With the advent of the IOT, our workplaces have become increasingly digitized. Employees are now free to bring their own devices to the workplace, which puts an additional pressure on their managers for a regulated workflow.
In today’s digital age, we can get a ride for mere clicks which may look simple but it is only the perceived customer experience. The real work behind that click encompasses thousands of technological systems —spread across nations that bring you the customer experience.
Performance Management Vs. Digital Performance Management
Performance Management refers to the process where performance is judged against certain goals and objectives. So the mechanism is used to analyze how well employees have performed and benefitted the organization. Implementing an effective digital performance system involves different considerations, as shown in the diagram below:
In the digital workplace however the two need to integrate: customer experience and feedback (including data from the business end like conversion rates, mobile and behavioral analytics etc.)
Digital performance management is the evolving approach designed to address the gap between customer experience and application performance management industries as discussed in the beginning of the article.
An engaged employee is one who is invested in his company and is in sync with its values. He is able to contribute more than someone who is merely in it for the sake of it.
So how can employers ensure a high level of productivity? Here’s our two cents on the topic:
Workplace Design — An organization that cares for its employees to be aligned with their values will ensure that their workspace reflects the same. If they are looking for collaboration and engagement to take place among their staff, yet everyone is assigned their separate cubicles. The setup should encourage a free exchange of ideas.
Organizations can also make use of tools that allow for collaboration, for instance by allowing their employees to connect to their workplaces in real time from anywhere in the world. According to a study conducted by Leesman, employees who embrace activity-based working styles have a much higher satisfaction with their company and thus are more productive.
Interpersonal Relationships — Research shows that 72% of American adults feel lonely — This could be attributed to the increased usage of handheld devices. The technology driven world is not really helping in this regard for we’ve become more like zombies driven to work on our screens, connect with people on screens, and entertain ourselves there too.
Human interaction, be it in the form of some unwinding over coffee or bonding over a ping pong table, will contribute positively toward emotional health. Now that the employees know each other beyond typical work projects they will be able to work more efficiently together.
Frequent Check-Ins — Do you know why your regular employee dislikes the annual performance review? It’s because it not only feels outdated and hardly useful, but also seems to be putting on a huge pretense of caring on the part of the employer!
It is obvious to note that in order for an organization to be invested in their employees, there will be more frequent encounters between them and their line managers for an effective back and forth to be established that delivers them the necessary feedback.
An unhappy employee who does not feel valued will not only be disengaged, they will be looking for an exit from the company.
The solution: Establish an effective feedback loop which lends a voice to your employee, and allows them a safe platform where they can frequently share concerns and recommendations for timely action.
There are multiple technical platforms like Outlook, Skype, and others, for effective communication between individuals that can be employed in this regard. While email and Trello may be good enough for work, a separate communications platform (that may even be on a social media network) will allow for casual discussions and better relationships among employees.
Access to Technology — Data collected from organizations and their employees in the UK shows that 89% of employees consider flexible working hours as a key motivator that boosts productivity, rather than monetary incentives. Therefore, if employees are allowed some leverage in their work schedule, it will boost productivity as they will not feel encumbered by unnecessary pressure.
Pro Tip: Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Project Online may be used to streamline things.
Centralized Information Hub — Easy access of information stored at a centralized location that is available to all employees is one way to ensure that every staff member can tap into this source. This would also allow a level of freedom, saving precious resources of time and travel, along with furthering the flexibility of work atmosphere that boosts employee engagement.
There are online hubs for data sharing and collaboration (like OneDrive and SharePoint Online etc) and chat-based tools that allow for online working and sharing of information.
Role of Technology in Employee Management
Now that workplaces are quickly becoming digitally driven centers of technology, it should be realized that the idle use of devices is also a rising concern. Of course, that is easier said than politely done (at the expense of disgruntled employees), so we need better solutions that are adaptable to our changing work environments.
We need to be mindful of the latter as well, as today the workforce includes millennials who have grown up with technology — making it very difficult for them to keep distractions at bay.
Perhaps an intervention in the form of changing workplace environments like collaborative projects, short-term goals, and clock time set aside for social media will help in this regard.
Flexibility in terms of Internet usage (rather than bans) have actually proven to be not as disruptive so long as goals are met. Teamwork strategies (another collaborative tool) that focus on real-time face to face interaction among employees and/or clients will give rise to better engagement and work productivity.
Employees can also be encouraged (line managers to set effective examples, and set incentives) to come up with innovative ways to meet challenges and produce better results. When they collaborate, they can also be encouraged to exchange tasks and introduce variety in order to stay focused and keep boredom at bay. Record-keeping is another healthy strategy that may be tried for competition among peers.
The Bottom Line
A workplace that is constantly evolving for the better is better than a stagnant environment that does not care much for its employees except that they produce results in exchange for financial returns. In order to ensure continued productivity among employees, we will have to continue to strive for employee engagement and benefits that foster trust and productive outcomes.