Female employee working remotely

Employee Engagement is the Secret Sauce for a Modern Organization

By Thomas Schneck • March 22, 2018 at 5:30 PM

The rise of mobile has transformed how and where business is done. If your knowledge workers are outside a central, physical office, the only way to keep them connected and productive is through mobile access. Whether the company provides the devices or they use their own, knowledge workers – especially the increasingly large percentage who are remote – need mobile, cloud-based tools to save time and get the job done.

What are the implications if you fail in this core mission? I came across two recent surveys that highlight the significant business implication of failing to meet this challenge – unengaged employees.

The first was a 2017 update by the Gallup Organization to their classic State of the American Workplace report. The core conclusion?

“The American workforce has more than 100 million full-time employees. One-third of those employees are what Gallup calls engaged at work. They love their jobs and make their organization and America better every day. At the other end, 16% of employees are actively disengaged — they are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build. The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged — they’re just there.”

It’s worth thinking about the productivity implications of having only 33% of employees actively engaged; Gallup also notes that world-class organizations operate at a 70% engagement level.  These challenges are exacerbated by remote work. In the same report, Gallup found that “from 2012 to 2016, the number of employees working remotely rose by four percentage points, from 39% to 43” and that as a result “organizations have a pressing need to become more agile and collaborative.”

The second survey that caught my eye was by the HR consulting firm Vitalsmarts. Their survey of 1,153 employees – 52% of whom said they work at least part of the time from a home or remote office – reinforces the point that mobile and remote work creates a unique set of collaboration challenges. The results were summarized in the Harvard Business Review:

“While more and more people are working remotely, our recent study suggests that unless we take extra measures to build trust and connection with colleagues, we pay dearly for doing so. Long gone are the days when most teams not only worked physically side-by-side but also lived in the same cities, ate at the same restaurants, and even had kids who attended the same schools. Now, teams are spread out across different sites and geographies. Many people work with colleagues they have never met face-to-face or even spoken to on the phone. In these settings, relationships are often mediated by technology, and it can be tough to build trust. Our latest research shows that remote workers, and the managers tasked with keeping them focused and engaged, face inherent challenges that cannot be ignored.”

The ability to work anytime, anyplace on any device is a precondition for employee engagement, and mobile is not just the new standard medium for interaction, but the new standard for user experience. Engaged employees expect to interact with colleagues, initiate workflows, participate in processes, and complete tasks in real time –  no matter where they are. Organizations that still rely on paper-based processes and uncoordinated and poorly constructed file shares do not have a hope of inspiring the kind of employee engagement that is critical to business success.

DocuWare Cloud’s modern mobile applications can digitize, store, and route any document to keep work moving forward – anytime, anywhere – and propel offsite worker efficiency to new heights.  

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Topics: Cloud, Team Productivity