Engaged employees are more productive, motivated and loyal. Recent statistics show that organizations are embracing this fact, but there’s still work to do. Digital communications are now the norm, and the goal is to create a more consumer-like experience for people – one that mirrors how they access information electronically in their day-to-day lives. Adding interactive digital signage to your internal communications mix can boost engagement and your bottom line.
With interactive screens, you can use a single digital sign to deliver an astonishing amount of content. The information changes to whatever the user wants with a simple tap on the screen. If you have a network connection, you can offer virtually anything on the web in addition to locally-served content. Touchscreens also provide you the opportunity to present an instant call to action and give the viewer instant gratification upon completing a task.
Wayfinding and Commutes
Maybe your default home screen is wayfinding – how to get from point A to point B in the facility or on campus (or even further afield – driving directions, with current traffic data, from this location to another one across town or in a different town altogether).
Meetings and Events
Perhaps there’s an option for the locations and times of upcoming meetings or events. Or, an employee might need to see which meeting rooms are available for an hour after lunch. They simply tap the Meeting Rooms button and get immediate access to the calendaring system. They can see what’s being used and what’s free, and maybe even book a room right there.
Or, speaking of lunch, the person wonders what’s being offered at the on-site cafeteria today. With a touch of another button (“Food” or “Menus”, for example), the touchscreen becomes a menu board, showing the day’s menu with lunch specials, nutritional and allergy information, and some high quality pictures to entice them. Again, if the system is networked with an ordering and queuing system, they could make an choice and place their order right there at the screen, either for immediate pickup or scheduled for a certain time (sort of an internal Uber Eats or Grubhub – with the delivery happening in the cafeteria itself).
Recognition and motivation are essential for engagement. Use kiosks to show employee profiles, progress towards goals in various departments, leaderboards, company mission statements and values, KPIs for teams – just about any bit of information that you would consider putting in a digital signage playlist can be available through interactive screens.
Training can benefit immensely from interactive screens. Training videos can be browsed and watched, with questions for comprehension afterwards (and the option to watch again if the score was less than satisfactory). In fact, whole training modules or online learning management systems can be accessed through touchscreens.
If your organization is involved in your community or special causes, make sure your employees feel like they can make an impact. For example, maybe your company is having a charity drive. People can tap a button or two to find out what it’s all about and why the company chose this charity. They can tap another button to see the current progress towards the goal. And maybe they can tap another button that says Donate $10 now, which then sends them a reminder email and a link for them to make a donation safely and securely form their desk or from home.
The trick is to anticipate what your employees might want to know. The easiest way to know that is to ask them – and again, interactivity can help you out. Just make a Survey button that lets people choose from a list of information topics they would find interesting. When you get enough people who say they want access to, for example, current weather data, then you can add that to your screen. Any survey can be put on your screens, and people will be more likely to participate because answers are anonymous.
It might be unwieldy to have dozens of options for people to sift through. As psychologist Barry Schwartz wrote in 2004, it’s important for people to have autonomy and freedom of choice, but modern Americans are being overwhelmed by too much choice, which results in anxiety. But you also want to be comprehensive – nothing is more irritating in the modern age than having a specific question and then accessing a source that purports to have the answer, only to find that it doesn’t go far enough.
One way to navigate these two extremes is to nest more specific categories inside broader ones (just like a website menu). So, you might have a button marked Food or Eat, and tapping that gives a basic amount of information (“Today’s specials: vegetarian lasagna and pulled pork sandwiches”) and more buttons for people to dive deeper. For example, if someone touches one of the specials, they get a more detailed description, plus a picture and information on nutrition and allergies; if they tap another button titled Menu they can see the entire menu for the day; if they tap This week’s menus they can see what’s on offer tomorrow and the next day and so on.
If you use nested categories, you have to make sure your system loads fast. It would be a pretty negative experience to have to tap two or three levels down to get the exact information you want, with each level taking 10 seconds to load.
If you’re going to offer interactive digital signs, you need to make sure they meet ADA guidelines, both physically and in content design. Make sure you have your buttons and selectors along the bottom of the screen and use large text.
It’s generally best to create content that does not require a keyboard, though some organizations have had success with enabling pop up keyboards for certain pages. With something like this, people could not only see the company’s Facebook page, but actually contribute to it right there at the digital sign itself. But, again, this has to work well and quickly, or it will be more of an annoyance than a benefit.
You want your employees to be excited at work, and giving them access to lots of information they crave is one way to help. You’ll need to design your content and screen navigation so that different types of viewers will find it beneficial. Make sure your content will appeal across departments and personalities. Also, keep it simple and straightforward enough that someone in a hurry or with just a cursory interest can quickly and easily get what they want, but also comprehensive and varied enough that a true data junkie gets that “kid in a candy store” feeling whenever they use one of your touchscreens.
As the song goes, “give the people what they want” – and people today want easy to access information at the tips of their fingers. By giving people choice, instead of dictating what they will or won’t see, your organization becomes less like Big Brother in the Orwellian sense, and more like an actual big brother – supportive and guiding. And fun to spend time with.