“Attention Economy”: Balancing Technology and Employee Productivity

Attention Economy

In a recent Willis Towers Watson Wire post, Hamish Deery, the managing director leading Willis Towers Watson’s talent line of business across Asia and ANZ, explained the “attention economy.” This term refers to the fact that employees’ attention is a limited resource. While technology can be valuable in terms of service and efficiency, it can also consume all of one’s attention both in and out of the office.

Deery stated that while this does present a challenge for organizations, it is important to view it as an opportunity for increasing productivity and improving the employee experience!

Improving The Employee Experience

Here are some tips from Deery that can help you deliver a compelling employee experience, improve productivity, and maximize the benefits offered by technology:

1. Optimize Culture and Leadership: Work on designing and delivering a high performance culture with leaders who are focused on building trust and encouraging social connections. This will help create an inclusive work environment where employees are comfortable, can be themselves, and have honest interactions with employees.

2.  Use Technology As An Enabler: When making technology decisions, choose technology that improves both your customer and employee experience. If it can also provide cost savings, then that is even better! For Human Resource technology, you will want to go with platforms that provide customizable employee experiences. This allows employees to immediately receive relevant information instead of having to devote extra attention to searching for it.

3. Improve Work and Process Design: Deery explains that work “flow” is a state in which a person is fully immersed and fully focused on a single task or activity. To achieve this, assign tasks to employees that are sufficiently challenging. This means they are not too easy or too difficult. The tasks are relevant to the employee’s skills and strengths, but can also improve their weaknesses. To best maximize an employee’s attention, work should be designed to have down time in between high intensity sessions.

4. Supportive HR Program Design: The work environment should be centered around learning and development experiences. This can be done through shared social experience such as social learning, peer-to-peer coaching, or shared development experiences. These type of experiences are best paired with a wellness program or, at the very least, a commitment to health, wellbeing and flexibility that is outlined in your talent value proposition.

For more information on the “attention economy” and to view additional tips on improving the employee experience with technology, check out Deery’s article here!

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