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Employee Engagement, Exemplified 2 Ways

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Image: Andrei Krauchuk - Alamy Stock Vector
Many businesses have found themselves either redesigning an existing employee experience strategy or, in the absence of one, developing one from scratch to address the shifting workplace dynamics brought about over the last two years by the rise of work-from-home and hybrid work models. Such was the case for 52.3% and 26.6% of companies (respectively) that participated in Metrigy’s recent global research study on employee experience.
Enabling engagement is among the top four drivers for funding employee experience technology purchases. Nearly 59% of all companies and 69% of the most successful companies, as measured by revenue gain, operational cost savings, increased employee satisfaction, and greater retention, justified funding on this goal.
Funding around employee engagement speaks to two of the five core pillars Metrigy has defined as part of an employee experience strategy: 1) measuring employee engagement—and experience overall—and using the data to provide actionable insights to employees, and 2) encouraging engagement among employees. Let’s take a closer look at each of these pillars.
Measuring Engagement & Providing Actionable Insights
Traditionally, companies have typically measured engagement via HR-managed employee listening tools and surveys. For example, using quarterly or annual engagement surveys, companies can assess how engaged employees feel about their work over time. Pulse polls, on the other hand, allow companies to understand how employees feel in the moment.
More recently, the challenges of digital overload and video meeting burnout have spurred collaboration and productivity app vendors and their ecosystems (hardware and performance management) to begin offering ways to measure and provide actionable guidance based on engagement within their tools. The idea here is twofold. First, by offering personalized insights and guidance, employees will feel empowered to self-improve on engagement, productivity, and well-being. Second, by aggregating data at a team, department, or company level, team leaders, managers, and company leaders should be better able to understand how employees engage with each other throughout the day.
This latter set of capabilities comes in through IT, for the most part. Microsoft, Mitel, and Webex are among the collaboration/video meeting app providers offering this insight.
Encouraging Engagement Among Employees
Companies can encourage employee engagement in various ways, including collaboration applications that allow them to meet on-the-fly for quick chats or intranets that allow commenting and other interactions. But this pillar really requires social software that enables employees to engage with one another whether they’re ever in the same virtual meeting, team chat channel, or intranet discussion. In other words, social software facilitates conversation and interaction among employees outside the bounds of specific teams, projects, or workgroups and regardless of role or title.
The trick for companies using social software, available from a host of providers including Haiilo, Jive Software, Meta (Workplace), Microsoft (Yammer and the recently introduced Viva Engage), and MixR, is striking the right balance between free-flowing conversation and cultural appropriateness. Among participating companies in our employee experience study:
  • 48.4% – let any employee launch and participate in communities
  • 41.1% – vet suggestions before allowing employees to start a communities
  • 55.8% – monitor community content for adherence to corporate policies
  • 40% – allow free forums with no corporate oversight
Cross-Discipline Approach to Engagement
As companies work to assess engagement levels as a means of enabling improvement and encourage engagement among all employees, HR and IT should align forces. Understanding and encouraging engagement today takes a mix and match of traditional and new data sources and product types.