E-Handbook: Employee engagement process balances technology and people Article 1 of 4

Understanding the new terms of engagement

The focus of talent management nowadays is on finding ways to keep employees more engaged, productive and happy. The theory is that a well-run employee engagement process can reduce turnover, boost productivity and improve the employee experience. Happy employees can also translate into happy customers, which invariably lead to higher profits.

Consequently, specialized technologies to support the employee engagement process has boomed. But engagement is hardly about technology. In fact, technology can be a detriment when it alienates people from the organization. Tedious, unresponsive recruitment software can scare away qualified applicants, for example, or an outdated email system can frustrate employees and cause them to doubt the company's financial health.

Fortifying the connection between an organization and the individual worker is the real goal of any engagement process. That effort must extend far beyond using tools to merely survey and inform employees -- encompassing squishy concepts like corporate culture, career goals and leadership. Truly engaging employees and improving the employee experience is more art than science.

HR technologies should play mostly a supporting role in the engagement process, though sometimes they can enable key elements. Personalized mobile recruiting apps, for example, and performance management tools that are closely tied to learning management systems can give workers a feeling of support and respect.

Yet software can only go so far. More important are the relationships an employee has with an inspirational leader, a supportive co-worker and the work itself. Any successful employee engagement process depends on keeping these priorities straight.

This handbook examines the importance of HR technologies in advancing employee engagement programs, while keeping in mind that only the personal and trusting connection between workers and their leaders will bring those programs across the finish line.

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