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5 Facts about Employee Engagement You Should Know

There has been a large focus on providing top tier customer experiences and thinking about how to always improve the customer journey. However, employee engagement is just as valuable as customer engagement. Unfortunately, some organizations falsely believe all their employees are engaged, or even worse, don’t recognize the value of employee engagement. We’ve rounded up a top 5 list of facts to help understand the importance and potential of employee engagement.

16% of Employees Aren’t Engaged

Gallup conducted research in 2017 and published the State of the American Workplace study. The objective was to provide insight of the state of the workforce and to drive transformation. While they did find one third of employees are engaged, they found that 16% are actively disengaged – they are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build. The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged — they’re just there.

Disengaged Employees Cost $500 Billion

In a study conducted by Mental Health America, they found that disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more efforts. This means that disengaged employees are contributing to $500 Billion a year in lost productivity.

Only 12% of Employee Leave for More Money

According to the same Gallup study, they found that 89% of employers believes that employees who leave for another position are doing so because of a larger paycheck. In reality, only 12% of employees leave for more money; office life, enjoying work, and corporate culture play a bigger role in this decision-making process.

56% of Employees Plan to Actively Seek a New Job

According to a 2016 study conducted by PayScale, they found that 56% of employees will begin actively seeking employment elsewhere within the next six months. They found the two leading causes for this is an employee’s view on the company’s future, and employee appreciation.

Outperforming Competitors by 202%

In a reach report released by Aberdeen, they examined the performance results from companies that have a formal employee engagement program. The report indicated that the organizations with a high level of engaged employees will outperform companies with poor engagement by 202%.

Customer experiences and customer journeys have been a major focus for organizations. However, employee engagement is something that is either overlooked or taken for granted. This puts the organization at risk of negative performance and loss of employees. These five stats should lead to companies rethinking their approach to employee engagement. Realizing the importance of using employee engagement as a strategic lever to ultimately deliver better customer experiences.

Best Ways To Create Better Employee Engagement

For organizations, with a goal to maximize performance, they need to look at employee engagement. Employee engagement is ensuring that everyone in the organization has the right conditions that will inspire and motivate them to do their best each day, and to ensure their full commitment to the company and achieving organizational objectives.

Engaged employees care about the company and take pride in their work, instead of just earning a paycheck or using it as a stepping stone for a better job elsewhere.  With all the moving pieces internally and externally that organizations must manage, it is easy to forget this key piece nor is it easy to achieve overnight.

For some organizations, they are unsure where to get started, how to get started, or what the approach should be to achieve employee engagement. To help those organizations get the most from their employees and improve employee engagement, here are the best practices to achieve employee engagement.

Employee Journeys

A common focus for organizations is “Customer Journeys.”  The process of attracting, onboarding, and engaging with customers; and how that experience is laid out for the best results. Take that same concept, and those practices and apply it to your employees; there is not much variation between the two.

The 3 keys to a successful employee journey are:

  •    Enable a positive first impression: when employees first come aboard, make sure every experience is planned out, and easy for the employee. For example; how they get registered for benefits or get their first paycheck.
  •    Be there during moments of truth: It may be a marriage, a baby, a loss, etc. These impactful moments weigh heavily on the employee. Organizations need to be there to support them and provide the information and help they need.
  •    Design thoughtful journeys for high-frequency activities: Look into all the tasks that employees deal with and how you as an organization can improve efficiencies.For example, submitting expenses. This task happens frequently but having a painful process will negatively impact the internal perception of the organization. Appearing like the organization wants to take advantage of their employees and make it difficult to be reimbursed.

Value Creation

To get better employee engagement, you must provide value to the work that your employees do. To achieve this, organizations should provide the tools and processes to create a seamless work process. Studies show that 19% of an employee’s workweek is spent searching for and gathering information or tracking down colleagues to help with specific tasks. Therefore, being able to optimize your employees’ workflow will provide great value to both the individual and the organization. No organization has found the perfect solution and likely no company will ever solve this issue 100%, but looking at increasing productivity and providing the right tools to be able to access the “Corporate Crown Jewels.”

Digital Capability Focus

Examine how employees interact with your business. Focus on the different engagements that employees will have and at different times. For example, the experience that office employees using desktops will be different from remote employees on a laptop, which will be different from employees out in the field on a smartphone. Look into how information is planned, authorized, and communicated.

Roadmap the Transformation

Evaluate where your organization is starting and where you would like it to go. While some organizations may face extreme transformational forces that require rapid changes, most organizations can afford to be methodical and plan their transformation journey and how far to take it, and at which time. Consider the steps your organization will take, the enablement of capability, and understanding the benefits. Most importantly, how you will bring people along with you.

End to End Methodology

Examine the areas and characteristics of transformation; looking at the items that are a high value for the organization and the items that are high cost. While ideally each item would be addressed in the transformation process at some point. The goal is to establish a sequence of priority to extract the most value as soon as possible for the lowest cost.

Test and Learn

Gone are the days of one and done projects. Transformation is constant, therefore organizations will need to stay on top of these changes to ensure these programs are providing the best value and extracting the most engagement from employees. Take the time to run prototypes and examine the performance. Decide on how new employee engagement initiatives will be measured for success. What key performance indicators will be tracked and measured?

It is important for organizations to foster employee engagement. To achieve this, organizations need to apply a transformational approach. Begin with a vision by examining what you are looking to solve in the employee journey. Next, plan how this transformation will take place and bring on change champions to advocate and help those who may be resistant. Finally, execute the employee engagement plan.

Now this may seem like a large and costly undertaking, and you may not see the end value from employee engagement, however, according to Aberdeen, organizations with engaged employees see an increase of 26% in revenue year over year and boost profitability by $2,400 per engaged employee.

How to Turn Your Employee Portal Into a Digital Experience Platform

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Historically, employee portal technology supported a basic employee use case in providing a platform for communication with employees using basic content management capability with some systems integration capability and a few other things. These legacy platforms were suitable for the time but did not anticipate the changing nature of the employee interaction model, the social trend dynamics, the proliferation and the corresponding to search for data and documents and were constructed with the notion of being built once with minimal further investment. These platforms did not have the capability to meet or keep up with future needs and were not designed for maximum employee digital experience.

To truly transform an employee portal into a digital experience platform, companies must first think about their foundation. Do they have the proper foundational software to deliver the desired employee experience? Do they have the proper foundational software to deliver the capabilities required to enhance employee capability and productivity?  Do they have the proper foundational software to transform? The new software foundation must allow for:

  1. The enablement of a best in class digital experience
  2. Desktop, mobile, in office and remote access capabilities
  3. Personalization and social enablement
  4. More complex system integration
  5. Enhanced and dynamic search capabilities
  6. Advanced analytics
  7. Ability to leverage, enhance and protect a company’s employee investment.

What is a digital experience?

Digital experiences allow companies to go beyond digitizing paper processes in order to create services that are possible only because of the internet and other modern technologies.

They have two key components: they use digital technologies and they provide some kind of interaction between a single user and an organization. Mobile apps, websites and smart devices all provide digital experiences to the customers, partners or employees that are using them to interact with companies.

Device Accessibility

Employees are no longer confined to the traditional office setting. Some may work on a desktop with a keyboard, mouse, and multiple monitors. Others may be remote access on laptops, and other may do most of their work on a mobile device. Each device may have limitations on what can be accomplished, however, an organization’s objective is to provide best possible user-experience when working cross-device and ensure required capabilities are optimized for each device. Optimizing for a device should not only mean screen-size but also navigation and operation on the platform.

Personalize and Socialization

Traditional portals have been modeled and built in one configuration, for one device-type. However, consumers are expecting, if not demanding, highly personalized experiences. Employees are consumers as well; consumers of other companies products and searching, and consumers their employer’s information. A study found that the preference for personalization is caused by two factors: a desire for control and navigating through an information overload. It may not be overly evident for a company that their employees are feeling a lack of control and overloaded with information until there is an examination is the processes and looking ways to personalize the experience for different users.

Furthermore, organizations should also enable employee socialization. In the age of social media, each platform allows users to communicate and engage with people in a variety of ways. Using a social media platform brings great advantage for an organization. Employees will feel they have more of a voice and seek to engage more than with regular e-mail. Social media promotes the desire to share and interact and will result in greater knowledge sharing and collaboration among employees. Opening the ways of communication between employees creates the freedom to use the platform best suited for specific needs.

System Integration

A company’s employees may be required to use many different tools to complete their tasks. This forces the employee to have to log into may different platform, with different experiences. These many softwares will have different update cycles, requiring the user to constantly change how their workflow is executed. Using one central platform can integrate all these tools, removing the multiple logins, and the workflow hiccups. A successful platform will knock down walls.

Information(search)

A primary objective of an employee portal, new or old, is the access to information. At the core of every business are the crown jewels of information that are critical for the company and are required by employees. If the access to this data is not available or is difficult to find, it reduces the value of the information and limits potential. On traditional platforms, finding information was lengthy and costly. In a modern portal, information should be easy to search for and find.

Information should not only be easily accessible on desktop but should be accessible for all users in various work environments. For example, a retail company may have a desktop with the portal in the back, but the employees who are only on mobile devices cannot access that information. Therefore, ensuring agility in how information is searched for will give access to everyone.

Another way of providing information to end users is through notifications. Traditional portals would require users to log in, to find the receive any communications or updates. This was not a very effective method as what could be important information could be missed or forgotten days later. With notification, this allows for employees to not have to take time out of their work and to get the information where they are (pop up, email, SMS, etc.) at the right time.

Analytics

Historically, if a company wanted to understand how an employee portal was being used or what parts were successful and which needed improvement, the stakeholders would either guess, run focus groups, or take a survey. However, these methods could provide flawed or inaccurate data. With a modern platform, analytics will allow you to test and learn. If a page is being used a lot, should it be more readily available or made a quick link. If a page is used less, why is that? Is the information not valuable?

The objective of an employee portal is to knock down walls. To truly achieve this result, the old foundation must be replaced with an agile platform that can grow and pivot with a company and its people. This new platform should go beyond being a band-aid solution for one problem. Instead should seek to improve the experience of the users across all engagements within a company.  If done properly, the platform will amplify productivity inside of getting in the way. This is how companies can transform the digital experience with their portal.

 

Why Your Old Employee Portal Is a Problem?

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glowing blue binary code on screen with word error background concept

The leading organizations of any industry are looking to pull ahead of the competition with digital-driven models. A key to success here is not only improving interactions with customers but also with employees. The value creation that a proper internal digital strategy and renewed intranet portal related capabilities can deliver are: end-to-end agile operating models, gains to internal productivity, reduction in the times to market for new products, and enhanced employee experience. To achieve these benefits, organizations need to invest in delivering the next generation of digital experience platforms that deliver on key employee journeys that promote employee engagement as well as customer facing journeys and engagement.

What Organizations Should Be Doing

While customers are the lifeblood of any organization, ignoring the employees and their journey is foolish as they are the providers of the product or service. Investing in the employee experience and platforms they use can have a great impact on the overall service to those customers. Firstly, aim to solve real employee problems that impede the customer and employee experience and look at how to provide those powerful employee experiences. Secondly, be open and allow for new ways of working in a more agile fashion and work across silos. Thirdly, organizations need to provide a more modular flexible architecture for a faster time to market and more business agility. Finally, organizations need to capture benefits and results on different KPI at all levels.

Legacy Portals Aren’t Working Anymore

While organizations may speak about being agile in the digital age, legacy employee portal solutions and their corresponding business cases and funding models were not designed for the type of digital enablement being delivered in the most progressive organizations. Here are some of the symptoms of your portal not working:

  • Current portal solutions that only provide individual features and not the entire end-to-end employee journeys.
  • A portal that was a one-time project funded vs. ongoing funding.
  • A monolithic architecture that was hard to change with limited ability to personalize.

Don’t stay static

Organizations that refuse to let go of their legacy technologies are preventing themselves from moving forward and getting to where they want to be. Stakeholders must first recognize that elevating the digital journey of the employees is just as important as elevating the digital customer journey. The organization must be committed to changing how they work, driving simplification and fostering a new culture of digital employee engagement.

Where should you start with your next Software Upgrade?

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Like most firms, our team at Veriday does not particularly enjoy software upgrades. When simple upgrades turn into projects it usually means some pain is coming associated with aging software, or significant changes to an existing platform. So, while we highly recommend investing in your software applications throughout their lifecycle, we have some tips from our experience, for how to successfully complete an upgrade to a more updated version of software.

Where to start? First off, you should create a “Sandbox” environment to get familiar with the new software. This will help you assess the benefits of moving and the potential change impacts associated with the move. A primary output should be documenting perceived changes that may have an impact on your team.

The second step to evaluate your upgrade is building your strategy and plan to complete the upgrade. Your strategy may need to consider whether you are going to consider making functional changes to your software to gain additional benefits from the upgrade. While this can be a very effective and timely strategy, it may add risk to your project since you are not able to directly compare old and new versions. For this reason, we often suggest planning a secondary project after the upgrade to add or change functions after the upgrade is complete. Creating your plan includes documenting tasks, effort, required resources, and a schedule. Finally, preparing your business case and budget request for the project using similar projects or customer experiences as your guide. There are many factors that should be considered in building a budget for upgrades and variability for risks, which can be considerable.

The last and very important step before proceeding with the upgrade is ensuring you have the right dedicated team and skills in place to meet your business case commitments. Leaping forward without validating this is a sure way to add risk and stress to your project.

Upgrading is not a stress free activity but with the right combination of approach, planning, and management you can minimize disruption and maybe just maybe end up with enhanced features and room to grow.

Chris Lamoureux, COO of Veriday, elaborates on the recent Network of Giving Partnership

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In late September, we were excited to announce our partnership with the Network of Giving. Network of Giving specializes in delivering technology solutions to support important causes and communities around the world. NOG is a value added software and IP tool that empowers billions of caring consumers purchasing goods and services digitally which can benefit local organizations and causes seamlessly.

Recently, Chris Lamoureux, COO of Veriday Inc., elaborated more on this partnership and what it means in terms of future projects, innovation, and what this means to all the charities involved.

What is the extent of the relationship between Veriday and the Network of Giving?  What will you be doing together as partners?

Chris:  Changing the world is not easy, sometimes it takes a lot of time; days, weeks, months, years, sometimes decades. Although, with clear focus, a goal and vision in mind, changes can happen and make a positive influence on the world. We’ve been working with Network of Giving for several years now to help them change the world through one transaction at a time. The Network of Giving harnesses the power of everyday digital transactions, supports important causes, and helps communities around the world become more prosperous and resilient, particularly local communities.

What solution will we be creating together?  What problem does it solve for the customers?

Chris:  Through pioneering innovations, technology, existing financial structures, and business processes, the Network of Giving has found ways to link consumers, local merchants, charitable and community organizations, banks, payment networks, and other financial organizations into a dynamic ecosystem to create an entirely new way of supporting digital charitable giving. We at Veriday believe that this is an enormous untapped potential to change the world, and we are committed and focused on supporting the Network of Giving in their activities.

What are the benefits that the customers will see from the partnership?

We’ve been supporting the Network of Giving in the ground-breaking technology innovation area using leading-edge approaches and modernized thinking. It allows us to create a technology solution that can plug and play into the most complex financial services systems in the world. Taking the complexity of the service systems and delivering it simply into a marketplace in which any consumer can use the solution; to take a simple banking transaction, or a simple purchase, and direct that at a merchant while part of the proceeds go to support a charity of their choice.

From your perspective, what is special or innovative about the partnership?

What’s innovative and interesting about this partnership and what we’re trying to do is that we are taking something simple and something that is done every day, and using it as a catalyst for change to fuel and accomplish something bigger. Innovative, yet complex. Simple and elegant.

Embrace the Enterprise Portal, or Get Left Behind

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Over the past 8 years, Veriday has been engaged for the implementation of a number of Enterprise Portals using Liferay. The size and scale of the projects have varied but a common thread amongst the implementations has been the objective of organizations to move beyond the restraints of their current technology in order to better engage their employees.

Let’s say, you’d like to submit an IT ticket, track the status of a project, collaborate in real-time or simply update the content on your website.  Typically, you’d have to gather a number of departments together, agree on how to move forward and delegate resources to complete each task.  Let’s take Mindy the Marketing professional, for example.   Each time she would like to make a quick update on her organization’s website, she has to engage Ian the IT Manager, or outsource to a 3rd party vendor, wasting time and money.  Ian the IT Manager has to stop what he’s doing in order to facilitate the quick content update.  In comes the Enterprise Portal…

The convergence of information, process and technology

An Enterprise Portal isn’t just a fancy term for intranet.  For a business, an enterprise portal brings together its various applications, information, business units and services on one common platform.   The portal becomes an interactive platform for employees, which is customizable to each of their jobs and responsibilities. It is a system for information delivery and organization, collaboration, content and data management, workflows and operations management through an application that gives users a single point of access.

The portal framework exists to solve aggregation and personalization so that developers do not have to reinvent the wheel every time an organization scales or adds an application.  Customizing the employees’ portal space provides them with all of the information they need to do their jobs more quickly and efficiently than if they had to search out the data themselves.  The portal space becomes a unique online experience built around your brand.

More competitive, collaborative and improved ROI

The fundamental key is making your organization more competitive, isn’t it?  Organizations are turning to Enterprise Portals to offer a competitive advantage.  The availability of ‘’anytime-anywhere’’ managed information, on one-platform, makes for an agile business, leveraging new ideas and decisions faster through the streamlining of operations and business-wide knowledge sharing.

At Veriday, we are working with enterprises to implement portal solutions that enable their business to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies in order to gain a competitive advantage. Engaged employees will deliver more to your organization when they are equipped with the tools to do their job effectively.  In today’s digital landscape, employee engagement expectations continue to rise making portals, collaboration and content management solutions more critical then ever.

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Question:  Does your enterprise portal effectively support the technology demands placed on it in today’s digital economy?

Customer Love

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One of my all time favourite movies is Field of Dreams. I can watch this movie over and movie again because it works on so many levels….it’s a great baseball movie for sure, but it’s also a movie about family, about risk taking and about commitment to a dream.

If you are in business for yourself you absolutely have a dream and you definitely then have to think about your commitment to customer service.

The background voice from “Field of Dreams” says it all on this topic: “Go the Distance!”

Going the Distance when it comes to Customer Service means simply you have to work diligently at helping to solve your customers problems, being respectful and professional in all of your interactions and going that one bit further each and every day to separate yourself from the competition.

Going the Distance when it comes to Customer Service does not mean that you have to do everything for your customer. It simply means you have to think about every interaction you have with them and make those interactions, consistent, efficient and effective.

If you Go the Distance, then as Terence Mann stated: “Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”

Bottom line is your customers will come and they will stay!

The Longest Vacation

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The idea that vacations should be restricted to 1 or 2 weeks sounds like a good principle to protect the company when it is young and growing; however managing the line between firm policy and flexibility is important to successful growth.   Throughout our history we have decided several times to draft vacation policies that we believed would protect our precious company from a resource shortage at a critical yet undefined time. Usually right around that time one of our employees comes to us asking for a 3 or 4 week vacation because they are getting married, going to the world cup or going around the world for a great friend’s wedding. It’s moments like these which revealed our leadership culture by forcing us to consider how to balance our employee and corporate health.

Like most modern software shops, Veriday has a healthy and diverse employee culture formed by individuals who like to travel, have immigrated from elsewhere and maybe a few who need to significantly recharge their batteries now and then. All of those elements including significant life events that we often share with our colleagues make for challenging vacation scheduling at times and sensitivity to important life needs that supercede the value of the corporation.  So while we still have policies that are designed to protect the health of Veriday we have learned repeatedly to maintain a healthy amount of flexibility.