In mid March of 2018, Aon, a global professional services firm, released a survey on global employee engagement results. Aon's data compared opinions from more than 5 million employees around the world. While Canada remained relatively high compared to other countries surveyed, it dropped in employee engagement from 70 percent to 69 percent, which still remains 4 points above the global average.
Exploring the Drop
One of the key triggers for the drop in engagement is believed to be related to workplace disruption resulting from the introduction of new technologies and ways of doing business. In the Aon survey, employees shared that they felt more uncertain about the future of their work and experienced higher degrees of stress as a result. Employees appear to be struggling with the change needed to drive efficiencies and what that might mean to the type of work they are asked to perform.
The Digital Age
Beyond the decline of the industrial revolution, companies face adapting to the digital age where pressure to be more efficient, competitive and relevant means looking at ways technology can enhance the customer experience as well as changes to how work gets done.
Thinking through the longer term digital strategy from end to end becomes more complex with the rapidity of change and the pressure from other organizations who might be seen as disrupting their industry through innovation and digital enhancements and upgrades faster than the competition.
While technological advancements can work wonders for business development, in itself, it can't be the isolated response to solving employee engagement issues. Technology and creating a collaborative digital workplace needs to improve human connections in meaningful ways. Introducing technology without addressing what might be fundamentally broken in terms of organizational design or culture, creates only short term fixes that will fall short over time.
According to Gallup, McKinsey and other engagement survey organizations, worker engagement is declining in our always-on society. When introducing technology or digital enhancements, considering how they might influence employee collaboration is key.
Questions to Ask
In a recent Deloitte white paper, The Digital workplace: Think, share, do. Transform your employee experience, they suggest asking specific questions in order to create a fuller engagement picture:
1) How can I best understand how my employees work and how can the digital workplace support this?
2) How can I best leverage my existing tools to deliver a truly valuable user experience and what other tools do I need to supplement this with?
3) How do I manage cultural change, rollout and adoption?
4) How can I measure success and ensure continuous improvement?
In order to respond to changes in the emerging digital age, answers to these and other questions are an important filter when exploring:
- How to support more transparent working styles and social networks;
- How to provide not just customers, but employees with flexibility, choice and personalization so their personal digital experiences outside of work are aligned with what happens for them at work;
- How to keep employees connected virtually with collaboration tools that work best for them (e.g., instant messaging).
The Bigger Picture
Adapting digital technology for the sake of system upgrades and process efficiencies doesn't automatically equate to higher employee engagement. It includes keeping a pulse on how employees can continue to work better together with the right tools at the right time. We have a pool of resources with a depth of knowledge in this area. We're eager to help you develop the plan you need to support your engagement and productivity goals and invite you to contact us. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
Dave Dickinson, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHFC
Experienced Benefits Specialist ready to optimize your group benefits and pension plans.