Thursday, August 13, 2020

Technology Isn’t Always the Solution

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Technology Isn’t Always the Solution

If you’re a fan of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," then you know it has both technology and a captain who says, “engage” a lot. However, technology and engagement in the workforce don’t always mix. Technology, no matter how useful, can’t actually do something. It’s just a tool, albeit a good one, that employees can use to foster improved engagement.

Since employee engagement is the latest trend in corporate culture, many companies are searching for ways to boost it, and are turning to technology as the wonder drug that will fix everything. In an article titled, “Why technology isn't making employees more engaged,” on the website of Employee Benefit News, it notes that the problem with that type of thinking is that employee engagement occurs due to a multitude of factors such as corporate culture, the relationships employees have with their managers and peers, salary, benefits, opportunities for advancement, etc.

Technology enables employees to be more productive in what they do and can certainly help them to be more engaged. What it can’t do is motivate employees to be more engaged. That’s up to real human beings who know what incentives drive their employees to action. If you force something on employees, no matter how good it may be, if the employees don’t want to do it, then they won’t or they’ll do it in such a way that the company won’t get the best results.

An excellent way to get employees active is to start from the top down. If senior management is engaged, then most employees will follow their lead versus if one of their peers was engaged in the same thing. For example, you want to implement company-wide fitness trackers. Your peer comes to you wearing one and says it’s the greatest thing. You might be excited, but you may also be apathetic. Now, imagine the same scenario, but it’s the CEO or your immediate supervisor who says this while proudly wearing their device. You would most likely rush to HR and ask how you can get yours immediately.

Another way to get employees active is to make it convenient. With regard to technology, that means making it mobile rather than tying the product or software to someone’s workstation. The more mobile-friendly the technology, the more employee engagement it’s likely to garner. And for remote employees or ones who travel most of the time, mobile-friendly technology is an absolute must if you even want a chance for them to be engaged.

Remember that technology is just one step on the way to getting employees fully engaged and there are many other methods, both high-tech and low-tech, of accomplishing this. Technology is the easy, go-to solution and the bright shiny model that might initially attract employees, but it’s not a cure-all.

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