We have all heard them. And now buzzwords such as ‘permacrisis’, ‘partygate’ and ‘sports washing’ have made it into the Collins Dictionary, says Dierdre Hardy.

But alongside those new entries is ‘quiet quitting’, a much-used phrase in the HR community in 2022. Collins’ definition of quiet quitting is “(noun) the practice of doing no more work than one is contractually obliged to do” and its inclusion in this famous dictionary is indicative of the media attention surrounding it.

The emergence of ‘quiet quitting’ as a concept dovetails with some concerning figures from Gallup.

According to its State Of The Global Workplace 2022 Report, just 21 percent of employees are engaged at work and only 33 percent of employees are thriving in their overall wellbeing. In addition, 44 percent of employees experienced stress ‘a lot’ the day before being surveyed.

In many highly competitive sectors, retaining key talent poses a major challenge for organisations… so the figures above should send a shudder through HR directors and managers.

It is also important to remember that the increase in hybrid and remote working in many industries can make it even more difficult to keep employees engaged and connected.

So how can technology help organisations create more positive employee experiences? 

When implemented effectively, technology can help organisations that are struggling to improve their employees’ experiences.

Technology that enables seamless processes and streamlined workflows can help employees focus on key aspects of their roles, rather than mundane activities that sap motivation. This means that employees are less likely to become frustrated by time-consuming complex tasks and manual steps that distract them from the real value-add work that underpins high level performance.

Supporting HR functions 

A vital piece in the jigsaw is the empowerment of HR functions through the introduction of an effective technology platform. This can give HR teams the vital information they need at their fingertips – think about a platform that provides a single dashboard where HR teams can access workforce insight, employee and case information, manage cases, prioritise tasks, communicate with employees, and create or work on cases.

Effective technology support enables HR functions to speed up response times, reduce bottlenecks and address and resolve challenges more quickly. All of this can enhance strategic workforce understanding and planning, the service offered to employees, and drive improved experiences of the workplace. HR teams can be freed up to focus on more strategic activities and those interventions that promote talent attraction and retention.

AI solutions, such as chatbots, can enable basic queries to be answered quickly, without the need for intervention from an HR team member. This is quicker for the employee and means reduced transactional work for the HR agent. Again, speed and simplicity are the watchwords.

Empowering employees

Employers typically want their employees to concentrate on their key roles and responsibilities – the requirement for which they were hired in the first place!

So a cloud-based HR platform – which gives an employee easy access to the information and options they need – can save them valuable time. Actions such as reviewing a payslip, booking a training course or arranging travel can be streamlined, alleviating day-to-day task related frustrations.

The ability for employees to easily access information and support through a cloud-based HR platform – wherever they are and whenever they need it – can also have a positive effect on employee engagement. An enquiry being bounced from department to department, with the frustration that can bring, could be made a thing of the past.

Ensuring a positive onboarding experience

A positive onboarding experience can be crucial in supporting a high retention level. It sets the tone for an employee from Day 1. But sometimes onboarding does not run smoothly, often hampered by processes that suit functions and processing teams, but that do not consider the new employee navigation experience.

The onboarding process can therefore become a series of disjointed HR, finance, IT and other interventions, which impacts negatively on the employee.

Technology can bring those disparate department needs together, to deliver a consistent and streamlined workflow pre and post an employee’s start date, with key tasks mapped out and then actioned. The result can be a far smoother experience for the employee in their first days with an organisation… and a happier, ‘feel good’ start to their employment.

An effective HR platform can then enable HR teams to ‘hold an employee’s hand’ at the key stages of their career journey, which could include training programmes, promotions and relocations: this can help them to feel connected, valued and supported. Again, this approach could improve staff retention rates and improve employee engagement.

Word spreads…

Inefficient, ‘legacy’ systems can cause employees stress and make it harder for them to do their jobs.

For instance, sometimes technology might not have moved with the times… and not been optimised around the current needs of employees. The functionality of a system might not deliver the target process outcomes, which lead to frustration and inefficiency. And in some cases, only a few individuals really understand how the technology works and the rationale behind how it was intended to support the business. Again, this doesn’t bode well for a positive employee experience.

Combine these issues with a poor onboarding experience and organisations can suffer reputational damage which can hinder their efforts to attract the best employees. People talk (and use social media).

However, if an organisation is perceived to be investing in the latest HR technology – technology that can make a substantial difference to the working lives of its employees – there are real positives for brand reputation and subsequently, recruitment efforts.

Optimisation is the key 

Simply investing in premium HR technology doesn’t necessarily solve the problems I’ve outlined here. It is crucial that this technology is optimised for an organisation’s people requirements and business functions: this can have major benefits for employee wellbeing – and give organisations an edge when recruiting and retaining staff.

 

 

 

 

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.