While most leaders probably start this new year with a big sigh of relief that 2020 is officially over, I know many leaders can (and should!) look back at the last 12 months with an immense sense of pride for what was achieved and what is to come. Over the past year we’ve heard many incredible stories from our global clients of how HR is being recognised as central and critical to their company’s survival, response, and long-term success.
All over the world, HR leaders have spent the last 12 months adapting engagement strategies, and embracing new tools to help improve employee connection, agility and support. This approach helps prepare teams to better handle constant disruption and sets them up for growth and success.
Companies that are building their HR tech stack to meet employees’ needs are looking to improve and scale how they connect, recognise and support their people. These are the businesses that have been successful in boosting employee motivation, productivity and connection, improving the financial, mental and physical wellbeing of employees, and strengthening their employer brand.
Below are four ways to tap into the power of integrated employee engagement technology to give your people a head start towards success as they begin a new year:
Leverage customised designs to showcase your employer brand
A recent study by Reward Gateway shows that the pressure of working through a challenging year has left 1 in 2 employees looking to move jobs. These stats surprised me because I assumed most people would be wanting job stability as a result of the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. But when I looked at the reasons, I wasn’t surprised at all.
|1. Lack of connection to the company (23%)|
|2. Lack of recognition/progress (30%)|
|3. Lack of support (26%)|
With so many employees forced to work remotely and social distance for months, it’s no wonder that employees are missing connection and a sense of belonging.
Each employer is unique and so is their culture, and having a dedicated space where you can celebrate that and invite employees to join in and connect on it is incredibly rewarding.
What I love most about how different companies have used their employee engagement platform over the past year is how they showcase their own internal brand to communicate who they are, what they stand for and what their vision is. By reminding employees of their ‘North Star’ and allowing their purpose, mission and values to come to life in a digital space, they ignite a sense of inspiration and loyalty.
This type of technology gives employers the flexibility to go beyond unbranded, all-staff email updates and expand their internal communications strategy to share progress towards a common mission, to highlight a theme or seasonal goal, publish blogs, videos, CEO updates and so much more.
Embrace digital reward and recognition to strengthen your company culture
Culture is ‘the way we do things around here’ - the unspoken norms and values that determine how decisions are made and how employees behave.
As with other cultures outside our organisations, workplace culture comes to life through the stories we tell and the accomplishments we celebrate. In others words, what gets recognised gets repeated.
Values-based reward and recognition programs not only help you reinforce what ‘great’ looks like and how you expect your people to achieve that, it also allows you to see whether and what values are resonating with your people. Below is an example of a dashboard in our own internal program that shows us which Reward Gateway values are being recognised through our eCards:
And when you use a digital, peer-to-peer recognition platform to facilitate this, you then get access to the data that helps you evolve and build engagement strategies to continue strengthening culture.
Here’s an example of another real-time report that shows how recognition is flowing between departments - this can help you identify silos and create programs that lift that visibility of specific parts of your business.
Provide scalable and practical support to a hybrid workforce
It’s clear from the conversations we’ve been having with business and HR leaders that operational budgets are thin, but there is definitely pressure to do something more for employees, who are experiencing signs of employee burnout after a really tough year. We’ve seen a significant proportion of Australians impacted by lack of work due to COVID-19. Pressure on household budgets has never been higher, especially as some families go from double to single income.
I really loved the way companies have gone above and beyond for their people – and it doesn't always mean using large additional budgets.
EuroGarages has over 3,000 employees working across hundreds of petrol stations across the country. It launched its engagement platform ‘Booster’ to help promote new company values, streamline communication, and provide its employees online and mobile access to employee benefits and reward and recognition.
Booster supports employees financially by giving them access to discounts at hundreds of retailers across Australia and saved EG employees over $200,000 within 10 months! EG also used the platform to deliver end-of-year bonuses, giving their people the option to spend their reward on something special (a new outfit, tech or even travel) or everyday essentials like groceries or fuel.
We’ve seen organisations that shifted to remote working arrangements introduce peer-to-peer eCards to enable employees to celebrate the success of their peers by interacting in a social environment, making those at home feel more connected to their colleagues.
We’ve also seen clients use their platform to promote and encourage employees to access existing benefits such as the EAP or wellbeing resources.
Cultivate connection with impactful, company-wide communications
Being intentional in how we connect and manage employees is becoming an increasingly important skill, because remote workers will inevitably be less visible to their colleagues and to their leaders. But what does regular communication that fosters a sense of authentic connection look like for today’s workforce? How are your people sharing information when some or all of your workforce aren’t seeing each other?
Intentionally creating a platform that provides opportunities for storytelling on both a strategic company-wide and personal, employee-led level is key - at Reward Gateway, we call this a ‘digital campfire.’
The campfire connotes a sense of belonging, of returning to something familiar, of coming together. That is the upside of a well-designed engagement hub – a platform like EG’s ‘Booster’ is the one place people keep coming back to for the information, nourishment or connection. Rather than a blanket, one-size-fits-all approach to communication, EG can segment posts, push notifications and alerts to mobile devices or inboxes, and use mixed media to cater for how different people consume different messages.
Adapting your HR tech stack to suit the changing needs of your employees not puts you in a better position to scale your support, streamline communications, strengthen connections and recognise hybrid teams. A great platform will also provide you with real-time reporting so you can keep an eye on program usage and easily report on ROI, while making it easy for you to provide an online experience that your people will buy into and access daily, on-the-go, wherever and whenever they work.
Organisations evolve quickly and in the current climate we’re in, I’ve never seen a more important time to maximise on technology to bring your people together and support your success.
If you're looking to build a new HR tech stack this year, we're here to help. Please get in touch with us to start talking about how we can help you achieve your goals.