How Wayfinding Plays A Role in Employee Engagement

April 9, 2015 by Jody Shaffer
Read in 9 Minutes

As employees become increasingly digitally literate, we’re witnessing the age of the digital workplace. An environment were the lines between the physical and the digital become blurred; bringing people, business, and things together to create new opportunities for how companies engage employees.

Today’s workplace is very different from what we might have expected 5 or maybe 10 years ago. Employees crave a flexible, consumer-like work environment that can satisfy their needs and aspirations, while, on the other hand, companies strive to become an employer of choice, competing to attract and retain high-performing talent. At the convergence of these prerequisites, the concept of employee engagement has gained significant traction within the last few years.

Engaged employees invest their discretionary effort in their day-to-day actions, fuelling business results and an attractive company culture. In order to feel engaged, today’s employees want to perform meaningful, challenging work. They require career flexibility, learning and advancement opportunities, thriving in a culture where their relationships are based on trust and collaboration.

While Millennials have become the poster-generation for this new talent agenda, they are a strong influence on other generations as well. These Gen Y employees represent the majority of the active workforce at this time; they are defined by their pursuit of meaning in the workplace, their predilection for digital solutions, as well as their desire to make the most out of their time and be productive. 

In order to engage these employees and create a truly digital workplace for them, companies should invest in:

  • enabling new ways of communicating at work
  • enhancing agility and collaboration
  • improving knowledge and learning
  • improving productivity

In the digital workplace, a new intern would arrive on his first day on campus and as he walks through the main gates he receives a notification on his phone that provides a personalized map to get him to the HR office. Connected to the scheduling system, the integrated wayfinding system would also inform him of the 10 minute delay in his meeting due to a change in conference rooms and reconfigure his route. Once he’s in the main building, the tracking system recognizes who he is by connecting to his phone, issues him a pass and prompts him to take the elevator to the 16th floor. 

As you read this example, chances are it sounds more logical than Sci-fi and that’s because it is. It’s already happening and it’s making an undeniable difference in HR communications and resources management.

Wayfinding and the consumerization of the workplace

Experts deem this to be the most influential factor in the digital workplace - offering the same capabilities that people have at home, in the workplace, to enhance collaboration and “tear down” office walls.

Consumerization is the specific impact that consumer-originated technologies can have on enterprises. It reflects how enterprises will be affected by, and can take advantage of, new technologies and models that originate and develop in the consumer space, rather than in the enterprise IT sector.

Consumerization is not a strategy or something to be “adopted.” Consumerization can be embraced and it must be dealt with, but it cannot be stopped.

Benefiting from the innovations in consumer marketing and digital communication, companies can personalize their employee experience, increasing their engagement and satisfaction. Delivering the right message, at the right time and with the right technology - the actual essence of wayfinding.

Always-on collaboration and BYOD

In order to improve employee engagement and retention, companies should provide easy access to information and knowledge sharing tools that improve collaboration, facilitate brainstorming and further decision making. 

Real-time collaboration is a viable solution to bringing together geographically distributed teams and delivering virtual experiences. Using multiscreen video content and IM/presence sharing, team members are always connected and can instantly share content or ideas. 

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is the new norm. With smartphone and tablet penetration continuing to grow, the desire of employees to bring their own devices to work is going to continue to grow. While network administrators sometimes resist providing access to devices the company doesn’t own, employees are more likely to be engaged and use all of the available communications options if they can use devices with which they’re already familiar, rather than having to carry and learn to use multiple — and often vastly different — devices. 

Companies should consider developing integrated security and network strategies that enables employees who favor BYOD to work more effectively and carry fewer devices between home and work or when traveling.

Picture a world of truly interactive meetings, training videos, and augment field service repair solutions.  

The impact of indoor-location technologies on performance

'Best Employer' companies focus on clear performance outcomes, as a part of their culture. Enabling performance is at the core of their strategy. Not only is company performance encouraged, but also individual performance, ensuring the learning and development that employees require in order to feel engaged.

Virtual reality starts in gaming, but ends up at the office.

AR (Augmented Reality) technology is one example of facilitating business innovation by enabling real-time decision making through virtual prototyping and visualization of content, leveraging mobility and location technologies. It can easily be used as an internal tool that enhances business processes, workflows and employee training, by delivering context-specific information at the point of need for employees who are mobile. This enables employees to feel productive and engaged in their work, leading to a better performance and a higher retention rate. 

This particular technology integrates real-time information and positioning data with real-world objects, using the Internet of Things coupled with external sensors

Imagine that you’re about to go into an emergency project meeting and you haven’t booked a conference room or notified your team. Using Bluetooth beacons and GPS technology, the system creates a real-time map of the campus, locating campus team members by the position of their mobile phone, as well as available rooms that meet your size and functionality requirements, while, at the same time, getting remote team members on-board and ready for live-conference. Team members are notified and virtually assisted to the smart conference room/screen, the data lights up instantly on the room’s screens and you can start the emergency meeting in 15 minutes.

Engaging and retaining employees requires smart investments in the right things - what truly matters to them. Because they are always connected, they will appreciate and be loyal to the company that enables them to perform well through integrated, seamless technology solutions. They will also be engaged through learning and development programs, trainings and tools. As an employer, you’ll be able to better manage your resources and optimize processes to fuel performance and revenues.

Jody Shaffer is the VP of Marketing for Inpixon. Beyond her passion for marketing, Jody aspires to run a half marathon. She gets lots of practice chasing her two young daughters around the house.