A New Struggle in the Workplace: Technology and Engagement
Employee engagement is vital to your company’s overall performance. It directly impacts productivity, customer service, profitability and ultimately your bottom line. The problem is that employee engagement is alarmingly low. In fact, Gallup reports, “70 percent of U.S. workers are not engaged at work.” The scary thing is that “Employee disengagement costs more than $500 billion per year to the U.S. economy.”
While there are many theories as to why so many employees are disengaged, one interesting theory involves technology. Here are the details.
Personal Technology vs. Workplace Technology
Technology is an integral component of the majority of modern workplaces. That’s true. But one interesting point that some experts make is that workplace technology is considerably inferior to the technology that people use in their personal lives. For instance, Google and Amazon provide users with a highly customized experience based on their prior inquiries, purchases, etc.
Social networks like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter offer users suggestions based on topics they’ve expressed interest in. In other words, most personal technology adapts to the user. However, you could make the point that workplace technology is lagging behind in this department, and there’s very little customization.
The technology employees typically use has more of a one-size-fits-all format, which can be frustrating. Just think about all of the times you’ve received a company-wide email from your employer that was completely irrelevant to you.
Some experts believe that the disparity in personal and work technology is a major contributing to factor to the lack of engagement that’s permeating the American workforce. And it’s easy to see why. The personal technology we use contours to our exact needs and preferences. However, workplace technology usually falls short.
What’s the Solution
Implementing technology/software/apps that’s highly user-centric seems to be the cure for the collective disengagement of the U.S. workforce. Forbes even offers some specific examples:
- Tracking and analyzing multiples aspects of an employee’s time spent, and experience, at work to deliver targeted learning and development content to their personalized social/learning feed
- Filtering data to deliver useful, meaningful information
- Filtering and curating information and feedback opportunities to someone based on their specific, individual needs and interests
The key word here is customizability. Employees are looking for technology that caters to their unique needs and preferences. What they don’t want is some uber-generic, standardized system.
Although we’re a ways away from this level of technology, these specific types of solutions could be real game changers in the future. If workplaces can utilize similar technology that companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook are already using, there could be a major spike in engagement, which can lead to a host of other benefits.
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