Listen to the Voice of the Employee to Improve Engagement

October 12, 2016 Appirio

By Erin Lively

It’s the theme of the 21st century: technological and digital innovations have transformed nearly every aspect of our lives. It’s been spoken, written, thought, and repeated so many times that I think I speak for all of us when I say: we get it. But understanding the concept and maximizing the potential of these new digital platforms to drive business success are 2 entirely different things.

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Customers are top of mind when it comes to achieving business success. In fully embracing the idea that this era of innovation has transformed the way customers want to and will interact with companies, we’ve overlooked one simple fact: these advances are changing the way all people’s lives operate — customers and employees. We’ve seen incredible things on the Customer Experience front (e.g., the complete revolution of customer service in using Twitter to transparently address customer concerns and questions), but much of the Worker Experience still remains in the dark ages.

The success of a company is dependent upon a great Customer Experience and a great Worker Experience; the 2 are inextricably linked in what we at Appirio refer to as the Virtuous Cycle. Workers have the same core demand that customers do: communication channels that facilitate collaboration and provide a connected, intuitive experience. We’ve proven we have the know-how to adapt to and utilize these technologies for customers. We now need to leverage this knowledge to reinvent the Worker Experience — starting by listening to the Voice of the Employee (VoE).

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Email usage should be minimized by other technologies

It’s a morning ritual for many: pour some coffee and then open your inbox to unceremoniously delete all mass email threads. (If you’re the office unicorn who diligently reads every conversation, here’s a virtual high-five from me.) But how many times have you then found yourself frantically searching for a specific email once a coworker’s referenced a crucial piece of information buried in one of these threads?

We see a long string of emails as a nuisance but will spend hours scrolling through social media feeds reading post after post. The disconnect here reveals a solution; eliminating the need for mass email threads by creating intra-company social network feeds and promoting the use of IM channels for more tactical conversations will align business interactions with today’s standard methods of communication. Allowing workers to communicate in the same manner at work as they do in their personal lives encourages more employee engagement.

Social feeds should surface relevant business tasks and objects

Moving long conversation chains away from email to a social media feed provides the opportunity to improve both the method and quality of communication. To provide employees with only the most pertinent communication, consolidate all of the competing social feeds into one personalized, primary feed based on shares, follows, and business objects like accounts, people, and projects.

Content creation defaults to collaboration

The days of sending an attachment via email and (im)patiently waiting for a response with an updated version should be long behind us. Google For Work offers real-time collaboration across nearly all forms of business content on all devices. By cutting out email as the middleman, you’ll save workers valuable time and frustration.

Providing access to live communication channels like IM on all devices allows constant collaboration between employees. Similarly, global video conference calls and cloud-based presentation tools facilitate easy interaction beyond the confines of office walls. Location should no longer be a barrier to communication.

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Real conversations, not one-way communications

The importance of a VoE program cannot be stressed enough. The conversation between a company and its employees should be continuous. Employees are the heart of any business, and with millennials as the new workforce majority, workers are more technologically savvy than ever. Make the cultural and technological changes necessary to engage workers and you’ve can transform your business for the good of your workers and customers.

To fully leverage this knowledge, supplement periodic employee surveys and analysis with real-time “pulse checks” and social listening. Put a dedicated response mechanism and staff in place to analyze employee feedback and develop the most logical plan of action to ensure future transparency and success.

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