Employee engagement is an essential ingredient for businesses striving to improve performance and productivity. Certain companies, like Google and Dreamworks, are renowned for their ability to take care of employees and keep them passionate about their work.
Digital technology is shaping our future – in this day and age, organisations should embrace modern tech to foster a convenient and user-friendly working culture.
So, why (and how) are digital companies getting employee engagement right?
Feedback and transparency
Just like in our romantic relationships, communication is everything. Regular and transparent communication is one of the best ways to ensure that your employees are engaged – whether you’re a digital company or not.
And not only that, but offering frequent, constructive feedback on their work that will keep them moving toward their goals.
The standard format of an annual performance review leaves little room for progression. Far better to adopt a habit of frequent check-ins and monthly one-to-ones if you want to keep employees happy and motivated.
It also means you’ll pick up on small issues before they turn into big ones. Employee surveys are a profoundly useful tool – and honest answers are key.
Social media software company Buffer has a ‘default to transparency’ rule. They believe that transparency can be used as a tool to help strengthen the company and aid important decisions.
Part of their ethos is that employees should ‘state their thoughts immediately and with honesty’ – they even go so far as to publish all internal emails, so they are universally accessible.
Personal growth and recognition
Engaged employees are those who recognise they have room to grow within an organisation, both personally and professionally.
As an employer, investing time and money into the growth of your employees sends a powerful message: you value them as members of the team. Additionally, the importance of recognition and praise for good work can’t be overstated.
Because the more we feel validated and appreciated for our achievements, both inside and outside of work, the more motivated we become – and the better we feel.
The animation studio Dreamworks often hosts parties and events for its employees, at which they are openly encouraged to share and talk about their personal projects.
The idea is that by showing appreciation for the creative projects employees have outside of work, it creates a supportive community that in turn boosts morale and innovative thinking in the workplace.
A flexible, informal environment
In a world that has arguably been too corporate for too long, flexible work environments are coming into their own – especially in the world of digital. And, as more companies become global, it’s often impractical for team members to meet face-to-face, necessitating the use of collaborative digital and video tools.
After years of wearing stuffy suits, it’s now ok to be casual at work. It’s also ok to take a remote video call from home.
Increasingly, the most forward-thinking companies recognise that their staff are people, not assets. It’s ok to lose the tie and rock up at 10am after dropping the kids off at school, if it helps you to be a happy and productive member of the team.
Tech companies Facebook and Google both take steps to embrace flexibility and informality in the workplace.
Facebook has a large number of remote employees, who stay connected through virtual conferencing tools, enabling them to have one-on-one meetings that keep them a part of the company culture – even when they aren’t there.
Google offers its employees ‘20% time’ – one day a week where they are free to work exclusively on side projects that keep them curious and engaged.
Myriad perks and benefits
It’s not altogether surprising that employees who enjoy lots of workplace perks and benefits are happier and more satisfied with their jobs. And as we know, happiness increases productivity.
Popular workplace perks range from unlimited holiday and remote work options, to wellness benefits such as healthy lunches and gym memberships. Health also plays a vital role in ensuring your workforce is operating on full power.
It’s thought that by 2018, most US employers will have integrated wearable health and fitness tracking devices into their employee wellness programs. It’s a beneficial situation on both sides.
Many digital companies are young startups who innately understand the profoundly positive impact that wellness (both physical and mental) has on company culture.
Take Shopify, for example. The Canadian ecommerce company offers all kinds of employee perks, including (but not limited to) the latest Apple products, full health and dental coverage, catered lunches, share options, generous parental leave, and free conference tickets. It also provides options such as the Shopify abandoned cart app to make their experience smoother.
Who wouldn’t want to work there?
Practical use of technology
Nowadays, it’s not only Millennials who are fluent with mobile and digital technology – it’s almost everyone. Particularly the generation above, who still shudder to recall the sound of a dial-up connection.
Digital companies are particularly good at finding practical uses for online tools that help improve productivity, efficiency and collaboration.
In more traditional institutions, introducing a funky new piece of workplace software is sometimes met with with resistance. This is where gamification works wonders – applying game-based rules and incentives to daily activities to help them catch on and become habitual.
The cloud app management platform Engine Yard used Badgeville gamification to encourage self-service and community troubleshooting via its Zendesk knowledge base, which until this point, hadn’t caught on.
Post-gamification, it saw a steady drop in customer complaint tickets, increased forum engagement, and an overall significant improvement in customer support response time.
The digital age is well and truly here, and truthfully, what’s happening now is only the beginning.
In the future, it’ll be the organisations embracing digital technologies who will thrive, providing employees with the tools, support and freedom they need to become fully engaged and motivated.
About Victoria Greene
Victoria Greene is a content marketing extraordinaire, and enjoys nothing more than helping brands expand their reach to meet new business goals. Victoria spends her time dreaming up effective content strategies and loves being instrumental in the success of brands of all shapes and sizes.