There are several macro trends currently affecting the workforce. Whether employee or employer, everyone is trying to negotiate post pandemic working. From hybrid roles, phrases like ‘quiet quitting’ and ‘the great resignation’, to the cost-of-living crisis, and a brand-new generation of workers entering offices. These factors are impacting employee engagement and are changing the workplace irrevocably, from employee expectations, employer pressures, and evolving working patterns.
Innovation Analyst, Robyn Wilson has spent the last three months diving into the world of employee engagement and has identified four key workplace areas that can be enhanced through innovation to improve retention, engagement and output.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement refers to the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their places of work. The recent years have been tough, for employers and employees and this mental and emotional strength is being tested.
If employees don’t feel supported by their workplace it can have a significant impact on the overall success of the company. A recent Gallup poll suggested that businesses with disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity, and 15% lower profitability.
There are various factors that impact what is the best way to engage employees, including company culture, the number of employees and the sector in which the company operates. Taking the time to build a comprehensive employee engagement strategy, however, can bring many benefits to an organisation including increased retention, higher productivity, and less stress and burn-out for employees. Having engaged employees encourages them to provide a better customer experience ultimately leading to a better brand reputation and increased profits.
Task Management and Productivity
These are tools that help employees to track, manage and execute tasks more effectively. They include platforms Quorso and Yoobic which support employees with prioritising and classifying tasks, providing feedback, and monitoring sales productivity.
By leverage AI and predictive monitoring to make smart suggestions, these platforms reduce the workload on managers, but they also benefit employees my managing everyday productivity.
Training and Development
There are a wealth of learning and development platforms, such as Disprz, that allow employees to upskill and work towards Key Performance Indicators. Training and development programs are one of the top benefits sought after by employees - 76% of employees say that a company would be more appealing if it offered additional skills training to its staff, and 94% of employees stated that they would stay within a company for longer if there were training opportunities available.
Having a robust training and development program can benefit organisations in multiple ways, from onboarding, skills alignment, and employee innovation. According to the American Society for Training and Development, companies that offer formalised training increase profitability per employee by 218%.
Coaching and Mentoring
Coaching and mentoring platforms that connect employees across all areas of the business to encourage shared learning and communication are powerful ways to lead a team, with the goal of helping others grow.
Mentoring creates an informal association between the mentor and mentee and is typically focused on the overall development of the mentee, with a focus on long-term career growth and development. Platforms like Together sit in this space.
Coaching follows a more structured and formal approach and is usually focused on achieving a specific goal, such as improving performance in a particular area or preparing for a specific event. Hintsa, a Finnish platform which was founded in 2009 has seen success in this space.
Beyond improving work-based skills and performance, employers should be empowering employees to own the best version of themselves in all aspects of life. In an environment where the workforce is experiencing higher burn-out than ever before providing workers with the tools to help them feel their best can help reduce turnover and raise productivity.
Employee empowerment can be achieved through a variety of ways – mental, physical, financial, lifestyle and career support. Increased focus on wellness over recent years has seen many employers provide benefits such as reduced gym memberships, mental health app subscriptions and enhanced health insurance. Platforms like meQuilibrium and our portfolio brand Unmind, sit in this space.
In an age where fresh fruit in the office and a decent pension contribution are a standard, the above areas provide a good diving board to encourage further workforce engagement. Each offers a range of benefits to employees from practical tools that support in day-to-day productivity to wellness-related platforms that can help employees feel more motivated inside and outside of work.
All these areas have seen innovation in the last few years in the form of technology tools that can help ease of implementation and uptake across an organisation.
Having the right tools can help reduce employee burnout and stress and increase job confidence.