Three tips for driving better employee engagement through technology
Given that you’re reading this on the blog page of the website used to host our digital employee engagement platform, it’s fair to say that technology is absolutely essential to what we do.
But we’re far from the only ones.
Even if the products or services you sell aren’t virtual, tech is still a huge influencer of workplace experience.
Choosing the right employee engagement technology for your business can make all the difference.
Why technology matters
Modern technology drives change in the workplace. From email to AI algorithms, there are numerous examples of workplace tech that we all just take for granted nowadays. But choosing the right tech solutions creates a more engaging workplace by enabling better communication, and giving employees the tools to succeed.
Calculators are another example of tech we take for granted. In fact, to the chagrin of numerous generations of maths teachers, we do pretty much all walk around with them in our pockets at all times. But even today, if you go into a big accounting firm and look for their most senior employees, before you’re thrown out by security, you might still find a stubborn holdout who’s been using an abacus every day for the last thirty years.
For the rest of us, though, workplace tech (whether it’s a calculator, a video conferencing app, or any other piece of software) cuts down the busywork, so we can get on with the parts of our jobs that are more important and more interesting. Like calculators, having the right tech solutions also helps to reduce the presence and impact of human error.
More tech doesn’t have to mean less human
One of the most common arguments against adding more technology into the workplace is the idea of automation. It’s definitely an understandable fear, as nobody wants to be made irrelevant by a machine. But there’s more to tech in the workplace than automating people out of their jobs.
If anything, employee engagement technology exists to keep people in their jobs. Low engagement or active disengagement can be strong predictors of employee turnover. But technology solutions for employee engagement can address the issues that drive away your top talent.
How to harness the power of employee engagement technology
Driving employee engagement with technology is all about choosing the right solutions for your business. When it comes to evaluating potential tech solutions, we’d recommend involving your IT department from the very beginning. They’re the ones who’ll be responsible for getting new software up and running, and their in-depth knowledge means they can help you choose the best tools for the job.
But, while HR should defer to IT on all things technological, we’re still going to leave you with some tips of our own about the role of technology in employee engagement:
Streamline your onboarding process: The initial expectations new employees have can make or break their ability to engage. So, your onboarding process needs to effectively convey what your workplace culture is actually like, while also giving them the information they need to effectively navigate their new workplace.
Organisations with effective onboarding have 33% more engaged employees than those without. On top of that, employees who reported that their onboarding was effective were 18 times more likely to be committed to the organisation. There was a time when onboarding just consisted of a welcome packet and some awkward meet-and-greets, but with the right employee engagement technology, they can be so much more.
You could include a virtual map or tour of the office, and use employee perk services to include some nice welcoming gifts. If you still want to use a welcome pack, you can make the information you provide much less daunting by condensing it down to a set of handy web links.
Enable ongoing feedback and recognition: Feedback and recognition are, far and away, two of the biggest contributors to high employee engagement it’s possible to find. Performance management as a whole gets a bad reputation, but that’s largely due to unwieldy annual performance reviews. The right employee engagement technology can make the feedback process far less painful.
When feedback is ongoing, it helps to build a dialogue. Week on week, managers and employees develop a clear, shared picture of said employee’s performance and responsibilities. This means that, when they do come in for a sit-down review, they’ll have a much more solid idea of what sort of conversation it’s going to be.
A regular employee check-in is a perfect solution here. Questions are entirely customisable to suit the needs of individuals, and they’re combined with SMART Goals and OKRs for effective goal tracking.
But one of their most important features is enabling peer recognition. Recognition is one of the key building blocks for both employee engagement and workplace social bonds. Research shows that peer recognition is up to 36% more positively impactful than manager-only recognition. A big part of the role of technology in employee engagement is to enable these sorts of meaningful interactions that make a surprising amount of difference.
Use tech to support employee collaboration: Two heads are better than one, and a good work team is like a well-oiled machine. Employees who collaborate effectively can do great things, and fortunately, employee engagement technology has plenty of options for supporting workplace collaboration.
Video conferencing apps like Microsoft Teams aren’t just good for direct communication. They also have their share of whiteboard apps and other virtual collaboration spaces. Direct messaging apps like Slack enable users to create different channels for different topics, making it super easy to keep your idea generation separate from your general discussions. Thanks to services like GitHub, it’s even simple for web developers to work on source code together.
Obviously, all of this can be useful to people sharing an office, but where it comes into its own is enabling remote workers to collaborate seamlessly across any distance. And, as we’re fond of saying, remote work is the future.