O.C. Tanner | Featured Guest Blogger

O.C. Tanner | Featured Guest Blogger

Think about how much your personal work environment has changed in the last 10 years. Even five years. How much of that change is attributed to technology?

From collaboration to the way we submit job applications—work has changed drastically thanks to technology. It’s helped business grow into a remote workforce, as well as increase employee productivity and recognition. As such, managers and HR departments have taken notice and implemented apps into their engagement tactics.

As technology continues to enter into the workforce, how can apps help organizations increase employee engagement? Below are four benefits of apps and how engagement technology can be implemented into any work environment

  1. Real time collaboration

From Google Apps to Slack, real-time collaboration isn’t just answering emails anymore. Now employees can get instant feedback on reports and set up meeting times through instant chat and message boards, which helps increase employee productivity. What’s more important is that real-time collaboration gives more transparency within organizations and among coworkers, which builds trusting relationships.

  1. Easier feedback and recognition channels

Along with collaboration, employee engagement apps are making feedback and recognition easier for those in upper management as well as with coworkers.  Recognition platforms are a simple way companies and employees can give appreciation publicly, so their recognition is spread company wide.  Furthermore, for those employees who shy away from the spotlight, these applications can also create autonomy for those giving and receiving feedback, which can help increase recognition output as well as engagement within company culture.

  1. Big data advantage

Collaboration and survey apps can help HR and upper management see current engagement levels and data, set realistic goals and see areas where they can start improving immediately.

John Sylvester, divisional managing director at P&MM explains, “The data collected through online feedback and social recognition platforms means that employers have a huge amount of information available to them, which can be used to improve efficiency and business processes. This information can be used to give real-time performance reviews, rather than bi-annual manager employer meetings. HR teams and leaders can also analyze the information to improve business performance, or to address areas that need improvement.”

Though big data shouldn’t be the only way managers analyze employee engagement levels, apps are a good starting point for organizations looking to find immediate problems and where their efforts should be focused first.

  1. Tools to support remote work

As previously mentioned, apps in the workplace have helped grow a new, flexible workforce around the globe. This in turn has had an impact with employee engagement, as employees are able to be as connected as if they were still in the office everyday.

Michele Wright explains how apps help foster better productivity and engagement for those remote workers. “When I first started freelancing, I was trying to conduct all of my calls through my cell phone. I was using an older computer—the microphone had long since died, webcam refused to focus and I honestly thought I could get away with FaceTiming all of my meetings. Trust me when I tell you that making prodigious use of online screen sharing tools helps group projects and collaborations go much more smoothly than when you’re trying to talk and email attachments at the same time.”

Though apps and technology can help in today’s workforce, it’s also important to note that apps shouldn’t be the only form of employee engagement tactics and solutions. Organizations need to find a good balance of technological engagement and in-person engagement/collaboration so employees still feel valued and can continue to contribute to company culture.

Finally, how can managers implement these programs within an organization? Do research before investing in an employee engagement application and figure out which is best adaptable to your unique team. Also, assess your organization’s comfort with new apps and slowly integrate them when necessary. The key is not to enforce these apps, but see if they contribute to your established company culture and overall work productivity. After a month, survey employees to see how helpful the apps are within their workflow.

In the end, apps in the workplace have linked back to characteristics that have always surrounded employee engagement including: collaboration, recognition and workflow.