Employee Engagement and Social Media

Over the last 2 weeks I have been giving a series of presentations looking at how social media (and Enterprise 2.0) can drive employee engagement. While the slides are available on slideshare for download I wanted to give a bit of context.

As part of preparing the presentation I came across a presentation by Susan Scrupski from Soco Partners (I also lifted several other ideas from one of her presentations to the 2.0 Adoption Council, thanks Susan!), where Susan introduced the concept of 2.0 Zen:

  • Collaboration
  • Trust
  • Authenticity
  • Transparency

This struck a chord with me. If someone had asked me to describe good social media these are the words I would have used. But I started looking at this a little further, from an HR point of view, and from my research on engagement. I have found five general attributes that enable employees to feel valued and therefore engaged:

  • Involvement in decision making
  • Feel they are able to voice their ideas, & managers listen to these views
  • Have line of sight between employee performance & company performance
  • They have career development
  • When the organisation is concerned for employees’ health & wellbeing

While looking at this it occurred to me that an organisation that had a highly engaged workforce exhibited the same attributes as Susan’s 2.0 Zen:

  • Collaboration
  • Trust
  • Authenticity
  • Transparency

From this I built the rest of the presentation, which you can find below.

How to Motivate Employees to Succeed

This guest post is contributed by Melissa Tamura.

Every employer wants to get the most productivity from their employees. If you push too hard, though, you risk making employees unhappy, causing unwelcome turnover and costing you money. So the question remains, how do you motivate your employees to work their best?

Praise

Employers are often amazed how well this one little trick, which costs nothing, can so strongly motivate employee behavior. Bosses often think that their employees are only motivated by money, but the truth is, employees want to like their jobs. They want to like their bosses and the companies for whom they work. This can be a huge leverage for employers, especially in tough economic times when money just isn’t there for performance bonuses.

Every employee performance review should highlight two or three positive aspects of the person’s performance for every negative aspect. Show appreciation for the work the person does for you every day while asking for better performance in certain areas. Don’t make performance review time something to be dreaded, but rather something the employee looks forward to.

Make the employee newsletter a chance to praise and highlight high performing, rank and file employees. Institute “Employee of the Month” or even week programs. Rewards can be as simple as a preferred parking spot, but it’s the recognition that will gain you loyal employees.

Talk to Your Employees

Something as small as time spent with company management can help motivate employees. Have a weekly brown bag session with randomly selected employees. Allow them to give feedback and feel like their voices are heard. Let them ask questions, and answer those questions seriously.

Take time to walk through your production areas, greeting employees and chatting for a moment. If your production is industrial, then do this in the lunchroom. Better yet, eat in the lunch room once or twice a week. Be present to your employees. The more you show that you care for your employees, the more your employees will care about you and your bottom line.

Invest Employees in the Bottom Line

Many companies have a performance bonus plan, but it’s often limited to management. Why not provide performance bonuses to all employees, at least at some level. Employees will be more conscious of the bottom line if they have some stake in the company’s quarterly and annual outcome. Watching waste in the little things can add up to big numbers at the end of the year. Finding ways to streamline production, save steps, or use less can have a big impact. If every employee is invested in finding ways to make the company more profitable, instead of just management, your company can make a big turnaround.

Provide Careers, Not Just a Job

Providing opportunities to grow in their career is a great motivation for many employees. Have plans in place for a career path for your employees. Talk to them about what is required to grow from one level to the next. Help provide training for those who with to move up in the company. Whether it’s sending your assistant to a yearly professional conference or having a tuition reimbursement plan, helping your employees’ careers helps you in the long run.

Remember, employees are not just motivated by money. They spend almost half of their waking time working for you. They want to feel like that time is an investment, not just a necessary evil needed to pay the rent. Employees want to enjoy their work and their work environment. They want to feel good about their work and the company they work for. Filling these needs can go a long way to motivating long term, loyal, and productive employees.

Marshall Goldsmith at AHRI National Convention


Marshall Goldsmith opened the 2010 AHRI National Convention with a highly interactive and thought provoking talk looking at how to be a better coach. Marshall began the session by saying his focus is to teach leaders what to STOP doing instead of teaching them what to do.

Marshall provided us 5 key challenges of successful leaders that they all need to overcome to be truly great:

  1. Winning to much
  2. Adding too much value
  3. Telling the world how smart we are
  4. “I already knew that”
  5. Passing judgement

He then went on to demonstrate that the key to solving each of these challenges is starting to think more about others than about you. For example, when you try to add additional thoughts and ideas someone’s idea the quality of the idea might go up 5% but their commitment to the idea goes down 15% as it is not longer their idea. Further focusing just on achievement is really all about focusing on me, whereas leadership is all about focusing on other people.

Marshal provided an amazing statistic that the percentage of all interpersonal communication time spent on people talking about how smart they are and people talking about how stupid, bad, inept others are is around 65%!! He did a quick survey of the room and found we felt the average was around 70%, very close. Essentially if business wants to increase productivity then just look to reduce this number as these activities are not revenue generating.

A great coaching tip from Marshall is he has found that creating an environment where people lose small amounts of money creates very large changes in behavior. For example, fining yourself $1/$5 or $10 whenever you do one of the following:

  • Start a sentence with no, but, or however
  • Start a sentence with Great, but or however
  • Give destructive comments about someone

He asked everyone in the room to raise their hands if they had said something negative about someone else in the last month that they didn’t really need to say, hands in the whole room went up. He then fined us all $1 we had to place it on the floor, proceeds went to breast cancer research. He had several very interactive and entertaining activities where we all learned how to give and receive feedback.

He suggests a really good question to ask to your coworkers and family is “How can I get better at work/home?” Unfortunately we don’t ask it enough as we don’t want to know the answer.

Marshall wrapped up the session talking a lot about while these practices are good in business they are critical in your personal life. The guy sitting next to me even mentioned how emotional he had felt during the session when talking about creating better relationships with your partners, parents and children.

All in all an awesome session.

What do executives in Australia want?

On Monday my colleague Philip Tusing, co-author of the Sources of Talent Report, released his latest report, Executive Monitor. An eye opening look at what 1,332 executives are thinking in Australia about all sorts of different topics from compensation, education, recruiters and personal branding.

Philip gives a great run down on the key findings on his site, so go read them there as I do not plan to reproduce them here. Instead I wanted to look at what the results mean to me.

I see the key issues from the report being how do employers keep their senior employees both engaged, motivated and working towards the goals of the organisation, instead of just their own personal goals.

Another message from the report I found was that Australian executives are motivated primarily by money and their own success. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, and nor is it limited just to the executive ranks, I think some of the key findings show us a fairly dangerous future.

The number one trigger for a change in job is not growth, development, experience, cultural fit or anything that a majority of HR interventions focus on it is money at 30%. With almost 80% of these employees expecting yearly pay rises between 6 – 10%, way above inflation, and almost 70% see salary as the primary reason to do a good job.

Further concerns are found in the expectations and intentions of these executives. Work life balance while a stated value by the survey respondents was not a primary driving factor when undertaking a job search, money was still number one. All is not good on the branding side either with 90% of executives felt that personal branding was more important than developing that of their employers.

So where do I think this leaves HR? With massive opportunity.

What are your thoughts?

Building your technology business case

FinanceOne of the most important tasks of any project is building and maintaining your business case. Unfortunately the business case is so often a single document not covering full life cycle costs and produced to obtain funding approval and never looked at again!

Bad!

In fact your business case needs to document the full cost of the business change you are creating and be monitored for viability on a regular basis.

A business case has many components and will usual vary by organisation and it’s own requirements. However in general a “good” (I use the term to define the scope of a business case not the output) business case will include information on:

  • Background reasons
  • Expected Benefits
  • Anticipated Costs
  • Known Risks
  • Timelines
  • Investment Appraisal and Evaluation

This content will help your organisation ensure that the business cast is justified and that the reason for your project to continue is aligned with overall corporate strategy.

The business case is also a living document. As such you should review and update the contents at regular/various stages in your project, at least when ever something significant happens within or to the project. The project board or steering committee should be reviewing the ongoing viability of the project and if the business case is not longer valid the project should be stopped. Stopping a project is always a political issue however if the benefits no longer outweigh the costs (sunk and future) then it should be stopped.

Best in class organisations also conduct post project reviews including benefit realisation assessments to ensure that the project achieved the expected outcomes.

So does your current technology project have a valid business case?

(Photo Flickr User: alancleaver_2000)

Leaders are temporary

WOWA couple of years ago the Collab@Work blog wrote a very interesting article on how leadership in MMORPG’s, such as World of Warcraft is temporary. They provided reasons why in these MMORPG’s it makes sense to have temporary leaders:

In those games, leadership is a temporary position. At one point in time, you’re leading, the week after you’re following another leader. Reasons vary: too much pressure, less availability, someone else better suited for the job at hand, …

Unfortunately they highlighted that in traditional business leadership is virtually never temporary. Over the last couple of years the growth in this idea around temporary leadership in the way many small business collaboratively work together, especially when it comes to businesses based around the web. I would say that this is in part due to the fact that people in small business are very engaged in what they do, otherwise they would go out of business. Engagement is a key attribute required for temporary leadership to work.

Temporary leadership has many benefits again to quote Collab@Work:

  • having been a leader makes you a better follower. You understand better what the leader is trying to achieve
  • being a follower makes you a better leader. Your experience as a follower is still recent
  • from an organizational perspective, you can “test” more leaders including the ones that wouldn’t have been considered. That can dramatically increase your leadership bench, and see who are the best leaders rather than the best leader potentials.

The post was based on a HBR article from May 2008 which pointed out that  in today’s business:

A lot of work will be done by global teams—partly composed of people from outside the institution, over whom a leader has no formal authority—that are assembled for a single project and then disbanded. Collaboration within these geographically diverse groups will, by necessity, occur mainly through digital rather than face-to-face interaction.

Sounds like an MMORPG to me.  For example it makes sense that people who can successfully execute a 6 hour raid with 50 guild members based in 10 countries is developing the right skills needed for business in the future. They are also learning how to effectively leverage all of the social technologies we have available.

So as both articles say do not necessarily dismiss the hours spent by your children or friends on these games, they may in fact be learning the critical skills to be the next world leaders.

Crowdsourcing promotions?

I am a firm believer in the whole “Wisdom of Crowds” process so this article in The Age today made me think a bit. Austereo, Australia radio network, had teamed up with Jelli a US network to provide Australians with the first 24 hour a day crowdsourced radio show. Basically listeners go online to vote on what they will hear next, with the next song being determined only 2 seconds before the end of the current one.

This got me thinking.

Could an organisation crowdsource promotions, or placements?

Yes I know this might upset some of my readers but think about it most employees already know who should get the job so why not let them decide in an anonymous manner?

Innovative organisations could use other influencing factors based on shadow information.

RecruitTech Presentation

Today I gave a short presentation at RecruitTech in Canberra on Social Media in the workplace. The official bio was:

Many big organisations continue to block the use of social networking tools in the workplace, whilst others encourage their use.  But how much Facebook surfing and Twittering is too much?  This presentation weighs up the pros and cons of social media in the workplace and the impact of an organisation’s social media policy on its recruitment and retention.

Here are the slides from the presentation.

Fear != Happy Employees

Following my post yesterday about Facebook I found a great post from Jim Benson about about how your approach to your employees directly impacts your success.

The family that owned the restaurant had two long time trusted employees who served as managers.  The family knew the restaurant was in good hands.  When the long term employees left, the family was worried.  Fast food restaurants hire young, minimum wage workers who often slack off or even steal from the register. 

The owners felt they needed to keep an eye on the restaurant.  So they installed cameras.

This created an environment of US vs THEM with employees just keeping busy so the owners did not call them up to find out what was going on.

So the employees found themselves filling full salts, cleaning clean floors and hiding directly underneath the cameras in the “blind spots” just to have a simple conversation.  They never wanted to appear “not busy.”

As a team, the employees only could rally around one thing – their hatred of the cameras.  They couldn’t talk to each other, learn about each other, or learn from each other.  They could all merely mindlessly perform the already-satisfied chore list.

One by one, the other employees all left.  None of them would ever become the new long-time and trusted employees because trust was never allowed to develop.

Not a way to run a successful organisation. Will the owners blame the young Gen Y workers not having the right work ethic or is there a deeper issue? Could it be that they never developed a trust relationship with their employees? Did they engage with them? Just because your employee’s look busy does not mean they are actually productive, and servicing your customers.

 

 

Is Facebook good or bad?

It seems to me that if I was to believe the pundits social media is going to either cause the next apocalypse or be the saviour for us all! 

But I want to look at two specific cases here and their relationship with HR.

First the negative.

Kimberley SwannKimberley Swann, at 16 year old in the UK, who was sacked from Ivell Marketing & Logistics for posting on her Facebook profile that her office administration job was boring. Some more background:

  • It was her first real office job, yes she was employed at a call centre before but this was her first office job. 
  • The company only found out after she allowed another employee to become a “friend” on Facebook.
  • She never mentioned the company name, so no initial damage.
  • There is no information on if the company provided her an acceptable usage policy, even while she posted from home it should have highlighted that she should have a due diligence when interacting online.

While it might not have been the smartest of things to do, I personally don’t think it should result in immediate dismissal. The company would have done better to take on board the fact that she was bored and look at ways to use her skills, also explaining that posting on Facebook was not the smartest of moves. If she did it again then look at discipline actions.

Another thought if they had done nothing Ivell Marketing & Logistics or Steve Ivell would not be all over the Internet and they would not have had to remove the contact us page on their web site due Facebook users crashing their email server. 

Now the positive, Deloitte’s is paying employees for using Facebook to find new employees! Deloitte’s a large user of social media as part of regular business operations and recruitment, this only entrenches them as a leader around innovation.

Now this brings me to Brett from Job Adder’s post from last week, he’s right don’t put the cart before the horse otherwise you and your social media campaign will end up on the cart even if you don’t want to go on the cart.