We talk regularly about employee engagement. And justifiably so. Employee engagement is an important topic. And the results of engagement hit the bottom-line.
But often when we talk about engagement, it’s in the context of face-to-face (F2F) interaction. While having personal connections matters, and there are definitely some actions that should be conducted F2F or voice-to-voice, technology can play a big role in engagement.
During this year’s KronosWorks Conference, I had the chance to hear Gregg Gordon speak about strategies to digitally engage your workforce. If Gregg’s name sounds familiar, it’s because I interviewed him a few months ago about his recent book, “Your Last Differentiator: Human Capital”. During his session, he shared three strategies that organizations should use to digitally engage employees.
#1 – AUTOMATE. This refers to allowing technology to handle boring, repetitive work. You’ve heard me mention before the concept of “buy, build, and borrow” when it comes to recruiting talent. HR should design work that is interesting and attractive. Then, they can look at the best way to fill those jobs.
But we should add a new dimension – and that’s technology. Technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning allow companies to give the boring stuff to a computer, leaving employees with exciting and interesting work that can effectively engage.
#2 – AUGMENT. For employees to perform at a high level, organizations should augment existing processes and workflows. I can totally relate to this one right now. I recently made the switch from PC to Mac. As a result, I’m having to rethink all of my work processes. I’m still able to do everything, but the process is a little different.
Organizations and individuals need to realize that, with new technologies, we will be asked to change the way we do things. Augmentation is about getting comfortable with change. Because it’s possible the change is for the better.
#3 – AMPLIFY. Speaking of change, companies need to support employee learning and exploration of technology. There are new solutions being introduced all the time. Let employees test-drive new technologies and see how they could possibly make work better for everyone.
One word of caution when it comes to amplification. I’m not saying abandon existing structure willy-nilly. We need to be an effective adopter of new technologies. This is about letting people explore and be curious. If there’s something worth establishing a beta period or a small pilot group, great. But you’ll never know if you don’t try it out.
Technology drives much of what we do today. Using technology isn’t a replacement for human interaction, but it’s also not evil. The way to build engagement is by letting technology do what it does best. And that will allow our workforce to do the same.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby in South Florida