4 ways HR Technology can drive Employee Engagement
The employee experience is greatly influenced by how your workforce interacts with internal management representatives, chief among them the HR department. Employees are any company’s most important asset. So it is crucial for HR to inform, motivate, support and engage them in a variety of ways. But what role does HR technology play? Can the right mix of HR tools increase employee satisfaction and engagement?
By leveraging the latest technological innovations, HR is gradually complementing the more traditional methods of internal communication—personal conversations, email and meetings—with new and emerging HR tools and channels. This is a must in the 21st century workplace and provides important advantages for employees, HR and companies overall.
From a business perspective, HR tools support an evolving, contemporary workplace, which is being revolutionized by factors such as globalization, the rise of virtual teams and international collaboration, telecommuting, the trend towards centralizing and outsourcing business processes and others. Additionally, people increasingly expect to have “anytime/anywhere” access to work-related data, just as they have in their personal lives. HR tools answer this growing need for employers to offer innovative ways for employees to interact at work. Moreover, as global workforces become more mobile, the business functions that support these workforces must also be mobile.
Here are just a few HR technologies that can be used to enhance employee interaction:
- Online portals and intranets enable companies to easily share information with employees across entities and geographies. Information from multiple lines of business is collected in a central repository, and all employees have access to a complete database. However, intranets and websites allow only one-way, top-down communication, with limited or no interaction. And the information managed on these sites is quite static (or even outdated) and is not personalized to fit the reader’s profile.
- Employee and manager self-service tools allow employees to not only access information, but also to personally manage data and even adapt some of it. Self-service portals are mostly used to perform more complex and time-consuming HR actions, such as completing an evaluation form or creating a personal career path, and user profiles and functions define which information is accessible to each individual. But self-service tools also have notable limitations: They are often only accessible from a desktop computer and sometimes only from within the company network. And they focus exclusively on one-to-one communication between employee and manager or HR, rather on interaction and collaboration.
- Professional social media and collaboration tools allow employees to stay connected to their employer by collaborating and interacting with colleagues across the world. Their primary objective is to facilitate two-way communication between employees at all times in a variety of ways. Among them: Professional news feeds that inform employees of the latest company news; virtual communities, forums and chat boxes that increase global interaction and collaboration; digital to-do lists and productivity trackers that allow teams to manage tasks together and many, many others.
- HR apps allow employees to access HR-related information from any device anytime, anywhere and offer a highly personalized experience. Mobile applications are easy to access and fast to load. They are especially useful when information is needed or an action must be completed at a moment’s notice, such as requesting or approving leave or looking up a coworker’s information.
Obviously, each tool has its advantages, unique characteristics and limitations. That’s why a mix of technologies provides the most effective ways for a company to interact with its workforce. To continue to raise employee engagement and satisfaction levels, CHROs need to incorporate these tools into their central HR strategies, information systems and processes, ensuring that employees have the right tools at their fingertips in every situation. In addition, these HR tools, which have tended to be more focused on HR and managers, should also be focused on enabling employees to access data and collaborate with their peers.
Technological innovations provide clear benefits to HR departments, too, including fewer phone calls and emails from individuals and more collaboration among employees across entities and geographies. A more social and mobile internal communication strategy will also lower the cost of HR service delivery while dramatically improving employee satisfaction and engagement.