So, you are one of the many enterprises who has cottoned on to the importance of employee engagement. You’ve read the figures. According to Gallup, just 13% of employees are engaged at work. You know the road to improving employee engagement isn’t going to be a little cul-de-sac that you can merrily skip down and come to the end of, smug in the knowledge you’ve got it sorted. You are well aware it’ll be more like laying a continuous road in which you have embedded employee engagement as your hardcore base.
But, you know the journey will be worth it because you too have read the figures that link employee engagement with productivity which, in turn, is reflected in improved business results.
At the heart of employee engagement is a happy workforce. Employees are more likely to be engaged, for example, if they have a keen understanding of what is expected of them and if they are rewarded for their work and achievements. They will perform better if they gain regular performance feedback, if they respect their manager, if they have good career prospects and if their organisations make communication a priority.
But you know all this already. You know it’s time to address the employee engagement issue head on.
So, where do you go from here?
There are options.
Some of the more traditional approaches to employee engagement include delivering training initiatives, compiling and distributing annual employee surveys and paying performance related bonuses.
However, things have moved on. If you read Gallup’s “Five ways to improve employee engagement now”, you would distribute your employee engagement survey and act upon the results. You’d employ great managers who empower their employees and you would hold them accountable for their employee’s engagement. You would weave employee engagement into the ethos, the very backbone of the company, encouraging managers and executives to do the same. And you would inspire those managers to openly discuss employee engagement with all employees at every level on a regular basis.
All of these suggestions are worthy and should be implemented if you are truly committed to addressing employee engagement within your organisation. They will steer you towards a transformational engagement approach whereby employee engagement becomes part of the DNA of the organisation rather than floating at the periphery. And that’s essential for getting employee engagement right.
Today’s forward-thinking organisations are harnessing the power of technology wherever possible, and in every sense. Technology supports every organisation, improving efficiencies and productivity. Through technology, employees can be given the voice they are demanding. It’s the perfect platform for aiding communication and collaboration. It can help to motivate, reward and retain employees with ease and efficiency.
So, how can your organisation harness the power of technology to support your employee engagement strategy? Here are just some of the ways:
We are a smartphone-enabled workforce. If you don’t encourage a BYOD culture, the chances are your workforce will continue to use their mobile for work purposes with or without your approval. So, empower your workforce by trusting them to use their mobile at work for work purposes. Their productivity will increase as a result.
Harness the power of social media
Don’t underestimate the importance of this one. Your workforce engage with social media so it’s time to deliver a platform which weaves social media communication into their working day. Don’t be scared by this. You are not encouraging them to spend time discussing what they had for dinner the night before. Empower and trust your employees. They want a place to discuss work topics. To have their work-related questions answered in real-time to improve their productivity. They want to collaborate with colleagues in a social style environment. Even the likes of Microsoft saw the power and potential of social networks in the workplace, acquiring enterprise social network Yammer in 2012.
Inspire your workforce by delivering instant feedback
One of the main reasons annual employee surveys are not inspiring the workforce is that they don’t allow for instant feedback and response. Today’s workforce expects instant recognition and instant feedback, so deliver a platform that retains all the benefits of the employee engagement survey, but where feedback can be given and received in real-time. On a technologically-driven platform, surveys can be distributed on an “as and when” basis where immediate feedback is desirable or necessary. However, if you are going down the employee survey route, be prepared to make the changes that are being suggested otherwise the survey will be detrimental rather than successful.
Give your employees a voice
Today’s workforce have become more vocal and are increasingly interested in speaking up. Suppress their voices and you run the risk of immediately disengaging them. So, give them a moderated platform where they can post questions to managers, senior executives or even to the CEO. Responses can be given in real-time to inspire the workforce, knowing that their voice is being heard.
Enable real-time communication
Gone are the days of employees receiving communication just that bit too late. With mobile technology, important news or emergency situations can be communicated at the touch of a button. With reports that the average user checks their mobile phone 150 times a day, receiving of news has never been more immediate. Mobile is the perfect technology platform to deliver time-critical information to an entire workforce or a select group.
Enable an open culture of employee recognition and reward
There’s an obvious link between recognition and reward and an engaged employee. Technology gives us the ideal platform to recognise and reward employees in an open, collaborative space, and in real-time. Importantly, both managers and co-workers can either instigate or can be party to this public interaction, breaking down hierarchical barriers and allowing managers and employees to communicate on an even playing field.
Getting employee engagement right isn’t about adopting one approach. One size doesn’t necessarily fit all. It’s about knowing your organisation and getting to know your employees. It’s about planning and building a framework. And it’s about communication.
Harnessing the power of technology to help drive employee engagement is not the stand-alone answer to your employee engagement issues, but it is a powerful tool to support your strategy which you cannot afford to ignore.