We all know that employee engagement is business-critical, but what about employee involvement? Many organizations have a laser-like focus on increasing engagement, but they won’t see results on this front until they recognize the benefits of involving employees in making decisions, solving problems, and building culture.
Employee engagement vs. employee involvement
Only 15 percent of employees worldwide and 34 percent in the U.S. are engaged, according to Gallup. Fostering employee involvement will help increase these lackluster stats and help your business grow.
Research shows that employees who are involved and play an active role in workplace practices and processes are more engaged. Engaged workers are good for the bottom line because they’re more productive, creative, and inclined to stay with your company.
What is employee engagement?
So are “employee engagement” and “employee involvement” interchangeable? They are related, but not quite. If an employee is engaged, it means that they agree with and understand your organization’s objectives and goals. This helps motivate them to come to work and get things done because they can get behind the purpose of those tasks. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be involved and actively participating in activities to build the company’s culture and contribute to its decisions.
We discussed strategies for employee engagement here, but also consider how technology can make or break employee involvement and engagement. A recent Harvard Business Review survey of executives found that 86 percent of respondents believe that technology has a greater impact on employee engagement today than it did three years ago and that this trend will continue in the coming years.
A digital workplace offers simple, effective ways to boost engagement by encouraging employee involvement in all aspects of your organization, from high-level strategy to grassroots social activities. Now that we understand employee engagement, let’s define employee involvement and its benefits, then consider the importance of this participation in the digital workplace.
What is employee involvement?
We mentioned how employee engagement can be thought of as the first step in employee involvement earlier. Now, here’s a simple definition of employee involvement: the direct participation of workers in planning and continuous improvement by contributing their own ideas and expertise. It’s a leadership philosophy where employees have a strong voice in decisions and actions that affect not only their jobs but the whole organization.
Involved employees feel a greater sense of commitment to the company, which motivates them to give their best effort. Not only that, but organizations often benefit from using input from different levels of the hierarchy to make decisions. Research proves that employee involvement has positive results for both individual workers and the company at large, including improved:
- Employee morale and wellbeing
- Organizational decision-making
On the flip side, low employee involvement can result in low engagement, which costs organizations. Gallup found disengaged employees have 37 percent higher absenteeism, 18 percent lower productivity and 15 percent lower profitability.
Why employee involvement matters in a digital workplace
With remote workers and global offices becoming the norm at many organizations, a digital workplace is the only place where everyone can go to access information, collaborate, and forge social connections. But a digital workplace can only strengthen employee engagement if people are actively involved as users and contributors.
In the past, a digital workplace included company intranets that were top-down, information-centric repositories of files and documentation. Employees had little to no input on their content or operation. Thankfully, that’s changed. Now we have bottom-up, interactive social intranets, which are focused on employee’s needs and contributions.
How an intranet increases participation in an organization
Next-generation intranets enable employees to connect with each other and create and interact with content, wherever and whenever they work – just like they do with their personal apps.
There are a few basic requirements for your digital workplace and company culture that you’ll need to tick off before you start any employee involvement initiative:
- Ensure your intranet is easy to use and has reliable, up-to-date content
- Create robust privacy and security policies
- Get the leadership team to model active involvement
- Invite participation from employees at all levels
- Welcome diverse ideas and opinions
Employee involvement ideas & strategies
Now let’s look at 10 ways to expand employee involvement in your digital workplace (and improve business outcomes along the way).
1. Run a naming contest before launching your new or refreshed digital workplace. You’ll generate excitement and give employees a sense of ownership.
2. Give employees a direct line to the people at the top. A Leadership Center not only offers an inside look at what executives are doing and saying through blogs and social media activity but invites employee input. The result: greater trust and alignment with your organization’s mission and values.
3. Let people celebrate their peers in a Recognition Center. It’s a win-win for the nominator (who feels empowered by the opportunity to give kudos in a public way) and the nominee (who can bask in company-wide recognition). At the same time, you’re showcasing the behavior and performance of your organization’s values.
4. Ask employees what they really think. Deloitte research found that organizations can increase employees’ perception of their authenticity by creating open forums for honest employee feedback – even if it’s negative. Create a dedicated Feedback Center where employees can share their ideas and opinions (within reason) without fear of reprisal. Make sure that leaders also respond to this feedback so employees know someone is listening.
5. Inspire storytelling. Encourage employees to tell stories that matter to your organization. Blogs are a powerful way for people to share their knowledge and experience while offering insight into the strengths, priorities, and concerns of the workforce.
6. Inject some fun into your digital workplace. There are lots of games and challenges that can get employees from across the organization, including remote workers, involved and interacting. From a Scavenger Hunt or Blog Oscars to a Company Playlist or Podcast campaign, make your Social Center a focal point for socializing and relationship-building. You’ll build a stronger culture, which is a foundation for strong engagement – when everyone gets in on the fun.
7. Survey employees using a Poll Widget to get a quick pulse on the organization before making any major changes or decisions. Not only do people appreciate having a say, but Harvard research shows that surveys are a vehicle for changing behavior. When you ask people for their input, you’re both learning from and influencing them.
8. Provide spaces for online communities based on shared personal or professional interests. Employees will feel a greater sense of belonging at work, which nurtures engagement.
9. Unite new employees in an Onboarding Center. Give them a space to connect, find out their top questions, and create an evolving FAQ. By asking them what they need to get up to speed, you’ll accelerate time to productivity.
10. Spark discussions by encouraging people to like or comment on content. Get leaders to join the conversation and inspire wider participation. You’ll gain a crucial understanding of what employees feel is working or not working when it comes to workflows, processes, and policies.
Ready to learn more about how a digital workplace can improve employee involvement at your organization? Explore our digital workplace solutions for culture and engagement today.