In the future, the workplace will require a greater focus on employee engagement, according to an article in Forbes magazine. The magazine cites several statistics to make its point. Disengaged workers cost U.S. companies about $550 billion per year because of increased turnover and loss of production. Some employees are so disengaged that they work against the organization's mission rather than working for it or remaining neutral.
Employers are now making employee engagement a priority. Chances are, your organization is joining them.
One way to keep employees engaged is with employee engagement software.
What is employee engagement software?
You've probably heard of employee engagement software, but you may need clarification about precisely what it is and what it does.
Employee engagement software fosters the formation of connections and professional and individual growth in the workplace. Software platforms allow employees to pursue new opportunities, create a more inclusive work culture, and improve morale.
Employee engagement platforms accomplish their purpose in different ways. Some employee engagement platforms allow employees to search across the entire organization for opportunities that stretch their minds and will teach them new skills. Other platforms stress collegiality, collaboration, and increased productivity. Still, other platforms help organizations solicit employee feedback so that the organization can improve positivity and engagement. Some platforms also help organizations recognize employee achievements.
Just about any organization can benefit from employee engagement software.
How does employee engagement software work?
Most employee engagement software is available through Software as a Service (SaaS) companies. SaaS companies create software applications and make them available to customers over the Internet for a fee.
The purpose of employee engagement software is to remove barriers to the free flow of communication between employees. When employees can communicate with each other freely about their strengths, ambitions, and opportunities, employee potential is unlocked.
Employee engagement software assembles all the organization's data in one place to create a detailed and dynamic people directory. Structural's employee engagement platform gathers data from all the company's business systems to create complete profiles of each employee. Employees can search for other employees using filters such as interests, skills, clients, and roles. Employees can connect with one another regardless of whether they work in the same office or thousands of miles away, in-person or remotely.
Employee engagement software can also create opportunity marketplaces that promote opportunities to qualified people across the organization. These opportunities aren't necessarily promotions. They can be short-term projects, mentoring or protege opportunities, networking, or volunteer leadership opportunities. Indeed, the types of opportunities are limited only by the imagination of your company and employees. These opportunities can help your employees fulfill their potential, keep them engaged by teaching them new skills, and improve productivity and creativity in your organization. They also can improve collegiality, community, and culture.
Finally, some employee engagement platforms can integrate with and improve the internal communication tools that you already use, such as Microsoft Teams, Gsuite, or Slack.
How does employee engagement software actually improve engagement?
Gallup defines engagement as including both involvement and enthusiasm. Employee engagement is critical to the success of your organization. According to Gallup, companies with engaged employees:
- Are 23 percent more profitable than other companies
- Have a 14 percent higher productivity than companies with disengaged employees
- Have a 10 percent higher customer satisfaction rating and an 18 percent increase in sales over companies without engaged employee
- Experience 43 percent less employee turnover than organizations without engaged employees.
Employee engagement software is a critical piece in your company's strategy to keep your employees highly engaged.
Employee engagement software improves communication
Internal communication is key to increasing employee engagement. More than 80 percent of employees are more motivated when internal communication is good. Employee engagement software improves communication by easing the flow of communication from managers down to employees, employees to managers, and employees to each other. The software also dramatically increases communication with remote employees.
In addition to increasing employee engagement, improved internal communication provides additional benefits. It supports employees in their roles as brand ambassadors, boosts employee knowledge, and encourages departments to work together toward common goals.
Employee engagement software can increase empathy
Empathy is also a factor in employee engagement. Ninety percent of workers in Generation Z (those born after 1997) say they are more likely to stay in an organization with an empathetic culture.
Creating an empathetic culture also has other benefits. Once people empathize with each other, they cooperate more efficiently. Cooperation leads to greater productivity and more creative problem-solving.
Empathy can also help end racial, gender, and sexual orientation biases that sometimes creep into the workforce. When companies can remove these subconscious barriers from their workplaces, all employees can achieve their full potential, which means the company will thrive.
Empathy increases once we get to know another person and understand what is beneath their attitudes and behavior. Employee engagement software helps employees connect. These connections can spur relationships and create opportunities for listening to each other.
Employee engagement software offers growth opportunities
Authentic growth opportunities aren't about fixing employees. Instead, they are about helping employees maximize their strengths in their roles. Growth leads to employee engagement because the job now means much more to them than simply a paycheck. Employee engagement software often leads to intrinsic growth opportunities the employee wouldn't otherwise have.
Employee engagement software provides feedback
Managers don't always know what their employees are thinking. They hope their employees will share their thoughts with them. But employees often fail to share their true feelings with the boss, especially if they feel management policies are unfair. Instead of sharing their feelings, employees may simply disengage and leave the company. They may even post their negative comments on social media.
Employee engagement software can include tools that allow employees to contribute ideas to improve processes and the corporate culture. It can also empower contributors to express their thoughts on policies. The best platforms can survey employees and analyze the data, allowing management to consider employees' opinions when making decisions.
Employee engagement software offers recognition opportunities
Employees who work in organizations with recognition programs are more engaged than those without these programs. Employee engagement platforms help create opportunities where employees can shine and provide the information management requires to reward these employees. Digital engagement platforms may also integrate with marketing companies to help you find the perfect, customized reward for each employee based on their profile.
Does employee engagement software contribute to the organization in other ways?
Employee engagement software can also improve the organization's onboarding process. The software allows the process to be repeated with each new employee while also allowing for customization.
Effective onboarding is critical to acclimating employees to their roles and the company's mission. It also helps the employees to understand what is expected of them and how you will measure their work. Employees who have a smooth onboarding experience are more likely to remain in the organization over the long term.
Employee engagement software also benefits the company by helping to put the right people on the right projects at the right time. In most organizations with an employee engagement platform, a project manager builds a team from people they know. Often, they only know those people who work in their unit or whose paths they cross in their day-to-day activities. Using this method, project teams may become stagnant and lack the most qualified people.
The best people for the project team may work in different units from the project manager or be people the manager doesn't come across every day. Employee engagement software enables the project manager to search for team members with the right skills for the project. It also allows the project manager to send the opportunity to those whose profiles indicate they might be a good fit.
The result is a highly effective project team.
How do I choose the best employee engagement software?
Choosing the right employee engagement software is a multi-step process.
Know your priorities
The first step in choosing the best employee engagement software is knowing your organization's needs and priorities. You'll want to select the platform that best aligns with those priorities.
- What are the main issues I face?
- What works currently for my organization? What needs improvement?
- What goals do I want the employee engagement software to help you achieve?
- What features will I need on the platform?
Do your research
Once you know what you need, research the platforms on the market to determine which ones best meet your needs. Once you narrow down the finalists, look at other factors such as user-friendliness, the ability to integrate with other software you already have, and the quality of training and support the company offers.
Security is also essential. Ask each vendor what security features the software has to protect the privacy and confidentiality of your data.
Also, consider what you'll have to do to deploy the software, including the staffing and time required. Finally, consider the price. Obviously, the software must fit within your budget; however, the lowest-priced software isn't necessarily the best solution. Look for the software that will provide the best return on your investment.
Consider whether the platform is designed for your industry or your business size. Enterprise businesses have different needs than small businesses. Professional services firms also differ from manufacturing businesses. Public-sector organizations have unique needs. Evaluate the company's experience with organizations like yours.
Allow plenty of time for your research. The Employee Engagement Software Market is huge and is growing at a rate of about 23 percent annually. By 2027, experts forecast the market will reach $870 million.
The final step is your decision. Ask if you can try a demo or a free trial before making a final decision.
Which employee engagement software features do I need?
The features are essential in deciding the best software for your organization. Every employee engagement platform should offer a few basic features:
- Employee engagement survey templates
- Ways to measure employee perceptions and gain feedback
- Analytical tools
- Email notifications
- Benchmarking capabilities
However, you'll want several other features to gain the maximum benefit from your platform.
A dynamic people directory
In the not-too-distant past, organizations had paper directories that included the employees' names, their departments, and phone extensions. They called these people directories. Today's businesses need a dynamic directory with much more robust features to achieve employee engagement, training, and productivity goals.
A dynamic directory will gather information from all the systems within your company to build profiles of each employee. Employees can search the directory using several filters, including business units, skills, roles, interests, languages, location, strengths, and clients. They also will be able to look more deeply at individuals or groups of people to determine the best person for a particular project. Managers also will be able to use the directory to tailor internal communications.
An opportunity marketplace
A good employee engagement platform will allow employees with the right skills to "find" opportunities and to be "found" for those opportunities, as well. It will use the information gleaned from other systems within your company to create a mobility plan for every organization member. Opportunity marketplaces can also help your organization retain employees.
Opportunities aren't always promotions or even roles on project teams. Sometimes they are training or volunteer opportunities that help the employee grow or opportunities to use different skills than the employee typically uses on the job. For example, suppose an I.T. analyst edits audio in her spare time. She sees in the opportunity marketplace that the company would like to launch a podcast. She expresses an interest and receives a few days off from her regular duties to develop the podcast. She's happy to do something different, and the company is satisfied because it doesn't have to outsource the work.
In some cases, the marketplace might feature networking opportunities, such as a mystery book club or an employee bowling league. The key is that the system will communicate the opportunity to the relevant people. Those who like to read mysteries will receive invitations to the book club, while those who like to bowl will receive bowling opportunities, for example.
The marketplace is important because it allows communication opportunities outside silos and fosters equal opportunity. Employees can form relationships outside of their daily circle.
Integration with personality and strength assessments
Employee engagement platforms that integrate with popular personality and strength assessment tools can develop very rich employee profiles. These profiles make the people directory even more searchable and valuable. Some of the best employee engagement platforms integrate with Gallup's Clifton Strengths, DISC Profile, or the Predictive Index, for example.
Integration with other business tools
People directory profiles are more vibrant if the employee engagement software can integrate with tools such as SalesForce, LinkedIn, HubSpot, and API Proprietary Data Sources. Collaboration and communication will be easier if the platform integrates and enhances tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Gsuite. Your organization can provide better training and onboarding if the employee engagement platform integrates with learning management software, such as Udemy, Lessonly, and Microsoft Viva Learning.
Enterprise-level security is critical in your employee engagement platform. The best platforms will meet the following criteria:
- Meet S.O.C. 2 standards. SOC-2 is a voluntary compliance standard developed by the American Institute of C.P.A.s. It governs how organizations should manage data.
- Provide security in its design. Your company should be able to control the data stored on the platform and how it is handled.
- Include Transport Layer Software (T.L.S.) encryption to prevent hackers from seeing the data you transmit.
The best platforms will allow for customization based on your organization's unique workflow and culture. Customization also allows your organization to design a platform that will be friendly and replicate a social experience rather than having a corporate feel.
Backed by great support
You want resources to support your organization's use of the platform. Ideally, the software producer should provide resources on their website to help you fully use the software. They also should provide support via chat, email, and phone.
When you're shopping for an employee engagement platform, ask for references and call each one to ask about their customer experience. Check online reviews, as well.
Structural provides employee engagement software solutions for enterprises, services and staffing firms, health care organizations, and public sector organizations. Our platform integrates with a wide variety of business and training software and assessment tools. Our dynamic people directory and opportunity marketplace are robust, allowing us to provide flexibility, customization, and a comprehensive array of features. A third party has verified our S.O.C. 2 compliance, and we offer TLS encryption. We also offer a library of resources to support you and provide stellar customer service.
Our values are apparent in our platform and our service. These B.E.A.M. values are:
- Brave. We take risks to try new things.
- Exceptional. We act as innovators and owners.
- Authentic. We act with integrity.
- Motivated. We learn and adapt to keep improving.
Contact Structural today to request a demo.