In my previous two blogs I’ve talked about communications and accessibility - two of the five pillars of engagement that we see as fundamental to engagement success. Now it’s time for pillar three, enablement. And it’s an interesting one as it represents the perfect intersection of employee experience and operational effectiveness, which we regard as equally valid parts of the engagement equation.
Admittedly, the introduction of more self-service options is unlikely to drive up the old commitment dividend, and get people revved up about their role and purpose; but it is going to remove lots of little annoyances and inconveniences and time-consuming sidebar activities. Making enquiries about payslips, tax codes or pensions; filling out forms to update personal details; requesting shift changes; making holiday requests; sorting out doctors’ letters; booking training, all of these and more can eat into time and goodwill, especially in a consumer world where 24/7 self-service is increasingly the norm.
The issue with lots of little things is that they can add up to one big thing - loss of productivity, erosion of morale, growing resentment, a negative workday experience that can be very attritional if left unchecked. That’s from the employee perspective; now think about the back-office teams who have to process all this stuff. Is it really a good use of resource and money to be printing and posting out 1000 payslips? Ditto to send out letters confirming/updating employee details twice a year? To have someone spending half their week answering basic pay queries? And the other half trying to marshal holiday requests to ensure adequate cover is in place?
Immediate and significant impact
We’ve found all these scenarios in play in recent months and we’re now trying to address them because as it stands no-one wins: employees are not getting the frictionless support service that they might expect as standard in this day and age, and organisations are wasting time, money and skilled overhead in the execution of inefficient processes.
What’s particularly interesting about enablement is that while it may not be the sexiest of things - let’s face it, most of what we’re scooping up here is mundane - the business impact is immediate and significant. The Engage platform supports epayslips out of the box - that has enabled one client to straightaway slash £30K from its finance and administration budget; employees can now access their payslip history and tax code on demand; and the hours saved on payslip admin every month have been freed up for staff to, amongst other things, monitor a dedicated message/chat facility. This is allowing for a faster, more responsive approach to specific enquiries, where previously employees could feel like their queries had fallen into a black hole.
Another client has gone a step further, integrating Engage with its own elearning platform to allow employees to dial-up training on demand. It runs quarterly H&S refreshers for all factory floor staff and rather than scheduling sessions that haul people off the floor or impinge on lunch hours, they’re delivering it via videos, with employees able to watch them at a time to suit. The system allows for auditing of who has watched what and when, so the training team can focus on chivvying up laggards.
To be honest, at a time when you can do so much for yourself as a consumer, it’s a surprise that in the business environment there is still so much that is unnecessarily tortuous for employees, and wasteful and onerous for the back office. Enablement can be a major force for immediate good: experience and empowerment for the individual, efficiency and efficacy for the organisation.