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How to Use Technology to Drive Employee Engagement

February 7th, 2017 Comments off
employee engagement

It’s hard to find someone who will argue against the importance of employee engagement. An engaged employee feels a strong sense of connection with their work. And, when we feel that connection as an employee, we do better work. Anyone who’s worked at a job for longer than a couple months knows this to be true.

As a result, most leaders are working to crack the code on employee engagement as a way to increase performance. This conversation about engagement typically focuses on the dynamics of manager effectiveness, teamwork and trust in leadership. These relationships are critical to employee engagement.

But in our focus of the interpersonal dynamics that impact engagement, we sometimes overlook how the smart use of technology tools can also have a profound impact on an employee’s feeling of engagement.

In my study of Best Places to Work, one factor stood out as a distinct differentiator between the best workplaces and the rest: communication. The best places to work are relentless about communication as a means to create clarity and reduce uncertainty for their employees.

Technology has provided us with tremendous tools for communication throughout the employee experience. One area that is of particular importance is the new hire onboarding process. The experience for employees in the few weeks prior to and after joining your organization sets the tone for them. It’s a time of both great anticipation but also great uncertainty for employees. This makes communication critical.

Here are some ways you can use technology to ensure your employees start their career feeling connected and engaged.

  1. Use video to help employees understand how to get started successfully. Video is a wildly underutilized tool by employers. It’s become cheap and easy to create – most people have a decent video camera in their phones. Here are some ways you might consider using video before an employee starts:
  2. Eliminate as much paperwork as possible. We all know there will be some paperwork when we start a new job. But, there are few worse ways to make a first impression during onboarding than with a giant stack of paperwork. Use technology to give employees the flexibility and instruction to complete their paperwork when it works best for them. And, if you can eliminate or automate the form, do it. This way you can focus on more exciting things during the employee’s first day.
    • Send welcome messages from the new hire’s team introducing themselves and sharing interesting facts about themselves.
    • Create videos of employees sharing tips for new hires. You could prompt employees by asking them to share what they wish they’d been told as a new hire.
    • Record welcome messages from the CEO or other senior leaders that explain the organization’s values and history, core expectations of all employees, and other information that would help the employee feel connected to the bigger picture.
  1. Empower the employee to manage their own onboarding experience. Create checklists and task lists for employees that include expected completion dates. This both clarifies expectations for the employee as to what their first few weeks or months will involve and empowers them by allowing them some control over how these tasks get completed.

 

Using technology tools to supplement the onboarding process is a powerful way to get your new employees off on the right foot by removing as much uncertainty from the process as possible.

Jason Lauritsen is a keynote speaker, author and advisor. He is an employee engagement and workplace culture expert who will challenge you to think differently. A former corporate Human Resources executive, Jason has dedicated his career to helping leaders build organizations that are good for both people and profits. Most recently, he led the research team for Quantum Workplace’s Best Places to Work program where he has studied the employee experience at thousands of companies to understand what the best workplaces in the world do differently than the rest. Jason is the co-author of the book, Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships. Connect with Jason at www.JasonLauritsen.com

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5 Onboarding Tips For Remote Employees

January 13th, 2017 Comments off
5 Tips to Onboard Remote Employees Successfully

Onboarding employees is one of the most crucial tasks you can undertake as an employer. The first 90 days are crucial to increasing retention rates. Now that you’ve hired the best candidate, it’s time to not only get them set up logistically, but also to make them feel like an integral part of your organization. That’s a challenge — and perhaps even more so for employees who will be working remotely.

Equip yourself with these five tips to ensure that you’re setting your new employee up for long-term success.

1. Make sure paperwork and technology is ready to go before the start date. Oftentimes, the majority of a new employee’s first day is consumed with trivial technology roadblocks—obtaining a laptop, getting it set up, getting various programs installed, etc. Do yourself a favor and get them set up with IT and any other paperwork they need to dive right in on the first day. By preparing ahead of time, you can mitigate the time spent on administrative and logistical setup so you can focus on what really matters.

2. Communicate expectations. For instance, if you expect them to be online and available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., make sure you communicate that up front. It will help employees working remotely to better plan out their days, especially if they need to invest in a work station at home or a co-working space or find a quiet café where they can work from. If you aren’t a stickler for set hours and just care about the end result, then it doesn’t matter what hours they work as long as they have a deadline to turn in their work. Either way, expectations should be set at the outset to avoid assumptions and miscommunication. Keep the lines of communication open at all times.

3. Set clear and concise goals. There’s nothing worse than an employee logging in on Day 1 and not having an idea of what to do or what the big picture of the role is. To prevent this from happening, consider providing them with a written list of objectives, responsibilities and specific goals so they have a clear picture of how you will judge their performance and measure success. Setting goals, milestones and/or benchmarks can go a long way toward helping new employees understand what’s expected of them from a performance perspective.

4. Find ways to make them feel part of the team. Encouraging teamwork and collaboration can be more challenging with remote employees, but do what you can to make new employees feel like they fit in and build (virtual) relationships with the rest of the team. See if they can come into the office — even if it’s just for a day or two during the onboarding process — to meet the rest of the team. The occasional team outing can also boost team spirit and help build camaraderie. Additionally, make sure the new employee knows who to reach out to if questions arise or they need additional help.

5. Offer training and development. Employees entering your organization will need to be ramped up fairly quickly so they can hit the ground running. For remote employees who are not able to make it into the office during onboarding, make sure you have in place virtual training and/or workshops to get them up to speed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Whether it’s looping them in on HR protocols or ramping them up on the tools/technology your organization uses, having it readily available and on-demand is crucial.

Do you manage remote workers? What is your biggest challenge? Do you have a tip for other employers? Tweet your response and tag @CBforEmployers.