Employee engagement has been a buzzword in leadership circles for years. It is indeed a worthwhile quest for companies And why not? Engaged employees result in higher productivity, profitability, lower turn-over rate, lower safety incidents and so on So it is no surprise that companies have been chasing the elusive employee engagement mirage in several ways.
Companies try to use various tools to address engagement – from collaboration tools to survey tools to volunteering to recognition to giving software. Some companies aspire to create a single ecosystem where employees can collaborate, some create recognition and rewards; almost all measure engagement year on year and so on. All these solutions certainly offer tantalizing glimpses at solving the employee engagement puzzle.
And these are exactly what they are – tantalizing glimpses to explain the big elephant. To understand the entire animal, let’s start with the definition of employee engagement.
Employee engagement is the intellectual and emotional connection an employee has to their company.
Employees are complex, as most humans are. There are several aspects to satisfying an employee. Anywhere from compensation and benefits to career to tools to work environment to the company brand. What is important for one employee might not float another’s boat. What one person finds exhilarating, the other person finds totally annoying. What one person can’t get enough of, another can’t run away from fast enough.
This makes it really complicated to engage people effectively.
How can you engage people by customizing to their needs without having an army on staff doing so? No wonder why several of us take these approaches to handle employee engagement problem.
- What problem?
- Address pieces of the problem, leaving big areas unanswered
- Prioritize engagement activities lower than business tasks where deadlines loom close
- Solve the issue for a few people and leave the rest dissatisfied
- Do an engagement survey, analyze it like there is no tomorrow, create task forces to address issue and then have to push to the back of the desk when other business priorities kick in.
I should know – been there, done that!
So now we can understand why employees start to get a little confused, overwhelmed or even grow skeptical about engagement?
To solve this, we need to understand the entire elephant to understand it, rather than to try to solve for the parts we can see. We need a holistic solution that is easy to implement, easy to use and just a little fun and competitive.
Let’s see what who we can draw inspiration from. Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon.
Look at any of the Social media platforms today. No matter how busy people are, most are more than happy to engage through social media. The camaraderie, social recognition, ability to voice your opinion, ask for feedback – all of this adds into the why employees would be happy to engage.
Now add Mobile to it. You engage when you want to – or even better, when it’s top of mind for employees. How often do we forget to go back to our desk and remember to put in that nice recognition request for someone. What if we are able to do it right when we are thinking about it? Voila- mobile comes in handy !
All this is great! But all that noise from social media is sometimes overwhelming and distracting! It is easy to get lost in the details. Do we really know how our actions help or hinder us- do we know what people are thinking at any given time, the ability to change direction based on feedback, the ability to predict what people might be interested in the future – without the boredom of repetition? Yes Analytics takes care of all of those predicaments. We can define our own success and continuously make inroads towards getting there with data, analytics and eventually AI. .
And Cloud – makes it super scalable, secure, available and easy to implement in any parts of the organization with ease.
Yes, this is what SMAC can do for engagement. It is a virtuous cycle of action, interaction and feedback loop that grows with the changing needs of the company. Letting employees be masters of their engagement destiny.
Leveraging technology to make it easy for managers and HR to engage employees
Making empowerment purposeful and meaningful for employees – trending away from eye-rolls to enthusiasm.
Making it easy to connect the workforce to the reason why they stay working at the same place year on year – not just for a paycheck- but for job fulfillment.
Using technology to enhance human interaction – not replace it
Imagine if your company had the power of Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon behind them, how you could engage your employees with your company’s mission and goals!
#SMAC for employee engagement