In this article we look at the UK Government’s Help To Grow Scheme and how new technology tools like The Bot Platform can help businesses boost employee engagement, productivity and company culture.
According to Sky News, 130,000 businesses are expected to be eligible for support as part of the Government’s Help To Grow Scheme and will be able to claim up to an additional £5,000 each to secure a 50% discount on productivity-enhancing software.
It is great that the UK government has formally recognised the importance that technology has to play in the growth of businesses, particularly after the last 18 months of disruptions and the constantly evolving landscape of public health regulations that business owners and staff now have to navigate.
There is a greater need than ever for companies to be able to communicate and run their businesses effectively via digital and remote methods. This has been illustrated clearly in the spike in users of platforms like Microsoft Teams, which has seen its user numbers skyrocket since the beginning of the pandemic.
Microsoft announced in 2020 that they had gone from 35 million active daily users to 75 million in a matter of weeks at the beginning of the pandemic. By October they had reached 115 million daily active users, and at the end of April 2021 they reported a 26% increase of this to a staggering 145 million daily active users.
This has been a trend that has echoed across other business communication platforms, such as Workplace from Facebook which as of May 2021 has reached 7 million paid subscribers, an increase of 40% since May 2020.
While digital innovation is picking up speed and many companies are swapping clunky intranets for more collaborative enterprise social networks (ESN’s) like Microsoft Teams or Workplace from Facebook, there is still much more that can be done – especially for frontline workers. More so, after launching these collaboration tools companies can then use The Bot Platform to build and launch bespoke work tools and applications that transform and improve the employee experience even more.
Frontline workers are often public facing and need the right technology and communication tools in their hands to give a great customer experience and get the job done as effectively as possible. This was important before the pandemic, but as the world reopens, ensuring staff feel supported and have access to the tools they need to work in a safe and effective manner becomes even more vital.
Using bots on Microsoft Teams or Workplace from Facebook, companies can help build a shared culture, connect dispersed teams, better enable collaboration and empower staff to work more productively.
For example, the last 18 months showed the importance of looking after your staff and doing regular pulse surveys to ensure they’re as happy as possible while also giving them a voice to share the things they’d like to see more of, and the things they’d like to see less of. By using bots, it’s easy to build and launch pulse surveys that capture this type of feedback from all staff, whether they be office based or frontline employees.
Equally, as companies adopt new technology tools it gives them the opportunity to address long standing challenges such as employee innovation. For example, did you know that 98% of business leaders agree that ideas should come from everyone, although just 62% report seeing it happen? When it comes to frontline workers, only 45% of them share their ideas with senior team leaders, 25% of employees have had an idea but never told anyone, and a further 38% have shared their idea only for it to be ignored.
Clearly tapping into the knowledge of your workforce is a huge missed opportunity, but one that can provide huge payoffs in terms of both employee engagement and morale as well as company innovation and profitability. Pepsi is a great example of this – they asked employees to come up with an idea for a beverage to help consumers de-stress and relax before bed as part of an internal competition started last year. The food and beverage giant picked a winning concept submitted by staff and went to work to make it a reality. The resulting product, Driftwell, then launched nationwide in December.
Using The Bot Platform it’s easy for companies using Microsoft Teams and Workplace from Facebook to build their own employee innovation programs and put tools in the hands of frontline staff that tap into their knowledge and give them a platform to share their ideas with management and HQ.
Onboarding new employees and highlighting relevant training opportunities is another area where new technology tools can, and should, help businesses boost employee engagement, productivity and company culture over the coming months and years. According to recent reports, the hospitality sector in particular is struggling to hire more staff in time for the proposed full reopening of UK society on June 21st. With this in mind, supporting and retaining the current staff roster becomes even more paramount – as does ensuring that those who do join have a great onboarding experience and stick around.
For example, according to Glassdoor, organisations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Gallup found that 88% of organisations don’t onboard well and HCI found that of those that do onboard new starters, most focus on just 1 week of onboarding.
Using an automated onboarding assistant, companies can create bespoke onboarding programs tailored to different employee roles and functions, provide training materials and check in with staff over time. This way, whether staff are based in the office, working in a store or restaurant, at a factory or on the field, you can be sure they’re able to get up to speed with whatever they need to know in the fastest time possible.
There has literally never been a more relevant (and important) time to begin looking at how new technology tools such as The Bot Platform can help supercharge the employee experience while improving engagement, connectivity, company culture and productivity for frontline staff and those responsible for communicating with and managing them.
To find out more about how we can help you transform your business, reach out to one of our team who would be happy to set you up with a free trial.