Could technology vastly improve how workers view their job?
Recent studies have noted employee stress, anxiety and depression have increased in recent years in a number of regions, including the U.K., U.S. and Australia.
Those are dangerous wellness issues for workers to face; research has indicated the resulting health problems can range from increased blood pressure to cardiovascular disease.
Workplace productivity, too, can suffer. An estimated 50 to 60 percent of all lost work days in Europe are due to job-related stress, according to International Labour Organization data. Depression- and anxiety-related workplace productivity shortfalls cost Canada nearly $50 billion a year, according to a 2016 report.
The potential health risk and impact on productivity have made employee well-being a growing concern — which some employers are trying to address with tech solutions designed to improve employee experience. Tools are available to help simplify communication; make performing tasks less stressful; fuel employee satisfaction efforts and aid in a number of other operational aspects.
Utilizing tech solutions that facilitate employees’ day-to-day duties is a somewhat new approach for HR departments; many have primarily used technology to manage talent in the past.
It’s a move, though, that may resonate with employees. Eighty-one percent of U.S. office workers say cutting-edge technology is the most important factor involved in keeping them happy at work; 85 percent believe revolutionary tech tools make them more productive, and 74 percent feel having that type of technology would make their workday better and easier, according to an Adobe survey.
If your organization is facing significant employee stress or other health and productivity concerns, incorporating employee experience-based technology into a few of the following elements may prove useful:
Employee recognition programs
We know recognition can have an effect on employee satisfaction; a 2016 study found turnover is nearly 18 percent less among employees who receive just one or more recognition messages during their tenure with an organization. Some organizations are now using employee recognition-specific tech capabilities to make acknowledging and compensating team members a more inclusive, easier process. Online reward selection/redemption is the most popular type of employee recognition-related technology, according to a 2016 Terryberry report; about 40 percent of companies offer it. Online peer nomination is the second most common kind of technology used in recognition efforts.
Employee self-management tools
An increasing number of companies are providing apps for team members, according to a 2016 Apperian report; more than half — 57 percent — offer between two and 10 custom apps for employees, contractors and business partners. Twenty-nine percent say HR service-related apps, such as applications that aid in time tracking, room booking and benefits, provide the most positive business impact.
In general, employees benefit from wellness programs, according to a 2016 Aflac report, which found workers at organizations that offer one had higher job satisfaction levels. Sixty-one percent of employees made healthier choices because of their company’s wellness program. Employers have seen positive results from adding recent tech advancements to the process: Programs that track health indicators with a wearable device help reduce overall employee health costs, according to 62 percent of the companies that offer that type of initiative. Fifty-nine percent of the employers that provide telemedicine options have also seen costs decrease as a result.
Technology, of course, isn’t the only way to improve employee experience. You can, for instance, launch an effort to find out what amenities workers truly want, or focus on atmospheric or structural changes to help reduce employee stress. You may also be able to use employee benefits like a wellness program to drive satisfaction.
If you try those methods and output and engagement still seem somewhat sluggish, these five foolproof ways to increase workplace productivity might help; adopting a slightly different managerial approach can sometimes have a significant effect on operations.