New Tech companies aren’t just reshaping the products we buy, they are also revolutionising the way that we work. According to a recent survey from Culture Amp, young, innovative tech companies are leading the way when it comes to building engaging and productive work environments. The survey found that New Tech employees on average had an engagement score of 71 percent, whilst those in other industries had a 63 percent engagement rate.
What are these culture-focused companies doing to make their employees so proud to work there?
Key drivers of engagement include effectively directed resources towards people and company goals; inspiring leaders, who demonstrate people are important to the company’s success; as well as open internal communication channels. None of these traits are necessarily unique to New Tech, so here are five ways to bring some of that people-centric vigour to your organisation.
Create A Democratic Environment
Being young and disruptive at heart, New Tech companies are all about creating environments that encourage growth and development, whilst also restricting competitiveness (to a degree). This ensures a positive company atmosphere, within which teams can work and collaborate together. The concept of “Employees First, Customers Second” (EFCS) may not be a new one (originally developed by HCL Technologies), but the New Tech scene has certainly embraced it enthusiastically.
Rather than the traditional hierarchical structure, roles are more loosely defined and employees feel like they are on a level playing field (i.e. often symbolically, such as the result of having an open-plan office design with equal desk space). This democratic setting makes each employee feel like a valued asset to the team, and also limits the barriers to creative and collaborative thinking.
Foster Personal Development
Everyone aspires to something and wants to feel like their current work is helping them get there, but New Tech companies, being inherently innovative and disruptive, ensure that employees are able to learn at a much faster speed. This is partly why tech companies attract and retain the top talent who are looking for the most interesting challenges.
As a consequence, not every company will be able to offer exciting challenges all the time, but most should be able to integrate some of New Tech’s commitment to employee engagement and development. For example, listen to each employee’s professional interests and perhaps allow people to tackle a project of their own interest from time to time – this is more than likely to end up being beneficial for the company as a whole.
Ensure Avenues For Communication
In order for employees to feel like their voice is heard, management obviously need to demonstrate that they care and are listening to what employees have to say.
New Tech managers constantly seek feedback from their employees because they understand that the next big idea can come from anyone, and not just the HiPPO (i.e. the “highest paid person in the room”). This culture of communication and collaboration naturally makes management want to pay very close attention to each member of the organisation, to ensure everyone is engaged and committed to the team effort.
In addition to having a hands-on attitude, management often meticulously collect data on their employees, from various sources. This can be anything from the real-time employee engagement survey (Google calls their company-wide survey the “Googlegiest”), emotion monitoring apps, and focus groups. The data from this then gets measured and analysed so that any small issue can be dealt with before it becomes a major one.
Rely On Data, Rather Than Intuition
No one working in finance or marketing would ever suggest a solution to a problem without the relevant big data in front of them, so why is this not the case with HR, where trust and relationships are still the main currency? New Tech companies tend to approach people-decisions with the same rigour they give to engineering decisions, taking intuition out of the equation and preparing management to make much smarter decisions.
For example, Google takes a data-based approach to recruitment. A collective score from a series of interviews get fed into an algorithm, which is used to predict that employee’s suitability. It is proving to be highly successful due to the fact it takes out the human intuition from the equation – something that is naturally prone to bias.
According to research by PwC, 86% of organizations said that creating or improving “people analytics” is a strategic priority for the next one to three years, and 46% already have implemented dedicated people analytics teams.
Leaders and founders are often celebrities in their own right at New Tech companies, being the essential drivers behind innovation and engagement. They are the reason why their employees get up in the morning: in order to feel like they are part of the leader’s big vision.
Leaders should therefore not hide themselves away in an ivory tower, but need to socialize, communicate and connect more than anyone else. They need to adopt a mindset where communication is front-and-centre all the time, and to listen and respond to whatever feedback that they get.
Author Bio: Luke is a digital marketing executive at AccuraCast – a London-based agency – who write extensively about data, HR trends and the customer experience. He is particularly interested in how data and analytics can make business processes more human.