Employee engagement is defined as “the level of an employee’s commitment and connection to an organization.” Over the past few years, employee engagement has emerged as one of the biggest competitive differentiators for an organization. However, HR professionals shouldn’t rely solely on employee engagement to help improve productivity, satisfaction and overall workplace effectiveness. Employee engagement should be part of a continuous, holistic business strategy. This is where workforce experience comes in.

Workforce experience takes employee engagement and pushes it one step further. According to a recent survey, only 34% of the U.S. workforce feels engaged in their current job. However, this has improved over the years due to an increase in tangible workplace benefits such as more vacation days, improved retirement plans and higher compensation. But, these types of benefits and perks won’t improve productivity long term. While employee engagement involves workplace drivers such as compensation and culture, workforce experience is a culmination of a more comprehensive strategy. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of workforce experience as well as how companies can strategically implement it as we head into the new year.

Provide your employees with workplace management tools

Recently, there has been an influx of collaboration tools that have hit the market. According to a survey done by Harvard Business Review, 67% of workers say a lack of internal communication is the largest obstacle facing their company collaboration. Workplace collaboration tools, such as Slack, have helped improve office communication by facilitating instant connections with team members as well as providing a searchable archive of information.

As technology continues to rapidly increase, workplace expectations are beginning to shift. For HR professionals, this has an effect on every step of an employee’s journey. As new generations are entering the workforce, organizations are needing to adjust in order to better fit their learning needs. As a result of this, we have seen a significant rise in employee onboarding apps. By using these tools, HR professionals can help expedite the countless hours of paperwork new hires have to complete. Employee onboarding apps allow organizations to upskill their new employees faster.

Ensure buy-in from the executive team

It is often said that company culture begins at the top — in order to produce a meaningful change, HR professionals have to have buy-in from their leadership team. While HR should help lead the way in implementing and evaluating workplace policies, workforce experience shouldn’t depend solely on the HR team.

Ultimately, company stakeholders and C-level executives need to be involved in order to provide their employees with positive workforce experience. This shows employees that the company is taking active measures to retain employees and foster a culture of engagement, which in turn can increase their loyalty to the company.

As we head into 2020, workforce experience will be key in achieving organizational success. As new tools continue to enter the market, the way employees interact and perform is going to be changing on a consistent basis. Organizations need to make sure they are doing everything they can in order to enhance their employees’ experience. By providing employees with tools to increase productivity and show commitment from the executive team, organizations are able to improve employee satisfaction and strengthen company loyalty.

Andrea Meyer is the director of benefits at WorkSmart Sytems in Indianapolis.