Employee engagement is a crucial yet often overlooked feature of a productive workplace. Sure, most employees are capable of showing up regularly on time, performing their assigned tasks and helping to toe the line to meet organizational demands.
But how many employees are dedicated to achieving all of the company’s goals? How many of them consistently want to have a say in how the organization can improve?
A Gallup study from a few years ago showed that only 30 percent of employees were fully engaged in their jobs. Engagement can’t be measured by how many sick days an employee takes, or how often they fail to meet their deadlines. Commitment runs far deeper than that. An invested member of staff is concerned with more than just their paycheck. They are aligned with the organization’s goals and targets, but not only that; they also work towards helping the organization to achieve those goals.
Going by the study, this meant that around 50 percent of employees are not engaged and 16 percent of employees consider themselves “actively disengaged” from their jobs. Increasing employee engagement is admittedly tricky, but not impossible.
Employers are encouraged to turn to technology as a means of increasing employee engagement, not because it is the latest in workplace productivity, but because it is an efficient way of improving engagement across the organization.
Herein are 5 examples of how employers can use technology to that effect.
1) Create a Culture of Recognition Using Peer-to-Peer Apps
A lack of recognition is one of the significant causes of dissatisfaction in the workplace. Workers that feel invisible or unimportant at the workplace often end up becoming less productive and less motivated to work.
Here is how technology can remedy this. Peer-to-peer recognition apps like 15Five, Tap My Back, and other similar programs let your employees not only interact with their coworkers in their specific workstations, but they also allow them to cheer each other on even when top management is too busy to do so. This support network also works for employees that don’t get along with senior management.
By creating a sustainable support system within your workforce, even employees in lower level positions can feel like an appreciated part of the organization. Getting support from their peers makes workers more motivated to accomplish their tasks, but more importantly, they start to feel personally responsible for the growth of the organization, and the achievement of its goals.
2) Introduce Mobile Learning as an Employee Training Method
The life of the average employee today is a lot different from what it was ten years ago. Not only do they have to juggle all aspects of their lives—work, education, family and hobbies—on a day-to-day basis, but they also have the means to do it. Rather than fight the trend, tech companies are capitalizing on the increasingly mobile lives of the modern employee, who is more comfortable tackling tasks at their own time and pace.
Take for example employee training. Conventional training, the type that requires prospective employees to show up at a designated room or location until the training period is over, is less effective when compared to mobile training. The thing about mobile is that it is everywhere.
Pervasive technology such as this significantly improves flexibility, and it is this kind of freedom that increases the employees’ enthusiasm toward working or learning wherever they are.
Mobile learning not only saves the cost of hiring/building training facilities and employing instructors, but it also creates a dynamic learning environment where the employees dictate the quality and speed of their learning process. Technology that allows employees to take their work home with ease increases their level of engagement in their jobs.
3) Increase Employee Autonomy by Allowing Personal Devices
About 60 percent of employees prefer to work on something other than a laptop, according to the Cisco Connected Tech Report of 2014. Now, four years later, the report showed that this trend is expected to continue as Generation Z gets ready to join the workforce, and at this point, it is advisable for companies to let their employees use their tech tools at the workplace.
The report also mentioned that 70 percent of HR professionals are of the opinion that most employees perform better on their own mobile devices than on a company-issued computer. Allowing each employee to use their device improves employee autonomy in that they can work wherever, whenever and however they want.
This concept has developed into the so-called Build Your Device (BYOD) policy. This will enhance engagement in the long run as employees will have more freedom to use the methods they deem most effective to get their work done. So, as counter-productive as it may seem to allow your employees to use their smartphones at work, it is a strategy that has been proven to improve long-term engagement at organizations.
4) Use Gamification to Increase Employee Motivation
Gamification capitalizes on your employees’ natural desire to compete with each other. Using it appropriately can result in boosted employee participation in tedious activities such as training and online learning.
Organizations see an increase in participation, especially from younger members of staff, when gamification in integrated into the day-to-day operations that employees involve themselves in at work.
However, employers shouldn’t just introduce gamification even when it doesn’t fit in with the organizational strategy to improve engagement. Successful integrations of this engagement technique have resulted in quadrupled participation from employees across the board.
5) Collaborative Working Will Increase Employee Engagement
Humans are inherently social in almost everything they do. Whether it’s working, studying or playing, collaboration results in overall better outcomes and leaves each member of the group feeling sufficiently confident that the role they play is important.
You don’t have to go far to witness the perks that come with collaborative working. The benefits of having a shared working space, be it offline or online, are experienced by employees who thrive in a non-conventional work environment.
At your organization, collaborative working can be encouraged through the use of project and organization management tools which help employees to create and assign shared tasks, file sharing resources such as Google Drive and Dropbox, Wikis (or information resources) that serve as a self-access portal where employees can learn and train at their discretion, and forums where employees discuss ideas. The design and layout of the office can also influence coworkers’ drive to interact with one another.
Collaborative working within the organization creates a workplace community where everyone is engaged in one way or another, leaving very little room for disengagement, and ultimately resulting in a lively workplace environment. Increasing employee engagement at the workplace through tech requires organizations to think smaller.
Allowing employees to work remotely is technique companies like Goldman Sachs have deployed with great results, and with a workforce dominated by millennials and Generation Z, a mobile-first approach to employee training will prove invaluable in developing and retaining engagement.