In today’s digital world, it can be difficult to wade through the waters of constant change and information overload. Technology is a very powerful tool and using it to connect with your audience can take many forms.
Integrating new technologies can streamline processes within your personal and professional life. In fact, you might not even realize it. Technology allows us to communicate more effectively with one another and share information in ways we never would have thought possible — filling communication gaps and ensuring needs are met with greater ease. It can provide security for confidential information and improve internal and external relationships.
It’s now almost unavoidable to make necessary improvements in the ways we integrate and use technology. Let’s review several different avenues through which some of these newer technologies can become a major factor in improving communication and engagement with your employees, stakeholders, clients, customers, and even students.
Why We Must Be Concerned About Engaging Employees
Finding new strategies to better engage employees today can be a difficult but necessary feat. After all, collaboration and interaction among your employees are what makes a successful business run. According to Gallup, employee engagement surveys show that almost 20 percent of U.S. workers are “actively disengaged” employees — those likely to undermine coworkers and sabotage projects.
In contrast, when employee satisfaction is high, employees are more likely to help the business grow, maintain a positive brand image, and serve as brand ambassadors.
Adopting new technologies can greatly improve engagement and performance in your organization, but you must check that your action plan includes the necessary steps to ensure employees are ready for those changes. We’ve found that organizations that can integrate time-saving strategies and tools within the workplace will be better able to motivate their employees in the long run and boost engagement levels, while at the same time improving their performance management.
Some of the most successful technologies that can help better engage your employees include the following:
Messaging and Social Collaboration Tools
These technologies are popular, especially when they’re deployed along with old-school methods of communication like email and intranets. Messaging technologies tend to work well in situations where the need for a response may be more immediate or you want to give a coworker a quick update. If you know someone only checks their email a few times a day, messaging them may be a more efficient way to communicate.
Employee feedback should also influence the employee engagement solutions you put in place. Over 60 percent of respondents say they ignore email messages at work. Many say that they prefer text over email. 43.9 percent of respondents say they prefer text notifications in case of emergency. 34 percent of workers use an instant messaging service, such as Slack, G Chat, Zoom, or Skype.
Online Project Management Systems
Having a central hub for employees to communicate and keep track of their projects may be the best way for you to keep them engaged in their work and motivated to continue to do well. Some of the key benefits of many of the project management systems out there include tracking projects, collaborating with team members in real-time, document sharing, and task delegation. Keep in mind that not every function will be necessary for your organization. Make sure you are evaluating your organization’s specific requirements and ensuring the systems you adopt help streamline projects and decision-making for those involved.
36 percent of the workforce use some type of cloud-based management tool and 13 percent use collaboration software. These tools also enable organizations to provide remote working opportunities to workers, as well as real-time insights that businesses can use to make instant decisions.
A number of digital employee survey options are available that can also help engage your staff and gain important insight into the employment experience. These surveys are sent anonymously to your employees and ask questions such as:
- If employees believe they are fairly paid
- If employees feel they can voice their opinions about work
- If employees feel like valued members of the team
- If employees believe there is a good life-work balance
Because the surveys are anonymous, employers can often get honest and open feedback that they might not get by asking employees similar questions in person.
Remote Working Environments
Employee engagement software may not always be the answer. A change of environment might be, though.
In the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 crisis took hold of the world. Soon, employee environments were transformed. Many businesses had to quickly implement a flexible working arrangement company-wide. For many employees, this was a welcome change that overall improved employee experience.
90 percent of respondents say that flexibility in their work arrangements contributes to their morale, according to Gallup’s 2020 Future of Work survey. This survey provides important and actionable insights into today’s workforce. 82 percent of businesses in the United States said that they used flexible work locations to improve employees’ work-life balance. 83 percent of respondents said that the ability to work remotely would influence their decision between two similar job offers. Additionally, 54 percent of office staff members said they would leave their job if they could have one that offered more flexibility. Gallup’s data-driven survey also shows that job flexibility improves employee engagement.
According to Gallup’s insightful research, optimal engagement occurs when employees spend 60 to 80 percent of their time working off-site, which is three to four days of a five-day workweek.
Even if you do implement a mostly remote workforce, recognize the limitations of it. You will still need to check in periodically with your workforce to ensure that they are on track for completing their assignments and reassuring them that you are there for them. Harvard Business Review published a poll of 1153 workers. In it, 46 percent of respondents said the most successful managers check in frequently with their remote workforce. They also said that managers who were always available during the remote worker’s regular work hours were best at helping these employees feel more supported. It is also important when growing a remote workforce that employers allow for connections between employees and managers regarding family, hobbies, pets, etc.
These days, no one expects to sit through a day-long training session without some sort of video element. It’s even harder to keep people’s attention when they have mobile devices at their fingertips. When it comes to offering training sessions for employees, be prepared to make them both entertaining and easily accessible from any location or device, possibly even available on a mobile app. Break down the information into smaller, more digestible bites and try to keep the presentation short.
Don’t Get Rid of What Works
While looking for an effective employee engagement platform, don’t get rid of tools and ideologies that work. For example, time and time again, Pulse surveys and other case studies have shown that employee recognition is pivotal in increasing employee engagement. By celebrating the specific contributions and achievements that employees make and accomplish, employees feel valued.
Additionally, employee engagement is often higher when they feel like they are part of a team. Workplace collaboration tools and engagement solutions can help workers feel more connected, even when they are apart. Employee recognition programs can allow employees to send and receive recognitions and share in accomplishments.
Next Step: NextThought Studios
Let NextThought Studios help you boost employee engagement with our innovative videos. Contact us today for a quote and we can start brainstorming ideas together.