Taking the first step towards a more engaging (digital) workplace
One of the most important duties of employers is to maximise the motivation and work satisfaction of their employees, thereby ensuring that productivity is optimized, customers are kept happy and profitability is healthy. It is also one of the trickiest. But, with a well-structured, modern and dynamic intranet, this task is made a lot easier.
Employee engagement can be boosted in a number of ways. Creating the right physical infrastructure that enables employees to get things done efficiently in a comfortable and stimulating environment is obviously one of the most important prerequisites. But equally important are the workplace policies that ensure all employees feel they can have a real say in the strategic development of the business, are able to positively influence their current and future work situation and are all members of the corporate team. Otherwise, it’s hard to get everyone moving in the same direction. And instead of focusing on growth strategies and improvements, management will be forced to handle internal conflicts and a rising employee churn rate.
One of management’s incomparably most effective communication tools for planting strategies, business objectives and core values into the organization, while simultaneously creating processes that will reinforce employee engagement, is the intranet. But it’s essential to develop an intranet that is specially designed to take into account the unique needs, behaviour and informal culture of the individual organization. There are, however, some basic psychological principles that work for every organization. In this blog post, we’ll take you through some of them, helping you along the path to enhanced employee engagement.
More flexibility = Increased productivity
Many employers find it difficult to trust their employees to fulfill their duties if they’re given too much independence, i.e. if they’re not constantly working under the direct supervision of their bosses on company premises and during regular working hours. Most of them, however, would no doubt be quite surprised if they dared put their prejudices to the test. Workplaces with a more flexible work situation, where employees have the freedom to choose when and where they work, are often more productive compared to less flexible workplaces. In addition to increased productivity, employee engagement is also greater in this environment. For the overwhelming majority of employees, the ability to control when and where they work makes their everyday puzzle so much easier to solve. And happy employees are more likely to be more productive and loyal to their employers.
A modern intranet contains a vast array of smart functions that will help you create a more flexible workplace. You can, for instance, eliminate the need to physically meet by using tools and solutions for online meetings and collaboration. There are indeed many innovative and easy-to-use tools embedded in the intranet that make virtual meetings much more efficient and productive than IRL meetings. It is in fact also much easier and more result-oriented working together on documents via file sharing solutions.
Your employees’ time management will also improve immensely thanks to online time registration systems and shared calendars.
Transparency is everything
Open and honest communication creates a higher level of engagement across the entire organization. When your employees know that nothing is kept from them, with the exception of sensitive legal and financial issues, and that all the information conveyed is true and undisguised, they will listen. And they will listen attentively and with genuine interest. Because now they see themselves as trusted members of the team building the future business. And, as we know, honesty runs both ways. If management is open and transparent, their employees will act correspondingly.
Employee engagement will soar when everybody knows what’s going on. Since more people, with varying competencies, are aware of things that need be improved or of questions that demand answers, this will accordingly lead to greater synergies and innovation.
This is one of the reasons why the intranet is the given place through which to channel all information. And with the help of categories and tags, employees can easily filter out the most relevant items in their personal feed, thereby speeding up the distribution of critical information.
Encourage voluntary engagement
Keeping online discussion boards as open, transparent and inviting as possible is an effective strategy for increasing the number of participants. The same strategy is, in fact, applicable to various kinds of improvement and voluntary projects.
Investing time in causes and projects that don’t have a reward waiting at the end of the road has a positive psychological effect on most people. Sharing your knowledge and time for the benefit of others does wonders for your mental well-being. The good news for employers is that performing voluntary work for the company has positive effects on employees similar to those experienced when they are doing good deeds in the community or helping people in distress.
Voluntary work also has a positive spiraling effect, triggering employees’ interest in new and other unpaid projects once the current one comes to an end. Another positive side-effect is that, once an employee has participated in activities and projects outside of his or her work description, then that employee more often than not becomes more interested in the strategic challenges facing the organization.
So if you wish to harvest this rich fruit of dormant employee engagement, you need to create an environment that encourages people to participate in and initiate voluntary projects. Smart collaboration tools on the intranet make it very easy to start new projects, invite and administer members, moderate discussions, and plan and follow up activities.
Visible goals are easier to reach
If employees are not aware of the objectives and strategic goals of the business, then it’s difficult to unify the organization and ensure the workforce prioritizes the right actions at the right time. Meetings, emails and stick-on notes in the coffee room are of course all accepted means of internal communication. However, a consistent and crystal-clear statement of your business goals, reiterated in every possible context on the intranet, is far better. In this way, the information is guaranteed to reach everyone, with your goals being gradually engraved into employees’ minds by virtue of their daily use of the intranet.
When your employees know and fully understand your overarching business strategy, together with your short- and long-term goals, it will be so much easier to get them engaged and involved in decision processes and improvement work.
Healthy social life = healthy organization
Work is so much more than meetings, deadlines, annual vacations, and a monthly paycheque. It’s a place where most people spend a huge proportion of their waking hours. Assuming that you want to have happy, productive and creative employees, it’s therefore vitally important that you make the workplace as pleasant a place as possible.
One way to do this is to institute a social activity calendar with food- and health-oriented, cultural and other social activities and events.
It need not cost very much to establish a sound social structure with regular activities. Simple things like taking longs walks, swimming or jogging together a few times a week, visiting art galleries – all activities that cost so little but mean so much for the well-being and team spirit of your employees.
There are many useful functions and forms available on the intranet that you can use to create invitations to events and activities, set up competitions, manage participant lists, send reminders etc. Invitations can also be synchronized with employees’ calendars so that they don’t run the risk of missing out on the activities they’re booked to attend.
Finally, and it’s perhaps unnecessary to point this out, but the happier employees are with their work and their workplace, the more engaged and motivated they tend to be. You’ll also have a much healthier workplace into the bargain.