I have found that large companies are using a variety of digital methods with measured success in order to improve employee engagement. These methods include: learning, electronic communication, gamification, social media, sustainability, and benefits portals.
Research tells us that lack of employee engagement is responsible for 70% of failures of business transformation efforts. For larger companies this figure may account for even 90% of these sorts of failures. These statistics demonstrate the importance of employee engagement to the success of a business.
To begin with, I found that in general, large organizations can utilize digitization to improve employee engagement. This article explains that employees are already bringing their own digital devices into work, and companies should take advantage of this by investing in:
1. Enabling new ways of communicating at work
2. Enhancing agility and collaboration
3. Improving knowledge and learning
4. Improving productivity
Next, I found several examples of large international companies (focusing on manufacturing companies) that have recently worked on employee engagement by implementing some kind of digital application. Where possible I have included hard data about the success of the improvement to employee engagement.
AEP is a US utility company, not a manufacturing company, however I have included it for its unique method to tackling employee engagement. This have just under 20,000 employees, are based in the US, and are number 395 on Forbes' world's biggest public companies list. They have begun improving employee engagement through a learning map. The map is a "90-minute session that helps employees to understand where his or her position sits in the larger scheme of the organization and how they contribute to the broader strategy". The goal of the map is to enable employees to be immersed in the goals and vision of the company, so that they can understand it in order to be a part of it.
Another way that AEP is promoting employee engagement is by constantly looking for new ways to connect with employees electronically. They believe that "communication is essential to employee engagement".
Siemens also claims to use the following examples of electronic communication to boost employee engagement: online communication, video & blogging, and executive communication. Siemens is a manufacturing company (of electrical goods), with around 372,000 employees worldwide but are based in Germany.
Some large companies are seeking to improve employee engagement through the digital method of gamification. Gamification is the "concept of digital motivation through gaming promises to breathe new engagement into employees". Research shows that gamification can have a huge impact on engagement, and already 40% of the Global 1000 are currently using it.
Social media is being used by many large international companies in or to increase employee engagement, and it has shown to be very successful. The BASF are an international manufacturing company (of chemical products) who are based in Germany. At the end of 2016, BASF had 113,830 employees worldwide. They have been actively encouraging social media experiments within the company. This lead to the creation of the platform connect.BASF. The platform now has 4,500 communities working together on various business topics. The social network has increased project efficiency by up to 25%.
Bosch (an electronics manufacturer who have just under 400,000 mostly in Germany and Asia Pacific) have also used social media successfully to increase employee engagement. This study found that greater the self-reported usage of internal social media was positively linked with levels of self-reported employee engagement. It also found that internal social media usage is associated with the level of employee engagement. L'Oréal is another large international brand using social media to increase employee engagement
Unilever is a British-Dutch international consumer goods company who are an example of a large company (172,000 employees worldwide) who have focused on promoting their brand's sustainability with the intention of increasing employee engagement. They use digital methods of communication to share with employees about their truly sustainable business practices. This method has seen Unilever achieve an employee engagement score of 80%, a huge contrast to the average 13%.
Finally, I found the example of PSA (Europe’s second largest car manufacturer, owner of Peugeot & Citroen, with 170,000 employees worldwide) who have had success at increasing employee engagement through the creation of their online benefits portal. PSA created this portal with the intention of increasing employee responses from -5 to +12 for the question “I am happy with the pay and benefits I received in this job”. The online portal that provides employees with a single source of information regarding their range of benefits achieved a heightened level of employee engagement. Showing how transparency, delivered digitally, can have the impact of improving engagement.
To sum up, I have found that learning, electronic communication, gamification, social media, sustainability, and benefits portals are digital methods currently being used by large companies in order to improve employee engagement.