Disconnected Leadership Hindering Effective Employee Engagement – Research Reveals

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on January 28, 2021

Only 30% of HR and IT teams are working together to deliver a cohesive digital employee experience, impacting business productivity 

Latest research from Opinion Matters, commissioned by SocialChorus, the digital employee experience platform, has uncovered that the digital employee experience (DEX) efforts by businesses across the US, UK and Nordics are hampered by the lack of collaboration between IT, HR and Internal Communications (IC) departments.  

Worryingly, 88% of CIOs believe the purchasing decision for collaboration and communications tools rested with them, with only 11% stating it was a decision for their HR and IC colleagues. However, as the findings highlight, both have clashed on how to meet their organisation’s DEX requirements and its employees that are feeling the effects of this fallout.

These findings come at a time when workers are embracing the enforced remote and hybrid working conditions with the enthusiasm for collaboration tools and comms at an all-time high. Yet the void between the departments entrusted with improving employee engagement means that there is a detrimental ‘push’ and ‘pull’ approach to DEX.  Without a strong DEX, businesses risk creating a workforce that’s feeling burnout and disconnected from the business, hindering success. The research highlights where these differences reside: 

CIOs ‘pull’ approach to DEX technology 

  • More than 4 in 10 (41%) worry that centralising employee engagement through a single vendor/platform—rather than using a blend of technologies their workers prefer—will needlessly complicate matters.  
  • US and Nordics CIOs (46% in each) are more concerned than their UK counterparts (30%). 
  • 40% of CIOs say new tools might add more ‘noise’ to existing channels rather than complementing or enhancing them.  
  • More than a third (36%) suggest employee adoption would be low and a quarter admit their business doesn’t provide enough access to devices that facilitate better comms. 
  • Just 14% say they have no concerns, although this rises to a fifth in the UK. 

HR & IC’s ‘push’ approach to DEX technology and employee engagement 

Compared to their colleagues’ solution-related concerns in IT, HR/ICs lean towards addressing human anxieties and felt the following factors are important when reviewing collaboration and communication tools: 

  • 44% want the ability to assess wellbeing. 
  • 43% easy accessibility of information. 
  • 39% to reach people wherever they are. 
  • 29% want the ability to analyse who engages with content.  

“These findings highlight the need for greater collaboration between CIOs and HR/ICs, not just for better DEX and improved employee engagement but also to increase productivity, especially during these challenging times,” commented Nicole Alvino, co-founder and CSO at SocialChorus. “With just 30% of HR/ICS stating that they collaborate with IT to deliver successful employee engagement, senior leadership needs to get involved in unifying these conflicting views or face the long term effects of low morale, a disengaged workforce and poor productivity levels.” 

Benefits of collaboration and dual DEX decisions 

Despite these difficulties there are benefits to be realised if consensus can be found between CIOs and heads of HR and Internal Communications. When asked to name their organisation’s biggest opportunities around employee experience, both groups agree increased productivity could be the greatest outcome: 56% of CIOs cite this output along with 47% of HR/ICs.  

They also closely align on the concept of engagement equalling improved employee retention (50% of CIOs suggesting this is the case vs. 42% of HR/ICs) and affording leadership the ability to reach all employees (41% vs. 37%). Promisingly, there’s room for optimism based on the thoughts of both groups about how employee experience can be improved: 

  • Enabling two-way communication, through better DEX underpinned by technology, is a popular response among both CIOs (46%) and HR/ICs (40%).  
  • Meanwhile, almost as many CIOs (41%) as HR/ICs (44%) agree that investing in mental health and wellbeing support should be a major part of any programme.  

Nicole Alvino added: “Technology can underpin collaboration and close the gap between the ‘pull’ engagement favoured by CIOs and the ‘push’ strategies lauded by HR/ICs. CIOs, HR/ICs and senior leaders must remember that all employees have a voice too. If they can build their communications around what their workforce wants and needs to do their jobs better, they’ll see their businesses thrive during these testing times and beyond.” 

For a full copy of the research please click here.