“Are our employees really engaged with their work?”
This wasn’t a question employers would have thought of asking themselves just a decade or two ago. Workers punched in, accomplished their tasks, punched out, and the expectation was that they’d be nothing but grateful for the paycheck they’d receive in return. Terms like “employee engagement” didn’t even exist as the related ideas felt too soft in a place of hard work.
But times are different now, or at least they should be. Because as it turns out, employee engagement isn’t a soft topic at all, it’s about hard facts — like how employers whose teams score in the top quartile of engagement see a 20 percent increase in sales, a 21 percent increase in profitability, and 70 percent fewer safety incidents than employers in the bottom quartile of engagement. There can be no doubt about it: employee engagement is a business skill that affects the bottom line.
And just like any other valuable business skill, employee engagement can be well-served by technology. Far from taking employees from in-person to impersonal, technology plays a huge role in improving employee engagement. Here’s how:
1. Goodbye to Menial Tasks
According to studies done by Gallup, engaged employees have the opportunity to do what they do best every day. And booking travel or manually running reports isn’t what any of us do best. Workflow technology acts as an extra set of hands that allows team members to focus on the skills that make them (and your company) shine.
The impact is even doubled for HR teams. One in five HR leaders say that outdated technology takes away from their ability to focus on people priorities. When you use HR software to take manual tasks and paperwork off their hands, they can focus on engagement instead.
2. An Increase in Learning
Gallup also notes that engaged employees need the opportunity to learn and grow. In a busy organization, finding the time and resources for continuous employee training can be a challenge. That is, at least, without the right software.
Learning management systems (LMS) are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Today’s offerings allow employers to offer on-demand trainings on a variety of topics that eliminate the need for in-person conferences or hiring of trainers. And on the learner side, employees can engage with trainings the way they most prefer — whether that’s readings, a webinar, or a boredom-busting gamified model.
3. A Better Way to Be Recognized
Engaged employees know they are valued — 70 percent of employees noted that just hearing their managers say thank you more often would have a massive effect on morale. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, when managers are busy, they often overlook their best-performing employees (who operate well independently), choosing to prioritize helping lower performers improve.
It’s easy to let recognition fall by the wayside, but technology can help. Digital recognition programs or HR software can track employee accomplishments and milestones, then remind managers it’s time for a reward or even automate the reward itself. Not only do these tools decrease the burdens on managers for remembering and accomplishing these tasks, they allow employees to be recognized in the way that best suits their personality — whether it’s big public display of gratitude or something done in the small team or one-on-one.
4. Communication that Works
Backlogged inboxes, lack of transparency, or messages lost in translation are all hallmarks of a poorly communicative workplace. And poor communication means low motivation — productivity increases up to 25 percent in organizations with connected employees.
With more and more people spending time working remotely (the number is beginning to encroach on 50 percent) bad communication can be a big hurdle. Technology can help overcome it, making both in-person and remote employees more in-touch than ever. Video conferencing, chat, and on-computer dialing are helping to eliminate the divides between workers, drive down inbox overflow, and make space for a bit of fun (thanks, emojis!).
5. The Right Tools at the Right Time
There is perhaps nothing more frustrating than being on a roll with your work and running into a technological roadblock — whether it’s a computer on the fritz, slow-moving software, or an internet outage.
Outdated programs that haven’t scaled with your company or don’t meet the current needs of employees have a hugely negative effect on engagement. Keeping programs up-to-date with current needs is essential — for example, with 90 percent of employees reporting they do work on their personal mobile device, software must be mobile-friendly.
In engaged work environments, the runway is cleared so employees can take off with their ideas. Technology hums along silently in the background, facilitating work but never distracting.
More than ever, engaged employees are an essential component of a strong business model. And just like other successful initiatives, achieving the goal of an engaged workforce requires the support of the right technology.
For more articles like these, find us on Technology Advice.
Want to know more? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us >