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Connectivity Doesn't Equal Employee Engagement

There is a worldwide culture around connectivity. Not sure what we’re talking about? How many times have you checked your mobile today, even when you’re not at work? The 24/7 connectivity to work is increasingly becoming the norm, but does being ‘connected’ also mean your employees are ‘engaged’ thus ‘productive’? In this post we talk about connectivity and share some tips for setting parameters for a healthy work/life balance when it comes to technology.

Connectivity + Employee Engagement

Your people are working out of hours more and more these days but could this also be one of the root causes of burnout? Employee engagement is where employees are emotionally committed to an organisation and its goals. They actually care about their work and the organisations they work for but that doesn’t mean they have to be constantly working or available to do that. In fact, as we mentioned in one of our previous blogs, longer hours doesn’t mean being engaged for that long and can even affect productivity. In a study by Deloitte (2014), researchers found that people check their mobile devices up to 150 times every day”, concluding that interruptions and involvement in constant and multiple communication flows (“hyper-connectivity”) are minimising employees’ ability to absorb and process information.

A Closer Look at Behaviour

Think about it this way: would you rather have a top performer work 24/7 for two years, after which point this employee burns out, or have a top performer contribute to your organisation consistently over a tenure of 10 years? Rather than measuring hours or reach-ability, employers needs to look at behaviours and feedback to see how truly ‘engaged’ their people are. You can find this through feedback, conversations, and checking in from time to time with employees. How do you people talk about your organisation? Are they excited for that upcoming training session? Have they referred friends and family to your organisation’s products and/or services? Employee engagement is also evident through things like an employee volunteering to accept more projects; offering to help other colleagues; or speaking positively about the business…not working all the time, but having a health balance in their own mindset. Whilst a little bit of being available outside of working hours is acceptable and professional, make sure your employees get time to live and have their own space, giving them room to think and maybe even think of creative, innovative, different, great ideas to contribute for the business as those of who are engaged do.

This week’s manager tips:

  • Consider how connected you really need to be

Take a closer looks at your current business processes when it comes to communication with clients. Is it ok to check social media once or twice a day? Can you answer lead inquiries within a 12 to 24 hours period? These metrics will differ for each business.

  • Promote HR policies and practices that promote workplace flexibility and enable employees to switch off

For example, make all phone calls after 5pm go direct to voicemail to ensure that work is done between office hours. Same with emails, those received during outside hours will be replied the next office day. Another example, would be to only allow work devices and work emails (no personal emails or personal devices be used for work tasks and projects). This example, also helps when it comes to data security, encouraging for sensitive data to stay only on business owned devices.

  • Automate when possible

Create FAQs on your website, have an automated phone tree menu or pre-recorded hours and directions which can help reduce customer questions while freeing up employees for more important tasks.

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