An engaged employee not only offers the potential to positively affect employee retention, productivity and loyalty, it is also a key link to customer satisfaction, company reputation, and overall stakeholder value. However, with the changing employee milieu, the traditional employee engagement model may not deliver the desired outcomes.
Large scale transformations using technologies and tools often require tedious steps that can hamper workflows rather than enhance them. Today’s generation enjoys a consumer-forward comfort in their personal lives – clicks and swipes delivering an uber-tech experience. When they operate in the workplace, they expect the same. It is high time that organizations stand up to these employee expectations and deliver a seamless and intuitive user experience by leveraging new-age technologies. Below are some of the tech areas to look at, to drive employee engagement:
- Recruitment: The employee experience begins even before the employee joins the organization. A well-designed ATS (Applicant Tracking System) plays a strong role in building employee loyalty and belongingness early-on, through robust recruitment and onboarding focus. E-induction can help bring new employees up to speed in their respective roles. New and existing employees are often the best propagators of the employee experience and high engagement levels of new joiners can work wonders in building a strong employer brand.
- Employee productivity: Employees today juggle multiple roles and responsibilities, and software can help accelerate their productivity. HR must make the shift from archaic systems and build robust technological tools to streamline people processes. Data and analytics-led ERP that helps managers and employees plan and align their tasks, manage their teams, and track their progress are a must-have.
- Internal communications: Seamless and clear communication is a harbinger of employee motivation and goes hand-in-hand with productivity. This may not fall entirely in the gamut of HR tech, but open communication channels both virtual and offline play a primary role in engaging employees. Some ideas that HR can think of are leaders-speak podcasts/video conferences, internal social media sites, and online contest platforms.
- Learning and development: Organizations are fast moving beyond the traditional desktop-led LMS (Learning Management System) to more fluid modes of organizational learning. As the onus of learning increasingly sits with the employees, designing and deploying multi-device, multi-format learning media and learning content is critical to employee success. HR platforms related to mobile learning, gamification, microlearning, etc.. must be explored to create a learning pull.
- Performance management and career paths: As we move away from the annual performance appraisal process to real-time performance assessment, the traditional PMS systems need to adapt to changing needs. Modern-day PMS platforms must enable real-time assessment through regular check-ins, 360-degree feedback, coaching and mentoring. It should also have features to integrate career paths, so that employees are empowered to drive their own career growth, with the right performance insights and opportunities. The right choice of PMS systems can help uphold the transparency of performance communication, which in turn makes employees feel more accountable and involved.
- Total rewards: No single benefits stack fits everyone when it comes to compensation and benefits, thanks to the diversity quotient. Employees want choice and flexibility, hence rewards platforms must allow employees to participate in their rewards decisions. For example, a platform that offers employees a basket of benefits from where they can pick and choose what suits them as per their life stage, career stage, personal and lifestyle preferences would be exceptional. This transparency should extend to recognition as well. Many organizations are seen implementing virtual recognition platforms, where employees can provide one another recognition in real-time.
- Wellbeing and wellness: The pandemic brought to the forefront the need for employee wellness on all fronts i.e. physical, mental, social, financial, and spiritual. HR must realise that employees today bring their entire selves to work and hence must take measures to uphold their wellbeing. A number of employee apps and tools can help encourage this and also bring employees to believe that the organization cares for them.
- Data and analytics: Much of the above HR processes can be brought to life only when HR tech is mapped with advanced data analytics capabilities. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, predictive analytics are no longer mere buzzwords. They have the power to enable HR and business managers to make better decisions for business growth. Be it reporting dashboards or AI-led learning tools, the field is wide open to realize technology-led gains.
Designing and implementing the right HR technology is just the first step. The real challenge lies in sustaining this change and realizing business results from it. For this, it is important that HR professionals start building digital and tech skills by understanding the impact of technology on business. HR leaders must first invest in upskilling themselves on new-age technologies, only then will they be able to build a solid business case and take upon the desired HR technology transformation through ongoing leadership buy-in.
This article is part of a series on preparing for a flexible future of work in partnership with Zimyo.