Paul Whitelam

By Paul Whitelam

July 11, 2017

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If you’ve been keeping up with our Engage Your Employees series, you know by now that employee engagement is critical for workplace productivity and customer satisfaction. But no two employees are the same. We all have our own ideas about engagement and company culture. So how do you accommodate for all your employees?

Well, despite our differences, author and behavioral science expert Daniel Pink believes most humans are driven by the same internal motivations—purpose, autonomy, and mastery. In other words, people work harder when they believe their work matters, and they have the freedom to deliver something important. Likewise, humans are (for the most part) social creatures, so relationships and good leadership have an important impact on their well-being and success. So even though we’re all different, by understanding and nurturing these basic human desires, we can improve engagement.

Fortunately, today there’s an app for almost anything. With the right technology at your disposal, employee engagement doesn’t have to be hard. In the following sections, we’ll discuss different drivers for employee motivation and show how technology can help with each.

Purpose

People are much more willing to work towards a goal if it’s something they believe will have a positive impact. So if you want your employees to work for you, it’s important they are in alignment with your organization’s goals and values. For instance, field service is about solving customer problems and making lives easier. Your service techs should feel as if they’re doing just that. They aren’t just fixing things, they’re acting as trusted advisors your customers can depend on.

It’s important that your company’s values are clear and that you establish a connection with your employees’ goals. Most companies have their mission statement or values stated on their website, but don’t make it part of the onboarding process.  Ideally this should be the first thing you should instill, before even training employees. And it’s important that these goals are visible and clearly defined.

Below are some tools that help organizations communicate company values, keep track of goals, and ensure transparency.

OKR Software

OKR, or Objectives and Key Results, is a management methodology that connects the employees’ work to the company’s overall goals. This software allows employees to set individual goals and align them with company goals. They can post updates to managers, give feedback to coworkers, and monitor their progress on a dashboard. Examples include BetterWorks and 7Geese.

Onboarding Technology

Onboarding is more than new hire paperwork and training. It’s about acclimating to the company’s culture, getting to know coworkers, and understanding workload. Instead of settling for a basic onboarding tool, invest in a tool that will help employees get through their first 90 days. For example, Namely includes a social news feed and organization chart so new employees know what’s going on in the company and who their coworkers are.

Autonomy

Most people don’t like being micromanaged, and feel better when they can accomplish tasks on their own. But to get to the point of independence, it’s important that employees have their managers’ support. Traditionally companies have an annual performance review, but that doesn’t leave lot of opportunity for improvement. Weekly check-ins with a manager are much more efficient. That way employees will know how they’re performing and they can work towards improvement or ask for guidance.

It can be tough to meet up in person every week, especially when techs are constantly on the go. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools to help employers communicate more frequently with employees about their performance. Here are two types of solutions to consider:

Frequent Feedback

Tools like 15Five and Engagedly allow for continuous feedback from managers. Employees can either post comments to their managers or answer short surveys to give managers insight into things like personal productivity or team morale. And managers can respond in minutes.

Coaching Tools

If you’re unsure of how to engage specific employees or have conversations with them about their performance, there are apps and software to help. For example, Awesome Boss provides employee profiles with information from their work anniversary to favorite snack. It even has coaching cue cards to help you have meaningful conversations with your employees.

Mastery

We all want to get better at things—it gives us a sense of pride. It’s also easy to give up on things that are too difficult or frustrating. But when we’re able to make progress on something, it becomes more enjoyable to do.

This is not to say that you should make sure work is easy for your employees. That tends to get boring. Rather, you should let them do the things they’re good at, but leave them room to develop their skills and aim higher. You’ll find that given the opportunity to grow, your employees will work hard to better themselves.

There are tons of learning management and gamification tools to help your employees improve their skills and learn new ones.  Examples include Workday and SuccessFactors, which have videos, quizzes, instructor-led training, and more.

Relationships

You’ve probably had someone say to you “keep your work life separate from your personal life.” In many ways, this makes sense—you want to be able to enjoy hobbies and time with family or friends. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make friends at work. In fact, having friends at work can increase productivity and retention.

LinkedIn’s Relationships @ Work study found that 46% of professionals believe work friends are important to overall happiness. Happy employees are motivated employees, and they’re more likely to stick around if they have friends at work.

Being said, encouraging collaboration and comradery in the workplace is a good way to increase engagement and retention. And there are plenty of tools to help:

Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools like Slack or Trello, allow employees to communicate with each other in real-time, no matter where they’re working from. It keeps team communication visible, and in one place, so no one is left out of the loop. Field service organizations could especially benefit from these kinds of tools since techs are mobile, and not always able to meet up in person.

Employee Recognition

According to Gallup, employees who don’t feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year. Tools like Engage2Excel help companies create their own employee recognition programs, tailored to their unique culture and business goals.

Peer-to-peer Social Tools

Peer-to peer tools such as Globoforce and Workplace allow employees to connect with each other via a social media platform. It’s a great way for employees to give each other props and recognition, and boost morale.

Leadership

An effective manager cares about their employee’s happiness and well-being. They help employees grow and develop in their profession, and are there for guidance. It’s important to keep track of your employee’s engagement levels, and ensure that your team gets the attention and support they need. Otherwise, your organization could suffer the consequences of low engagement.

You should also be constantly improving your workplace and processes for your employees. Ask them for feedback on how to improve the business, and be sure to take action.

When you have a lot of employees, they can be difficult to keep track of. Luckily there are tools like Zeal and Culture Amp to help you monitor engagement levels and allow employees to provide anonymous feedback.

While there are plenty of useful engagement technologies out there, it’s important to remember that they are just tools. They exist to make it easier to manage your employee’s well-being and progress. They’re not meant to take the place of the human touch. Your employees should still feel connected to you as a person, and comfortable coming to you with concerns or for guidance.

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Paul Whitelam
By Paul Whitelam

Paul Whitelam is Group VP of Product Marketing at ClickSoftware, where he works with field service management leaders across a variety of industries. Paul has more than twenty years’ experience in enterprise software, working on both the technical and business aspects of many of the areas that are fundamental to field service such as mobility and sensor technology (Nokia), data management (Endeca), and machine learning, SaaS and GIS (HERE).

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