Technology is driving the way our businesses evolve and grow. Organizations can get so focused on how to improve their customer retention and grow revenue, it can be easy for them to under-invest in technology that can be devoted to retaining and growing their employee base.
When it comes to keeping your employees engaged and finding ways to evaluate their performance, utilizing the available technology will make organizations more efficient and ultimately more successful.
Technology for Employee Engagement:
- Use APIs: In order to keep employees engaged in your business, you can’t have them communicating on disparate systems. When different teams and departments use different systems to communicate it can lead to mistakes and frustration. If you are facing this issue, APIs can streamline user processes and increase efficiency by connecting your systems.
While APIs do connect and collect data sources for ease of access, it’s not all they can do. They can also provide analysis and predict outcomes, allowing your organization to revamp its processes.
For example, there are programs like Catalog API that can create tailored incentives based on your company’s unique workforce profile with rewards from more than 35 international suppliers. Offering this kind of variety will lead to increased loyalty and engagement as employees get rewards that are important to them.
- Gamification: The Millennial workforce and Generation Z are more concerned than any other generation with what their work will provide for them specifically. Gamification is the best way for this younger workforce to feel accomplished with after their daily routine.
Other programs for employee engagement will have limited results if it's tedious or doesn't demonstrate benefits to its users. Try motivating your employees to beat a deadline or complete a mundane assignment by playing a game! Gamification rewards encourage staff to have fun and helps reduce stress, all while building social networks when they work.
Gamification apps can also be useful when it comes to training, particularly with millennials and Gen Z. These apps can encourage younger workers to meet deadlines and pick up new skills while creating a stress-free social atmosphere.
- Career and Personal Development: Career and personal development tools are another way HR technology is leading the way to improve employee engagement. Along with personal impact, Millennials are also supremely concerned with career development and personal growth.
Most employees fail to engage when they think their daily tasks are not connected to their potential for growth. Losing sight of this will lead to long-term disengagement and ultimately the loss of that employee. Turnover is a costly affair, so keeping these employees is critical to the overall health of the company.HR technology tools that focus on career pathing like ProSky can offer growth platforms for employees to track their career path and measure their skill gaps against specific role qualifications. This allows them to map out where they are within the organization and what is expected of them in order to move up the corporate ladder. Employees can even track multiple paths if their mind is not made up as to where exactly they see themselves in the next 2-5 years.
Technology for Employee Evaluation:
Even though there is plenty of research that shows time and time again the need for organizations to recognize their employees in order to inspire great work, many still fall short. Employee evaluation and recognition software can give business owners and managers the performance insights they need from across the organization.
Evaluation programs lead to further insights into what employees like, how they interact with each other and their overall satisfaction with their organization. All these factors contribute to a more efficient evaluation and recognition program.
Just like with engagement, millennials are driving the conversation around evaluation and recognition. Younger employees want constant feedback in order to improve - not once every couple of months or only at yearly reviews.
- Use it to improve communication: There are many purpose-built tools that can you can look at to help ensure the communication actually happens and is effective. While the number of options may be overwhelming, know that each is built to encourage regular dialog and should ultimately promote a culture shift within your organization towards constant feedback.
This communication goes both ways too, so employees need to feel safe to share their thoughts; it’s up to employers to pick the right technology and introduce it in a way that clarifies its intent.
Impraise is a great example of a platform that aims to involve all members of an organization in frequent or daily conversations to provide feedback and encouragement. Teammates and managers alike can encourage their colleagues or course correct behaviors if they are determined to be detrimental. They encourage real-time feedback, Workday, Glint, and 15five are other options that deserve a look.
- Focus more on collaboration: HR professionals should focus on technology that lets their managers and employees collaborate with one another during the performance-review process. The Society for Human Resource Management states:
90 percent of HR professionals believe that a combination of feedback from an employee’s manager as well as others in an organization creates a more accurate picture of employee performance.
Obtaining feedback from an individual’s manager is important but it is also only one perspective. To get a full view of how an employee is performing one should always talk to their co-workers as well. Featherlight, for example, is a platform that helps employers manage performance in real time, schedule one-on-one meetings, provide continuous learning to employees all in an effort to improve workplace communication and productivity.
- Improve real-time feedback: Consistent, timely feedback is important because it ensures employees receive feedback when they need it, not after the fact. They can then make changes in real time, cutting back on lingering mistakes and growing their skills faster. But, according to the SHRM, only 2 percent of employers perform ongoing performance reviews.
For employees to reach their highest potential, they need to receive timely feedback. Tools like ReviewSnap can help ensure employee reviews are completed at the proper intervals and help foster worker engagement. Globoforce is another recognition tool that builds a strong employee culture through giving thanks and recognition to one another within the company. The technology collects crowd-sourced recognition data, which shows an employee's impact across the entire organization.
Regardless of the technology you choose to guide your HR directives, it's essential that your employees are at the center of any new program. There is no magic application or technology that can guarantee a motivated or engaged workforce. An organization's culture is the sum of its parts, and any disconnect between the actions of leaders and the organization's vision will undermine the benefits of technology for employee engagement and evaluation.
The technologies we discussed will without a doubt help companies with their HR directives, but keep in mind that ultimately, it’s all about your people and clear communication.
Brian Thomas is a contributor to Enlightened Digital, long-distance cyclist, and lifelong advocate for women in business from Philadelphia. Tech and business are my lifeblood, but I’m also a fanatic of brewpubs and just about every sports team in Philadelphia.