In the past, I have explored the issue about how engaged employees do better business. We have discussed the issue of culture and have gone a bit into the psychology of keeping employees happy.
These are the major issues and cannot be sorted out overnight. These issues take time and effort; however, sometimes it is not these issues that are an irritation to employees.
Sometimes an irritation starts to form a barrier which will eventually prevent employees from performing their best. We need to ascertain whether our workplace technology is helping employees thrive or driving them out the door.
Some of us may be tempted to regard this topic as common sense. So if it is common sense, I suppose all of the technology in your office is in perfect working order? EVERY SINGLE PIECE…
We sometimes shelve these concerns over greater, more pressing issues, and I am not an angel in this respect. I can be guilty of this at times too.
I recently read an article on inc.com which discussed this topic in a bit more detail. The article said that it is often seemingly insignificant things that make the biggest impact on employee satisfaction and engagement – for better and for worse.
For example, a malfunctioning printer, complicated software, outdated and sluggish email client and the inability to reserve a conference room sound like minor inconveniences to an otherwise happy worker. But when compounded, these frustrations eventually drive turnover.
Leaders talk a lot about creating better employee experiences by offering more work-life balance and an enjoyable culture. But the technology your workforce uses every day can have a bigger effect on employee happiness and retention than you might expect.
Focus on Growing Digital Dexterity
So how do we overcome this? The article makes three suggestions. According to Gartner, digital dexterity is the desire and ability of an employee to use emerging technology to help drive better business outcomes. Or put simply, using innovative tech to do better work.
According to Gartner, digital dexterity is the desire and ability of an employee to use emerging technology to help drive better business outcomes. Or put simply, using innovative tech to do better work.
The inc.com article points out that putting in the time and energy to train employees on emerging technology – and selecting candidates who have previous experience with these solutions – can yield a significant return on investment.
Not only will this help employees work more nimbly and efficiently, which empowers them to do even more, but the better versed your workforce is in new technology, the greater your competitive advantage.
Mimicking consumer tools
The second suggesting that the inc.com article makes is using technology that will mimic the tools consumers of your product or service will use. This will create an interface whereby problems and issues can be resolved early before the complaints come in.
In previous decades, the only people who had the access and ability to understand data and analytics were business intelligence professionals. However, today, everyone with a fitness tracker has experience in compiling and reviewing data. While they may not all be full-fledged data scientists, people are familiar with dashboards full of metrics.
The article adds that to aid in digital dexterity and to capitalize on the experience most workers already have, choose technology that looks and operates like consumer technology. That is, technology with a user-friendly design and an easy-to-navigate interface.
It is also a good idea to choose workplace technology that comes in a collection or suite, or can be easily integrated with existing technologies. The simpler and more streamlined the experience, the more likely your workforce is to not only use the tool, but also enjoy it and master it.
Leveraging learning and data
The final point the article makes asks simple, yet pertinent questions.
How is your workforce using your email client? Is it IT ticketing software, room reservations, a project management tool, or an Inventory tracking app? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, there is no way of knowing whether or not your employees are engaged.
The article adds that today’s best solutions offer gigabytes upon gigabytes of utilization data. This means you can determine how your workforce is using tools within their environment and make changes where needed. And with machine learning, technology will automatically adjust to fit each user’s style to ensure they’re working at optimum efficiency.
Technology is the silver bullet to empowering and engaging your workforce to be highly capable, adept, autonomous and (most importantly) happy at work.
But choosing the wrong tech can also mean driving employees to become disengaged, unproductive and unhappy. By using the above three recommendations, you can make sure you’re driving better outcomes rather than helping employees out the door.
Approaching from the wrong angle
There are a lot of people who question the point behind employee engagement because no matter what happens, nothing seems to work.
But believe me, employee engagement does work and engaged employees do generate better business. Companies that argue otherwise are approaching employee engagement from the wrong angle. An article on benefitnews.com backs this sentiment up.
The article points out that employee engagement represents passion, commitment and caring about the organization. If you notice, each of these things is completely voluntary. Organizations that try to directly force and focus on engagement will never be successful at improving engagement.
Instead of putting the focus on how to engage employees, organizations need to focus on how they can be the type of organization employees want to engage with. Employees expect a productive, rewarding and enjoyable work experience and when employers provide this type of environment, employees reward them with high levels of engagement.
There is a lot of work organizations need to do to improve their culture, and it starts with leadership. An analysis of Glassdoor reviews by Bersin by Deloitte found that the average employee gives their company a C+ when asked whether they would recommend the organization to a friend. This is a grade that senior leaders should be highly concerned with, but evidence would suggest that leaders are putting a larger priority on other initiatives away from employees.
For example, according to another study by Deloitte, 67% of top business executives believed that technology will drive greater value than human capital. In fact, the same study revealed that 64% of top business executives believed their people are a cost and not a driver of value.
To really drive engagement, organizations need a new approach; organizations need to build on top of a foundation of employee experience and organizational culture.