Employee engagement is the core of any high-performing team. Leadership should have a pulse on their teams and how engaged or disengaged they are. This requires regular check-ins, opportunities for employee feedback, and ongoing conversations for ways the company can improve.
Fortunately, technology has helped companies bridge the gaps of communication in many ways to help with these initiatives. There are now countless methods companies can leverage technology to help with employee engagement. You can share access to different platforms, internal documents, and face-to-face time with others with just the click of a mouse in many cases. Technology allows us to still function as a team even without sitting in the same room, let alone the same state, in order to be effective.
Like any other process or plan, there has to be a specific SMART goal when implementing any kind of technology in your company. There have to be rules of engagement that outline expectations. It’ll help keep your team connected wherever they may be, which helps drive deeper engagement, participation, and accountability.
Technology Asks the Question Another Way
You may think if you want to know how you’re employees are feeling, just ask. For some, this may be through one-on-one weekly meetings or an informal coffee chat. However, for others, face-to-face may be intimidating to share how they truly feel. When possible, give your team another way to communicate their satisfaction level. This can be in the form of anonymous surveys, through annual reviews, or by using online polls.
An anonymous survey takes the pressure off employees who are afraid of backlash for being honest – but if that’s the case there may be more daunting culture elements to address. Customized surveys can include questions regarding job satisfaction, appropriate expectations, resources, available training and much more. The goal is to extract data and insights which leaders can then use to put action plans in place. It’s important to group the common themes and prioritize the order in which they’ll be addressed. If employees do not see any action following the surveys, they likely will feel even more disengaged than before. Action shows you care enough to make things better.
Quarterly, mid-year and annual reviews are another way to gauge employee engagement. It helps align the manager and the employee to make sure they’re on the same page. For example, an employee may think they are ready for a promotion when the manager hasn’t considered it. This would reflect disengagement either by the manager who doesn’t have open communication with the employee or by the employee who feels unseen. Either way, without check-ins and outlined goals with action items to follow, there is no barometer to measure success. This can leave employees feeling unmotivated or frustrated in their role.
Polls are another alternative way to ask questions of employees without a one-on-one interaction. This works well if there is a specific subject that has come up repeatedly. Keep in mind, the messaging doesn’t necessarily have to include a serious overtone. It can be a poll about where to go for the next company outing. It could also be a poll about who likes the new software. The important part is to address a common problem in an open forum and allow people to vote on what a good solution might be.
If you aren’t getting the information or answers you need to make decisions, keep asking in different ways. Technology allows us to do that through software programs, free online tools, and other methods of communication.
Technology Creates Various Portals of Information
Sometimes an employee’s lack of engagement comes down to limited information available. They don’t realize all the tools and training opportunities that are offered because they haven’t been communicated well. Many companies set up an internal Wiki or intranet – a centralized hub where all information can be found about the company policies and processes. It can also be used to house the employee handbook, announcements, events, and other information important to the entire group.
Inter-departmentally, teams are adopting the use of Slack and other quick messaging technology to ensure communication is dispersed to the whole team at the same time. There are project management tools such as Basecamp to track tasks and deadlines. Decide which tools are company-wide and required and which are more convenience-based and optional. Wherever you decide to have your communication central, make sure you are using it consistently. Also, limit the number of areas that a person needs to check in order to obtain what they need to get the job done.
Effective communication is crucial to any efficient, high-performing team. Without a way to easily access information, it gives more leeway for mistakes. Make sure your employees are kept up-to-date and informed as much as possible so they feel personally invested in the company and the decisions that are being made.
Technology Trains on the Job
One of the biggest benefits of technology is access to classes, courses, and online training. The younger generations in the workforce want – no, need – access to these tools anytime, anywhere, on any device. Many of these resources are free and aligned specifically by job titles. Nearly everything we want to know is at our fingertips. This allows employees to learn more quickly and apply their skills more effectively. From Googling an answer to signing up for a webinar to taking an online certification course, technology creates more room for us to grow in our careers.
Data is what helps drive decisions in any company and it creates an opportunity for employees who may not have adequate time outside of work for professional development. The more we learn about new programs and platforms, the more we add to our toolkit of knowledge.
Companies that invest in their employees’ training and education will find they are more engaged and motivated to excel in their roles. Enlist a training curriculum as part of your team’s goals. Align it with their skill level, experience, interests and of course company goals. In many cases, you’ll realize that employees may want to learn about roles outside of their current job scope. This allows for cross-collaboration among teams and the ability to promote or transfer roles within the same organization.
Where Tech is Taking Us
As leaders, we have the power of technology to guide our companies so that we can be more effective and efficient with our time. By tapping into how your employees truly feel, keeping them informed about what’s going on at the company and why it’s important, and offering them the tools they need to succeed, you are supporting their growth. The more employees feel like they are an important part of the team, the more they will become engaged at work.
There are countless ways that technology has shaped us just in the past decade, there’s no telling what the future holds. While a human connection will always be the most powerful, use the tools available to advance you and your company to the next level.