Are Smartphone Apps The Answer To Better Employee Engagement?

December 16, 2016

I’m sure you’ve all heard the term ’employee engagement’. A term initially defined by William Kahn as personnel engagement and “the harnessing of organisation members’ selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances”. *

Employers often don’t understand how to engage effectively with employee’s or if their engagement has even been effective. In my experience businesses have historical ways of doing things which were determined well before the term ’employee engagement’ was invented.

I came across an article which suggests that technology, especially smartphone apps, is the root to employee engagement.

Can Smartphone Apps Improve Employee Engagement?

The article makes the right point that employee happiness is somehow linked to employee engagement and therefore productivity. It talks about using the apps to deliver employee communication and employee benefit services.

employee engagement

I can see the benefit and efficiency in doing that especially as according to this survey carried out by Deloitte, collectively UK citizens look at their smartphones over a billion times a day. This would give the claim that smartphones could have a positive effect on employee engagement some real weight.

What the article seems to totally miss is that employee engagement is almost always linked to human engagement. That means that managers and employee’s need to talk to each other about how their work is done, how it could be improved, how people are finding their work, how their career is developing, what training they need etc.

Whilst we all like to text and message each other through our smartphones I don’t think that work engagement is best done remotely between people using smartphones.

Saying that I’m not sure that excessive use of smartphones and apps is a guaranteed route to happiness, what do you think? It seems the Deloitte survey could prove otherwise?

Then throw into the mix video. This article suggests that video is a great way for employers to effectively communicate with their employees, thus improving employee engagement. I do think that video is one useful way of promoting employee values, brand etc but again it’s a bit one way and doesn’t involve any interaction.

And that is the key point…..interaction!

It’s the one thing that I see is lacking when I go into businesses. And it’s the one thing that once fixed can make a huge difference in the workplace and ultimately the bottom line.

Interaction is often mistaken for communication. And communication is often mistaken for that one-way delivery of information from employer to employee. You know the sort. Sending out a blanket memo or email to all employee’s rather than getting together to encourage feedback and input on important topics

Funnily enough this isn’t a problem that has occurred due to technology. For years I have seen employers who do not understand that the people on the ‘shop floor’ can have valuable input into things such as business plans. There is still a lot of ‘us and them’ type mentalities.

I can’t help but wonder what the real underlying reason is that a lot of managers and employee’s don’t seem to be able to effectively communicate face to face.

I have a saying…

The secret to increasing your profits is locked inside your company.

Maybe I should change it to…

The secret to effective employee engagement is in a smartphone app?!?

I personally don’t think so.

Saying that, I do think tools such as smartphone apps and video can assist businesses to communicate more effectively, but no matter what technology is out there, nothing can be more effective than human interaction.

So the question is what do YOU think? Could a smartphone app and video effectively improve employee engagement?


* source Wikipedia