Listen : Audio version of this article
With society never being more connected than what we are today, technology tends to get a bad rep. We all know how it can encroach on our personal lives and deplete our time and productivity, but what about how it can serve us positively in the workplace? Technology can improve a number of employee relations, and yet employers prefer to stay in the dark ages and resist the possibilities only to the detriment of their dutiful staff. If you are looking to radicalise the way your employees work and communicate, here are some ways and reasons you can see this happen.
Potential to outsource roles and responsibilities
You no longer need to fill an office to get things done. You can outsource roles to agencies or contractors, using technology as a way to carry out that role and responsibility. You can consider this if you have a team who have too much on their plate, or if you would prefer to keep a smaller team onsite and outsource the nitty-gritty. Outsourcing serves so many budgetary and structural purposes. We are seeing this a lot with payroll service providers who are forging the way and allowing businesses to be more agile in their approach to task management and employee relations. If your financial structure is stagnant and unproductive, despite the inflated headcount, review these outsourced services and have a play with some hypothetical structures to see if this could be viable for you.
Improved communication streams
Communication, or lack thereof, is a huge contributor to employees feeling out of touch and disengaged. Technology goes a long way in aiding a disjointed team, with so many workflow applications allowing for instant and valuable communication, which can diminish that all too familiar feeling of being overwhelmed. While each of these platforms offer their own unique look and feel, most provide instant chat, task management, task collaboration and the ability to let your team know that you are in the zone and not looking to be interrupted. Before you choose a platform, gauge the interest and do a couple of trials before you commit to one provider.
Offer career advancement
Career advancements and development opportunities arise at every performance review, with employees wanting to level up and insisting their employers provide this opportunity. Sound familiar? Technology can assist with this desire, and many employers elect to partner with training institutions who offer all staff online modules, like Harvard Business School Online. Before you choose a training provider, make sure you determine how many employees can use the platform, how long the courses stay live for and the format of the courses. Extra points if the training materialises into an accredited certificate or qualification.
Promote work/life balance
You might think that technology contradicts a work/life balance, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Management can encourage their team to be more active before, during and after work by using apps that track the number of steps taken each day. You can even have different departments challenging one another with the winner being the highest number of combined steps. You can also interact with your teams online, and have them sign up to work events, charity, and even connect based on lifestyle circumstances. This can be particularly effective if you have a workforce that is a blended mix of age, culture and lifestyle (kids, no kids, etc). Workplaces that facilitate family BBQ’s and recreational activities are workplaces that people want to stay with and succeed in.
Make this the year you embrace technology and strive toward a more connected working environment. Prioritising employee relations can only serve your greater business goals, and will give you a good idea of the reception these chances receive.