5 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement With HR Tech

Business.com / HR Solutions / Last Modified: August 2, 2017
Photo credit: Wright Studio/Shutterstock

Employee engagement is, as ever, a pressing area of concern for HR. Thankfully, modern technology can assist and improve engagement in a number of meaningful ways.

Engagement is as pressing a matter as ever, with only 32 percent of U.S. employees being truly committed and enthusiastic about their work and company. When we look at the status of employee engagement worldwide, this percentage plummets further, with only 13 percent of employees feeling engaged. This is a sad state of affairs and something that, as HR executives, we need to proactively address in any way we can.

Technology is revolutionizing how we work and live, and forward-thinking companies are leveraging the latest available HR tools and technology to boost engagement, improve employee experience and retain their top talent.

Below, we've listed just a few ways in which companies around the world are using team collaboration tools and performance review software to their benefit, and to the benefit of their staff.

1. Team collaboration software is revolutionizing the way we interact.

Employee communication and collaboration is a key component of employee engagement. Such tools can get employees working together, create an atmosphere of teamwork and ensure everyone is on the same page. Team collaboration tools are particularly important for managing a remote workforce, as these employees don't get an opportunity to interact with each other on a daily basis.

Many companies use Slack to keep in touch and provide real-time feedback. The platform is intuitive, permits task scheduling and allows direct calls between colleagues. Other competitors have introduced collaboration tools, including Microsoft Teams and WebEx. Facebook has also launched a new tool called Workplace to help companies organize and communicate more effectively.

2. Performance management software facilitates regular performance discussions.

Disengagement might occur for a number of reasons, but a serious contributor is the lack of regular, helpful feedback. Employees need regular discussions with their line managers in order to feel like valued, integral parts of the team. An annual appraisal and quick chats between team meetings simply won't suffice anymore. This is why many companies have incorporated monthly check-ins into their performance management system. As an example, we can look to corporate giant Adobe, which reduced its voluntary turnover by 30 percent after introducing regular performance check-ins.

Performance management software enables managers and employees to schedule these meetings. It also helps both parties to track what was discussed and critical actions to carry out. Using technology, HR managers can also be kept in the loop, which means they are better able to do their job. 

3. HR technology ensures employees can stick to personal development plans (PDPs).

According to research from BlessingWhite, personal development is a key driver of employee engagement. If you're looking to retain your millennials, you should know that, without a focus on personal development, they're unlikely to remain with you for long, as 87 percent of millennials state development opportunities are a huge part of what attracts them to a company. For this reason, you should consider incorporating PDPs into your performance management system, and HR technology is a great method of tracking them.

Using HR software, manager and employee can collaborate on personal development objectives. They can then be added to a cloud-based system, which allows users to update and review them throughout a given year. This gives employees a sense of direction, focus and progress, and automated reminders can be emailed to the manager and employee to ensure the objectives are being adhered to.

4. HR technology allows managers and HR to track SMART objectives.

An employee can't be properly engaged with their work if they don't know what they are doing or what is expected of them. For this reason, the manager and employee need to collaborate and allocate appropriate SMART objectives.

Modern managers have come to the realization that employees should determine their own objectives, giving them ownership over their goals and motivating them to achieve them. Managers and HR still need to track goal progression, though, which is more straightforward with HR software.

HR managers use performance management software to track goals, and employees can update their objectives, report on progress, or ask for feedback or assistance at any point. This ensures everyone is communicating and updated on goals, and keeps employees focused on what they need to achieve, thereby keeping them engaged and motivated.

5. Performance review software can be used to deliver employee recognition. 

You can't simply pay your employee their monthly salaries, ignore them for the majority of the year, and expect them to be properly engaged and enthusiastic about their roles. Engagement and employee recognition go hand in hand; you can see this from the fact that 43 percent of employees feel more motivated by appreciation than money.

Many companies would love to implement a reward and recognition scheme, but are deterred by worries that it will be time-consuming and expensive. However, there are many cost-effective ways to recognize great performance, and generally, all employees are looking for is a verbal acknowledgment that they have contributed and their efforts are being noticed.

HR software can seriously help when it comes to acknowledging employee accomplishments, as a result of features that allow real-time feedback. No matter where you are or how busy you are, software means that it is quick and simple to send a message to an employee saying, "Thank you, and well done on all you've accomplished recently."

Never forget how valuable your employees are to the success and direction of your business. As business owners and HR executives, it's our responsibility to do all we can to ensure they are engaged, satisfied and motivated.

Without an emphasis on the employee experience, we run the risk of losing valued staff members to more progressive businesses. But as long as we demonstrate that we genuinely care about their well-being, we have the tools and ability to retain our top players for years to come.

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