Employee engagement has become an area of interest of mine over the years, or to be less fluffy; ‘employee satisfaction’.
Having teams that enjoy coming to work is, and always will be, a key to growing your business. If your employees enjoy working for you, clients will enjoy working with you – it’s a simple thing, but it works.
Employee satisfaction, however, isn’t always possible to achieve – with the differing types of people that you’re likely to employee, not everyone will be happy at all times; but focusing on that buzzword as a way of company life often results in you having a business that cares for the wellbeing of its people.
‘Employee satisfaction’, or ‘employee engagement’, can be defined as the extent to which an employee feels satisfied in his/her work-life – in other words, how happy he or she is with their job, the company, and their work environment.
For me, it’s when I wake up on a Monday morning and I actually want to go into work, or I look forward to my week; or just simply that I don’t feel disheartened by another week of the working life. I enjoy my job, I enjoy going to work, and I like who I work for.
Now, you have the more obvious ways of helping engagement; setting clear business objectives and communicating your values, providing regular feedback through one-to-ones and ensuring training is provided to keep skills up to date – you get the idea.
An area I think gets a massive oversight, when it comes to employee satisfaction, is software systems and applications. We often allow our business to use really outdated, ineffective, software applications or even enormous spreadsheets that take lots of man hours to get working correctly.
It’s really scary how many successful businesses still operate on spreadsheets alone!
Why do we torture our staff, getting them to use software that makes their job harder? Be honest now, how many times have you heard “I hate this system!”, or something very like that, bellowed around your office by a colleague? I believe it’s just one of those things we have come to accept – our software at work will be poorly adapted to our processes and will be mangled into something that complicates the way we do things.
Challenging your software applications and processes is something I feel every business should do – if you set up a forum and let staff contribute to this task, even better.
You will be amazed what ideas will come from the team, if you action these you will buy the business and team a huge amount of time, along with the added benefit of showing your employees that you value their opinion and act on their suggestions.
Introducing new applications that are specifically designed for the job in hand almost eradicates the need for long system training sessions, by design they walk you through the process or the task that they were designed for. This immediately results in the satisfaction levels increasing and stress levels decreasing, not to mention the potential increase in customer experience.
Think about accessibility too, don’t start every software conversation with the thought of ‘Lockdown!’ – security is key to any organisation but having a prevention policy is just not productive. Your type of business will determine how secure you need to be, if you are holding public details or secret recipes you need to take steps to protect these.
Booking a holiday on the other hand is an acceptable thing to be able to do remotely, in fact I’d rather my team do these at home with their partners and families.
Personally, I feel we should make working tasks accessible as much as possible, I would much rather do tasks ahead of time on the train-ride home, than having to do it at home over a VPN in my evening.
Give your employees the tools to do things so they can fit it into a time that works for them, and you may find that they do work more effectively. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is on the increase in UK workplaces, and your employees may find that the business specific software could come in very handy on their phone or tablet.
Having happy staff means you are on the road to have an engaged workforce, giving them the right tools for the job is key. If you would like support in reviewing your current applications, business processes, or to see how we can streamline what you currently do, get in contact with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org