Is Technology HR's Key To A Happier Workforce?

Finally there’s some positive news for UK employers and HR - a new survey from The Future of Work found that 60% of UK employees love their job.  Happy employees are more motivated and more creative at work - and the key to this newfound affection for their jobs is it seems, technology.

The report found the following:-

  • People believe that technology makes their working day easier as well as improving work/life balance.
  • Nearly three quarters of UK employees believe that access to technology that helps to improve communication with colleagues is as important a ‘perk’ as free food and drink at work.
  • Employees who believe their employer is ‘ahead of the curve’ with technology are twice as motivated and creative – but only 15% of UK workers believe that their employer is in that position.

Is it possible to boost happiness at work with technology alone? If 60% of UK employees love their job, it has yet to translate into higher productivity levels and is at odds with the Global Workforce Happiness Index which ranked the UK in 30th place.

Dissatisfaction in the workplace

Another report issued this week found that a third of people feel they aren’t recognised in their job and feel obliged to work extra hours to gain the attention of their boss. Furthermore, HR headlines seem to persistently warn about negative cultures, people in the wrong job, gender pay gaps and company leadership that demoralises its greatest asset.

An article in the Harvard Business Review suggests that, contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t necessarily equate to better productivity, citing a study of British supermarkets which concluded that the more miserable the employees, the higher the profits in the business. 

Technology aside, flexible working, career development and on the job training are known to contribute to more engaged, happier employees. There are also the basics, such as treating people properly, paying them on time (one fifth of UK workers have been paid late on at least one occasion) and removing tedious, mundane work, often through automating repetitive tasks.  

Promoting a happier working environment

The following are steps HR can take to motivate employees, boost morale and subsequently happiness in the workplace:-

Provide positive moments in the working day

British tech company +rehabstudio epitomised this principle when it gave all of its employees half a day of annual leave to watch the Game of Thrones Seasons 6 premiere in April.  Job applications to the company reportedly soared after their gesture hit the headlines. It’s a simple and effective way of motivating your employees, promoting your brand and acknowledging the importance of adequate sleep all in one. With the Euro 2016 finals starting this week the workplace conciliation service ACAS has urged employers to allow staff to take time off in order to watch the games.

Have career conversations

Nearly half of all UK workers have never participated in a ‘high quality’ conversation with their line manager about their career, according to a survey by Right Management. 84% reportedly only discussed their career once or twice a year. This is perhaps unsurprising given that over half of all employees claim they haven’t spoken to a representative from HR within the last year. Holding ongoing check-ins and career conversations helps to ensure employees feel valued, boosts retention levels and engages people – which makes them happier. A career plan for your employees should be a given.

Give more positive feedback than negative

A further article in the Harvard Business Review suggests giving feedback in a positive, rather than negative, way boosts performance and job satisfaction.  This feedback should be candid, however. Recommendations include:-

  • Delivering more positive feedback than negative.
  • Focusing on the strengths of the person you’re feeding back to in order to create excellence – be specific with why.
  • Focusing on collaboration and commonalities and remaining objective when discussing negative events – don’t attribute blame.
  • In addition, all communication should be sincere and authentic to prevent cynicism or defensiveness on the part of the employee.

Learn lessons from non-profits

A study from the Journal of Economic Psychology has found that people working for non-profit organisations are much happier in their jobs than private sector employees, despite lower pay. The report suggests that private sector employees would need to earn an extra £27,000 per year to have the same happiness levels. Giving employees a sense of ‘purpose over profit’ may be the key to private sector employees reaching similar levels.

Hire the right people

A Virgin Pulse survey found that people love to work with motivational colleagues and line managers. This echoes a Q&A forum carried out to discover why Google are so successful with hiring. Working on a daily basis with creative, innovative people energises your team and makes your office a happier place to work. This means attracting, hiring and retaining the people with the skills and attitude which will enable HR to achieve this goal, which brings us back to technology. 

Back to technology

We’re not suggesting that technology is the only way to create a happy workplace but HR functions consumed by paperwork can’t pay attention to motivating their people or create an effective hiring strategy. Technology means every aspect of the hiring process can be redefined from the initial contact made with talent, to creating your talent pool and a positive candidate experience. The first step towards embracing all that technology has to offer is data driven recruitment. For businesses facing high staff turnover and low levels of engagement, it must be at the forefront of their talent management strategy.

Hire better people faster and create a happier working environment. Advorto’s recruitment software is used by some of the world’s leading organisations to manage their talent recruitment systems. Contact us today to start your 30 day free trial.

You might also like to read:-

7 Powerful Strategies To Address The Performance Management Gap

5 Essential Lessons HR Can Learn From Leicester City 


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