New Year’s resolutions are not just for your personal life. As we kick off a new decade, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your role as a manager – what was done well, what to leave behind, and most importantly, what you want to commit to in the new year.
Heading into 2020, improving the employee experience should be a key priority for organizations, and specifically managers, who lead and interact with employees every day. Employee engagement simply puts a heightened focus on company culture and provides the tools and information employees need to succeed in their roles.
By now, you have read the research and understand the benefits of an engaged employee base are worth the effort. But getting there isn’t always easy or straightforward. That’s why we’ve compiled 8 promises you, as a leader in your organization, can make to your employees – with a focus on how to use technology – to set yourself and your team up for a successful year ahead.
1. Put a focus on employee engagement
Why: Engagement is the positive emotional connection a person feels toward their workplace, which is demonstrated by the effort they put into doing their job. Employee engagement can make or break your company’s success as engaged employees mean lower turnover, less absenteeism, higher sales and, consequently, higher profitability.
How: Fortunately, engaging employees can be both cheap and easy. There are a number of low-cost employee engagement strategies that can create a workplace environment where employees feel valued, trusted, and heard. Some of these can include making recognition a priority, encouraging autonomy, creating a comfortable work environment, and supporting both professional and personal growth.
2. Communicate company news as soon as it happens
Why: This should be one of the driving forces behind your communication strategy. No one likes to feel “out of the loop” and yet, organizations often have trouble delivering on this promise. The fact is, how your organization communicates to and with employees is inextricably linked to the employee experience.
How: There are a few ways you can deliver on this promise:
- Create a dedicated space where executives can communicate directly with employees and invite their feedback.
- Provide a digital home for town hall content and feedback to ensure that no one misses out on important updates.
- Create a centralized newsroom on your company intranet to give employees a reliable and familiar way to navigate company happenings.
3. Make remote workers feel like they’re part of the team
Why: Remote working is still a relatively new phenomenon, but there’s no sign of it slowing down. This makes it more important than ever for organizations to find ways effective ways to engage and involve all their employees, regardless of their work location.
When remote workers feel left out, productivity, engagement, and culture suffer, diminishing the gains that a remote workforce can bring. Without the right technology and tools in place, remote employees are unable to access vital information, get excluded from collaboration, and shut out of workplace social life.
How: To counteract the inevitable challenges of a remote workforce, here are some steps you can take:
- Pay special attention to your remote workers. Factor in their requirements for every meeting, project or initiative and take deliberate actions to make sure they feel included.
- Make it easy to work remotely. Choose online tools that offer all employees easy and instant access to relevant conversations, content, and expertise from any browser, on any device.
- Give your employees the experience of “being in the office” by providing consistency in your look and feel, creating a social space on your intranet for “water cooler” talk, and making sure they have access to the same tools and resources as those in the office.
4. Send fewer emails
Why: A promise everyone can get behind. Reduce inbox clutter by finding more efficient ways to communicate information to your workforce. While it isn’t realistic to completely phase email out, it can be used more effectively alongside other communication methods.
How: Email is best suited for external communications or as a way to direct employees to information that is stored on the intranet. Separate emails are not necessary for everything that needs to be communicated. Lean on other tools, like IM or your intranet.
IM enables fast, direct conversations that allow for a rapid flow of actions and ideas between employees. The intranet, on the other hand, centralizes company-wide communications, stores information for employees to access, and acts as a culture vehicle that gives employees a sense of purpose and belonging.
5. Conduct regular pulse surveys
Why: Do you know what the general feelings of your employees are at any given moment? Pulse surveys let you know. Surveys can be conducted at any time, but they’re especially critical if you’re seeing a decline in morale and/or productivity or you’ve recently gone through an organizational change. The key is to make them sporadic enough that they’re meaningful, actionable, and don’t overwhelm or distract employees.
How: Surveys should include a mix of qualitative and quantitative questions. Data-driven surveys are best if you’re measuring the data against previous results or it’s part of a bigger initiative that requires numerical inputs. Qualitative feedback, on the other hand, invites verbatim feedback in the voice of your employees. Here are 5 simple employee survey questions to get the answers you really need.
6. Build an interactive community
Why: With the number of communications tools and apps at your employees’ disposal, it can be challenging to establish a workplace community that’s a hybrid of work and non-work related content and in which everyone is encouraged to participate. But it’s important to work towards this promise, as it can help employees feel engaged and, ideally, centralize communications.
How: To have your best shot at success and high levels of engagement, create a dedicated space within your digital workplace or intranet that offers employees the social outlet they need to connect with their coworkers and break up their day. Here, employees can share photos, updates, and other content that isn’t directly related to work. You can encourage engagement by creating a theme, conversation, or a contest each month, and reward participation with incentives like gift cards or other perks.
7. Go to the next level in adopting a teamwork culture
Why: A highly effective team can generate ideas faster, share the workload better, and create a culture of empowerment that leads to better business results. And yet, studies show that many employees feel like they don’t collaborate enough. It’s important to build teams that balance the strengths, skills, and interests of individual employees while emphasizing the value of collaboration, mutual support, and trust.
How: To foster a teamwork culture, there are a number of strategies you can implement. Some include focussing on camaraderie, whether it be through group activities or volunteering, as well as keeping lines of communication open through regular team meetings and check-ins. You can also encourage teamwork by empowering your employees to contribute to projects and discussions and letting them know you value their ideas and efforts.
8. Find better ways to share and store knowledge
Why: There are countless benefits to knowledge sharing within your organization, from increased collaboration and social interaction to an improved ability to retain talent. Of course, this comes with its own set of challenges, including cultural, technological, and human barriers. When knowledge sharing is hindered, communication and collaboration suffer, resulting in wasted time and money.
How: To improve knowledge sharing across your organization, there are a number of best practices you can implement. But essentially, it comes down to creating a sharing environment within your company, which needs to start with management buy-in. You also want sharing to be quick and easy, and when necessary, incentivized. Because, as we all know, knowledge is power!
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