Driving employee engagement through tech

Jason Borstal, Chief Information Officer, SThree [LON: STHR]

Jason Borstal, Chief Information Officer, SThree [LON: STHR]

As the demands of employees continue to evolve, new and emerging technologies are driving the way businesses engage with the workforce. From onboarding to collaborating, analysing high performers’ characteristics, and communicating, the way we engage with our employees is changing at a fast pace. Historically when people went into companies, there were stacks of documents to read, sign, and hand over to the HR department as part of their on-boarding process. But that is all changing, and businesses are now facilitating the whole on-boarding process through new technologies. It is now possible to give new employees the most up-to-date policies and receive their documents back with a digital signature even before they physically start work. Companies are now using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tech to define workflows for the on-boarding of employees and can use bots to automatically set-up directory accounts, order company laptops, and set-up phone numbers and email addresses for their new starters. This all means that on day one, not only do new employees know about the organization, but they have all the tools required to let them get started.

Improving Collaboration

Businesses are now looking to bring a sense of community to the workforce; and for contractors and employees who work in teams spread across the world, apps can do that. People can now share their experiences and knowledge about their field of expertise through these platforms. It not only means that they can come to work and perform their roles, but they can also learn from and inform their peer groups. Many contractors and employees work from remote locations and can be based on-site with clients, which means in the past engagement and making them feel part of the company has been a lot tougher. Using mobile apps allows employees and contractors to know exactly where they will be going, as well as providing customer contacts, phone numbers, instant messaging, and access to the back-end systems so they can view timesheets and pending approvals.

"It is not about becoming ‘Big Brother’—business leaders are very conscious of protecting customers, candidates, and employees while leveraging data to help them all succeed"

It is really all about taking the traditional back-office tools and leveraging the technology to ensure the workforce is well informed and able to collaborate effectively.

Supporting the Workforce through Data Science

Using data science, it is now possible to create algorithms which can identify key characteristics among the workforce. Using these indicators helps to identify whether someone is likely to leave the business or whether they’re performing above expectations. These are predictive characteristics and this information can be used to support staff with mentoring and training, which is good for both them and the companies they work for. This all contributes to ensuring people are happy, productive, and set for success at work, while also making sure that the investment made in them is protected. It is not about becoming ‘Big Brother’—business leaders are very conscious of protecting customers, candidates, and employees while leveraging data to help them all succeed.

Moving to Cloud-Based Technology

The world is becoming a much smaller place and the need for cross-continental collaboration is becoming ever more important. The past problems where, for example, there was one office and people needed to find a meeting room to speak, are falling away. Bringing in desktop collaboration tools is now high on the agenda of most organizations, and many are now looking at how to bring all the traditional back-office systems onto cloud-based solutions. Cloud is huge for every organization and the more companies can move to that, the better the engagement experience for everyone. Businesses have to bring that capability to staff and that means moving telephony systems, back-end Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, and front office systems into the Cloud. The benefit comes from providing workforce mobility so people can work remotely and collaborate anywhere, at any time, and from any device.

Delivering Your Message through Communications Channels

The power of communication through online platforms is huge, and being able to get crucial information out to regional experts across the globe is incredibly important. Throughout the business world, the use of intranet sites gives us the opportunity to showcase the stories and information which are important to the business and to its people. It encourages employee engagement through the use of comments to build conversation around news because people are no longer just consuming information; they want to be able to contribute. Internal social media platforms mean people can share their experiences and best practices at the touch of a button. And TV links in offices allow business leaders to get corporate and local messages out to areas of the business quickly and effectively. Instant messaging platforms allow people to collaborate from their desktop instantly, while video and mail apps can contribute to a really unified communications system. All these platforms also enable employees to give their feedback and that is something that more businesses are taking very seriously. How we engage with our people is now more effective and efficient than ever, and as new technologies emerge, employee engagement will continue to transform.

Weekly Brief

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