It is easy for companies to concentrate on Business-to-Business or Business-to-Customer communications.  It is easy to talk about what the business “does”.  However it is also easy for a company to forget about the largest dollar line item on the books, the employees.  Yes, Business-to-Employee communications is just as, if not more, important.  And more often than not, that communication responsibility falls on the HR leaders shoulder.  Rather than burdening yourself with the task, let technology help.

Here are 5 secrets how HR can increase employee engagement with technology

1. Self Service and Accessibility

Employees naturally want answers ‘now’.  To get those answers, employees are willing to look for them versus waiting on a response to an email.  However if your intranet has too many passwords, is difficult to navigate, or built when Space Invaders came out, the employee will give up and call you.  The path to find the information has too much friction.

You should provide company information, that is not proprietary, on an easily accessible platform.  It should be mobile friendly, available 24/7, and if benefits should be accessible by the spouse on the home front.

2. Employee vs. Employee

No not a battle to the death.  We are talking about gamification. People have a natural desire to compete, and if there’s a fun, measurable way of doing so, you’ll notice employees joking and comparing with one another. It’s not a case of ‘just getting it done’ it’s a case of wanting to keep up with their co-workers. And it’s fun!

However, for gamification to deliver expected results, it is critical that you first assess your existing HR strategy, your goals and the needs of the organization. Consider whether gamification can harmoniously fit in with the whole strategy before investing in it.  Gamification can easily be applied in:

  • Wellness communications
  • Training
  • Monthly updates
  • Onboarding
  • Company knowledge

3. Allow Personal Tools at Work

Time to mention smartphones, “Can you hear me now?”  First, here are some key stats from the Cisco Connected Tech Report:

  • The majority of professional use two to three work and personal devices in their daily lives.
  • About 60% of respondents would choose a device other than a laptop for both work and personal use.
  • 70% of HR professionals think Millennial employees perform faster if they are allowed to use their mobile devices instead of computers.

These statistics might say a lot about our priorities these days, but again, we’re rolling with the punches. Millennials are the largest group in the US workforce, and they’re glued to their device – so let them use it! BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) increases employee engagement by giving employee autonomy to work the way they want, when they want. In the long run, these minor gains lead to big improvements. So don’t go giving the “evil eye” to any employee with their iPhone out.

4. B2B, B2C, B2E… But What About E2E?

Can someone give me an at-a-boy?  A strong 43% of workers cite a lack of recognition as one of their biggest sources of unhappiness at work.  Many times employee recognition is left up to management.  Face it, management can get busy.

Encourage employees to congratulate each other publicly.  It can be done in email, company newsletter, or on a company intranet posting.  An employee may love their boss, but recognition among peers is often more important. Don’t limit the ‘eCongratulations’ to the latest sales quota or business win.  Many times the congratulations can be for something other than work; competing in a first marathon, having a baby, engagement, married 20 years, etc.

A word of warning: While 99% of the employees have good intentions, you will have to monitor postings.

5. Save a Minute

I was recently in a client’s office when I was hit with a brilliant question, “how can you help me save a minute?”  This president was focused on saving a minute in each employee’s day.  To him, minutes equalled hours.  Hours equalled more deliveries of his product.  And that, that equalled more profit for his company.

Employees were buried in paperwork.  Online forms enabled him to speed up his employee onboarding process, his training day, and in-field paperwork.  Employees no longer looked at a stack of paperwork each morning.  You’d be happy with that too, right?