You know the drill. You’ve already checked your Facebook, Instagram, the news. Your boss just sat down next to you. Now what? Sound familiar? In the digital age, many of us are used to constant visual stimulation and social media interaction, and we’re often bored without it. With information always at our fingertips, digital employees are challenging organizations to rethink everything from workplace structure and culture to employee engagement. As digital employees, we expect exciting information to be accessible anytime, anywhere.
By 2025, millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce. But it’s not only millennials. According to Gartner, a leading IT research and advisory firm, “every employee is a digital employee,” since nearly all of us use digital technology at home and work.
Therefore, the challenge for organizations is creating ideal environments for digital employees of all generations: Ones that support innovation, flexibility, personal growth, and continuous access to information.
The Problem: Lack of Employee Engagement
Rethinking workplace environments and the employee experience coincides with a problem facing businesses and their employees worldwide – employee engagement. According to a Gallup poll, 68.5% of employees don’t feel engaged or feel actively disengaged with their work.
It should be no surprise that the same poll found that millennials are the least engaged generation in the workforce. No matter what your age is: If you feel disengaged, it suggests that your talents and skills are not being fully utilized.
For companies, low engagement negatively impacts hiring, talent retention, and eventually the bottom-line. Aberdeen Group reports that firms with formal engagement strategies are 67% more likely to improve revenue per FTE (full-time equivalent, or employee) and 8% more likely to retain first-year employees. Does your company have a formal engagement strategy? Ask around. Perhaps it’s time someone asked them to create one.
Here’s what employees need to ask their employers for and what companies need to do to increase engagement and employee satisfaction:
The Solution: 4 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement
Performance reviews alone are not enough. Digital employees thrive on information. Instead of periodic reviews, companies should give digital employees continuous access to information on performance management. Flexible goal setting, feedback, individual contributions, skills – continuous access to this information gives workers autonomy and helps them align their individual goals to those of the organization. In fact, 41% of companies consider aligning individual and organizational goals as the biggest factor for improving employee performance. Wouldn’t this help keep you motivated?
Imagine you’ve just been hired. What if your future employer invited you to get acquainted with your new workplace and explore your curiosities on their online learning platform? You could reduce your anxiety about being a newbie and use your excitement to learn via what is often called pre-boarding.
It benefits new recruits early by enabling them to make their own connections internally and gain insights into the culture. It shows new hires that engaging with the company is a priority. In addition, early portal access gives new hires access to onboarding content that helps establish expectations and saves time on day one.
It’s no secret that everyone learns differently, and top organizations are taking advantage of microlearning, social media, mobile platforms, and cohort learning. The goal of a diverse learning environment is to promote informal, continuous learning. Much like performance management, learning in the workplace can benefit from continuous access to information that fosters personal and professional growth.
Bored at work? Now you can make use of that time and explore something you’ve always wanted to learn. After all, enhancing your skills will be good for both you and your employer in the long run.
According to a study of more than 470 employers across 5 countries, 1 in 4 organizations say their recognition programs are ineffective for millennials, and 38% of millennials agree. Recognizing and rewarding excellence goes beyond verbal acknowledgment or even financial compensation. Aberdeen points out that top organizations are 94% more likely than others to use online social recognition tools to support their employees’ successes.
Technology makes it easy to celebrate employees’ everyday victories, and it’s essential in organizations with virtual and global teams. Top organizations don’t stop there, however. Other non-financial rewards such as happy hours, office parties, day trips, and creative prizes can foster camaraderie and reinforce the efforts of individuals and teams, alike.
Where do we go from here?
In a business landscape where millennials and digital employees often shop around to find the best employer, engagement will dictate whether organizations will be able to attract and retain top digital talent. Digital employees are transforming workplaces and forcing them to evolve into interconnected, continuous platforms for information and collaboration.
A centralized, adaptable infrastructure like a company intranet, or portal for internal users, is a great way to concentrate the 4 business activities above onto one location. Supporting these functions creates an employee-focused environment that places engagement at the forefront and enhances every stage of the employee experience.
So, if you’re bored at work, ask yourself and ask your employer to give you more of what you need to stay engaged.