The modern HR mission has shifted to focus on putting people first and employee engagement has become the yardstick of HR performance. The good news is disruptive HR technologies are redefining HR from recruitment to employee feedback—and finally making strides on boosting engagement.
After years of stagnant employee engagement scores, Gallup recently reported a slight uptick. In the latest 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace Report, over 33% of the workforce said they felt engaged in 2016. While still low, this reflects a 3% increase from 2012 and the highest engagement number in Gallup’s 15 years of tracking this metric.
What’s driving this uptick? Specifically, Gallup highlighted a notable improvement in three elements of employee engagement: (1) learning, (2) recognition, and (3) feedback.
In particular, startups are spawning new HR technologies that can really help organizations move the needle on employee engagement. What are those disruptive technologies? See The HR Tech Stack Engagement Guide: New Innovations Disrupting HR.
How can you leverage these new technologies to boost engagement at your organization throughout the employee lifecycle?
1. First impressions count: start on day 1
The very first time you interact with your new employee—from the first recruitment touch to the first day at work—matters when it comes to nurturing strong engagement in your workforce. When companies have excellent recruitment practices, they experience a 300% revenue growth.
New personalized and data-driven recruitment tools can make sure new hires make positive associations with your organization before they even arrive. Structuring and aggregating feedback to review candidates takes the guesswork out and ensures you make unbiased decisions. A recruitment platform everyone loves to use empowers people to engage and help create a winning hiring culture.
2. Deliver new ways to learn and grow
Learning & development is one of the most effective strategies to boost engagement at your organization. Studies by Bersin by Deloitte show that organizations with strong learning cultures result in 30-50% higher engagement and retention rates. 80% of employees feel learning new skills would make them feel more engaged.
Tap into new digital learning tools that offer employees consumer-like experiences with recommendation and review systems, similar to Netflix or Amazon. Machine learning also enables in-depth data analytics on trending topics, what employees are learning, and what they want to learn next—allowing for a more personalized learning experience throughout the employee lifecycle.
With learning & growth opportunities as a recruitment driver for today’s talent, it’s important on day 1 to show your new hire you are committed to their growth and discuss personalized learning paths to reach their career goals. Throughout your employees’ lifecycle, offer continuous opportunities to learn and grow so people remain stimulated. This means giving stretch assignments and encouraging both horizontal and vertical growth at your organization while providing key learning steps to reach and excel in these new roles.
3. Think out of the box on how you recognize employees
It’s well documented that recognizing your employees for the great work they’ve done goes a long way to boosting engagement. According to Bersin by Deloitte, engagement scores improve by 14% when organizations implement meaningful rewards programs. What’re more companies with sophisticated recognition practices are 12x more likely to have strong business outcomes.
Recognize key employee career milestones throughout their lifecycle from day 1 to when they leave. With four diverse generational segments in the workplace, a one-size-fits-most recognition strategy is no longer an option. Consider your employees’ individual needs and motivators, and a platform that covers a wide selection of meaningful reward choices. Know your recognition ROI by investing in a platform that covers a complete feedback loop and ways to measure your rewarded employees against your engagement goals.
Think out of the box when doling out rewards, don’t just give them a gift card or a gift basket. Consider giving experiential rewards like skydiving or cooking classes to make the recognition more special and memorable. For example, as part of onboarding, welcoming new hires with experiential employee recognition gifts like urban foodie tours can help new cohorts bond with each other as well as embed them in the larger community.
4. Listen to what your employees have to say
Open and honest two-way communication between employees and management is considered a key driver of high engagement at new tech companies, according to a Culture Amp study. HR’s job is to understand their employees just as marketing must understand their customers. New on-demand employee feedback tools designed and supported by expert psychologists and data scientists allow you to uncover insights easily as well as tailor your feedback program.
Understanding how employees want to be coached and managed or rewarded and recognized can help improve your HR practices and boost employee engagement. Frequent employee pulse surveys and exit interviews when people leave provide rich data on how you can constantly enhance your workplace culture.
New tools to help you boost engagement
The HR industry is experiencing a renaissance with a flood of new and innovative HR tools to help you boost engagement throughout the employee lifecycle—recruitment & onboarding, compensation & benefits, learning & development, employee recognition, and employee feedback.