8 ways that your business software can improve employee engagement
Extensive research has shown definitively that employee engagement has a direct effect on business performance. Companies with engaged employees outperform those where morale is flagging and interest waning consistently and significantly – and the software you use can have an impact.
Businesses with engagement scores in the top 25% had twice the annual net profit of those in the bottom 25%, with nearly 20% higher productivity. What’s more, companies with high levels of engagement show a 40% lower staff turnover than companies with low levels. Engagement of staff helps you retain them, and it’s good for your business results. Yet worryingly, only a third of UK employees report feeling engaged at work*. Higher levels of engagement logically point to a happier and more fulfilling working environment, thereby boosting employee wellbeing and motivation, as well as productivity.
So how do you know if your staff are engaged? What does that look like? And perhaps most importantly, how can you improve staff engagement on a day to day basis?
What does an engaged employee look like?
“Engagement” is a term you’ll hear a lot from HR professionals, and sometimes it can sound a bit like a buzzword, one of those things that you need to tick a box for and move on. But the genuine business benefits are so evident that it’s worthwhile looking into it further and seeing how small changes can help.
An engaged employee is, essentially, someone who takes pride in their work, someone who looks forward to coming to work each day and does their best for the good of the business, taking an active interest in the performance of the company. They will be motivated, confident and driven, with good relationships in the workplace and a positive, can-do attitude.
You could say this is down to each individual’s personality and of course, that will always play a part. But it’s also down to a number of factors that you can influence.
What factors influence staff engagement?
This is a huge subject and many, many articles have been written about it based on exhaustive research. As we’re not here to explore the deeper reaches of corporate psychology, we’ll aim to keep it brief. There are loads of factors that influence staff engagement – here are some of the main ones.
- Purpose. Employees who understand and share the purpose of the organisation, as well as having a clear understanding of the expectations on them as individuals, will be more engaged than those who don’t really know the objectives, goals or targets at stake.
- Reward comes in many forms – salary, bonus, perks etc, but recognition is hugely important for staff morale and engagement. Having your contribution to the company acknowledged, recognised and appreciated is a hugely motivating factor for many people.
- Relationships. The number one reason for people leaving jobs is because of bad relationships with their boss. Good relationships in the workplace are enormously influential in an employee’s happiness and engagement. It’s also important for people to be inspired by their leader, and see them working toward the same shared goals, purpose and values, which has a massive impact on staff engagement.
- Empowerment. People who feel trusted to do their jobs and free to make decisions, with the appropriate level of support, will usually be far more motivated than those who are micromanaged at every step.
- Motivation. No-one enjoys being bored, and people generally prefer to feel that they are progressing, meeting new challenges and learning new skills. Keeping people interested in their own career development and daily work performance is key, so it’s important for leaders to realise what each staff member is working towards.
- Communication. People don’t like being left out of the loop or not knowing what’s going on. Clear communication not only ensures that people are able to do a better job because they know what’s expected of them, it also helps to motivate people to challenge, share their ideas and take an active role in the business.
That’s all well and good – but how on earth is our software going to help?
You’d be surprised how much of an impact the software your employees use every day can have. Here are 8 ways that the right software can enhance employee engagement and wellbeing.
Clear targets and performance monitoring: In a nutshell, good software will help employees to see how well they’re doing. The UT400 dashboard has performance tiles which show how close you are to your own targets, which are tailored to your role. Employees know at every stage what they’re aiming for, and the system is designed to make reaching those targets easier.
Transparent means to monitor achievement: Because it’s simple to see targets and monitor performance, it’s also easy to see and celebrate achievement. Senior managers are able to see the performance of individuals and the company as a whole, making it easier to recognise contributions.
Reduced frustration at time wasting. Slicker, faster day-to-day functions and automated admin tasks means less time being wasted and less frustration building up. Saving time with every reduced action or keystroke makes for a more productive, motivated workforce. Integrated stock scanning means no duplicated effort, and the result is higher productivity, greater accuracy, and happier people.
More opportunities: And in so many ways. There are more opportunities to make a difference through waste reduction or process efficiencies, through smashing sales targets or increasing margin. Having a more transparent overview of your business or role parameters means you are able to focus on what’s working and fix what’s not, and see the impact it’s having in real time.
A clear sense of the bigger picture: People like to feel they’re making a difference, and good software connects an individual’s role and performance with that of the wider business, helping them to see their value in real terms. It’s not always easy for individuals to see how important they are to a business, so using software to demonstrate their real contribution is a huge advantage.
More time to work on development: If people are having to spend less time on frustrating, repetitive tasks, they free up more time for other valuable initiatives, whether that’s focusing on training and development, or coming up with new ideas for the business or particular processes. It’s easy to get lost in the day to day busy-ness of business, but with more time comes more creativity, more innovation, and more breakthrough moments.
Intelligent analysis to back up proposals and suggestions to make change happen. With intelligent software that helps people access information in a useful and relevant way, it helps employees to back up their proposals and have more confidence in their decision making. You never know where the next big idea will come from, and giving people the tools and the power to present a compelling business case will not only be incredibly motivating, it could be business-boosting too!
Flexible working. Using a cloud system (like UT400) that people can access from anywhere, whether that’s on a working-from-home day or when they’re out on the road visiting customers, helps to keep people connected and enables them to do their job in a way that fits their circumstances. Remote working, flexible hours and job sharing are all growing trends in today’s business world, and having easily accessible business systems is a big part of making that possible, and providing a working environment that suits your employees’ lifestyles.
Software will never be the only answer to the ongoing challenge of keeping employees motivated and engaged. But think for a moment about how much time they will spend using it – it should come as no surprise that easy-to-use, helpful software that fits in with people’s lives is going to have multiple opportunities to make a big difference every day.
*With thanks to TLC for providing the statistics for this article