Leaders around the US and abroad have been finding it harder and harder to keep employees engaged. Gallup did the research and reported that only 12% of employees worldwide feel engaged at work, and that number takes a slight bump to 33% when you look at the US by itself. Employee engagement is crucial to the bottom line for businesses—it affects turnover, shrinkage, sales, and overall profitability. Thank goodness Silicon Valley brings us three major pieces of technology to increase employee engagement.
Video Conferencing for Collaboration
Let’s face it—with the number of technology advancements over the last decade, physically working in the office has become less and less of a necessity. This delocalization from the office has allowed for companies to grow teams in different parts of the world inexpensively and efficiently. But with this added flexibility comes some drawbacks, it’s easy to discount the value of face-to-face interactions. If 55% of communication is body language, you can be certain that 100% of what you mean won’t be translated accurately over a phone call. Employees could be saying “I totally get it” but their body language looks like this “ ¯_(ツ)_/¯.” Video conferencing is a must-have for any company with multiple offices and/or remote employees.
What do you think many conferencing platforms in the industry lack? Chances are many professionals simply want a seamless experience. Is that too much to ask? Unlike many other platforms, Highfive brings together a unique blend of top notch software and hardware, wirelessly connecting to any computer, in your office or at home—making set up for conference calls easy and quick. This helps employees feel like they are all in the same room, even if they are 10,000 miles away. Not only can remote teams look like they’re in the same room, but they also sound like they’re in the same room—thanks to audio powered by Dolby Voice that pick up 360 degree sound. Ensuring that employees working from other offices or even their home office feel like they aren’t missing out is key to building employee engagement. When virtual meeting rooms no longer feel like they’re virtual, the next step is utilizing a tool that creates effective project communication.
Project Management Tools
Emails in a growing business can stack, sometimes into a seemingly endless pile. This often clogs basic communication channels. An employee may simply need to ask a quick clarifying question, the entire project re-explained, or reminded of which initiatives take priority. These, sometimes yes or no, questions can leave employees idle for entire work days waiting on email replies. So how do we transform the purpose of emails to be more focused on back-and-forth conversations and memos? Project management tools are a great way to provide the necessary service of housing all projects that individual employees and the company as a whole are doing, along with details involved in said projects.
One of our favorites PM tools––that we couldn’t be a bigger fan of––is Freedcamp. No one wants to be a micromanager, but not setting clear expectation can be just as bad. Freedcamp helps to facilitate the happy medium that is very difficult to attain otherwise. When managing a team or being a team member it’s important to keep an eye on the bigger picture, this tool keeps track of all the stakeholders on any given project. The larger a company gets the more senior staff can’t be directly involved in every part of a project. To help ease this, tasks can be broken down into smaller subtasks making it easy to know what needs to be done at all times. Freedcamp offers unlimited users and tasks, each task has its comment box so discussion are immediately more contextual.
Employee Feedback Surveys or Employee Engagement and Happiness
“Praise makes you feel good, critique makes you better.” – Anonymous
At the end of the day, purchasing new tools can make life easier, but to improve organizations based on feedback is imperative. Truly beneficial feedback has to be injected at the company culture level. The goal is to create an evaluation loop that drives change, where valuable feedback from employees leads to positive changes—which in turn, makes feedback easier to give and the feedback process more natural. The quarterly review has long since been outmoded. In the three months of waiting to hear from dissatisfied employees, they may already be looking for a new job where the company culture is more what they are looking for.
Though feedback is important, it isn’t always easy to ask for. QuestionPro aims to non-invasively become part of company’s work week through easy to implement surveys. All companies want to improve but you can’t improve what you aren’t measuring. Pulse Surveys, short often one question long surveys, are a great way to make feedback part of the company culture. These surveys should be sent daily for more day-to-day feedback, such as on specific projects, or weekly for more general feedback on overall happiness or workload. Its also important that management gets feedback on their interactions within the organization—from not just their bosses, but multiple angles. Interaction with subordinates, peers, and managers aren’t the same, QuestionPro’s 360 Reviews takes all of this into consideration along with a self-assessment. Gathering these data are essential to making improvements to your business.
Its obvious that we still have a long way to improving employee engagement. However, the good news is there’s technology coming to the rescue. These three innovations and others entering the market will play a large role in changing workplaces for employees, HR professionals, and business leaders.
Mickey Odunikan is Digital Marketing Specialist at QuestionPro, a global leader in online survey software based in San Mateo, CA.