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How Can You Measure Employee Engagement?

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Employee engagement is one of the most important metrics for the success of an organization, but it’s an elusive figure. According to one recent Gallup poll, a meager 15 percent of employees define themselves as “engaged” with their work. But what does that really mean? And how can you measure or improve employee engagement in your organization?

What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is a nebulous term, so you might get a different definition for it depending on who you ask. However, for the purposes of this article, you can consider employee engagement as a level of connection an employee has to the work they do on a regular basis and a sense of loyalty to their employer. The more engaged an employee is, the more productive they’re going to be, the more likely they’ll be to stay with an employer, and the more fulfilled they’ll feel, subjectively.

Additionally, keeping employee engagement high can be good for your reputation as an employer.

Boosting employee engagement can take many forms. For example, you can use digital signage to provide motivation to employees, or to publicly recognize employees who have accomplished something great. You can also improve engagement by promoting high-performing employees to higher positions, and by making your work culture more interesting or desirable.

The trouble is, what engages one employee may not necessarily engage another, and some strategies will naturally be more effective than others. How can you tell which strategies are most effective, or which ones are working at all?

How to Measure Employee Engagement

There are a few different ways to measure employee engagement, though each area has weaknesses:

  • Direct surveys. You could simply ask your employees whether they feel engaged. Here, there are a few potential approaches. For example, you could send out a survey once a month that asks employees how engaged they feel with their work overall. You could also conduct mini-surveys to ask employees if they feel engaged “in the moment.” Surveys are good because they prompt employees directly, but they can also suffer from subjective reporting bias, so they may not accurately reflect reality.
  • Retention rate. You can also indirectly gauge employee engagement by studying your own employee retention rate. Employees who are engaged tend to stick with their employer for a longer period of time, so a high retention rate is often reflective of high employee engagement. However, this isn’t universally true; there are some situations that may cause you to have a low retention rate, despite high employee engagement. You’ll need to study many variables to better understand this comprehensive picture.
  • Performance reviews. It’s also important to conduct periodic performance reviews, speaking to employees one-on-one about how they’ve performed over the past year (or past months, or whichever interval you choose). Here, you’ll be able to have a direct conversation with your employees about their productivity, their attitude, and their connection to the workplace. With both employee statements and supervisor observations, you can determine each employee’s relative level of engagement (and how to fix it). Unfortunately, these metrics won’t provide you with precise numerical data.
  • Exit interviews. Similarly, whenever you lose an employee, conduct an exit interview. Employees tend to be more honest and direct in exit interviews than they are in performance reviews or throughout their employment. It’s a good opportunity to learn which things to improve—even if it’s a bit too late for some employees.

Core Areas to Improve Employee Engagement

There are literally hundreds of things you can do to improve employee engagement, but all of them can be assigned to one or more of these core categories:

  • Workload distribution. Make sure each employee is doing tasks best suited to them, and that no employees are overwhelmed by a disproportionate workload.
  • Skills and education. Give your employees more chances to develop themselves. Employees presented with opportunities to learn new skills and educate themselves tend to feel more actively engaged.
  • Empathy and bonding. It should go without saying that practicing empathy and giving your employees more chances to bond can make them feel more engaged. This should manifest as both a top-down and peer-to-peer approach.
  • Culture and belonging. Your work culture plays a massive role in dictating how employees feel about each other (and about your workplace overall). You need to have a set of core values to connect your employees and provide them with a sense of belonging.
  • Recognition. It’s also important to keep employees engaged with some type of recognition. Reward your best employees, and publicly acknowledge their efforts.

The more you invest into employee engagement, the higher your productivity and retention will be. Experiment to see which tactics work best for your employees, and keep a close eye on your measurable results.

Source: https://www.smartdatacollective.com/how-can-you-measure-employee-engagement/

Big Data

How Can Technology Help Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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Illustration: © IoT For All

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues unfolding, technology solutions and government initiatives are multiplying to help monitor and control the virus’s journey. Their aid includes reducing the load on the health system and reinforcing the efforts of overworking and burned-out healthcare workers.

While smart technologies cannot replace or compensate public institution measures, they do play a crucial role in emergency responses. Let’s take a look at the promising use cases of how technology can help fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Technologies Used for Good

People tend to think of technology as a heartless machine, which is true, but only until it’s used for good. Just look at all the wonderful things we’ve managed to do with its help.

Telemedicine is gaining traction by offering remote patient monitoring and interactive remote doctor’s visits. At the same time, 3D printing and open-source solutions are facilitating the production of more affordable face masks, ventilators, and breathing filters as well as optimizing the supply of the medical equipment. Even more, the pandemic has driven scientists to desperate measures. They are now experimenting with gene editing, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology to develop and test vaccines faster than ever in the history of humanity.

Smart technologies like the Internet of things (IoT), big data, and artificial intelligence (AI) are being massively adopted to help track the disease spread and contagion, manage insurance payments, uphold medical supply chains, and enforce restrictive measures. Let’s go step by step to see how IoT, AI, big data, and mobile solutions are actually enhancing medical care.

IoT for Smart Patient Care Management and Home Automation

IoT has already found its use among healthcare providers. Today, connected patient imaging, health devices or applications, worker solutions, and ambulance programs are being adopted globally. But COVID-19 made the technology take on new applications to help the world combat the epidemic. Tracking quarantine, pre-screening and diagnosing, cleaning and disinfecting, innovative usage of drones, reducing in-home infections, are all “new normals” thanks to IoT.

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For example, an American health technology company Kinsa creates smart thermometers that screen and aggregate people’s temperature and symptoms data in real-time. Having gathered data from over one million connected thermometers, Kinsa rolled out its US HealthWeather™ Map.

The map is updated daily, highlighting how severely the population is being affected by influenza-like illness (ILI). This real-time information helps health authorities see an increase. In fevers as early indicators of the community spread of COVID-19 to streamline the allocation of health resources. These areas are marked in the “Atypical” mode of the map.

To slow down the spread of COVID-19, a team of Seattle engineers created Immutouch, a smart wristband vibrating every time a person wearing it tries to touch their face.

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Smart speakers, lights, and security systems are being used to open doors and switch on lights to reduce in-home infections. These gadgets allow people to avoid touching the surfaces of doorknobs, switches, mail, packages, or anything that could easily spread germs.

The Role of Big Data in Fighting Coronavirus

Tapping into big data is a must to develop real-time forecasts and arm healthcare professionals with a profound database to help with decision-making.

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IBM Clinical Development system is an advanced Electronic Data Capture (EDC) platform that allows an accelerated delivery of medications to market and reduces the time and cost of clinical trials thanks to cognitive computing, patient data assets, and IoT. Additionally, the U.S. government had been in active talks with Facebook, Google, and others to determine how to use location data to glean insights for combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Could Mobile Apps be Used to Control the Pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a game-changer for the healthcare continuum. Today’s mobile apps are on guard to help patients receive online therapy, at-home testing, conclude self-checks, and improve mental well-being. Thanks to smartphone apps, it is now possible to trace the virus’s journey and help limit its spread.

Apple COVID-19, for instance, was created in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the White House, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The application contains vital and relevant information from trusted sources on the coronavirus pandemic: hand hygiene practices, social distancing FAQs, quarantine guidelines, self-checking tutorials, tips on cleaning, and disinfecting surfaces. On top of that, it has a screening tool that advises people on what to do when a person has COVID-19 symptoms, has just returned from abroad, or has come in close contact with someone who might be infected with the disease.

Meanwhile, health authorities in Abu Dhabi have created the TraceCovid app for Bluetooth-enabled smartphones to minimize the spread of the disease. The service allows tracing individuals who have come into proximity with a person tested positive for COVID-19. Thanks to it, medical professionals сan react faster and render the necessary healthcare. Germany, in turn, is going to roll out a smartphone app, which will use Bluetooth to alert people if they are close to someone with the confirmed viral infection.

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Telemedicine has also proved to be an efficient tool for flattening the curve. The Sheba Medical Centre, the largest Israeli hospital, launched a telehealth program for remote patient-monitoring to control the pandemic spread. Doctolib, a Franco-German company, Qare (France), Livi (Sweden), Push Doctor (the UK), Compugroup Medical (Germany) are offering virtual doctors too.

Using AI to Identify, Track and Forecast Outbreaks

Artificial intelligence-powered by natural language processing (NLP) and location monitoring is crucial for identifying, tracking, and scanning outbreaks, predicting hotspots and helping make better decisions.

For example, Microsoft collaborated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create an AI-based COVID-19 Assessment bot to treat patients more effectively and allocate limited resources. The bot, nicknamed Clara, can evaluate symptoms, advice on the next steps to take and track users who need urgent care the most.

The Canadian startup BlueDot has applied AI to spot and track the spread of COVID-19 and predict outbreaks, and the Japanese company Bespoke rolled out Bebot, an AI-powered chatbot that was developed specifically for travelers. This mobile app informs and assists them with coronavirus-related questions as they move about.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has become a real-life test for everyone. It has caused tremendous damage, but at the same time, it has forced tech innovators to roll out advanced solutions, and it seems that they don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

Healthcare providers across the globe are continually switching to smart technologies. So if you are in the smart technology niche, consider the current trends to steer your business in the right direction.

Source: https://www.iotforall.com/how-can-technology-help-fight-covid19/

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Big Data

Chatbots and Intelligent Automation Solutions Paving the Way towards Seamless Business Continuity

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Frequent business disruptions in the form of storms, pandemics, lockdowns, etc., pose risk to seamless operations and revenue generation in service industries. One day of operation disruption leads to losses worth millions. Semi-automation is not able to stop the cascading business effects of an unprecedented business disruption. Services such as banks, financial services, insurance, healthcare, information technology services, etc., cannot afford the risk of downtime. Chatbots powered by Intelligent Automation is that indispensable solution in the omni-channel customer interface that keeps the business moving 24×7 even in the face of a major business disruption such as long prevailing pandemic.

How do Intelligent Automation powered Chat-bots offer seamless business continuity?

Chatbots engage diverse skill sets such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning (ML), in short Intelligent Automation, and offer a lifeline to the service industry businesses. Chatbots are located on the key pages of a business website or social media pages of the business, and can be accessed by customers and prospects round the clock in different international languages. They augment the services of the regular service desk and helps tide over most emergency situations.

Chatbots can handle complex queries and the functioning depends on training data set and the streamlined data in the CRM database. All chatbot interactions can be further cleaned and stored in the CRM and analysed. Based on these interactions at different stages of the customer journey, the chatbots can make intelligent suggestions to the customer during the subsequent customer interaction.

The chatbots offer tremendous business benefits. The responses are highly accurate and relevant and have a minuscule turnaround time. The on time responses right from order booking to bill payment while taking care of customer preference ensures high productivity and thereby generates high revenue even when a business executive is not able to interact directly with a customer.

In conclusion:

Chatbot solution powered by Intelligent Automation is that indispensable tool in the omni-channel customer service desk of a service industry business. It helps to keep the business up and running even when customer executives are not able to interact directly with the customer due to unprecedented business disruptions. Chatbot solutions thereby enable businesses to stay up and functioning at all times in a 24x7x365 scenario.

Image Credit: https://www.freepik.com/yanalya

Source: https://datafloq.com/read/chatbots-intelligent-automation-solutions-paving-way-towards-seamless-business-continuity/8850

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How Hazelcast hopes to make digital transformation mainstream

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Commentary: Even as the coronavirus pandemic has hastened digital transformation efforts, success remains elusive for many companies. This one-stop shop to digital transformation might help.

Digital transformation

Image: metamorworks, Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s no secret that, as CircleCI CEO Jim Rose put it, “The pandemic has compressed the time[line]” for digital transformation. What is perhaps surprising is just how broad and deep that transformation is spreading. In an interview with Hazelcast chief product officer David Brimley, he stressed that while Fortune 500 e-commerce and finance companies have historically paid the bills for Hazelcast, provider of an open source in-memory data grid (IMDG), mid-sized enterprises “are coming to us and saying, we want to start digitizing and [adding digital] channels for our business.”

How they get there, and how fast, is the question. 

SEE: Digital transformation road map (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

A one-stop shop to digital transformation 

As keen as companies are to move workloads to the cloud to facilitate digital transformation, not all companies are alike in their readiness, Brimley said. In particular, these mid-sized enterprises may lack the personnel or other resources to push aggressively into the cloud, whatever their intentions. As such, he said, many companies are trying to figure out “the quickest way I can get the applications and hardware I’ve got today in my own data centers and add a digital channel on the top of it as quickly as I can.” 

No PhD in Computer Geekery required.

SEE: Special report: Prepare for serverless computing (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

By pairing Hazelcast IMDG for distributed coordination and in-memory data storage with Hazelcast Jet for building streaming data pipelines, Brimley said, organizations can build digital integration hubs without having the technical chops of a Netflix or Facebook. “There are a lot of companies that can’t make head nor tail of this plethora of Cloud Native Computing Foundation products [Kubernetes, Envy, Fluentd, etc.], and they just want to stand up a Java process, have it clustered together, have some way of running their ‘microservices’ on this Java cluster, and off they go.”

Once, a company (and open source project) like Hazelcast would have had to pitch themselves to banks and credit card companies for low-latency, high-performance distributed systems; these were the types of organizations that valued IMDGs. Today, however, such concerns span a much broader range of companies, particularly with this crushing need to achieve digital transformation.  

For Brimley and Hazelcast, they’re not pitching themselves as a database or any particular technology. Even the IMDG label might not fit particularly well. After all, the company isn’t positioning itself as about technology, per se, but rather about solving business problems; about how developers can use Hazelcast to capture “interesting new architectural patterns,” in Brimley’s words. It’s taking on the “I need to embrace an event-driven architecture crowd,” and not selling a data cache or, yes, not even an in-memory data grid.

Disclosure: I work for AWS, but these are my views and don’t reflect those of my employer.

Also see

Source: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-hazelcast-hopes-to-make-digital-transformation-mainstream/#ftag=RSS56d97e7

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