Technology continues to have a massive impact on everyone’s lives. And the pandemic has accelerated some of our adoption of digital tools – whether we like it or not! There is a 35% drop in the use of cash, according to The FT, with more of us using contactless payments. More people are working from home or embracing a hybrid workplace – assuming your role/employer allows. More people than ever suffer from Nomophobia (the fear of being without a mobile phone). This is why organisations are leveraging digital technology when it comes to human resources and in particular employee engagement.
Employee engagement continues to be a hot topic for businesses and HR teams. The changes in organisational culture and the technological workplace all impact employee engagement. We all know that employee engagement strategies have proven to reduce staff turnover, improve productivity, attract the right talent and efficiency and reduce operational costs. Engaged staff are happier at work and in life generally. When you are engaged it adds energy to what you do, and it creates a circle of infectious fulfilment for you and those around you. That’s why HR teams are going for gold, when it comes to digital staff engagement.
What the numbers say
According to research from Gallup, there are some key advantages for companies who score in the top quartile for employee engagement
- Absenteeism: 41% lower
- Staff turnover: 59% lower
- Employee safety incidents: 70% fewer
- Productivity: 17% higher
- Sales: 20% higher
- Profitability: 21% higher
These are compelling numbers for a business and support the business case for employee engagement initiatives, but it’s good for the wellbeing of your people too.
Building an emotional connection with digital
Employee engagement is all about building that all important emotional connection an employee feels toward their organisation. It influences staff behaviours, along with increasing effort and focus that employees put in to their work, and improves productivity levels.
The pandemic has upended workforces and workplaces, along with constant change and uncertainty, which has resulted in lasting changes for employees. Those changes have impacted staff engagement. A traditional approach to measuring engagement is the annual engagement survey. However, a digital approach that embeds the measurement of engagement is a more realistic, authentic and dynamic way. No longer annual, but continual and ongoing. No longer reactive, it’s proactive and responsive: that’s what digital engagement delivers beyond traditional approaches.
This enables organisations to fundamentally shift their culture, and move it away from a reactional and transaction activity to a ‘living, breathing’ approach.
Digital HR tools and connectivity are providing the accessibility that make the process of employee engagement easier than ever before. Tech savvy generations in the workplace expect instant access, at a time that suits them. Whether or not you love or hate social media, employees demand immediacy and accessibility. They are looking for an experience that’s intuitive and easy – just like social media. Without it, engagement is harder to build and maintain. Without it, organisations will find it hard to achieve genuine engagement that can be maintained and is sustainable.
Connect, socialise and engage
With 78% of the UK population having a social media account, workers are expecting connectivity that feels authentic, and that feels natural and less forced. Using technology and digital tools may feel counter-intuitive, but it’s what’s delivering the gold standard in employee engagement.
This ease of connectivity in our daily lives is translating to the workplace, with staff looking for real-time appreciation and recognition. Immediacy of accolades for a job well done, and shared so others can see helps staff feel valued for their contributions. Colleagues can more easily interact and applaud when they wish.
Use of tools like ‘Kudos’ where colleagues can give kudos to their peers as well as karma is a more natural and organic way connecting, and interacting. It’s more organic and natural as it’s driven by the staff and not seen as a management initiative.
Encourage peer to peer recognition. The core of engagement lies in recognising efforts at work, but it doesn’t need to always come from a manager; colleagues and peers can often have a greater impact on engagement. It enables a stronger emotional connection and uplifts employees’ morale and strengthens a team and collaborative work environment.
Peer-to-peer recognition can be easily implemented via cloud-based SaaS tools such as elementsuite. You can take full advantage of available communication channels where everyone is present and encourage your employees to give shout-outs to their teammates whenever they unlock a new achievement. Make it fun, inclusive across all your staff, whatever their role, including remote and hard to reach members of the workforce.
These real-time digital tools will help reduce employee churn and enable organisations to retain the best talent.
Digital can boost happiness
The digital naysayers will suggest that digital tools are too complicated, and will be a barrier for your staff. The complete opposite is true. Digital tools are designed to be intuitive, with less distraction and greater engagement. They will boost happiness. Staff can engage and keep informed at their own pace, style and preferences… moving closer to a personalised experience for them. The result is less distraction from instant messages and bombardment, achieving a much deeper and more valuable connection between team members and colleagues.
Most employees have a desire to learn and grow. Digital tools and technology have made learning easy for all, enabling employers to upskill and delivery learning at the point of need. Learning based on immediacy and at the point of need.
Engagement for everyone
According to Gallup, managers account for over 70% of the variance in employee engagement. Employees with highly engaged managers are 59% more likely to be engaged than employees supervised by disengaged managers. This means Manager need to be provided with the right mix of tools and engagement initiatives that will deliver results, but mangers need to be engaged themselves. Successful engagement needs to be organisation wide, and digital is solving that.
Virtual team building
Team building activities are an important part of every employee engagement program. These activities allow you to bring your people together and inspire them to achieve their goals in a collaborative manner.
Often organising such activities can be easier when everyone is together, however, hosting virtual team-building activities using various digital tools can be fun.
Digital tools and resources
Another key to happiness and success to engaging your workers digitally is giving them the right tools and resources. Staff want the best tools and they expect to access them digitally. Without them you will be adversely affecting their productivity, and their job enjoyment.
An employee can be anywhere in the world and be able to access what they need and actively participate.
Make them smile!
Employees play a key role in their own engagement; however, your people need intuitive, fun and a more dynamic and authentic approach when it comes to increasing and maintaining staff engagement.
HR professionals care about the wellbeing of their people, which is why employee engagement is something they are passionate about. And this is why digital engagement is delivering measurable engagement results. Throw out the annual approach and adopt a natural, dynamic and authentic digital approach to staff engagement.