Organization: ModCloth and m-hance
Industry: Retail and Software Development
Enterprise Social Networks Transform Fractured Teams Into Connected and Engaged Employees
The concept of employee engagement gets talked about a lot in business circles, and with good reason. According to a research paper prepared for the UK government, Engaging for Success: Enhancing Performance Through Employee Engagement, companies with low engagement scores earn an operating income 32.7 percent lower than companies with more engaged employees.
But what exactly is an engaged employee?
Kevin Kruse of Forbes Magazine defines employee engagement as “the emotional commitment that an employee has to the organization and its goals.” Engaged employees are employees that are content with their work and working environment and are therefore willing to put in extra effort to ensure the success of the company.
How do companies create engaged staff?
Traditionally, direct engagement such as surveys, staff meetings and internal communication boards have formed the basis of many organizations staff engagement initiatives. However, in a fast paced and digital society, more meetings, memos, and emails are more of a disruption than an engaging way to communicate.
One of the biggest challenges of staff engagement in large organizations is the fact that their offices often occupy multiple locations or the number of employees is so large that it is difficult for staff to know when, how, where and with whom they can collaborate. This can cause staff to feel over worked and underappreciated. That is where social networks can come into play.
When most people think of social networks, they think about Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And although these platforms are great for turning your highly engaged staff into ambassadors for your brand, they are too public to be useful for day-to-day internal communications and engagement.
So the dilemma for organization is how to utilize the strengths of social networks for internal communications and staff engagement in a private space. That is where enterprise social network (ESN) platforms such as Yammer and Jive provide a unique solution. These ESN platforms allow organizations looking to engage their staff to create real time, relevant places to communicate and collaborate that are not public facing.
In Deloitte’s 2013 Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions report, it was predicted that over 90% of Fortune 500 companies would have an ESN. 90% is an aggressive figure for the adoption of any new business practice, but when companies evaluate the cost of such networks against the return in terms of employee engagement and productivity their value is clear.
Yammer describes the benefits of ESN systems well when they describe their own network.
“Change is the new constant. Yammer is a private social network that helps you and your company stay on top of it all. Yammer collaboration software and business applications allow you to get connected to the right people, share information across teams and organize around projects so you can go further – faster.”
This video from Yammer presents the story of ModCloth, a clothing retailer who operates primarily online, and shows how they used the ESN to connect their employees across many locations and create a sense of community.
Yammer helps ModCloth make their employees feel more connected and through that connection they increase collaboration between sites.
Andy Hall, Helpdesk Manager at m-hance, also noticed an increased ability for his staff to collaborate. He discusses how the ability to connect quickly with his colleagues improved business outcomes in this clip.
Interestingly, both clips describe the idea of being able to “yell across the office” and communicate instantly with colleagues. ESN systems allow them to achieve that dynamic digitally.
You may be thinking, “Sure, ESN sounds great. But will anyone actually use it?” It is true, like any other business system, ESN are only as good as the ideas and information that are put onto them. However, this selection from a Microsoft commissioned info-graphic shows that employees have an appetite for social tools in the workplace and almost a third of respondents would even pay for it out-of-pocket.
*You can view the full info-graphic here.
Only time will tell if 90% of business adopt ESN platforms but it’s clear that the need to cultivate highly engage staff is essential to optimizing productivity and increasing business performance.
Submitted By: Tabatha Laverty
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