Collaborate, Engage and Build Community in Your Workplace
One of the hottest topics in any business over the last six months or so has been how the world of work is changing (or has already changed) from the employee’s point of view. Companies that had a strict policy of refusing all home-working requests from their people had a rude awakening and discovered in most cases that, shock horror, things worked out well!
In 2022 demand for good people for empty positions is outstripping supply: it’s an employee’s market. That poses difficult questions for employers, or rather, their HR departments. Finding people remains challenging, but after the necessary extra effort to get the right individuals signed on, keeping them is the new challenge for HR professionals. Employee engagement, team building, creating camaraderie, encouraging learning and development, and creating an engaging and attractive working environment: all these need to be first-class to get the best out of new hires and keep new hires with the company in the longer term.
We spoke to the Head of Customer Success of a company helping organizations do just that. Chris Jones of Enboarder spoke to Tech HQ recently to discuss the new challenges facing businesses hiring and keeping new & existing staff. The Enboarder platform uses technology that kicks in right from the moment a new hire signs on the dotted line and keeps people and teams engaged right through that critical first twelve months and beyond. Chris noted that the first period of risk for an employer is between the point a new employee accepts an offer and their first day. “You want to keep them engaged, you want to make sure they don’t jump ship and go elsewhere.” And the key to circumventing the risk, he said, is choice.
“As a kid, you read those choose-your-own adventure type books. To a certain extent, when looking at that onboarding experience, or that employee journey experience, the more that you can give [people] a choice about what they want, what content they want to look at, they can be given a certain path to go down. I think that helps keep people engaged so they want to come back for more. I guess it’s taking a leaf out of the consumer marketing handbook: in short, to try and make sure people keep coming back and engaging with content.”
Presenting that content in a way people are conversant these days often means an app for mobile. But what about older hires or hiring in geographies where technology penetration isn’t so deep? “Technology isn’t there to replace human interaction and connection. I think it’s there as a mechanism to coach and to guide and try to make human connections even stronger. […] It’s very important to customize as much as possible.”
As you might expect from the pages of a technology website, we’re big advocates of tech as an enabler of better business processes – technology’s great at surmounting distances and timezones, for example. “When you’re looking at that collaboration angle, it’s really interesting thinking around how you can build that camaraderie between different regions and different teams, different time zones; how do you get that to work? So, it’s […] kind of tribal learning or social learning where you try and get people to learn from each other, which then helps with the building of connections as well across different regions and different teams.”
Immediate inclusion, collaboration, and engagement are what lies at the heart of the Enboarder platform. But does creating bespoke engagement at any significant scale create difficulties? “It’s really being creative with the way that you do it. There are different tiers of personalization – you can be hyper-personalized, where it’s just bespoke to that individual. Or you could look a few layers above that. And perhaps think about whether which department they’re joining, whether it’s [an experience] specific to the country or the team, whatever it might be. […] So, the someone who uses the system can curate the content, so it will be bespoke. But it’s not something that you have to do for each employee: it’s in the system ready to go. And [the platform] does make it more personalized and more relevant.”
Any system that’s malleable enough to create bespoke engagement will also be able to adapt to that hot topic, the hybrid working model, or the “new normal” (whatever that might be). How things change comes down to the individual business, Chris told us: “What we’re seeing is a change in the way that companies are utilizing the office. It’s gone from come in nine to five, five days a week […] Now it’s much more come in, have sessions where you’re deep diving into certain topics or having much more of that social aspect on the days that you’re in the office.” Activities like focused workgroups build communities of employees, via, as Chris calls it, “social, tribal learning.”
Social learning and collaboration can only work with continuity, and a “disparate” workforce (disparate meant in the sense of not being in the same space for 40 hours each week) needs a comprehensive platform on which to facilitate that basis of a community working towards common goals. And at the end of the day, companies that don’t build a community that supports hybrid work will fail their people. “As a trend we’re seeing that generally, companies are keeping that hybrid way of working as what they’re going to stick to. Mainly because if they don’t, they’re potentially losing out on talent – because a lot of other companies are offering that.”
Hybrid working patterns need new solutions, or like Enboarder, a platform that can change as the organization does. To learn more about the Enboarder difference, get in touch with a representative near you today.