Boost employee engagement with the right digital platform

Published: 22nd July 2021

LGAQ Chief Digital Officer Tracy Whitelaw explains that choosing the right tools for employee engagement can help you reach your objectives. 

Why should you care about employee engagement platforms?

If COVID has taught us anything in the digital workplace it’s that engagement with our colleagues or team thrives when supported by intuitive, modern digital platforms. 

The rapid deployment of Microsoft Teams across local government throughout the early phases of COVID demonstrates that where there is a need, bureaucracy and process can be minimised to focus on solution delivery. However, the initial surge of quicker deployments and less red tape appears to be waning as we start to adapt to the ‘new normal’, which is a disappointing outcome after seeing such exciting, promising initial steps. 

Employees still need flexible engagement methods, and ensuring your platforms meet this need is critical in being a modern, employee-centric local government organisation. The potential benefits to your organisation are plentiful, including closer connections, better knowledge sharing, cross-collaboration and more engaged employees. 

What type of engagement do you need?

There are so many different options when it comes to engagement platforms online that it can be a little overwhelming knowing where to start.

The best tip for choosing the right tool is to know what you’re trying to achieve. Is your main objective to improve meeting experiences so your employees are confident in this space? Perhaps your goal is to improve how your employees engage with each other in a more social way, increasing connection and fostering a culture of empathy and collaboration?

You could be looking for somewhere to simply minimise emails and share broadcasts across the organisation in a place that allows open feedback? Maybe it’s all of the above? If you’re thinking of implementing an employee engagement platform, make sure you understand what you want before you start, it’ll make life easier long term. 

So many choices, so little time.

There are several great employee engagement platforms to choose from including Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Workplace from Facebook, Skype for Business and more. Often, you’ll find that there is no one size fits all, which is why it’s important to know what you actually want to achieve before you start.

For many in local government, the best approach is a hybrid of Microsoft Teams and another tool, with Teams focused on group meetings and the supplemental tool delivering on engagement and collaboration opportunities. 

Recently at LGAQ we launched Workplace from Facebook as our internal collaboration and connection tool. We already use Teams for our wider meetings, which helps keep our employees connected at the right time no matter where they are. However, Teams isn’t a platform that naturally encourages wider social engagement, falling short of any opportunistic collaborations generated by open communication.

Workplace from Facebook was the supplementary tool of choice to reduce silo walls, encourage cross-functional team communication and allow employees to celebrate wins with their own personality flairs.

We are already seeing great cross-collaboration, transparency and personality across Workplace and we are only in the first few weeks of use.

Our adoption rate is over 90 per cent which is significant, and the platform is allowing our employees to engage in a more social way no matter where they are. 

If you build it, they will come. 

Most of us are familiar with the great saying from the movie Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come” which, when it comes to digital platforms, is actually very difficult. Digital platforms are simply enablers.

The most difficult part of setting up a successful employee engagement platform is often the employees. How do you get them to use your new platform? One of the best lessons here is to ensure that you’re empowering your internal champions to lead the project and create excitement and buzz around what’s coming. 

For our workplace launch at LGAQ, we took eight weeks to build up interest in the new platform, creating a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) around it before it launched.

This was a very coordinated, structured approach, driven by our deployment partners Enablo, but this approach can be followed for any employee engagement rollout.

It involved regular stand-ups for the key project team, targeted smaller launches with plenty of internal marketing and finally a big celebration launch for the wider association.

Generating excitement around product and system onboarding is critical to any digital platform success, but especially where you’re targeting employee engagement.

Taking your employees on the journey with you will make adoption easier and ultimately lead to your success. 

LGAQ is well positioned to help your council take its first steps on an employee engagement platform journey and can help you connect with the right people for the right tool.

If you’re considering how to better connect with your employees, reach out, we are happy to provide guidance.