Can Tech Alone Help Boost Employee Engagement?
Surveys consistently show that employee engagement is one of the most important variables in the overall success of your company. In fact, Gallup found in 2017 that engaged teams see a 21% increase in profitability compared to their less-engaged peers. Yet engagement among US workers has decreased since 2015.
Advances in technology have made it possible to improve employee engagement. However, businesses must implement the technology that best suits their needs and then use it efficiently to see the benefits. Here's how to combine technological solutions with broader organizational changes to achieve your desired outcomes and keep your employees engaged.
What Can Be Done to Reverse the Poor Employee Engagement Trend?
ADP Research Institute found that being part of a team increases engagement, which is why fostering organizational change and focusing on building highly functional teams should be a priority. You can connect these teams more effectively by deploying enterprise applications that promote a good user experience. But you can’t stop there. A recent survey shows that even when businesses create their own applications, less than 30% of users find them intuitive.
When employees consider the process of navigating their daily applications to find information a slog, engagement decreases. In that scenario, you’ve invested valuable time and resources to implement a solution that’s having the exact opposite intended effect. So how do you avoid making that costly mistake?
Related Article: Why Organizations Should Care About Employee Engagement
Feedback Is King
First, gather feedback from your employees about the features they need in their enterprise applications. Be sure to ask what kind of personal applications they enjoy the most and see how their responses can influence the design of your business applications. If you're purchasing a solution from a third-party vendor, choose the option that best addresses this feedback. Remember, a good user experience is key to increased engagement. Your employees are also more likely to buy-in to these new applications if they’ve played an active role in the selection process.
Other than connecting teams through technology, providing employees with regular feedback can also increase engagement. Employees want to know where they stand throughout their time with the organization. Yearly job performance reviews don't cut it anymore. Schedule time to speak with them at least once a month about their projects, performance and areas of improvement. These discussions make employees feel like they're being seen, heard and considered a valued member of the team.
Related Article: Guess What? User Experience Matters for Employees, Too
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The Challenge of Remote Work
Another potential factor impacting overall engagement is the increase in remote work. Nearly a quarter of US workers work from home at least some of the time. This shift has had some negative consequences. While there are many benefits to remote work, it's more difficult to keep workers engaged. As the old saying goes, "Out of sight, out of mind." Remote employees don't interact in person with coworkers or leadership on a daily basis, which leads to not feeling as connected to their team and the organization as a whole.
Technology solutions can help you avoid those disconnects and play a larger role for remote employees. Without these solutions in place and being used on a regular basis, team members may not even know what the person they're working with looks or sounds like. It then starts to feel like working with faceless robots, which is not the environment you want to cultivate.
Using videoconferencing technology can help people make face-to-face connections and ensures your remote workers are treated like real people and valued team members. Schedule regular team meetings using videoconferencing so that everyone can interact as they would in real life. The key here is using this technology to break down any barriers to interaction between your team members.
Related Article: Bringing Your Remote Workforce Into the Fold
How Can We Better Engage Employees?
Ultimately, by combining well-implemented technology with organizational changes, you can drive a profound increase in employee engagement. Be sure to consider both aspects and you're sure to find success.
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About the Author
Sébastien Ricard, currently founder and CEO of LumApps, has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years, creating major companies in business intelligence and cloud. Passionate about technology, he’s one of the cloud pioneers in Europe and the US, as the creator of gPartner (distribution and integration of Google Enterprise in Europe) and LumApps (worldwide editor on the digital workplace market).