How a Digital Workplace Can Improve Employee Engagement

In today’s climate, maintaining a digital workplace that engages and inspires employees is increasingly becoming a necessity.

It’s been a difficult 12 months for employee engagement the world over. A recent Gallup poll looking at trends in the United States plots a significant jump in employee engagement last May, followed by the most significant drop since the record began (in 2000) just one month afterwards.

US employee engagement trends in 2020

(Image source: gallup.com)

There are many potential reasons for this. Gallup suggests communication issues, lack of clear direction and uncertainty about returning back to a physical workplace, continued health and financial risk and societal unrest.
It could also be the result of workforces pulling together before the long-term realities of the pandemic – long hours of loneliness, home schooling and team communication difficulties – kicked in.

Looking at what’s been happening domestically, a major study of home working habits among UK workers during lockdowns finds 62% of remote workers stating that they want employers to provide better technology to help them stay connected with their colleagues.

Given that 73% of the workforce want a hybrid working arrangement after the current crisis has been resolved, appropriate digital workplace and communications technology will be key to keeping employees engaged in the future, too. In this regard, investment in workplace digital transformation is essential for the future of work.

A digital workplace platform is vital here. Digital workplaces offer instant communication, community and collaboration. These add up to increased employee engagement – and on the back of this, increases in revenues, customer experience and profit margins.

Here’s how employee engagement is enhanced with a digital workplace.

A digital workplace creates a sense of community

Central to creating a sense of employee engagement is the idea of belonging.

Employees look for an organisation with a strong sense of community that visibly includes people like them. Employees want to socialise, celebrate their colleagues and feel part of the organisation’s wider success.

A solid digital workplace strategy is essential for achieving all of these things.

Unlike standard internal communications tools like email, modern solutions like cloud business applications and mobile intranets are a great leveller for employee experience because anyone can access them – desk-based employees, remote workers, frontline workforces and even those without corporate email accounts.

Such communal, company-wide solutions help employees feel recognised as valued community members and team players, which they experience in a number of ways. For example:

  • Being updated on the latest strategic direction
  • The chance to network virtually with senior members of staff
  • Participating in company-wide discussions
  • Having a say in how their workplace is run using employee engagement surveys
  • Being able to take advantage of online training

A digital workplace increases collaboration

One of the cornerstones of good employee engagement is that employees can see their work contributing to a larger, worthwhile goal.

 Model of employee engagement as an umbrella term

(Image source: cidp.co.uk)

This is the difference between employees who show up to work to get paid and employees who love their job and put their heart and soul into it. In other words, it’s the difference between presenteeism and true, enthusiastic employee engagement.

The key to encouraging this? Creating and maintaining easy ways to collaborate across the business.
Collaboration tools don’t just make it easier to work on a day-to-day basis – they also make it so much easier for employees to see the wider impact of their work.

Digital workplace tools like discussion forums and social feeds contribute to such visibility. Discussion forums and informal collaboration spaces make it significantly easier for collaboration to happen organically. Employees can also contribute to discussions around best practice across the company, so they can contribute to – and feel invested in – its successes.

Meanwhile, social intranets and instant messaging make collaboration much less “stuffy” and “formal” than email. This is because of the instant, casual and relaxed user experience these tools share with social media sites. As a result, it becomes easier and less intimidating to build workplace relationships – even digitally.

A digital workplace streamlines communication

It’s difficult for employees to engage with an organisation that doesn’t communicate with them.

This is true for both corporate news and more operational internal communications.

Workforces feel respected by their employers when they clearly delineate and communicate expectations regarding working hours, shift patterns, deadlines, overtime and taking leave. Employees are engaged more as a result – and come to work prepared and ready to give their all.

Operational communication errors aren’t necessarily borne of malice – they often arise from the complexities of managing a multi-faceted workforce over multiple communication channels. Nevertheless, their effect can be profound.

By using digital tools like mobile intranets, you create a single access point for all employee communications so that no-one feels left out or let down. Rather than three different email threads with different ideas on what the project deadline is, there’s just one version. Rather than having three different versions of a rota floating round, there’s only one – and your employees receive real-time notifications whenever it’s updated.

Digital workplaces also automate major HR business processes, such as booking annual leave, so that employees don’t need to spend breaks or valuable hours at home chasing up paperwork – a further mark of how you respect their time and work-life balance needs.

As a result, your workplace becomes a more cohesive, upbeat space that employees enjoy spending time in.

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