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8 Areas Where You Can Enhance Employee Engagement

5/30/19 1:30 PM

Employees’ daily experience of their workplace directly contributes to whether they are engaged and willing to put in that voluntary discretionary effort. If they feel they are being valued and treated fairly in the workplace, they are more likely to give employers that extra effort. This requires more than incentives or HR initiatives. New HCM technologies and process improvements are needed to:

• Unburden them by removing obstacles to enable them to efficiently do their jobs
• Provide them with tools and information to enable agility and an attractive career path
• Provide a level playing field so they know they’re being treated fairly

Here are eight areas where HCM process improvements could enhance your employees' levels of engagement:

  1. Eliminating manual tasks
  2. Promoting leadership
  3. Standardizing policies
  4. Putting employees in a position to win while ensuring fairness
  5. Reducing employee absenteeism
  6. Providing a clear career path
  7. Empowering employees to make a difference
  8. Creating freedom with self-service

Let's dig into each one.

Download our ebook, Engaging Your Entire Workforce, for insights into engaging  both salaried and hourly employees.

Eliminating Manual Tasks

Today, many employees are burdened with manual tasks that drag down morale. This includes employees who are forced to use outdated manual processes to handle HR policies such as attendance, overtime, and leave. No employee wants to sign time cards manually. No employee wants to have to ask the supervisor how many days off he or she has available because the information is not accessible online.

New technology solutions, especially those that integrate all tools on a single platform, can automate many of these tedious processes and unburden both employees and managers. This allows employees to focus on adding value to the organization — for example, spearheading new customer service initiatives (retail) or focusing on patient care (healthcare). It also allows managers to focus on the real work at hand, such as managing their staff. When employees and managers feel they are adding value, engagement improves.

Promoting Leadership

Creating opportunities for leadership is one of the most important elements of engagement. By unburdening managers from cumbersome manual tasks such as managing attendance and replacing those tasks with automated standardized processes, HCM technology can free managers to provide coaching, launch new initiatives, and conduct other activities befitting a true leader. The positive impact on morale and productivity flows bidirectionally between managers and employees — everybody wins.

Standardizing Policies

When managers are forced to deploy corporate policies manually, rather than electronically, the organization is running the risk that these policies will be enforced differently and not always fairly. Just imagine the impact on engagement as employees witness one department being treated differently than other departments — e.g., absences are overlooked, people can leave early, and the manager’s favorites receive the good shifts. These inconsistencies drain the morale of employees who want to do the right thing and be valued for their hard work.

The answer is HCM technology. Online processes can automate the rules across the organization so they are not left up to the interpretation of each manager or group, helping ensure that these policies are enforced fairly and consistently to foster a positive, engaged work environment.

Putting Employees in a Position to Win While Ensuring Fairness

Trying to guess the correct number of employees needed to cover a shift, or the best worker to fill an open one, is rife with complications. Technology-based forecasting and scheduling solutions can help do away with the guesswork, eliminate manual scheduling, and ensure optimal labor coverage for every shift, every day.

Having the right person, at the right job, at the right time — this puts all employees in the best possible position to win and directly improves their engagement. It also ensures scheduling fairness based on business rules that help you balance the needs of both the business and your employees. This includes taking into account the employees’ preferred shifts, hours, and jobs/ roles across the workforce in a consistent and fair manner. Employees can have a “say” in when they work based on their individual needs, while knowing that they are being treated fairly.

Reducing Employee Absenteeism

Manual scheduling processes can lead to gaps in employee coverage due to unplanned absences that can spiral out of control — and that can have a tremendous impact on employee morale and engagement for those workers who dutifully report for work. Studies in the U.S. show that 69 percent of employees say unplanned absences add to workload, 61 percent say these absences increase stress, 59 percent say they disrupt the work of others, and 48 percent say they hurt morale.

In other words, how frustrating is it for an employee to constantly cover for those who are absent, or to work with temps who may not have the right skills to properly perform the job?

Fortunately, automated technology-based processes can help managers quickly get unplanned absences under control and their engagement initiatives back on track. This includes offering generous leave policies — automated and managed electronically — that can help improve employees’ physical health, psychological health, and work-home balance. This “wellness” approach can create healthier, happier employees who will be more motivated to go to work each day, resulting in increased productivity and fewer unplanned absences. Although wellness strategies can cost money, they can have a net positive effect on a company’s bottom line — and that’s good for business.

Providing a Clear Career Path

For today’s motivated employees, having a clearly defined career path and being empowered to grow are key factors for engagement. Technology based programs like gamification, social media, and collaboration tools make growing and improving within the organization not just desirable, but “fun.” Gamification, which shows where you rank vs. others and where your team ranks vs. other teams, revitalizes the competitive spirit to help people improve and grow as they progress along their career paths. Collaboration and social tools bring people together to solve problems effectively through communication and the sharing of best practices. This allows problems to be solved faster and drives knowledge-sharing within the organization — important dynamics in nurturing a workforce that’s motivated and engaged.

Empowering Employees to Make a Difference

Employees who have an emotional connection to the organization will want to know — how can I make a difference? How does my work impact the organization overall? What are the key operational metrics? HCM tools such as dashboards and other online information can provide a deeper understanding of how the business is performing relative to the employee’s specific department and function. When employees understand the performance of the organization and their specific contributions to it, they are more willing to apply discretionary effort. Technology makes this kind of communication consistent, predictable, and effective.

Creating Freedom with Self-Service

Many academic psychologists, including Frederic Herzberg, argue that workers respond positively when they are given more responsibility and authority in their daily tasks. People generally do well when they are empowered to make choices and decisions for themselves. Today’s HCM tool sets and business processes — combined with a culture of trust — will allow organizations to give employees autonomy while ensuring conformity to the operational and policy needs of the enterprise. With mobile devices, for example, employees can exercise a wide range of self-service options, all safely within the boundaries of the organization’s policies and procedures:

• Communicate preferred shifts and availability
• Check schedules
• Adjust availability and preferences
• Swap shifts
• Communicate with peers and managers

By empowering employees with more freedom and control, you can nurture an emotional connection to the organization that will foster loyalty and engagement.


The best workforce is an engaged workforce — employees who feel emotionally connected to the organization and who are willing to put in discretionary effort, voluntarily, as a natural manifestation of their commitment to their jobs. Going the extra mile comes easy for these employees because they feel they are valued and treated fairly by their managers and the company at large.

Download our workforce engagement ebook for insights into how to properly engage both salaried and hourly employees.

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