There is much discussion about employee apps as a way to promote multi-generational employee engagement in the workplace. Indeed, we read and talk about employee engagement frequently, but what does the term mean? On its face, “employee engagement” speaks to how invested a person is in what he or she does every day. Are employees passionate and committed about their responsibilities, or are they metaphorically phoning it in?
At its heart, employee engagement is an outcome, but not a one-time outcome. Employee engagement may be demonstrated by someone on their first day, or by someone who has been with an organization for decades. The common factor is the sense of enthusiasm and connection engaged employees feel with the organization for which they work.
Engaged employees are motivated to give their all and to put in extra effort because they believe in what they are doing. Many factors feed into employee engagement, including practicalities like salary and benefits. After all, it is not easy to be engaged in work for which you are not being fairly compensated.
However, employee engagement depends on far more, including the actions that come from leadership, management, and teams. In other words, employee engagement is about employees believing that what they do is worthwhile and makes a positive difference and that their actions are supported by those higher up the company hierarchy. Investing in employee apps to bolster engagement helps company leaders demonstrate their commitment to the concept of engagement.
The Costs of Disengaged Employees
Disengaged employees are bad for your business, but you already knew that. Did you know that lost productivity in the US every year costs around half a trillion dollars? Your competitor with better-engaged employees is also earning nearly four times what your competitor with disengaged employees is earning. When it comes to younger employees, engagement is especially critical. Almost half of younger employees work their current jobs while looking for better opportunities elsewhere. When they leave, employers face the expenses of hiring and training replacements.
Gallup estimates that around 17 percent of a typical organization’s workforce is disengaged, and they define disengagement as the quality of being unhappy, unproductive, and likely to spread the negativity around. They also estimate that each disengaged employee costs their employer an astounding 34 percent of the wages they earn. In other words, the disengaged employee you are paying $50,000 a year is costing you $17,000! If your organization is typical, with 17 percent of your employees disengaged, those costs can add up stupendously. Your company could be losing millions of dollars a year simply through the inefficiencies and lost productivity of your disengaged employees.
Results of Engaging (or Re-Engaging) Employees
Is it worthwhile to make the effort to engage (or re-engage) your employees? Absolutely. An engaged employee base drives increased revenues, as countless studies have shown. Compared with organizations with low employee engagement, those with actively engaged employees perform better by a staggering 202 percent. Moreover, 75 percent of employees working for companies with significantly above average financial performance consider themselves “moderately or highly engaged.”
While Gallup reports that around 17 percent of employees are disengaged in a given workplace, that does not necessarily mean the other 83 percent are engaged. In fact, less than one-third of US workers are considered as “engaged” in their work, so there is a tremendous opportunity for improvement. Making the effort to engage or re-engage employees makes a positive difference to the bottom line, with engaged companies experiencing five times higher returns for shareholders over a span of five years.
Not only that, an engaged employee population has other benefits, including lower rates of safety incidents (and the expenses that go along with them). Engaged employees feel empowered and trusted to take action to solve problems or seize opportunities, while disengaged employees are likelier to take a “not my problem” attitude.
The ROI of Employee Engagement
While these are impressive statistics, what is the actual return on investment of ensuring your employees are engaged in their work? Return on investment is a go-to business metric for a reason, and it applies to the process of ensuring your employees are and remain engaged in their work. It has already been discussed how much it costs your company when your employees are disengaged, so what happens when they are well-engaged, when they get a sense of community and connection, a sense of autonomy and purpose from their work in addition to their paycheck?
Many good things happen.
Gallup found that the top 25 percent of “most engaged” teams experience the following significant advantages:
- Lower turnover by 25 to 65 percent
- Lower absenteeism rates by more than one-third
- Higher customer metrics by 20 percent
- Higher productivity by 21 percent
- Higher profitability by 22 percent
Just as with the costs of disengagement, you can take these estimates and apply them to your own company’s numbers and get an idea of the kind of results you could expect from having a fully-engaged workforce. Suppose your profits are $6 million per year, and your employee engagement rates are average. Is it worth it to you to engage your employees as well as a top-quartile team if your profits could be more like $7,320,000 per year? It certainly should not cost you anywhere near that extra $1.32 million to improve employee engagement.
How to Engage Employees
The actual nuts and bolts of effectively engaging your employees will be unique to your company, but there are three fundamental activities that are necessary to lay the foundation for a fully-engaged workforce. First, you must provide your employees a way to share their opinions, and you have to listen to them. Second, you have to thank them for their contributions, because nobody is going to put in their best effort if they know it will not be appreciated. Third, you have to ensure that lines of communication become and remain open. If employees think there is an impenetrable wall between themselves and upper management, why would they bother speaking up about what they like and do not like?
Exactly how you go about doing these three things depends on how large your organization is, what it does, what regulations govern it, how high employee turnover is, and many other factors. An increasing number of forward-looking companies are discovering some innovative ways to use technology to improve employee engagement, and they are well worth your consideration.
Employee Apps Are Well Worth the Investment
One increasingly popular technology to improve employee engagement is the employee app. How does an employee app do this?
It does so partly by helping you address the three fundamentals mentioned above. An employee engagement app can offer your team a convenient way to share their feedback, and it can offer a way for you to express your gratitude to them, through push notifications, for example. What could be better for keeping lines of communication open between frontline employees and management than enabling it from the devices they carry around all the time anyway?
These are far from the only ways to use apps to build employee engagement. Employee engagement apps can be terrific vectors for delivering employee training modules. They are also great for disseminating information quickly, or conducting a quick employee poll (“What main dish do you prefer for the company holiday party?”). A friendly employee engagement app, complete with your company branding, helps your employees make a positive association between their performance at work and how well they are valued by their employer as human beings and as workers.
Fully Customizable Apps for Employee Engagement
App development has a reputation for either being prohibitively expensive or excessively risky. However, app development has evolved considerably, and your company can have its own employee engagement app development platform that allows you to create the custom employee engagement app your company needs to reach employees in exactly the way you desire.
App development for employees is essentially a three-step process:
- Design – using domain-specific templates that can be customized with your colors, logos, and other branding elements
- Addition of employee engagement app content – which is what you want to communicate to your employees, whether that’s a feedback poll, thanks for a job well done, a training module, or information like news, rewards, or videos
- Definition of tactics – such as how app users receive content. You could, for example, use push notifications, location-based triggers, or gamification.
Do all this from a powerful user dashboard, without having to hire an app development team, and it is easy to see how you can have a quick, positive ROI on apps designed to keep your workforce engaged.
Let Analytics Tell Their Irrefutable Story
Better still, when you use an employee app development platform that has built-in analytics capabilities, you can collect extensive metrics and make sense of them. You can learn things like which content resonates most with app users, or how many people completed their training module within the first three days after its release. App analytics do not tell the entire story of employee engagement, but they can provide significant, useful data that helps you make more informed decisions that naturally lead to a more engaged employee base.
You do not have to act based on hunches about what app aspects are best-liked by employees because automatically collected analytics can tell you. It is a great way to learn, for example, how to plan and deliver content for maximum engagement through the app. Did nobody watch the training video that was pushed to their devices? Perhaps it is time for your trainers to develop a gamified training environment that allows trainees to earn points, level up, and generally have fun while learning. Again, the analytics will keep you apprised at all times about what is working with your employee engagement app, and where opportunities for improvement exist.
Businesses Cannot Ignore the ROI of Engaged Employees
No business can afford to ignore the level of engagement among their workforce. People simply do not stick with jobs when they feel that their contributions are not valued and that they are unappreciated. Finding out how well-engaged your employees are is the starting point. From there, it is a matter of finding out what they think they are missing and how you can provide it. An employee app is often a critical building block in an effective employee engagement strategy, and today you do not have to hire an expensive app development company or outsource employee engagement app development to unknown entities.
Your Employee Engagement App, Your Way, Is Within Your Reach
Do not make the mistake of thinking that an employee engagement app is only for large enterprises or companies with fat cash reserves. With an employee app platform like hubEngage, you have the power to create the exact app your company and your workforce need to become more positive and invested in their work. The innovative hubEngage platform empowers the creation of engaging, custom employee apps that deliver the exact content employees need at the exact time they need it to become more engaged with the work they do. Furthermore, it delivers deep analytics and reporting that makes it easy to understand your employees better, so you can better meet their needs and help them excel every day.
The importance of employee engagement is hard to overstate, and the power of technology to improve employee engagement is at an all-time high. Regardless of your industry, from airlines to education to media to consumer-packaged goods, you benefit from engaged employees and suffer from disengaged employees. We invite you to try the hubEngage app for free and discover for yourself how close at hand better employee engagement is.