 

Ultimately, it’s IT who is largely responsible for understanding and managing the technology employees use, and the way employees interact with and feel about those technologies. 

Let’s look at three critical steps IT can take to facilitate that compromise – using the issue of web browser preference as our example. 

1. Analyze Shadow IT usage. 

If an IT team doesn’t have access to DEX management tools, ones that enable them to visualize how workplace technology is being used on a day-to-day basis, they’re unlikely to ever know that shadow IT is a problem. But with these real-time technical data points, they’re able to see how many employees are ignoring the default web browsers and using a tool like Chrome instead.

From there, the IT team can dig into this data even further. Is there a commonality between employees who use Chrome instead of the default browser? Are younger workers more likely to use Chrome compared to older generations? Remote workers vs. in-office workers? Looking for trends in technology usage and shadow IT will help an IT team understand employee experience in greater depth.  

2. Bring DEX findings to leadership. 

Now, IT leaders have tangible data that they can show their executive team to illustrate a potential disconnect that might negatively impact DEX.  

At the end of the day, securing executive buy-in is critical for any decision related to technology deployment and usage. With actionable DEX data, IT has a seat at the table with leadership and significantly more sway when it comes to business decisions.  

3. Deploy targeted engagement and education campaigns to employees. 

If employees are relying on shadow IT on a day-to-day basis, IT has two main options. They can block the unapproved application or tool from being used on employee devices, or they can go directly to employees with engaging and personalized information about these solutions.

The former option is a surefire way to harm the overall digital experience across an enterprise. When an employee is accustomed to using a certain tool and then lose access to that tool entirely, they’re guaranteed to become disgruntled with IT and leadership and more disengaged from their work as a whole. 

Here’s the alternative. Let’s say an IT department realizes that a large percentage of employees are using Chrome rather than Firefox, which is their default browser. Executives don’t want to make Chrome the default because they’re worried what precedent it might set in the face of their legitimate security concerns – but they also don’t want to anger employees by blocking Chrome. 

In this scenario, IT can deploy educational campaigns targeted towards Chrome users. These campaigns serve the purpose of explaining the differences between Chrome and the default browser – recognizing why employees prefer one over the other, but also enlightening employees about the vulnerabilities that could pose risks with their preferred tool. 

These campaigns will be successful if they provide Chrome users with specific steps to minimize security risks, warning signs that they should look out for, and additional support for users who are willing to transition from Chrome to the default browser. 

On the backend, there are additional security measures that IT can take to mitigate risk, from deploying additional protections to proactively monitoring Chrome activity to notice security issues before they make an impact. But these methods must go hand-in-hand with direct engagement between IT and employees. 

When workers are able to look behind the curtain and see the processes behind the technology they use, they become more in sync with IT, more understanding of their leadership team’s perspectives, and more satisfied that their opinions are actually being considered and acted upon. 

And when IT leaders are equipped with in-depth DEX data, they rightfully earn a seat at the table with leadership, elevate the department’s status within the business, and can become advocates for employees while influencing business decisions related to DEX.   

Sam Holzman is a DEX Analyst at Nexthink, a global leader in Digital Employee Experience. Sam covers breaking news stories and industry trends in the IT technology sector.Learn More

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