Technology has long been known to be a driver of efficiency and productivity, but only recently has its importance as a powerful engagement tool been recognised, acknowledges Ascender’s General Manager, Fred van der Tang. Demographic change, the increasingly competitive war for talent and leaps forward in technology all combine to create an environment in which tech is a driver of retention and attraction.
There is no doubt that increasing numbers of Millennials in workplaces have helped drive the demand for technology. They expect businesses to provide applications that help them to do their jobs more efficiently.
At the same time, there has been an increase in expectations across the board. Companies known for their smart use of technology are attracting and retaining staff as a result. On the flipside, organisations that don’t utilise technology, or who overwhelm with too many non-integrated solutions, are suffering.
Not so long ago technology was all about efficiency, quality and control. How has it now become a driver of engagement?
That has now been translated into technology for business use. Some design principles from the social media user interface and user experience have come across to business modules. These include the ability to connect with one another, to communicate (sometimes just a transactional piece of communication, such as having something approved), chatting on a specific topic, sharing ideas, recommendations or compliments.
At Ascender, our core expertise is in payroll, and that's not the first thing you think about when it comes to engaging staff. But consider it in more detail and you realise that getting paid, by default, is an emotional moment. It’s a good one if you get paid and not such a good one if something's wrong.
Finally, the way it is presented to you is important. If it's easily accessible on a mobile app it is a very different experience to having to go through a cumbersome paper process. It's the same with looking at pay summaries, or at how much leave you have accrued. If it is simple and accessible it opens up a new level of engagement.
As previously mentioned, ease of use and lack of ‘overwhelm’ is very important. Integration means that in the background systems talk to each other and data flows correctly, but from the user’s point of view, they have a single sign-on to access the portal. Integration means easy access to everything, from email and booking of meeting rooms, to calendar, payroll, training opportunities and much more. It makes life a lot easier and makes the user less overwhelmed and more engaged.