Between emails, WhatsApp, Hangouts, Slack and more, the way we communicate with our co-workers has changed enormously. These technologies have brought the advantages of far greater collaboration among employees, better connection with the disbursed workforce, and easier cross-functional management. However, the challenge of efficient and effective communication persists.
Nick Morgan, who is an American communication expert and a speaking coach, argues that ‘Intent’ is a crucial element for effective and efficient communication. Hence, a face-to-face meeting is always efficient because the intent is easier to communicate. However, we live in a distributed world, and due to the tyranny of distance, communication cannot be restricted to the principle of: The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is via face-to-face conversation.
A Breakfast Roundtable hosted by People Matters and Fountainhead MKTG on “Bridging the communication gap: Designing the right digital strategy to engage employees,” where Thapas Joseph President, Fountainhead Digital MKTG addressed the enabling role of technology in employee communication.
So how do you drive intent, engagement, and efficiency in your current communication strategy?
Make it experiential.
Designing the optimal employee experience was one of the mantras for 2018 and is still a priority for organizations in 2019. Nearly every HR technology solution provider and consulting organization this year were experimenting with design thinking, employee journeys and experiential systems to figure out ways HR can make work more productive and engaging.
According to Jacob Morgan, Founder of Future of Work University and author of ‘Why the Millions We Spend on Employee Engagement Buy Us So Little’, investing in employee experience (experiential technology) will lead to:
5x Employee growth
5x Employee pay
1x Average revenue
2x Average profit
8x Revenue per employee
4x Profit per employee
Which brings us to the two top trends in experiential technology:
Gamification in HR is the application of game thinking and mechanics in corporate environment and processes, mainly in recruitment, training & development and employee engagement. It uses the elements of games like fun, play, design, competition and addiction which carry a desire for achievement, status, rewards and self-expression.
A gamified technology facilitates:
- Systems of rewards, for example, badges or points
- Opportunities for collaborative problem solving
- Opportunities for social connection and competition
- Scaffolded learning with increasing challenges
- Virtual environments & augmented reality:
Virtual and augmented reality opens a new realm of possibilities for creating engaging experiences. When it comes to learning and onboarding, a virtual environment usually refers to an online platform that lets software developers build simulations. The purpose of these virtual environment apps can vary greatly: factory workers might need to know how to operate complex machinery at the assembly line. Safety training is another such application. With the increased demand on safety managers to keep new and existing workers up-to-date on safety needs and requirements, virtual reality have broadened the tools available for safety experts and manufacturers to engage and increasingly diverse workforce and impart safety trainings.
Challenges in implementation:
Digital reality technologies are rapidly changing the way we work and communicate. As these technologies become more ubiquitous, the world of communication, engagement, and collaboration are waking up to the infinite possibilities of incorporating these technologies into the employee experience.
However, during the roundtable discussion, the critical challenge highlighted with implementing technologies was not their adoption but “ROI and decreasing shelf life.”
ROI is not only measured in terms of productivity, but also in terms of its ability to make the company progress or evolve. For this, it is best to analyze all the processes done manually and see which ones can be automated. This way we can plan and decide on how to use the resources in terms of manpower freed up from these time-consuming processes in tasks of higher value to the company.
Transitioning to more technologically advanced tools is a change from the traditional definition of “human touch,” but the change doesn’t have to be negative. New technology keeps human relationships strong through digital connections. When tools are properly integrated into the digital workplace, many employees feel more connected with colleagues – not less. There are more opportunities for interaction, which ultimately increases engagement levels.