Successful executives who hope to remain successful know they must prioritize employee relations. Whether they are new staffers or seasoned managers, employees who don’t feel engaged inevitably become disengaged.
The latest Gallup report of U.S. Employee Engagement found that slightly more than a third of those surveyed described themselves as engaged in their jobs. About half said they were not engaged and the remaining 13 percent were “actively disengaged.”
With so many disconnected, effective management is impossible.
Years ago, it might have been enough for corporate policy and employee relations to be summarized in a pamphlet. Now, with the current pace of change, understanding how employee engagement is constantly evolving and must be regularly addressed is an essential function of companies of any size. Even with our seismic shift to artificial intelligence for automating processes and engaging with customers, employees remain the heart and soul of our companies.
Ironically, but not surprisingly, technology now offers some of the best ways for positive and productive employee engagement. Here are three vehicles to help accomplish this while making in-house communication more efficient and effective.
1. The Power of Video
With the ease of capturing video on phones and sharing it on social media, video accounts for a growing portion of everyday communication. With its integration of words, images and sound, it commands our attention and prevents distraction better than written text. Compare a training video with a training manual and you get the idea.
For this article, I include both “recorded” messaging and “live streaming” as video. Both are important, with one offering direct, real-time engagement and one allowing taped interviews, archival images and research to be edited together for greater impact. Of course, combining them, such using recorded video within a conference call, can add to the impact.
Video is a powerful tool, particularly as the U.S. remote workforce continues to grow. Remote work is a trend that was strongly increasing even before the pandemic, amounting to 5.3% of the U.S. workforce. The pandemic accelerated this shift, when that number increased to 42% or about eight times pre-pandemic levels, according to a Stanford University study. As we transition back to the office, multiple studies show most remote workers want to maintain remote work to some degree.
Therefore, the use of online streaming and recorded video have become essential to staying current with workers. Virtually every employee has a computer at their work station and if not, they have a smartphone. So, a communication network already exists. Bearing in mind the real danger of security breaches and the need to safeguard sensitive information, this remains a tremendous tool for uniting your workforce.
You’ll find many ways to engage, but I’ll suggest just one area: sharing credit for your success and recognizing team or individual accomplishments. Studies show that more than 40 percent of workers cite a lack of recognition as a major contributor to their unhappiness at work.
There are many ways for your company to establish peer-to-peer recognition, and using video can be a cornerstone of your program. Work with your HR leadership to see how this can help bring a new positive attitude to your company.
2. Social Media Platforms
Video leads us to corporate social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter as well as private social network platforms like Workplace. Corporate social media, when used effectively, can extend beyond platforms for knowledge-sharing and recruitment. It can help boost employee engagement and communication.
Set company-wide expectations as well as clear boundaries. Be sure to educate your employees on how social media posts can help the company or undermine it. It’s important that employees understand what types of content are against company policy, so having a written social media policy is essential.
When it comes to recognizing employee successes, social media platforms as well as in-house blogs offer tremendous opportunities.
3. Mobile Apps
Technology is always improving, and mobile applications are becoming more popular by the hour. In fact, most of your employees regularly engage with apps on their smartphones for everything from reading news to ordering food delivery. Many companies are turning to apps as an internal communications platform, integrating video, phone, instant messaging and collaborative work environments into one space. They tout these apps as critical for streamlining internal communication, daily operations and good teamwork.
Many of these mobile work environments allow managers to deploy updates, get feedback, give well-timed employee recognition, distribute content to promote interactions and track employee engagement.
In the end, technology provides a means to better engage your workforce and help them feel part of a corporate community working towards a shared goal.