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4 More Ways for Leaders to Promote Personnel Engagement in Social Business Enterprise 2.0

Employee attitude is an intrinsic and direct human reaction resulting from the work environment any management establishes in its enterprise.  Attitude (good or bad) and its attached emotions significantly shape the “work ethic” barometer any employee will display before, during or after work hours.  It is the hidden and powerful emotional drive, or lack thereof, which determines the level of “engagement” a co-worker will display.  Employee engagement will never be an action verb with an expected code of co-worker behavior automatically triggered by company compensation and perks.

Enterprises in possession of well defined mission, vision and values are in a much better position to transport their philosophy and credo to employees, suppliers, partners and customers alike. Company culture (mission + vision + values) is the fundamental prerequisite if a workforce is to positively engage with both customers and prospects.  A company workforce cannot and will not confidently connect with its customers if an enterprise has failed to establish first a clear code of ethics, business principles and policies.

1. Workforce should fulfill job requirements with limited hierarchical where and when

I remember a € 80 million (US$100 M) manufacturing company led by a Managing Director who micro-managed.  Every morning he would pick up the mail from the local post office himself, open up every single piece of correspondence and distribute it to the appropriate company employees. His reasons? “I want to know what is happening”, he once told me! We are living in the broadband communication era where consumers decide the way they wish to communicate with their brand. Thanks to hyper-connected mobile devices we are now en route to a people-centric, convenience marketing superhighway, where consumers exclusively select when, where and what sort of information they wish to obtain.  Cell phone subscriptions have overtaken landlines. People in the UK are now more likely to text than to make a phone call according to a recent research from Ofcom.  “In the past, cooperation was a kind of dream, an ideal. Today it is a requirement for survival” says Nicholas Roberts.

A European company, I was once associated with, gave its employees only 15 minutes of “flexi-time” for arriving at work in the morning, all the while knowing that some would actually be more productive after sleeping an extra hour or two than arriving on time and lingering around the coffee machine and shooting the breeze. Employees should be compensated for results rather than the numbers of hours they have worked. Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) could easily be promoted thanks to mobile technology Studies made by ROWE with renowned clients such as GAP and BEST BUY have shown  significant savings and increased productivity were registered. BEST BUY applied the following formula:  “Retention + Intrinsic Motivation + Productivity = Increased Capacity” which meant a saving of $2.2 million for their team over the course of two years, an average of 41% increase in productivity on ROWE teams.

2. Management should take control of work, and not of its employees

Looking for an alternative to work? Organize a meeting! Wasted time in meetings costs Business £26 billion (US$ 41.6 B) per annum reported Techradar some months ago. Marcus Austin went on to say: “The average employee wastes two hours and 39 minutes in meetings every week… this would equate to 13 million more productive hours per week and an increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of approximately 1.7 percent…” Wouldn’t it be better to let these employees decide for themselves if their participation in a meeting is mandatory or not? It is now the time for company leaders to start learning to trust their employees and respect their right to exercise sound judgment. Managers also need to delegate. This should be the first step toward transcending the average employee output into something more significant. Extrinsic motivation needs to make room for the intrinsic if companies earnestly want to crowd-source more of their own talent and increase employee engagement.  Around 50% of Google’s products and innovations were found during the 20% period of time where employees are encouraged to work on personal Google projects and not on their core responsibilities. It is evident that a hierarchical boss cannot control how everything is being done so would it not be better if management could find ways and tools for their teams to get the job done themselves?

3.  Employees look beyond payment to non-monetary factors such as advancement and recognition

What are the values of intangible company assets; the ones that cannot be quantified… the ones that are dormant in remote parts of a company because of disuse… the raw diamonds waiting to be polished in order to shine?  In her article “A Zappos Lesson in Customer Service Metrics”, Ashley Furness relates her conversation with Joseph Michelli the author of The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire, Engage, and WOW:

“Take a look at your performance metrics. Is time-to-resolution an important indicator? What about call time? While popular, these KPIs are indicative of a very un-Zappos experience. They don’t ‘drive service into your culture,’ as the author of The Zappos Experience, Joseph Michelli, explained to me. Zappos invests in the call center not as cost, but the opportunity to market. Their whole strategy is to create loyalty through ‘wow’ moments and emotional connections.”

4. Leaders should be able to step back and promote others

Put your ego away because it could be one of your biggest obstacles towards team effectiveness! Pride destroys communication, builds silos, isolates and pushes people away! In an employee-centric led environment, it is imperative not to give pride, arrogance, ego and selfish immaturity any room for business. Get rid of it, and get rid of the workers/people who are rowing in the opposite direction, regardless of how high in the hierarchy they are positioned, or how skillful they are. Are you placing self-interest ahead of your enterprise’s interests? Are you concerned about piling up more for yourself while neglecting customers, employees and maybe even board members?  Place the interests of your immediate co-workers and middle management before your own; trust your workforce and give them space to grow. Treasure confrontation, hire employees first for their passion and then for their skills, regardless of the fact that you might not feel personally attracted to them.  Are they a cultural enrichment to your company, department or team?  Would your company consider an international hiree if your most valuable customer is international? Does your team fully understand how different the international community is? Do you give them the chance to learn and grow?

What are you doing to inspire your workforce?  What initiatives are you sponsoring in order to foster creativity and leadership? What are the difficulties you are confronted with?

Follow Bruno Gebarski on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrunoGebarski@brunogebarski or on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brunogebarski

Related posts to Social Business i.e. Enterprise 2.0:
3 Ways to Promote Your Employee Engagement and Increase Your Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Productivity
Why Are People, Processes and Platforms the Three Fundamental P’s of Any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 transformation?
Why Company Culture is The Foundation to Any Social Business Enterperise 2.0
Understanding the 4 Fundamentals of a Social Business Enterprise 2.0
Humility, a Core Ingredient For Moving From Hierachy to Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Leadership (Part 1)
Humility, a Core Ingredient For Moving From Hierachy to Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Leadership (Part 2)
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Why Are People, Processes and Platforms the Three Fundamental P’s of Any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 transformation?

1. People and behavioral changes

People are at the core of any successful organizational and structural company change.  A technological fix vs. a behavioral change remains once and for all, an inane discussion. After companies have established their own “culture”, Enterprise 2.0 will dictate the necessary behavioral changes.  Employees’ motivation and engagement must first be stirred-up by HR and upper management, and then supported for any new collaborating technological implementation or change to flourish.  After a recent study led by the Dachis Group, Harold Jarche used the findings for his article “It Takes Time to be Social”, and rightly points out that “… when asked to assess the overall engagement of employees for the company, more than half responded that only 10-20% of its employees were active…”.  If a company wants its personnel to become more social, management should pave the way first.  They need to lead by collaborating and co-creating themselves otherwise the time and investment expended in a structural change could be entirely wasted.

Employees, teams and task-groups are the driving force inside any organization; they solve problems, create value and drive innovation.  On the other hand, organizational silos thwart collaboration and cut off departments and co-workers from each other. Silos isolate departments, locations and teams while preventing overall company motivation, engagement and higher achievement goals.  A corporate vision, code of conduct and established company culture are fundamental essentials if HR, Controlling and IT are to reach out to sales and marketing, while looking beyond their own responsibilities or department silos. The command-and-control frame of mind that IT traditionally has, will have to be reshaped to enable some sort of a revived technological door-opener (as opposed to the door-keeper) to co-create value to the people-centric enterprise that social business is striving to develop. HR must encourage and develop cross-functional team building if the silo-mentality is to be overcome, so that a genuine Enterprise 2.0 frame of mind can be established.

2. Processes and Business Process Management (BPM)

As Clay Shirky once said: “Process is an embedded reaction to prior stupidity.”!  Processes should then be proactive and not stifle employees’ creativity with a straitjacket-set of company rules and regulations.  Processes and policies ought to be defined and ratified in order to encourage communication and creativity to flourish. They should protect workers, promote products and services, and dismount company silos.

For new collaborative business processes to be implemented, HR and management should encourage and motivate personnel with the use of gamification; the art of applying game theory and procedures to non-gaming environments.  They ought to motivate, recognize and reward their employees for rethinking and putting forth more efforts into reshaping their own work behavior and modifying their daily routines.

3. Platforms i.e. technologies

In his recent article “Social Collaboration: It’s the people not the technology stupid!”, Steve Dale writes that “most collaboration strategies are treated as technology projects and not organizational development (OD) projects”, again showing that IT can be the troublesome door-keeper.  That’s why many of those projects will most likely fail to bring any social enterprise return on investment (ROI). Adoption rates are poor because again and again technologies and processes often fail to take into account the mandatory and necessary workforce behavioral changes which need to be attached to such implementations. Too many entrepreneurial 2.0 strategies and projects are perceived by employees as a behavioral straitjacket they are forced to put on. The resulting poor rate of adoption is irrefutably proving the fact that implementation is not as successful as the IT Project Managers would have expected it to be.

A company’s workforce is the most important “customer-base asset” it possesses. Traditionally, this workforce is a group of human beings resisting change (don’t we all!). Employees will reluctantly give up familiar territory and only bid farewell to old practices if motivation and rewards are attached to those changes. Technology should remain on the level of a helpful tool.  Its initial roll-out should be introduced mainly by a handful of hand-picked collaborative advocates and Enterprise 2.0 social stars.  The Chief Customer Officer and Community Manager should promote these advocates socially and create new leadership positions for them.  Their conviction, passion and gregarious approach cannot help but motivate and inspire the rest of the community i.e. workforce.  HR should rally all company employees to the cause of this entrepreneurial social project with the support and techniques of gamification, and then evangelize first the human benefits, and second the technological paybacks. Rewarding the early social adopters with incentive programs, bonuses and company perks, will give a new social project implementation its best chance to succeed and exceed the Dachis 10 to 20% average adoption rate!

What incentives and company perks are you giving or planning to give to your employees for the support of a successful roll-out of Enterprise 2.0 social technologies?

Follow Bruno Gebarski on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrunoGebarski or on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brunogebarski

Related posts to Social Business i.e. Enterprise 2.0:
Why Company Culture is The Foundation to Any Social Business Enterprise 2.0
Understanding the 4 Fundamentals of a Social Business Enterprise 2.0
Humility, a Core Ingredient For Moving From Hierachy to Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Leadership (Part 1)
Humility, a Core Ingredient For Moving From Hierachy to Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Leadership (Part 2)