- Are you satisfied that your employees have access to the information they need?
- Are they able to exchange that information – and receive new information?
- Can they give easily give feedback on aspects of their role and their work?
- Are you employees involved in innovation projects and collaborations – and recognised for their input?
- And can they access information about other projects and collaborations in your business?
Ticked all the boxes?
If you’ve ticked all the boxes, congratulations! You have a system that flows from the basics of satisfying your employees’ need for information right through to a high level of engagement.
Now consider how many systems and/or apps you have in place to achieve all those ticks. If it’s more than one, (and chances are, it is more like four or five) you and your employees may be wasting time and effort simply to keep everyone in this engagement loop.
The energy involved in using multiple systems might also result in an unexpected downside: lack of inspiration. As discussed in an article for the Harvard Business Review by leadership coach Kristi Hedges, inspiration can be “Frustratingly fleeting and difficult to recover when lost.”
So, how can we as managers help our employees to be inspired? The answer, Hedges suggests, is to help change the employee’s mindset through three methods:
- Enabling and encouraging change
- Allowing space for “perspective-expanding activities”
- Focusing on specific goals
Encouraging change is actually simpler than it sounds. Hedges suggests it’s a simple as encouraging employees to take a single step, to act, to move forward. By reassuring them that any step, however tiny, will open up new possibilities, employees can move from a state of inactive stasis and open up to the possibility of inspiration.
An effective employee engagement app allows employees to move from inertia to activity with a single click. They can contribute an idea, a comment, or give some feedback, and in the process open their minds to different possibilities, circumstances or opportunities. Employees don’t need to be thrust well out of their comfort zone to move from uninspired to open to inspiration; a gentle nudge will often do the trick.
Space for inspiration
Personal development is a key element to creating a skilled, enthused workforce that help your business reach your goals. Yet it is so often pushed to the back burner, as a study by breathingspace reveals:
“When the study asked ‘do you feel your current employer takes your personal development seriously’, nearly half of respondents replied ‘no’. This means that almost half of all staff working within SMEs in the UK feel in some way undervalued and disenfranchised.”
Hedges suggests establishing a timetabled routine for gathering inspiration, be it reading articles, networking or even travel. She cites Bill Gates, who before his retirement took several weeks off twice a year to read and map out new ideas. (For the rest of us, two hours a week might be a little more viable!)
This is where the information storage capability of a fully integrated employee app can really come into its own. Employees can seek inspiration amongst resources your business has assembled, including presentations, videos, e-books, recorded seminars and talks, the list is endless. What’s more, by encouraging employees to add their own suggested materials and ‘playlists’, others can access this rich resource of inspiration anytime through the app.
Focusing on specific goals
Hedges actually says “Narrow your choices” but in reality it’s about focusing on specific goals. It is all too easy to be overwhelmed by too much choice, so by prioritising options, employee can focus on what motivates them to action. This is where Challenges are so useful.
Lack of focus is one of the major downsides to a basic idea and suggestion scheme that is open to all and managed by none. A Challenge enables employees to focus on a specific issue or concern, and in turn allows your business to use the “wisdom of the crowd” to select ideas and solutions that have the most potential and support.
A fully-featured employee engagement app should also allow you to share Challenges as you choose, whether to a pre-qualified group, or to the entire workforce. This should always be backed up with a systematic approach to the submission, review, rating and planning of ideas, and the tracking of that idea right through to implementation.
One app to enthuse, engage and inspire
The TalkFreely employee engagement and communication app ticks all those important boxes, and fulfils those three criteria to help keep employees engaged, enthused and inspired. Why not try it for yourself? Just sign up for a free trial here, and let us know your views in the Comments section below.