With so many companies in HR technology talking about employee engagement, it’s easy to get confused. Maybe you’re even sick of hearing about employee engagement. That's understandable!
Regardless of whether you’re tired of hearing about it, engagement has entered the C-suite. Consulting giants like Aon are positioning employee engagement at the center of an emerging talent imperative for organizations. That new focus on engagement is turning into action, too. Nearly 3 out of every 4 business executives cite employee engagement as very important to achieving business success.
But as organizations look at operationalizing employee engagement, they’re running into some inevitable barriers. Programs specifically designed to engage employees — like recognition, learning or wellness — are spread across disparate technology solutions and departmental responsibilities. Understanding the current state of engagement is challenging enough, but designing employee engagement strategies that work together toward a common goal have been challenging, to say the least.
Given all that, many organizations are asking themselves a few key questions:
- How do we get a variety of technologies working together to encourage engagement and drive long-term results?
- How do these technologies reach all employees, some of which use multiple devices or have no access to technology during work hours?
- How do we put a strategy in place that pulls together best practices and ultimately helps employees and the organization perform at their best?
In this article, we’re not focusing on why you should care about engagement — you understand that. Instead, we want to focus on the inherent challenges many organizations face when managing different engagement technologies and what you can do to help increase employee engagement across your organization.
Understanding the Variety of Engagement Solutions
It’s no surprise that all of the technology employees encounter and use at work has an effect on engagement. Though key areas such as performance management, compensation, health and wellness, and recognition can all play a role, employee-facing technology that isn’t usually thought of as engagement-related can have an impact on engagement.
For example, ongoing problems with a payroll provider can be pretty disengaging for employees, especially if they’re getting paid the wrong amount or not on time.
In light of this, we want to focus on the holistic ways organizations can improve employee engagement. When it comes down to it, we all need employee engagement activities that focus on how we can affect employees in positive ways.
There are five critical areas for organizations to address if they want to take a holistic, solutions-based approach to employee engagement:
1. Recognition: This should include areas such as service anniversaries, peer-to-peer recognition and performance incentives. Recognition programs acknowledge the contributions every employee makes.
2. Learning: While many organizations have formal learning or training programs, how do you encourage employees to continue learning outside of the classroom? Promoting a learning culture is one of the top ways an organization can engage employees, whether it’s through the use of bite-size micro-learning exercises or gamified learning activities.
3. Wellness and well-being: When employees aren’t healthy, it naturally follows that it will affect work. How can you help employees improve their own personal health in ways that align with recognition and learning initiatives that are already in place?
4. Community involvement: Employees who also engage within their community perform better and are more engaged. Encouraging community involvement can also increase retention, as employees make connections to their community.
5. Surveys and analytics: Finally, how do you understand what does and doesn’t work? Being able to get this information across all of these critical programs quickly and easily can help you adjust your initiatives and increase your results and the value of engagement to the organization.
Naturally, many of these areas interact with one another — in an ideal world, at least. For example, safety and wellness can use elements from recognition and learning to increase retention of knowledge and drive positive results. Surveys and analytics can help unite all of these different programs.
Exploring the Inherent Challenges of Managing Disparate Engagement Solutions
Individually, recognition, learning, well-being, community involvement, and surveys and analytics are all important. But they can be even more powerful when they work together.
That being said, bringing or managing these programs together has inherent challenges. Here are the three largest issues we have seen:
In larger organizations, recognition might fall under compensation. Wellness might fall under benefits. Learning is almost always under a dedicated training and development department. Safety can be under facility management. Surveys often fall under HR operations. For organizations that want to unite technologies used in engagement initiatives, bringing together multiple stakeholders across different parts of the organization is key — and missing from most companies’ current approaches.
One of the issues that all of those silos creates is an alignment issue. How do you get all of your engagement programs working together? For example, if you want to promote workplace safety, how do you align the safety program with the learning employees need to improve, the recognition to encourage continued participation and analytics to understand issues and make adjustments? Even with a simple program, it can be hard to align all your employee engagement activities. And, it can also be challenging to measure the results of these programs across departments and business units.
When you take a closer look at the technology that drives these different initiatives, you’ll find out that many of them don’t “talk” to each other. That’s problematic from a management perspective, but imagine it from your employees’ perspective? One login for a recognition program, another for wellness and then another for learning? And it’s a hassle to administer, too — with password resets and continued support for systems that aren’t being used to their full potential. No wonder participation is so challenging!
All three of these issues are incredibly challenging, but the good news is that things can change.
Opportunities When Consolidating Engagement Technology
Until just a few years ago, you didn’t have a choice: you had to manage these different technologies separately. Even if your goal was to break down silos, create alignment and have your employee engagement strategies operate as a seamless platform, it simply wasn’t possible.
Today, that’s changed. The ability to have your engagement solutions under a single platform is here. But why do you need to unite your engagement solutions?
1. Consistency: Having consistency — a single login and a consistent navigation and user experience — is an enormous benefit, not just for the organization but also for employees, managers, executives, HR, IT and system administrators. Providing a unified platform is the first step toward engaging your employees.
2. Simplicity: A single platform is simple to use and provides one destination for employees to remember. This helps motivate them and raises engagement levels. Whether they want to recognize a peer, get healthier or learn about a new topic or product, they can do it all from a single destination that’s available anywhere they are.
3. Experience: The modern engagement platform also has a better overall user experience that keeps employees engaged over the long term, increases performance, boosts retention and is fun to use. It’s a system that’s designed with the user in mind.
4. Performance: Increase performance of your initiatives and participants. Employees now get an integrated view of engagement programs. Managers and executives can now see the impact across multiple programs and initiatives.
5. Flexibility: While a single platform unites your programs, you don’t lose the opportunity to tailor it to the unique needs of your organization. Your goals and strategies are the key to making it work for everyone in your organization — and you probably need a system that takes that into consideration.
6. Insights: Finally, your analytics can truly measure the full picture of your engagement programs. Get insights across recognition, learning, well-being and more — all in one place, without having to log in to multiple systems or pull out a spreadsheet.
When you bring employee engagement under a single technology umbrella, it creates a better experience for employees and a whole host of benefits for organizations looking to get the most out of their engagement programs. All it takes is the right technology partner to make it a reality.
A Holistic Approach
Employee engagement is important to the most successful companies. They view it as a central strategy, and executives see it as one of the top issues they’re facing. Unifying employee engagement technologies is possible, and the question is no longer “If?” but “When?” Ultimately, companies like yours see the benefits of holistically managing engagement across the entire organization, and companies like Inspirus, can help.