Follow these steps to choose and implement technology that drives engagement and alignment.
When you’re looking at new computer systems, software solutions, and other technologies, don’t be blinded by the bells and whistles and cutting-edge capabilities. The real test for any tech purchases should be: Will our employees use it? If technology isn’t well-designed, intuitive, and integrated into workflows (instead of adding time-consuming steps), it can have a negative impact on morale, productivity, and retention. To choose technology that drives engagement and alignment, HR tech analyst Meghan Biro offers seven factors for success.
While any tech decisions must be tailored to your organization’s needs and the skills and composition of your teams, these factors can help you avoid wasteful spending, lost time, and turnover:
- The Engagement Factor. Employee engagement depends in great part on workers’ digital experience. From the day they submit an application, candidates expect efficient and cutting-edge hiring and onboarding efforts. They want easy-to-use communications, fast response times, a consistent sense of organizational culture, social media presence and mobile-friendly functions, access to information to help in decision-making, and more.
- The Experience Factor. Effective technology builds on and improves the employee experience with each interaction. Increasingly, employees expect inclusion and diversity, and your technology should reflect those aspects of your organizational culture.
- The Millennial Factor. Don’t assume you know what younger workers want or expect from technology. Seek their input and use this information to build systems that are attractive to millennials and gen Zers. Realize that surveys have shown that many of these younger workers look to their employers to help them develop skills they will need for the future. If you offer strong learning and development opportunities, you will be positioned to attract the best and brightest younger workers.
- The Self-Service Factor. Employees expect technology that will enable them to accomplish key tasks and work anywhere, anytime. They want to be able to do things on their own time and get information when they want it, without waiting for responses or follow-up. HR technology should enable them to accomplish tasks such as confirming contact information, changing their address, checking time-off balances, requesting time off, viewing pay stubs, and reviewing/adjusting 401(k) balances.
- The Trust Factor. Look for technology that improves two-way trust. This is technology that give both management and employees what they need, enables sharing of information, and protects privacy. It also should enable/ensure accurate, quick capture of data so that everyone can trust that information is current and correct.
- The It-Works or It-Doesn’t Factor. If people aren’t using technology or using it but complaining about it, you need to find out why. It may be that more training is needed or that your onboarding processes are inadequate.
- The Retention Factor. The right technology can boost employee retention. At least one study has shown that U.S. workers at organizations with outdated technology are significantly more likely to be frustrated and to consider quitting. It’s important to track employees’ feelings about technology. During exit interviews, be sure to ask about the role of technology in the employee’s decision to leave and what (if any) tech tools or resources would have encouraged him or her to stay.
Of course, no organization or department should focus on technology to the exclusion of personal connections, interactions, and communications. Instead, the best technology integrates human touch with automated processes; and it is customized to the needs of each organization and its workers.