The profile of today's worker is more varied and diverse than ever, but there's one thing that unites us all: being productive, contributing employees makes us feel good. Enabling us to do this amidst the amazingly diverse environments we work in today are our mobile devices, love 'em or hate 'em. Whether we work from home or in an office, whether we travel often or stay put, whether we're behind a desk or on our feet all day, whether we're Gen X or Gen Z (or anywhere in between), whether we're co-located or on the other side of the world from our team, our mobile devices support us in our efforts to be strong contributors and stay engaged with our work. And that's a great thing! Engagement is the key to being a productive employee! In fact, according to a 2018 Gallup report, organizations and teams with higher employee engagement and lower active disengagement perform at higher levels.
Here are a few more things we have in common:
- We like our experiences to be about us. We are unique individuals with unique needs. We want the tools we use at work to be personalized to those needs.
- We thrive on learning and growth. When we get the opportunity for actual development, for proper training, and obstacles to taking this training are removed, we achieve more.
- We crave good managers and leaders. This means managers that connect with us, support us and enable us to develop into the employees we want to be.
It is crucial for organizations today to deliver everything listed above, across locations, across employee types, across generations, across channels and across devices. That's why engaging workers via mobile is crucial to your organization's success in creating a winning, personalized talent development experience.
A personalized employee experience
Here's an interesting stat for you: on average, people use a whopping nine different apps a day! The best and most effective apps share one thing in common: they keep you coming back for more. They often achieve this behavior by delivering personalized and relevant content - think about the Facebook news feed or suggested movies in the Netflix app.
When it comes to the employee experience, they want to know similarly personalized and relevant information. Things like:
- "What needs my immediate attention?"
- "What learning is overdue or coming due soon?"
- "What feedback have I received lately?"
- "What goals should I be focusing on?"
- "What learning activities will help me achieve my goals?"
- "What learning content is available that's relevant to my career aspirations?"
- "What are my colleagues up to?"
- "What information are they sharing?"
Putting the answers to these questions front and center, and accessible from any location keeps the employee experience top of mind and sends a message to employees. It confirms for employees that learning is an organizational priority. It keeps employees clear on what their priorities are and how their day-to-day work is contributing to the greater goals of the organization. And it connects employees to their colleagues near and far and allows them to be part of a community and to learn and grow from each other.
Learning and development on the go
Organizations that have reached exceptional levels of employee engagement have built a culture of development that led to high achievement. And according to a recent report by LinkedIn, over 90% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. So organizations and employees alike agree - development is key! Unfortunately, making time for learning was identified as the #1 challenge facing talent development in 2018. Here's where mobile-based learning & development comes in. It allows employees much more flexibility in terms of access, interaction and engagement with learning materials. Not only that, but combine ease of access at the time of need with the alignment of learning content and employee aspirations, and you have a recipe for success.
Mobile learning is only as good as the content that's available, so your organization needs to ensure that not only is there a wide variety of learning materials available on mobile, but that they are delivered intelligently based on employee needs, interests and aspirations. Connecting an employee's career or performance goals to their learning profile allows for intelligently recommended learning, and combining this with mobile learning availability means that your people can constantly be developing.
Connect managers to their teams
The role managers play in employee engagement and development cannot be overstated. Gallup organizational research indicates that at least 70% of the variance in team engagement is explained by the quality of the manager or team leader. On the flip side, next to making time for learning, the #2 challenge identified facing talent development in 2018 was "increased manager involvement."
All managers are not created equal. Good managers know that their success depends on the success of their team. Good managers care about the people in their team, know what their strengths are and how to leverage those strengths. They also empower their employees, recognize them and help them to develop into the best they can be. The thing is, managers are also very busy people. All the managers I know are in meetings from about 9-to-5 every day. So how can managers do all this amidst putting out the daily fires?
The most important efforts to engage your team don't have to take a lot of time, as noted by Kevin Kruse in a recent Forbes article: "engagement takes minutes, not hours." How long does it really take to recognize your employees and say thank you more often? How long does it take to check in with them on their goals and learning and stay in tune with their achievements and challenges? From here, how long would it take to recommend a course to them that would help them in the achievement of those goals? Evidently, a small action like this can go a long way - In this LinkedIn report, 56% of employees said they would spend more time learning if their manager recommended courses to them. While it's easy to sit here and say this doesn't take too much time, I appreciate that reality is harder...but having the right mobile tools to support and enable this type of activity for busy managers on the go can be the key to success here.
Picture this: you're going from meeting to meeting but want to acknowledge your direct report who just delivered a killer presentation - send them some feedback on your mobile app while on the way to your next meeting. You're traveling this week, your direct report is traveling next week but you want to connect and have that check-in. Have a mobile check-in while you're waiting at the airport for your next flight. Things have been pretty crazy lately and you're losing sight of what your team is focused on. Have a quick look at your team dashboard and see what everyone's up to.
Making employee engagement happen
We often hear a lot of doom and gloom around the state of employee engagement, with stats seemingly in a downward spiral. But I prefer the positive focus on the fact that 34% of U.S. workers are highly engaged (involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace), tying its highest level since Gallup began reporting the national figure in 2000. Similarly, those who are "actively disengaged" is down to a new low of 13%. While there's still work to be done for those people in the middle, change is underway, for the better. And with the demographics of the worker and today's workplaces being as diverse and varied as ever before, the number of challenges on the road to engagement can only be increasing. So even though there's a long road ahead, let's do our best to keep moving in the right direction, and continue to not only get by, but improve, with a little help from our mobile friends.