Single sign-on: Basic tech or a much-needed part of the employee experience?
Director of Employee Wellbeing
There are very few phrases that can ruin your day when delivered at the wrong time, but one of them is most certainly, 'Your password is incorrect'.
In a poll taken by Centrify at the Infosecurity Europe conference, research revealed that we are becoming increasingly frustrated with trying to remember multiple passwords to access our online accounts. Around a quarter of people admit to forgetting their password at least once a day. Other research suggests 37% of people forget at least once a week. Our inability to recall passwords is causing us angst. One survey found that 8% of us find remembering all of our passwords as more stressful than divorce. Now, I can’t imagine it’s that bad, but I’ve forgotten my Domino’s Pizza login after a long day at work, and for 15 minutes I wasn’t a nice person to be around.
Taking the lead from consumer-driven design
It’s no surprise that consumer giants are trying to make this process as frictionless as possible. In addition to the many biometric options now available like fingerprint, voice and facial recognition, technology providers are trying to find ways to ease the frustration caused by trying to remember multiple passwords.
Fewer passwords, equal security
If you use an Apple product, you’ll appreciate how hard they’ve worked to make the password experience as good as it can be. Apple’s Keychain not only securely stores all of your passwords, but it can also generate strong passwords for you and save them. You can change them anytime you like, but no longer are you required to remember them. By sharing these passwords across all of your devices, suddenly your Netflix and Amazon logins are controlled by just looking at your device, rather than remembering your password. This isn’t to be sniffed at – it’s estimated the average internet user has to remember around 27 of them. On top of that, you have the additional 28 passwords we think most people have at work, and all-of-a-sudden we are expecting people to recall more than 50 passwords and change them frequently.
Single Sign-On (SSO) has been a core part of Benefex’s OneHub platform for as long as I can remember. It’s so engrained in everything we do, that we kind of forget it’s there. It’s easy to forget how important it is to the employee experience. But, I was reminded of how significant it can be when I came across an article about SSO in healthcare. In the United States, Electronic Health Records (EHR) are used by healthcare professionals very frequently. For the records to meet CMS’ meaningful use requirements, hospitals must ensure that health information stored in the EHR is secure and compliant. What makes passwords effective is their complexity, but this complexity is what is also making them such a challenge in the hospital setting.
It’s estimated that clinicians have around 20 passwords to remember for various pieces of patient care software. For most employees, having to remember multiple passwords and login to multiple systems is time consuming and frustrating. But for clinicians, removing points of frustration and freeing up time can have a huge impact. One study found that in this environment it has been estimated that implementing an SSO equated to a 69% time reduction. Across 19 hospitals in just one week, SSO saved 943.4 hours!
SSO where you are
Poor or clunky technology is making employees less productive than they want to be, and it’s causing frustration at work. Day-to-day work already weighs heavily on employees’ cognitive burden, and employers should be looking to reduce this, not add to it with a whole host of systems and passwords. In a recent customer survey, one of the overwhelming pieces of feedback from employees was how they loved their easy personal admin journey, as they just had one login to one portal, which hosted every one of their HR-related apps.
Single sign-on can, right now, have a positive affect on employee productivity and happiness. Employees are experiencing seamless journeys with their own technology outside of work, and it’s jarring to have to change this habit when walking through the office door. Why start their day with, 'Your password is incorrect', when you really don’t have to?
Gethin is a psychology graduate who has been helping some of the world’s largest organisations to improve their employee experience and wellbeing for almost two decades. The last 8 years have been spent working as part of the senior leadership team here at Benefex. As a frequent writer and speaker on employee experience and employee wellbeing, Gethin has been featured in The Guardian, The Huffington Post and The Financial Times as well as major HR, Reward and Pensions publications. Gethin is also a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer at events, and a founding member of the Engage for Success Wellbeing Thought Action Group. He is also listed on the Employee Engagement Powerlist and one of Cardiff Life’s ‘One to Watch In The City’.
In 2018, Gethin published his first book - the 5 star rated Amazon HR bestseller ‘A World of Good: Lessons From Around the World in Improving the Employee Experience’, which has gone on to inspire HR and Reward teams at some of the world’s best known brands.