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Don't Ask What's in it for the Company, Ask What's in it for Employees

HR software vendors are typically focused on explaining what’s in it for the company:  what benefits the solution has, what ROI it will bring. Yet, sometimes this approach isn’t right. Instead, the focus should be what’s in it for the employees, especially when the software is supposed to drive their productivity and engagement.

Companies seem to be getting this, and are beginning to ask not what the c-suite will think about the software, but how employees will receive it, and whether it will engage them.

Building on our experience, here's what we've learned about creating software that makes employees happier, more engaged, and more productive.

Employee Motivation

1.    It's not just about work-life balance, it's about work lives as well

Today's employees aren’t only concerned with how much they'll have to work, but also with how they'll feel during work. Employees are more concerned with culture and leadership than with salaries, when it comes to recommending a workplace. Someone's work life is the day to day of being on the job, the different factors that determine how engaging life at work will be, and this turns out to be really important.

As a result, many companies are changing the way fundamental HR processes are being done. As I wrote several months ago, the performance review is dying, but many other processes are also undergoing change. Software is at the place where it can influence corporate culture, since it can instill new processes of communications and transparency as well as clarity about goals and expectations. Employees are reacting better to tools that instill a sense of fairness, transparency and an opportunity for self-improvement. These are tools that aren't threatening, use competition in the right way, and offer real time feedback – tools that treat employees fairly.

2.    It's not about monitoring, it's about motivation

It may be possible to use new technology, such as the internet of things, to track every move and aspect of how your employees are acting. However, this doesn't mean that it's the best idea. Instead, if you are able to get employees to be more motivated and self-directed, you'll be saving your company precious resources. The way to do this is by fostering trust between you and your employees, so that managers can become more like coaches than policemen. In short, don't look for tools that will help you control your employees, look for tools that will help your employees gain self-control.

3.    It's not about employee attrition, it's about employee experience

When recently speaking to a senior manager at one of the world's leading business process outsourcers, the topic of attrition came up. I was surprised when I heard that even though they suffered from employee attrition just like many other companies, they didn't see attrition as a major problem worth tackling. Instead, they tried to think what could make employees' chapter a more meaningful one, and therefore a longer one. They discovered that two things mattered: experience and learning possibilities.

4.    Employees know – More learning is more earning

Corporate learning is definitely in vogue these days. This may have to do with the fact that for millennials,  learning and development opportunities are the most coveted job benefits. And apparently, this is for good reason, since education is strongly tied to earning. Employees feel that one of the best things that could get at their current job, is something that would help them in their next job and general employment.

This trend is influencing many software vendors, who understand that educated employees are what companies want and need, and are therefore offering more and more micro learning possibilities in their systems.

5.    Mastery and good teamwork trump competition any day

As mentioned earlier, today's employees don't see the workplace only as a place to spend their days and earn a living. Instead, they want their time spent at the office to be enjoyable and fulfilling. As a result, we're seeing a trend where competitiveness is being perceived differently than in the past. Employees are sensitive to the wrong kind of competition, and instead appreciate teamwork, recognition, self-development, and a sense of mastery of new skills.

6.    Kill the cubicle, physically and virtually

With the way work looks today, employees are more separated from each other than ever before. For employees to achieve a sense of meaning and accomplishment at work, they must also feel a sense of social connectedness, and this is very hard to create when working in silos. Employers would be good to try and create an environment that enables employees to connect, both by the way they design the workspace, and also in the systems and software they choose to use. Team challenges and Kudos are great examples of social features which enable team members to connect.

Employees know their options and aren't afraid to move from job to job like they used to. For employers, getting the workforce to stay long enough to make an impact can become a challenge. Creating the right work experience can be a huge competitive advantage for those that will invest the time and effort to do so.