The value of engaged employees is undeniable. According to Dale Carnegie, companies with engaged employees outperform their non-engaged counterparts by 202 percent, yet 45 percent of the workforce is disengaged.
If you’re ready to engage employees, improving productivity and office morale, you’re in luck. You already have the most valuable tool at your fingertips: technology. Consider how these ideas, from investing in collaboration software to boosting meetings with fun gadgets, can drive engagement in your organization.
Invest in a Collaboration Tool
Collaboration is one of the many buzzwords floating around the business world, but it’s much more than that. It’s one of the most critical aspects of a successful company. A recent Nielsen report found that when ideas were developed by groups of three or more people, they had 156 percent greater appeal to consumers than ideas developed by teams, “where just one or two people have played a hands-on role.” Image by rawpixel sourced from unsplash
Still, collaboration itself doesn’t necessarily boost engagement. Not everyone excels in a group environment. When you bring technology into the equation, however, you encourage collaboration in an environment they’re familiar with. This is especially valuable during the onboarding process, when you want to make employees comfortable and introduce them to the team without pushing too much at once.
Here at Xero & WorkflowMax, we use Slack to communicate with our globally distributed team. Not only do employees follow company wide channels for major notices, and team/project specific channels for multinational collaboration, we’re able self select fun and engaging channels that span the work/life genre and get office specific updates. Slack channels at Xero vary from “All Xero Announcements” to “Auckland Donut Dates”, from “Xero Pets” to “WorkflowMax Product Roadmap”. Whether it be for teams to better collaborate on projects or to build office buy in, a collaboration tool is well worth investing in.
Example of Slack in use at Xero/WorkflowMax
Elena Carstoiu, Hubgets COO and Co-founder, explains: “I think that the transfer of company knowledge is the biggest gain in building a collaborative work environment with the help of technology. New employees get to learn the ropes of their new job faster than ever because the technology provides them with instant access to work information while helping them bond with the team."
In this way, you drive engagement from day one, which sets an important precedent for the rest of their time with your company.
Build Technology Into Meetings
All-hands or mandatory company meetings are not exciting for most employees, despite how interesting they are to you. Make engagement the focus of all meetings by building technology into the equation.
Start by taking the presentation up a notch, including videos, gifs and memes, all of which will help keep the attention of your employees, many of whom are likely millennials. Don’t forget to set up a live stream for any remote employees and have the everyone shout a welcoming “Hello!” to start the meeting with engagement. You could also use a tool like Poll Everywhere to bring real-time polling to the meeting. When everyone has the app installed, you simply pose the question and employees can answer and watch responses show up live on whatever screen you’re using. Image by Xero sourced from @sidneymaestre
To get real techy, check out GadgetFlow’s list of 10 Gadgets That Make Modern Board Meetings More Fun, including digital whiteboard desks, a spotlight remote and more.
Gamify, Gamify, Gamify
Gamification may not be as hot of a topic in the business world as it was a few years ago, but many businesses have seen improved productivity and engagement when implemented. The value is in the mix of psychology and technology, the psychology being the various principles in gaming that motivate “players” and keep them engaged, including:
You can bring these principles, paired with the right technology tools, into nearly every area of your business. For example, you may host a hackathon for your development team, 63 percent of which prefer that 50 to 80 percent of their training be hands-on, according to the 2018 Developer Learning Survey. Hackathons are the definition of an engaging, gamified experience and provide hands-on experiences that this team needs.
Perhaps you use similar principals to motivate the sales team. You could have a digital sales thermometer for the team and one for each employee; this drives friendly competition and therefore engagement.
Two important aspects of engagement is overall office morale and employee happiness. When employees are forced to work with old, clunky laptops, or required to use a company Blackberry, chances are good they’re not happy. This is where Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) comes in.
“At the end of the day, BYOD can make work life a whole lot more fun for employees, who are able to break free from the shackles of Excel and the like and actually exact enjoyment from the tasks they’re performing,” says Rob Shone, contributor for Engage Me.
Image by Lily Rum sourced from Unsplash
This ends up having a snowball effect, as Shone explains: “If the computing experience becomes more pleasant, so too does the work, which means you’re likely to see your employees putting in more time and feeling a whole lot better about it too.”
Use these seven tips from CIO if you plan to encourage BYOD in your organization.
Implement an Employee Recognition Tool
One of the easiest ways to drive engagement, while improving the business overall, is to recognize the achievement of employees: “Recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement, but it also has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention,” according to Gallup. While saying, “Good job,” may not seem that hard, in our digital world, technology can make it even easier—and more fun.
In many cases, employee recognition tools integrate the features of gamification (badges, leaderboards and rewards), which encourages employees to use the tool more often. Within this type of platform, employees can send cards, “high-fives,” personalized notes and in many cases, post public kudos so everyone in the organization can see. Image by Rawpixel sourced from Unsplash
Boost Employee Engagement With Tech
We’re surrounded by technology every day, especially in the office. Use it to do more than produce reports and design products. With the right tools, technology will keep employees engaged every single day, whether they’re in a meeting or just got off a challenging customer call. Find the tools that fit your company culture and see what works and what doesn’t.