Articles & Insights

Using technology to expedite career development and improve outcomes

Added - 17/02/2021

Source: HRNews
Having the right technology is fundamental for job performance and employee engagement. 

Employees can feel very frustrated if they are trying to join an important call or trying to hit a deadline and their laptops fail. Poor technology at work sends out an unconscious message about how much an employer values their staff. Lack of investment in technology can feel like a lack of investment in people.

On the other hand, great hardware and software tools that are intuitive, flexible and engaging can have a significantly positive effect on an employee’s everyday experience at work – and on their performance and career prospects. The key for HR leaders is to examine how technology supports the employee experience – and ensure that it covers a number of clear criteria.

Support performance in all circumstances

Employees are not the same; certain staff work better in different environments. Some find working from home or in a private office enables them to be productive and focused. Some people are stimulated and engaged by being on the road or travelling to multiple locations. For others though, more social interaction and collaboration within an office-based team are essential for them to perform at their best.

The technology needs to support employees across all these scenarios. It also needs to cater for the alignment and engagement of staff who are working in different ways. For example, when teams work remotely it can be more difficult to spot whether an employee is happy and engaged, rather than upset and maybe restless.

There is a myriad of technology tools that enable seamless communication and collaboration. Since the start of the pandemic, we have all become familiar with video calling tools, which can be very effective in creating an “in the room” experience and encouraging connections with others. The ability to use technology on the go is also vital with increasing use of apps and mobile enabled tools and resources.

To enable adoption and usage of the tools, it’s important that leaders embrace the technology available and lead by example. By using them to communicate, measure performance and support career development goals, they are showcasing the potential and value of technology investment in the workplace.

Providing immersive training experiences

High quality training is an essential component of organisational success and employee retention. An IBM study revealed that employees who feel that they cannot develop and fulfil their career goals are 12 times more likely to leave the company.

And let’s be clear – employees are not referring to pages of reading and unappealing course work or dated videos. They are talking about investment in their skills development, which is where technology has a key role to play.

There’s been a technology revolution in the training world, with innovative tools that make training much more engaging and fun. Virtual Reality (VR), for example, can be used to enhance the training experience by providing an accurate and realistic simulation of the trainee’s working environment.

There are tools that allow you to create your own avatar, sit in a virtual classroom, go into virtual breakout rooms, write on virtual whiteboards – all of this can make the session highly memorable.

Human contact is always an important part of the training experience, great trainers make for a great session and the best technology can enable and enhance this. With screen sharing and video tools etc., trainers can coach and guide participants through exercises, roles play, lead discussion groups, run polls, ensure contributions and reinforce learning points, which will ensure that their sessions as effective and memorable as if they’d been delivered in person.

Embrace technology for self-development

Encouraging staff to takeownership for their own career development is an important mindset shift. If you couple this with offering technology tools that enable them to develop their own skills, you will be supporting them to expand their career options. Cultivating a culture whereby leaders are receptive to ideas about how technology can help them to develop their career, will also enable businesses to assess the variety of tools that are out there more fully and more practically.

When technology is embedded as part of the career development journey, you’ll have motivated staff – people that want to increase their career opportunities. There are a host of new applications – notably in coaching, which was previously a very manual face to face intervention. By combining coaching technologies with the power of human interaction, it creates a more enhanced and highly tailored learning experience.

Ultimately technology is an enabler – it’s a conduit and channel that enhances an employee’s job and experiences. Used correctly, there is also scope to implement innovative tools that harness the power of intuitive, engaging technologies to set goals, support behaviour shift and measure progress.

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