Employee engagement relates to the special relationship between an organization and its employees.
An “engaged employee” is absolutely enthusiastic about his / her work so much so that as a result – decides to take positive action as well as actively recommend the company brand on his/her own initiative, and constantly further the organization’s reputation and best interests.
An organization with higher employee engagement is expected to outperform those that have low employee engagement.
It is a known fact for decades that engaged employees are more productive, cost-effective, innovative, and loyal.
Employee Engagement trends
In recent years, more and more businesses realize that their human resources (HR) departments have the power to contribute and influence much more than what was previously believed.
Employee engagement efforts such as company events and activities showed that HR departments had the potential of giving employees so much more than just great vibes, but actual motivation, that resulted in a strong will to initiate and work harder.
Employee engagement, therefore, became a business concern rather than an HR concern.
Why is the bubble bursting with regards to employee engagement?
This may surprise many readers because employee engagement is obviously a clear concern, but the fact of the matter is – employee engagement is going down in many businesses because it does not always meet the expectations of the millennial, tech-savvy workforce.
Who are “the Millennials”?
Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X (researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years).
With regards to our discussion, millennials are known to crave engagement and will leave an organization if they don’t feel a strong corporate culture that motivates, involves and empowers
What do the millennials want?
Millennials in the workforce want the additional freedom to work on their own projects or even other professional projects outside their full-time job. They want the freedom and mobility to pursue their passions and are less concerned about job security.
How to increase employee engagement in the gig economy
We’ve already concluded that despite the fact that an increasing percentage of employees want to be engaged and corporate management has a clear interest in encouraging it, engagement is decreasing. One very possible explanation is that companies lack the necessary tools to engage the millennial workforce.
In today’s gig economy, the workforce is mobile, tech-savvy and flexible and the way HR departments engage should be the same.
An app that boosted engagement for SodaStream
SodaStream, now leading the food & beverage industry in the manufacturing of green and sustainable beverages, was, until only a few years ago, a small carbonated beverage manufacturer.
Then, they made the brilliant decision to jump on the sustainability bandwagon and have quickly ballooned from a workforce of around 30 employees to one in the thousands.
Obviously, the old way of doing things had to change but before operational changes could be implemented Sodastream needed to engage a young, multilingual, and deskless workforce.
For SodaStream, the main challenge was creating an effective means of communication with workers that did not have daily access to email.
Their HR department decided to use Connecteam’s employee app to easily communicate employee benefits like daily lunch specials, giveaways, expense reimbursements, and company events.
The response was better than they expected with workers engaging company messages daily. The employee app, which can be found in app stores as “Soda App”, was so successful that it grew beyond the HR department and is now being used to report workplace hazards and communicate general feedback from workers to their managers.
The SodaStream case study very clearly demonstrates how employee engagement should be approached in the gig economy. Modern employee engagement is not just about quarterly reviews or employee satisfaction surveys that score employee engagement.
In order to engage millennials, you need to do create short, fun, mobile engagements that provide real value and involve the employee on an ongoing basis.
In addition, engagement needs to go beyond the HR department. Whether their team is sitting together in one office or scattered around the world, (successful) managers need to place an emphasis on receiving feedback from their workers and having their finger on the pulse of the general sentiment.
Automating employee related processes for Coca-Cola
According to Jonathan Shachar, CEO Smoove: “I definitely think that companies can and should offer employees current smart solutions that can better engage them. Smoove is a good example for an automation tool that helps businesses improve internal & external processes as well as engage their employees.”
According to Shachar:
“We recently helped out Coca-Cola with an internal challenge they were facing. Coca-Cola has an in-house academy that offers its employees a broad range of classes and courses. Since the company has several daughter companies and each has a different HR manager, Coca-Cola sought a smart solution by which it could easily invite employees of all daughter companies, to classes and courses, as well as monitor their attendance and feedback.”
Shachar continues describing his company’s recent project:
“Smoove provided Coca-Cola with the solution it was looking for: each of the Coca-Cola HR managers sent out an online sign-up form inviting certain employees to a class or a course in Cocal-Cola’s private employee ecademy. The employees who received it, filled in their details and were automatically added to the list of participators, and at the same time, were given a text message with all relevant details (date, time, location).
A day prior to class, all participating employees received an automatic text message with a URL to the course syllabus as well as a ‘waze’ button that will automatically navigate them to the course location. Additionally, one day after the course ended, the employees that participated in it, received a message inviting them to share their experience.
This ongoing process allows the Coca-Cola to invite its employees to take part in its academy as well as monitor their feedback and participation, in a smart and simple way that saved the company resources and expenses and at the same time gives the employees an entirely new experience as well as an incentive to participate in courses and share their experience”.
Shifting the trajectory
There are several means by which companies can encourage employee engagement. These involve smart technologies that give employee engagement a boost.
For good or bad, the millennial workforce is a mobile, flexible, and fast paced workforce. They want to be engaged by their employer the same way they engage their friends and family. This means that successful employee engagement needs to be frequent, provide value and even be enjoyable.
By adopting any of these forms of employee engagement methods – the trajectory of your employee engagement graphs will quickly pivot. Uphill.
I am a social media-savvy, digital marketing professional with 12+ years experience with leading successful brand re-positioning strategies as well as effective results-oriented marketing campaigns and projects for a broad range of companies and start-ups.
Now leading radd. - a smarter content management tool for businesses.
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- The Secret to Smart and Successful Employee Engagement - August 14, 2017