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How to Make Sense of Employee Engagement Technology

Monday, September 19, 2016
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It's a confusing time to shop for engagement technology.

If you look around the market or spend time on the show floor at the HR Technology® Conference & Exposition, you'll see many types of HR technologies that create engaged workforces.

According to SHRM research, there are nearly 100 vendors that focus strictly on increasing employee engagement. Even outside of those vendors, there are many others that claim to affect engagement in a positive way.

Making sense of it all can be tough. As we've heard from our clients, there are many ways organizations can positively influence engagement. The good news is there's a smart way to evaluate your options and make the best choice for your organization.

What is Engagement?

One thing that confuses everyone is the broad definition HR software providers use to claim that their solution is engaging employees.

If HRISs, payroll, benefits, learning, recognition and more all lead to engagement, then how can you identify what will make a difference for your organization?

To cut through that confusion, organizations should focus on technologies that connect with employees in meaningful ways. Here are a few things to look at when deciding if a technology solution is truly engaging.

1.  Does the solution align employee actions with the needs of the organization? Whether it's an employee learning a new skill, being productive or making a long-term commitment to the organization, almost everyone agrees that engagement should at the very least be aligned with the needs of the business to be sustainable.

2.  Does it align incentives with the desires of employees? This goes beyond basic compensation to true employee desires -- such as being recognized by co-workers and the organization, getting healthy or learning new skills.

3.  Can you make measurable engagement adjustments and gains? It's not just about finding the right engagement technology mix, but being able to offer real-time insights and adjustments to meet the needs of the business and employees.

4.  Is the technology easy enough for everyone to use? HR is already managing multiple technologies that touch employees, which means new engagement technologies can't just be easy to implement -- they also have to be fun and easy to use.

These four areas will help you identify whether a solution is truly something that can encourage engagement. But how do you know if a particular technology is the right fit for your organization?

Factors to Consider

Every company is unique. You have a distinct culture, with different people and different needs than anyone else. Your leaders have bought into the employee engagement conversation in their own way, and your technology needs will be unique as well.

While acknowledging that challenge, there are a few things you should consider as you look at the multitude of features and technologies in this crowded market:

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* Strategy. You should first look at your own strategy and understand what you want to accomplish. An organization that has high expectations for engagement programs will have different needs than ones that aren't ready yet.

* Experience. You want a partner that's experienced and isn't scared by big programs and challenges. What might be even more important is that the partner you choose listens to you and understands your unique strategy and needs.

* Technology. In many cases, technology is replacing and expanding current programs, but you can't forget that you and your partner must take into account the changes to your processes and how they will impact your people.

* Resources and support. Engagement doesn't end with the launch of new programs and software. It's an ongoing process, which means you need ongoing resources and support for your internal team from the partner you choose.

All of these can help you make the best possible choice for your unique organization.

Picking a Partner

There are many potential programs that can engage employees -- no single program can do it all.

Ultimately, the most successful engagement initiatives start with a commitment and prioritization from the organization's leadership. What do you want to accomplish and what programs can best sustain and align the outcomes that are unique for your organization?

When you focus on what's right for your organization, you can more easily pick the partner with the right technology, experience, vision and support to meet your unique needs. Inspirus works with organizations to create employee engagement programs that bring joy to work, one experience at a time. Find out more by contacting us today.

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