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Blog Post|6 minutes

Extend Device Lifecycles and Increase Employee Happiness

April 27, 2022

See how Nexthink’s IT department extended hardware refresh cycles while increasing employee happiness by offering device choices and incorporating sentiment and environment stewardship into the process.

Like many organizations, our IT team has fallen behind on hardware refresh cycles due to the global chip shortage and ongoing supply chain issues.

Faced with these challenges, our team decided to look for employee-centric methods of extending the lifecycles of existing devices nearing or at the end of their warranty plan. At the same time, our company is experiencing a period of rapid growth, so our IT department needed to establish a forward-looking plan to properly resource and onboard new employees.

To hear more about this IT experiment and see our team’s results, read on.

The Problem

During the pandemic, things became quite complicated for our IT team due to all the delays with new hardware deliveries. Supply chain limitations made it difficult to refresh employee hardware on schedule. Even now, we are still trying to catch up on our regularly scheduled refresh plans.

On top of this, one of our main goals is to ensure that every new Nexthinker receives a machine on their first day. We believe this is a key aspect of a positive onboarding experience.

But making sure each new employee has a device on day one isn’t always easy, especially with such complicated conditions over the past few years, like having to onboard every employee as a fully remote worker! If we were in the office, we would have leveraged desktops for in-office workers to offset the additional challenge of having scarce laptop inventory for everyone. Add to that the fact that Nexthink is a truly international organization—we have offices in Boston, India, London, Switzerland, Madrid, and more—and things start to get really complex.

At times, we experienced wait times of up to two months for new machines, forcing us to provide some new employees with a temporary machine, which we later replaced with a new device. Another solution we considered was repurposing returned equipment in good condition for new employees to fill gaps in our inventory.

Providing a positive digital employee experience is our mission, but these supply chain issues challenged our ability to provide that positive experience for existing and new employees. Managing this complexity has been very time-consuming, and it impacted the efficiency of our work.

Going through this process led us to think about ways we could extend our hardware refresh cycles and be more prepared for future unforeseen circumstances.

{Read More: Nonprofits Hardware Refresh Strategy Saves $400k}

The Solution

Our IT department here at Nexthink decided to proactively reach out to employees with an engagement campaign to help anticipate future hardware refresh requirements.

Instead of simply asking employees if they were happy with their device, we decided to add another layer of sustainability. We came up with the idea to educate employees on the environmental impact of using their laptops longer, while also asking about their level of satisfaction with their device.

Our goal here was twofold: we wanted to gain employee sentiment insights to help us better prioritize our hardware refresh plans, and we wanted to give our users the opportunity to weigh in on the decision-making process.

Learn more about the impact of technology on the environment.

Working with my colleague Stuart Docker, we aimed our investigation at a specific group of users on devices with expired warranties or those due to expire at the end of the year. All of these devices had a DEX score equal to or higher than seven, indicating solid performance, so we asked these employees if they were willing to keep their machines for another year.

The first question shared the environmental benefit of using their device another year instead of replacing it, in addition to our findings that indicate the experience with their current laptop still meets their specific performance requirements to fit their individual workstyle to remain productive.

Employees could agree to keep their machine (which we really appreciate), or they could tell us they want a new device. We do ask for additional information on why they want a replacement.


The Results

We ran the campaign for about two weeks to a targeted group of 332 employees. We received 240 complete responses, a 72% response rate for this campaign. Of these employees, 73% (176 employees) wanted to keep their machines for another year!

We are very happy with these results.

{Please Read: Learn How to Get 10x Higher Response Rates from Employee Surveys}

We always close our employee communications with a feedback question regarding the usefulness of the campaign.

88 employees said they found the campaign useful.

That still left about 90 employees who did not respond. These users will continue to use their machines as well, which also helps support our original goal to extend device usage beyond warranty timeframes. They’ll also be rolled into the next hardware refresh cycle as long as the DEX score remains at a seven or above.

Going forward, we plan to launch this communication at least every six months as a continuous process to better prepare for future hardware refresh cycles whilst giving our employees a choice to have a higher impact on the environment’s wellbeing.

Extending Hardware Refresh Cycles and New Employee Onboarding

What, if any, is the connection between this engagement campaign to extend our hardware refresh cycle, and our goal of provisioning every new employee with their own device on day one?

We typically let new employees choose between a Windows machine or a Mac. We believe this starts everyone off with a high level of employee happiness – a key driver behind offering device choices.

We kept this same key driver in mind for this refresh project – with the environmental twist.  We thought most employees, given the option, would choose to keep using their machine for an additional year; and we believe it also provides them with additional happiness – knowing they made a positive impact on the environment.

As an IT team, offering device options shows employees we care about their experience, and now they can show they care about the environment as well!  We were able to extend the hardware refresh cycle for a large portion of users and increase employee happiness at the same time. Extending the lifecycle of these devices also enabled us to allocate our limited stock of new devices for new employees—increasing employee happiness across the board.

{Keep Exploring: Nexthink’s Solution for a more Intelligent Hardware Refresh}