down the drain
Poor employee engagement results in lower productivity, higher turnover and wasted effort PHOTO: David Blackwell.

One of the biggest challenges a business faces is keeping employees engaged. Research shows companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202 percent.

Failure to keep employees engaged has long term negative effects. Studies show 33 percent of new hires look for a new job within their first six months and 23 percent move on before the end of their first year.

How can companies prevent a productivity-sapping revolving door? 

Retain the Brightest and the Best

Start by understanding how employees’ expectations around work have changed and then create a digital environment that keeps every employee engaged and productive throughout their entire journey within their company.

In part one of this series, I explored how to use digital processes to seamlessly onboard new staff and create a winning first impression. At that stage, most new employees are engaged and eager to dive in and contribute. 

But positive impressions could fade fast if companies don’t use digital processes to support modern ways of working and employee productivity at every step.

Mobility and remote access make up just the tip of the iceberg of the changing workforce. Employees — and not just millennials — now do more to shape a company culture than the leadership. 

In order to feel engaged, they need to feel enthusiastic about both their work and the company they work for, and have confidence that their daily work experience enables them to perform optimally in their roles.

4 Tenets of a Digital Workplace Strategy

Businesses should consider digital processes that deliver an intuitive, fun-to-use digital platform to empower workers to stay productive, enable them to work from anywhere and fully immerse them in the company culture.

Here are four considerations for building a digital workplace strategy:

1. Enable Anytime-Anywhere Interaction

Work is no longer a place. Employees want the ability to interact with the company and customers anytime, anywhere with the same simplicity they’re familiar with from using personal apps and devices.

Being mobile can actually enhance collaboration, such as getting a colleague to authorize a contract in the moment and/or making final tweaks on a presentation while traveling. The right tools are imperative to ensuring work isn’t inhibited because workers are using a mobile device or are away from their desks.

2. Provide Employees with a One-Stop Shop

Today’s workers want to self-select the tools and technology they favor and are familiar with, which is flipping old IT models on their heads. Employers should not only provide one-stop shopping but also change the products or services offered over time based on user ratings and feedback.

3. Empower Workers to Get Answers Quickly

Companies should use technology to empower employees in taking action to problem-solve and get answers. One simple example is self-service.

In the past, when users had a problem, they had to contact a service desk or submit a ticket and then wait for someone to take action. In the digital workplace, employees must be able to do their work effortlessly without missing a beat. 

Technology should support employees in getting quick answers through a knowledge base on a mobile app, get an issue resolved quickly and access services immediately. Also consider ways to automatically tailor content by job role and curate it based on popularity.

4. Foster Team and Company Spirit

The above digital strategies are empowering, but employees also want to be part of something special. There’s a human desire to be part of a team that’s making a mark. 

Consumer-oriented technology can help foster an engaging culture that retains talent, such as bringing in internal collaboration tools that mimic social media channels.

For employees to feel woven into the fabric of a company and supported to do their best work every day over several years, companies must develop strategies that place them at the heart of the corporate digital experience. It might sound daunting, but the important factor is focusing on employee trends and needs. 

Listen to them, understand their challenges and what’s critical for their work. Then tackle solutions incrementally with people-centric digital strategies that create long-term value for engaged employees, starting from the moment of hire and consistently through their (hopefully long) tenures.