4 Ways to Address Employee Engagement With HR Software in 2016

October 04, 2015

In a recent interview, HR thought leader Josh Bersin describes employee engagement as the number one issue facing corporate human resources teams today.

Why is engagement so critical to the modern workplace? Recent years have seen several shifts in the employer-employee relationship:

  • The younger "millennial" generation that now holds a majority in the workforce has shown a strong desire to maintain their mobility.
  • The stabilization of the global economy in the post-Great Recession world means job opportunities are more plentiful.
  • Workers today are more interested in their values and purpose, not just focused on making money.
  • The internet has made employer brands much more transparent: if a company is not treating employees well, people will know about it.

HR's Role in Employee Engagement

Human resources departments with their performance reviews, elaborate employee analyses, and multilayered competency models, have a huge impact on employee engagement levels.

To date, these HR procedures have often made things harder than they need to be for employees, decreasing engagement and leading to what Bersin calls "the overwhelmed employee." To increase engagement HR departments need to focus on developing a culture that supports the values of younger employees and simplifies the employees’ use of HR software.

How HR Software Can Build Employee Engagement

While the term "HR software" can apply to many different applications and platforms, there are four very specific ways that software can be used to create an engaging workplace for employees:

  1. Coaching for simplicity. In the above interview, Bersin borrows a term from the agile startup world: MVP, or minimum viable product, the idea of putting a product or service in front of customers as early as possible by doing only what is absolutely necessary to make the offering viable. HR departments should leverage software to do the same thing – instead of trying to pile more and more tasks onto each employee, software should be used to help managers simplify and streamline the responsibilities of employees. Essentially young employees need to be coached to do less!
  2. Promoting employee development. One of the core tenets of the Irresistible Organization model that Bersin proposes as a solution to the employee engagement challenge is the concept of growth opportunity. The best and brightest employees today want to work in a place that will improve their personal brand by teaching them new skills and deepening their knowledge. HR software can be effective in helping employees grow, especially if it is used for corporate mentoring which facilitates the transfer of knowledge and culture within the organization.
  3. Transparent goal setting. One big challenge to employee engagement today is that managers have trouble setting clear goals for their employees. As points out in a recent article, this problem often manifests itself when managers from Generation X, who are used to a low-maintenance, hands-off approach, have to set goals for employees from Generation Y, who want an in-depth breakdown of exactly what is expected of them. The right HR software can help make sure that managers can set goals effectively and employees can fully understand them.
  4. Embracing corporate mobility. Corporate mobility is extremely important to young employees: today's organizations are functioning in the "free agency" era, where employees are only expected to stay in their current position for a few years before moving on to a new opportunity. HR software that offers alumni management solutions can help your company build lifelong relationships with former employees, which will reduce recruitment costs and strengthen your brand as an employer.

Insala's HR software can be customized to provide only the features that an organization needs, so that managers can spend less time working with complicated software functions and more time contributing to an organization that engages and empowers its employees.

For more information on employee engagement trends and how software is used in workplace development, download Insala's new 2015 Mentoring Benchmarking Survey Report.

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