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Consultant’s blog: Do central IT platforms aid employee engagement?

Opinion piece by one of Insync’s Research Project Managers

Employee engagement declines

Hays have recently reported that employee engagement throughout Europe and America is declining. With the global economy remaining bleak and pockets of redundancy continuing, this is of little surprise.

Insync’s extensive academic and statistical research has found that in a high performing organisation, there are nine key factors that co-exist with employee engagement. Some of these include:

  • long term direction
  • team leadership and success
  • investment in people and systems

With the exception of employee engagement, these factors largely involve leaders’ communication of top-down initiatives that link corporate strategy with execution. However, one of the frustrations that managers all too often report is getting caught up in their day-to-day work and not having the time to listen to their staff. Staff may be geographically isolated, in different time zones or offices, report to different functions which come with their own unique culture, speak different languages, etc. Most great managers are also great communicators and employ the usual raft of platforms to elicit staff feedback and opinions.

Technology and employee engagement

Technology should help to make communication easier as central platforms for gathering, sharing and developing ideas now exist. Employee feedback software allows employees to submit ideas, vote on others’ ideas and discuss them. Such software seems to be producing very quick wins for organisations, acting like a virtual open-door policy for managers. Early reports suggest that implementation of such software has employees offering improvements for products, policies and processes. Unsurprisingly when done well, such software can also publicise how employees’ suggestions have resulted in real change and contribute to increased employee engagement.

It will be interesting to see what happens with these new platforms over time. Will technology fatigue set in once the novelty has worn off? Will employee engagement tip the other way once employees whose ideas haven’t been addressed become disillusioned with the system? Like so many of the processes which employers implement, will this become yet another regular chore?

Who knows, but during times when employee engagement is at an all time low, it’s interesting to learn about all new methods of bottom-up communication.

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