Business leaders know that healthy employee engagement leads to better business outcomes. That’s because employees who are engaged in their work tend to treat it as more than just a job. They strive to do their best when they feel valued and recognized for doing so. So as a team leader, improving employee engagement should be one of your top priorities. However, doing so isn’t always straightforward.
Because employee engagement is often directly tied to internal feelings of validation, it’s something you can’t force. Rather, you should focus on using tools and strategies that create an engaging work environment. These days, some of the best workplaces leverage innovative technologies that align with company goals to the benefit of their employees. Read on to learn about three ways you can incorporate technology into your leadership strategy to improve employee engagement.
1. Get Everyone on the Same Page
Organizations struggle to operate at peak performance when the teams that comprise them do not communicate effectively. Ineffectual communication is a disease that plagues many modern companies, and it has two relatively straightforward causes. First, teams become disparate and siloed when they lack strategic alignment. If teams don’t share an overarching mission, values, and objectives, they can’t work toward common goals. Second, without adequate avenues for communication, misunderstanding and confusion take root.
It is essential, then, for leaders to establish a company vision and implement and maintain lines of communication that convey it effectively. On a macro scale, leaders can share that vision and strategy at company-wide meetings, retreats, and other events. On a smaller scale, teams can work harmoniously toward their respective objectives by using workflow and messaging software. By aligning strategic vision and daily communications, these tools remove the barriers between employees and what they’ve been hired to do: their work.
2. Gamify Workflow
There’s a reason you’ve likely heard the term “gamification” thrown around more and more over the last decade: it works. Gamification is the process of creating a system of rules and rewards to structure workflow objectives in engaging ways. Good gamification offers employees rewards that are actually appealing for work that is appropriately challenging. Not only does gamification provide an external reward, but it also gives an employee a sense of internal validation and gratification. Truly great gamified systems, like great leadership, adapt to the needs of the teams that they serve.
A classic form of gamification that is effective for many businesses is rewarding a salesperson with a percentage commission on a sale. However, modern customer relationship management platforms enable you to reward smaller workflow wins as well. For example, you might reward a sales agent with a warm lead for every 20 cold calls they make.
But be careful: by nature, most people will avoid taking a chance if it could result in a negative result. So the key is to structure your gamification efforts so they reward achievement without punishing failure. When done correctly, gamification of team workflows creates powerful incentives that naturally encourage employee engagement.
3. Incorporate Lifestyle Adaptations
The decision to adopt a new technology typically comes down to a cost-benefit analysis. However, whether that technology will foster employee engagement is an all-too-often neglected aspect of that assessment. That needs to change.
More than ever, employees want to work at companies that allow them greater control over their own lifestyles. For many employees these days, that means working from home, especially since the pandemic. Such a lifestyle is also more possible than ever, with plentiful videoconferencing, instant messaging, and workflow platforms on the market. These tech aids enable team collaboration to continue — even to improve — regardless of where individual employees happen to be sitting.
If your employees are clamoring to make COVID-driven WFH arrangements permanent, it’s in your best interests to not only permit but facilitate that. Provide employees a stipend to upgrade the tech in their home office setups, if you haven’t already. Employees will be more engaged in weekly Zoom meetings if they’re seeing co-workers on a large, high-resolution monitor rather than a dinky laptop screen. And digital technologies aren’t the only kind worth considering for your remote employees. Sit-stand desks are another technology you can use to improve your employees’ quality of life.
Your Efforts Matter
One of the challenges of improving employee engagement is that there’s no guarantee that what you do will be successful. A meaningful increase in engagement is something that comes from the spirit of your employees. You can’t simply force your employees to “engage more.” That will only create a hollow facsimile of a truly healthy environment. And to neglect the spirit of the people who work for you is to lose them in the long run.
Rather, what you can do is construct your work environment and practices to foster engagement as much as possible. Clarify and align your organization’s vision, underpinning it with collaborative technologies that improve your employees’ communications and workflow. Then add supportive technologies that enhance their quality of life.
People are smart, and they’ll notice the difference between a good place to work and a mediocre one. Employees who like their workplace tend to dedicate themselves and their efforts to it without reservation. Achieving this is a tall order, but dedicating your resources to improving employee engagement can dramatically increase the quality and longevity of your business.
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