It’s hard to find someone who will argue against the importance of employee engagement. An engaged employee feels a strong sense of connection with their work. And, when we feel that connection as an employee, we do better work. Anyone who’s worked at a job for longer than a couple months knows this to be true.
As a result, most leaders are working to crack the code on employee engagement as a way to increase performance. This conversation about engagement typically focuses on the dynamics of manager effectiveness, teamwork and trust in leadership. These relationships are critical to employee engagement.
But in our focus of the interpersonal dynamics that impact engagement, we sometimes overlook how the smart use of technology tools can also have a profound impact on an employee’s feeling of engagement.
In my study of Best Places to Work, one factor stood out as a distinct differentiator between the best workplaces and the rest: communication. The best places to work are relentless about communication as a means to create clarity and reduce uncertainty for their employees.
Technology has provided us with tremendous tools for communication throughout the employee experience. One area that is of particular importance is the new hire onboarding process. The experience for employees in the few weeks prior to and after joining your organization sets the tone for them. It’s a time of both great anticipation but also great uncertainty for employees. This makes communication critical.
Here are some ways you can use technology to ensure your employees start their career feeling connected and engaged.
1. Eliminate as much paperwork as possible. We all know there will be some paperwork when we start a new job. But, there are few worse ways to make a first impression during onboarding than with a giant stack of paperwork. Use technology to give employees the flexibility and instruction to complete their paperwork when it works best for them. And, if you can eliminate or automate the form, do it. This way you can focus on more exciting things during the employee’s first day.
2. Use video to help employees understand how to get started successfully. Video is a wildly underutilized tool by employers. It’s become cheap and easy to create – most people have a decent video camera in their phones. Here are some ways you might consider using video before an employee starts:
- Send welcome messages from the new hire’s team introducing themselves and sharing interesting facts about themselves.
- Create videos of employees sharing tips for new hires. You could prompt employees by asking them to share what they wish they’d been told as a new hire.
- Record welcome messages from the CEO or other senior leaders that explain the organization’s values and history, core expectations of all employees, and other information that would help the employee feel connected to the bigger picture.
3. Empower the employee to manage their own onboarding experience. Create checklists and task lists for employees that include expected completion dates. This both clarifies expectations for the employee as to what their first few weeks or months will involve and empowers them by allowing them some control over how these tasks get completed.
Using technology tools to supplement the onboarding process is a powerful way to get your new employees off on the right foot by removing as much uncertainty from the process as possible.
Jason Lauritsen is a keynote speaker, author and advisor. He is an employee engagement and workplace culture expert who will challenge you to think differently. A former corporate Human Resources executive, Jason has dedicated his career to helping leaders build organizations that are good for both people and profits. Most recently, he led the research team for Quantum Workplace’s Best Places to Work program where he has studied the employee experience at thousands of companies to understand what the best workplaces in the world do differently than the rest. Jason is the co-author of the book, Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships. Connect with Jason at www.JasonLauritsen.com.