Employee experience is quickly becoming the defining factor in workplace satisfaction, and technology is a key piece of that EX puzzle. How does your tech stack up?
The job market is hot, and there’s a good chance your employees are warming up by the fire.
The “2019 Hiring Outlook” released by the Execu|Search Group reveals that, though they may not be actively looking, 95 percent of professionals are open to new job opportunities. And the employers who’d offer more money to keep them — 56 percent according to the study — are out of luck: 61 percent of employees confessed that, if it came to a bidding war, they would reject a counteroffer from their current employer.
The primary reason for your restless ranks is something far more pervasive than a paycheck: It’s employee experience (EX). According to Gallup, one of the big factors in this decision is what it feels like for your employees to engage with supervisor and colleagues throughout the employee life cycle.
Even more than the benefits package or the salary, it’s the minutiae of daily interactions with company leadership and the general vibe of working for your company that will foster or frustrate engagement among your employees. As more work transcends traditional workplace boundaries of space and time, technology becomes an increasingly salient part of this EX mix.
Technology choices communicate whether employees are central to your decision-making. In one hypothetical workplace, employees must slog it out daily with cumbersome, outdated software, consoled only by the fact that the tools “fit the budget.” In another, they use streamlined applications to make their work more efficient and enjoyable. Which would make you feel as though your work was valued? When database entries take twice as long as they should, it’s easy to get discouraged.
This perception will only grow stronger as workplaces are increasingly filled with tech-savvy young workers. Avoid falling behind on this key aspect of EX by focusing on these four facets of workplace tech.
1. Iron out the recruitment wrinkles.
EX begins before your team members are even hired. What tools does an applicant encounter during the recruitment process? Does the process tease a tech experience they would want to have every day?
Hospitality giant Hilton, for example, puts state-of-the-art software to work for this critical early phase of employee engagement. Its artificial intelligence technology for sourcing, screening, and interviewing candidates guides potential hires through the process, even down to providing the offer details. The implementation has been immensely successful, raising the speed of hiring by 85 percent. Hilton’s overarching investment in EX has worked at the back door, too, decreasing turnover by more than 4 percent in the Americas.
2. Keep them talking.
Communication is an integral part of the employee experience, for better or worse. The best workplaces are marked by clear, open lines of communication and collaborative work. Fortunately, social technology can provide a way to establish productive patterns.
When Weight Watchers International (now WW) faced the daunting task of connecting 18,000 employees worldwide, it turned to social tools. “It’s an opportunity to make the employee experience much more personalized,” says Stacie Sherer, senior vice president of corporate communications at WW.
The company ultimately landed on Workplace by Facebook, which enables employees to interface in groups based around their locations and interests while also connecting to the broader organization.
3. Grant flexibility.
With increasing reliance on technology comes the inevitable question: Will you let employees use their own devices for work? The ease of use for employees, along with cost savings to employers, is making this a popular option. Indeed, despite the inherent cybersecurity risks, a growing number of employers — 59 percent in 2016, according to Tech Pro Research — are allowing “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies. That figure is certainly rising as more employees work remotely, but so is the awareness of security risks.
“The issue isn’t really about whether you should allow BYOD; it’s about how you can make personal devices as secure as your organization’s network,” says Hoala Greevy, CEO and founder of Paubox, a provider of HIPAA-compliant email. He recommends steps such as grouping employees into differing access levels, managing the types of devices and software allowed, forcing encryption, and pushing software update reminders to employee devices.
4. Enable financial wellness.
Payroll tools have steadily improved employee access to everything from pay stubs and tax forms to deduction-planning tools for health benefits and 401(k) contributions. Considering that financial wellness is a key contributor to happiness at work, why not use these tools to empower employees to take control of their finances?
Some payroll service providers are getting creative with respect to employee financial health. Services like Wisely by ADP or DailyPay allow workers to access a portion of their earned pay ahead of payday in the case of an emergency. Using technology to extend an empathetic human touch in your organization can enhance your EX in a big way.
In the end, it’s that human touch that counts. Technology need not be something that disconnects people from one another and their work; instead, it can facilitate a positive working experience. So, where can you improve your digital EX?