Engaged employees are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work. This is critical in the current healthcare environment, where a lack of engagement could lead to increased turnover, burnout, and customer dissatisfaction. Enabling employees to do meaningful work—offloading routine tasks, for example—creates opportunities for employees to apply themselves to aspects of their jobs that are uniquely engaging, such as connecting directly with residents and guests. Supporting meaningful work requires the right systems and tools to be in place. Technology can be an accelerant in this process by removing the obstacles that often stand in the way.
Unfortunately, many organizations still utilize legacy systems that are slow, antiquated, and inefficient. Other organizations have adopted new technology, but it has been borrowed from other industries and forced to “work” in an environment in which it was not intended or optimal. Both of these situations encumber employees with unnecessary complexity and inefficiency.
Organizations that provide the right technology for their employees can increase their efficiency, reduce frustration, and make their tasks more manageable, ultimately increasing employee engagement. So, what technology will make the most impact on employee tasks? Organizations should focus on offloading mundane tasks, providing enhanced data or information, and supporting a more agile workflow.
Offloading Mundane Tasks
The right technology can increase employees’ efficiency by speeding up or completely eliminating routine tasks. As Craig Deao notes in a recent article, “Employees end up spending significant time working on things that they weren’t hired to do such as piecing together and fact-checking spreadsheets and reports—activities that they should be able to do within the technology.”
Automating simple tasks creates the space that allows employees to focus on what they were hired to do: think critically and engage with residents and guests. Indeed, Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, former IBM emerging technology guru, argues that “automating parts of a job will often increase the productivity and quality of workers by complementing their skills with machines and computers, as well as enabling them to focus on those aspects of the job that most need their attention.”
By embracing automation technologies, organizations can provide more rewarding experiences for their employees, who can now spend more time on skill-based, experience-heavy tasks that lead to greater employee engagement and ultimately a better customer experience.
Providing Enhanced Information
Employees do not just want instant access to reliable information, they expect it. Yet, according to the Workforce Institute’s new report on workplace trends, unlike what employees experience at home as consumers, when they arrive at work,
good, valuable information across their organization can be hard to access and near impossible to process in order to make an informed decision in the moment. Employers are increasingly expected to provide a consumer-grade technology experience in the workplace with one-touch access to information that helps employees – both laptop-toting and frontline workers – work smarter and work their way.
Organizations enhance access to accurate and timely information to better enable staff self-determination. Information directly affecting residents or guests provided in real time to staff empowers them to make more informed decisions in a timely manner. As Carolyn O’Boyle states, “given the workforce is, perhaps, best positioned to provide perspectives on certain aspects of their experience, offer advice, and answer questions in a way that is relatable (and empowering), employers are wise to create forums for them to do so.” Real-time accurate information empowers staff to utilize their intelligence, creativity, and empathy to the fullest.
Supporting Agile Workflow
Collaboration and communication may be two twenty-first century buzzwords, but they are critical to an agile workflow. Technology that enhances an employee’s ability to interact with their coworkers continuously and intuitively creates the foundation for smooth and efficient execution. These tools must be agile enough to change as the organization’s and the customer’s needs change, without adding complexity to the employee experience.
By consistent inclusion in communication with their peers, a recent Mayo Clinic study concludes that staff problem-solve better, learn from one another, and ultimately share their “front line knowledge” with each other and leadership. This in turn impacts staff engagement and the customer experience.
Santiago Jaramillo gives an example of a company that launched a comprehensive collaboration training targeted at creating more consistent customer experience. Not only did they improve the customer experience, they saw a 90% increase in employee engagement. Employees are more engaged when they are able to solve problems as a team.
Employees that are empowered to function at their greatest capacity without being bogged down in mundane tasks, that are provided with accurate and timely information so that they can be self-directed, and that are provided the tools to seamlessly collaborate and communicate with their coworkers are more likely to feel that they can be their authentic selves at work, leading to higher engagement and performance. In next month’s article I will discuss how organizations can harness the physical workspace to more fully engage their employees. Petalo is working with providers to drive employee engagement through technological innovation. If you would like to learn more, please visit us at petalo.ai.