How Mobile Apps can Improve HR and Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is defined by Forbes as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” It forms a critical part of a HR’s internal communications strategy. An engaged employee is not just interested in their next pay-check, they have the organization at heart and want it to succeed. Employee engagement helps a business reach its full potential by opening communication channels, improving productivity as highly engaged workers are 38% more likely to have an above average work performance (Workplace Resource Foundation).
Gallup discovered businesses with higher employee engagement outperformed businesses with lower employee engagement by 21% in productivity and 22% in profitability, and not to mention the retention of talented staff. It helps empower employees to fulfill professional and personal needs that would lead to self-actualization as well as the desire to make a social impact. They want to have a say in the business and want to feel they are part of a team working towards a common goal; but crucially, they want to feel that they are valued; that they are not just instruments to generate profits. Employee engagement is now rated fourth in the list of most important global trends.
Deloitte, however, found that only 22% of organizations have a differentiated approach to employee engagement. Gallup observes that only 29% of employees are engaged at work. The remaining 71% are either not engaged or are actively disengaged; it is a crisis! Disengagement leads to a 33% decrease in operating income and 11% decrease in growth of earnings.
The primary reason for disengagement is a breakdown in two way communication. Poor reach out to remote workers (non-desk employees who make for 80% of the global workforce) by management, a disconnect from the company’s vision and objectives, and lack of a platform for employees to engage with management are some of the factors that lead to disengagement. Unfortunately, 65% of all lost customers could be traced to a disengaged employee.
Mobile applications- boosting employee engagement
Technology is key in helping HR engage the entire workforce. It helps boost employee’s emotional commitment to their organization and its goals leading to the employee’s use of discretionary effort. According to Adobe, there is a direct correlation between technology, employee engagement, and retention. 85% of employees who felt that their company’s technology was ahead of the rest said they loved their job. 70% of interviewed employees believed that technology helps improve work-life balance.
Mobile technology offers more advantages to employee engagement. Intranets and enterprise social networks offer unlimited capabilities but are static in the posting of tools and information. They cannot facilitate feedback, can easily be overloaded, cannot measure the level of engagements, and cannot be used offsite. Mobile, on the other hand, can reach the entire global workforce, collect data and provide feedback, and generate insights and reports on engagement-related matters among others. Mobile apps are a critical ingredient in empowering both on-site and off-site workers with tools and resources to remain engaged and have a voice.
According to Dale Carnegie, companies with engaged employees perform 202% more than their counterparts. Mobile phones and tablets have become an essential part of our lives; employees have phones within an arm’s reach 99% of their time. This means that distributed teams can receive communication real-time, send feedback, receive updates, news, and announcements in real-time, and collaborate through mobile apps. Critical video feeds could be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Mobile apps can easily be personalized in the look and feel to balance the global and local. Employees can share, discuss and interact with the company’s information while on the job. Leading companies like Rehab Care, Standard Chartered Bank, Alaska Airlines, and Cisco have used mobile apps to boost engagement, save time, improve employee training, improve service delivery, simplify service delivery, save costs, and improve communication and collaboration among others. Unilever, on the other hand, decided to generate multiple HR apps for each of their plants and divisions.
By leveraging iBuildApp-based mobile application solutions, the company has been able to create a simple, yet beautiful, mobile app for its HR in Jonesboro, Arkansas. This enables the Jonesboro plant workers to be able to easily reach out to the HR team whenever they want.
Let’s now have a detailed look at how mobile applications can help HR and engage employees:
Mobile managing a global flexible workforce
“82% of workers who ‘telecommute’ have less stress, while 80% have higher confidence levels and morale, and 69% were absent for fewer days of work.” The above findings by PGi Telework Week survey give a heavy credit to the need for working remotely. Companies could leverage the ubiquitous mobile technologies among other readily available technologies to encourage their workers to work remotely. This will have HR not only reap the benefits of a more motivated, happier and productive workforce that is organically engaged, but it will also cut its overhead costs and endear workers to itself by entrusting them with working at home.
The employees are thus able to do their job at any time and in any place; if they are slightly ill they can complete their tasks from the comfort of their homes and if there is an urgent need from a client, the employees can complete the task on their mobile phone while on the move.
By enabling all aspects of mobile app-enabled workspaces, HR can help simplify work processes, reduce information clutter, and increase awareness of goals “Employees who say their organization’s values are known and understood are 51 times more likely to be fully engaged than employees who report the opposite”
An example is Alaska airlines that have more than 9800 employees with a fleet size of 117 aircraft across 91 destinations operating all over the United States. Its pilots must carry 25 pounds of hardcopy manuals on a daily basis. There is a need for reprinting whenever there is a change in the information. The airlines equipped all its pilots with iPad tablets that hold up-to-date manuals, with instant updates before and after the flights. The airline Alaska estimates that it saves more than 2.4 million pieces of paper and a flight weight of more than 25lbs in an area where weight is a huge concern. This move has led to better decision making, reduced costs of operation and thus boost efficiency.
With mobile apps, HR can assign tasks to certain employees, set deadlines and milestones then track those tasks to completion. Repetitive tasks can be automated to save time and you can also transition among multiple devices conveniently and different locations without any delays on organizational goals and targets.
HR can also avail customer and business data on the mobile apps so that employees are able to access it in an instant what they need. There are even mobile apps that offer offline functionality so that employees can keep working even when they do not have connectivity. Mobile apps and technology lead to efficiency in the workplace.
Better cooperation and collaboration
Studies confirm that when employees feel connected with their co-workers it improves their engagement at work. The problem that comes with multinationals is that the teams are often disconnected thus disengaging employees. Mobile apps provide a much more effective way for engagement and interaction between disjointed teams. Contact information for co-workers can easily be accessed making it easy to send push messages to each other and stay in touch so as to keep the connections strong.
One of the key functions for HR is to provide opportunities for continuous learning and development of employees. HR needs to enter educational technology that provides full HR support to their employees. Additionally, question and answer pages would trigger discussions and interactions that would boost engagement in the workplace. An app with a menu-driven information system makes it easier for employees to find information. A just in time learning approach helps an employee get the much-needed information to solve a problem or perform a task in small chunks. This makes the learning process exciting, easier and quicker so that the employees are able to reinforce what they have learned immediately.
When employees learn what they need immediately, they are eager to demonstrate their newly acquired skills and knowledge. They are able to appreciate the value of learning a new skill and how it contributes to the overall success of the organization. This helps boost more employee engagement.
Mobile apps help HR measure employee engagement
Mobile has become the leading channel for employers to conduct surveys. But beyond recording and reporting data, mobile apps can add value through its measurement capabilities in the employee engagement space. It can:
- Effectively measure employee interaction with content and help capture feedback on the corporate messages and initiatives
- Help ongoing management of questionnaires, surveys and information insights
- Mobile can help harness the future analytical power of technologies like big data and AI for form dashboards and engagement scores that have real-time insights to enable map out workforce engagement in real time.
Other benefits include
- Aligning co-worker and improving the work environment among others
- Calendaring and planning
- Directory services to easily access employee and client profiles and contact information
- Gamification through surveys, quizzes, and polling so that HR is able to ‘check temperatures’ of employee attitudes and opinions.