Employee Involvement

Involving employees more effectively in your organization can significantly increase their motivation and contribute directly to your organizational performance. By better informing employees about changes that are happening in the organization and enabling them to express their concerns and contribute their ideas, change can be better planned, proceed more smoothly and yield results more quickly.

Better organizational participation can improve processes and morale, and contribute to a more innovative and energized corporate culture. Social media is being applied in many organizations to do this now.

Stampin’ Up! prides itself on making a difference. Its mission statement is “To love what we do and share what we love, as we help others enjoy creativity and worthwhile accomplishments … in this we make a difference.” And one of the ways it makes a difference among its demonstrators (independent sales agents) is with its hashtags.

Big Blue Bubble is a pioneer in the gaming industry having developed more than 100 video game titles since 2004 – long before the days of the smartphone. This has led to accolades from many prestigious organizations around the world who have recognized the company for its continued achievements and commitment to producing fun, engaging games. Challenges as a result of significant and rapid growth However, as the company’s success grew, so did the size of the team. This led to challenges related to managing key HR functions, as well as internal communications since the team had to spread out over two floors due to limited physical space. The HR group knew that it was not only critical to find a platform to streamline the department’s key functions, but also to find a solution that would open the door to enhanced internal communication, engagement and participation.

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of supportive women who have her back.” A quote printed in the online Issuu of Stella & Dot’s October 2017 Opportunity Brochure. Browsing their beautiful products, Manifesto, inspirational testimonials from Stylists: It is clear Stella & Dot strongly defines themselves as a company “that is inspired by, created for, and run by strong women”. Stella & Dot currently has over 18,000 active independent Stylists and were listed as an Inc. 500 fastest growing company. Their Stylists are independent contractors that represent the line of jewelry and accessories. But with so many women representing globally, how do they create this tribe? Stylists are equipped with newsletters, online and live training events as well as the app, MIMI. However, in this case study I’ll be focusing on their effective use of Facebook groups and how by using them it enhances their Stylist’s engagement with each other.

It’s a common thinking that human resources are the most important asset of an organization. Big companies, small start-ups, non-for-profit… no matter the size, most businesses understand the benefits and ROI of employee involvement. In my research to find companies excelling in this strategy through social medias, I was particularly drawn to the story of Legal Monkeys. They manage medical records for medium to big American law firms. Their expertise and field of work is so far from the company I work for, however the fact that they are, too, a small organization (80 employees), got me thinking about the use of social medias in smaller scale businesses – such as where I spend my own 9-to-5.

Salesforce is an organization that prioritizes innovation. It’s one of their core values and a key part of everything they do. In fact they say that “thinking differently is in our DNA.” It comes as no surprise then, that Salesforce not only uses social media for employee involvement, they built a platform to facilitate this engagement.

Just Eat is an industry leader that enables customers to get food from restaurants delivered to them online or through an app. They currently operate in over 13 countries working with more than 82,000 restaurants. In order to connect its biggest asset, its people, Just Eat created a monthly newsletter called “Just Eat News”. This catch up tool enables the global organization to communicate what they are doing in their international markets, sharing new marketing strategies, talking about upcoming changes or news.  

Taking your kids to school, enjoying paid vacations and quitting your ‘full time’ job to run a business from your phone is something that is only possible in today’s society and because of the power of social media. Everything USANA does “aims to help you love life and live it”. At USANA Health Sciences their mission is to provide families with the highest quality, science-based health products. They are more than just vitamins; they are health and beauty products as well as weight loss management.

What makes up the framework of an organization is the diverse set of employees which holds it together. However, this framework may be significantly weakened if it is not maintained through proper communication between all employees which ultimately affects their own involvement within the organization. Thus, it is also important to consider, whether in the work place or everyday life, how modes of communication are not static, but in flux. From the telephone to the internet, technology continues to transform the dominant ways in which we relay information to one another within the workplace. However, keeping up with the times and adapting to the current, rapidly evolving social media landscape may pose a struggle to organizations that were not born in the current social media era. One organization that is fighting against the odds and keeping up with the times is Dutch airline company KLM. Despite, KLM being the oldest scheduled airline in the world still operating under its original name, the company has successfully integrated a social media strategy internally within their organization to increase levels of employee involvement.

The modern workplace continues to evolve, in both technological advances and a shifting work culture. Companies across the globe are becoming more concerned with efficiency, and productivity, culminating in the quest for new opportunities for collaboration and resulting in employee engagement via internal social media. Social media can be effectively used internally within an organization to engage employees, the same way it is employed externally to engage customers. Increasingly, organizations are adopting internal social media platforms such as Workplace by Facebook to inspire symbiotic relationships of mutual support and trust. These platforms can help foster the necessary conditions for collaboration and facilitate cross-pollination of ideas and information throughout the organization.

Home Depot is a popular home improvement supplies retail company across the United States and Canada. In Canada alone there are 182 stores and over 27,000 employees. The company stands on eight core values; Taking care of our people. Giving back to our communities. Doing the right thing. Excellent customer service. Creating shareholder value. Building strong relationships. Entrepreneurial spirit. Respect for all people.

Who are they? Dell is a multinational computer technology company based in Texas, United States. It is known for developing, selling, repairing, and supporting computers and related products and services. It started off as a pure hardware vendor but with acquisition of Perot System in 2009, the company ventured into IT services market. Since then it has been expanding its portfolio to include not only computers but also delivering complete solutions for enterprise customers. Working for DELL The company employs more than 103,000 individuals worldwide and was listed at number 51 in Fortune 500 list of the companies until 2014. DELL operates in over 180 different countries around the world. Very few companies have the resources available to them that we have. Jeremy Burton, Chief Marketing Officer

G Adventures is a tour operator providing small-group tours, safaris and expeditions all over the world. “G Nation” as employees proudly refer to themselves, is a global family of more than 2000 employees in 25 offices worldwide.  

A business’ results are directly affected by its employees.  Simplified, the more positive the experience of an employee within the organization in which they work, the greater the potential for the employee to positively perform their duties and contribute to a business’ key performance indicators.   Higher levels of engagement are directly supported by the level of motivation and commitment of the employee.  There are multiple factors that affect an employee’s motivation and commitment, including company culture, feeling connected, opportunity to share ideas and opinions, trusted environment, employee recognition program, sense of community, and more.   L’Oréal, a global leader within the cosmetics industry, has embraced a number of unique, noteworthy social media tactics to develop employee engagement and in fact is extending their objective of employee engagement to include employee advocacy.  A question L’Oreal has asked though, is when can advocacy and engagement begin to be developed within an organization?  According to Rosie McCarthy, International Learning Manager for L’Oreal, “One of the best opportunities you have to engage with your employees is when they start.“   The onboarding process provides one of the first touchpoints with a new employee; it is a perfect opportunity to connect with, support and build engagement with an employee, during a very positive time that can be full of excitement and anticipation.  L’Oreal has harnessed this opportunity; L’Oreal has developed the world’s first employee onboarding app: ‘Fit’.

Chili’s Grill & Bar is an American casual dining restaurant chain that features Tex-Mex-style cuisine. The company was founded by Larry Lavine in Texas in 1975 and is currently owned and operated by Brinker International. It wasn’t long ago that the words used to describe Chili’s was “It’s a place I remember my mom and dad taking me as a kid. There’s no growth and development around the company, and I never hear any buzz surrounding it.” Those were the words that Chili’s Director of Workplace Community Chris Ebbeler heard after surveying employees of other restaurants. They polled the audience to understand how Chili’s Grill & Bar brand was perceived by restaurant workers and whether they’d even consider working for the restaurant. In short, the responses left him and other members of the Chili’s brass disappointed. The company listened to those concerns as well as concerns from their own team members and made the crucial decision to turn their organization around and transform the old-school perception into something powerful, modern and attractive to the next generation workforce.

The Canadian Jewish News (CJN) is a not-for-profit media organization that serves the Jewish community by providing a platform for diverse points of view, on subjects of interest and relevance. The award-winning CJN is Canada’s largest, weekly Jewish newspaper with an audited circulation of nearly 32,000 and read by more than 100,000 people each week. Situation: A small Jewish newspaper establishment that runs a weekly newspaper The newspaper is available in cities across Canada There is a website: cjnews.com where all articles get published online There are about 25 employees, average age being 50-years-old The newspaper has an active Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook page However, the youth are no longer paying attention to newspapers, and current events.  Challenges Helping the newspaper cater to younger audiences Getting the youth excited about opening up the newspaper, checking the articles online and paying attention to their social media accounts Most of the staff is older and to get them on board with the moving times

Nestled on the shores of Lake Couchiching in Central Ontario, Fern Resort is a family-owned business that has welcomed visitors to its relaxing and laid-back atmosphere for 123 years. The all-inclusive resort caters primarily to families during the summer and welcomes large social groups and conferences during the winter and shoulder seasons. “The fun, fine food and hospitality you’ll experience at Fern have been developed into a solid tradition by four generations of our family (and there’s a fifth generation now growing up at the resort.) We, the Downings and Nelsons, have a genuine concern for the comfort and well-being of our guests. We hope you’ll truly enjoy your stay.” Fern Resort is located in the Lake Simcoe Tourism Area described as “Ontario’s Recreational Heartland, offering a myriad of outdoor experiences for residents, cottages and visitors.” Within a 90 minute drive of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Fern Resort takes full advantage of its almost 2km of prime waterfront on Lake Couchiching and 200 acres of rolling fields and bush to offer visitors the very best of Cottage Country. From summer sunset cruises and water skiing to a 1.5 km skating trail through the woods and a traditional outdoor hockey rink on the lake, guests at Fern can experience all the seasons in Ontario in all their glory.

AdHawk Microsystems Inc. is a startup company based in Kitchener, Ontario Canada. The company grew out of a research lab at the University of Waterloo in 2015. The 7 co-founders, all from different engineering specializations, came together to create eye and gesture tracking technology. The eye tracker is really an awe-inspiring masterpiece because it does not depend on a camera and it even captures involuntary eye movements, possibly revealing one’s intent. The features of this technology could create new opportunities in Medical diagnostics, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Analysing Wearable Data. Since its emergence after its ‘Series A funding’ in 2017, AdHawk has focused primarily on their eye tracking technology. The company has raised US $4.6 million in funding in less than two years. One could say they are well on track to have a great 2018! Watch their video below to see the technology!

A great way to generate successful employee involvement and motivation is to promote everything employees love. Most employees love their water cooler talk and that is why UPI Energy FS created an online platform for employees to communicate daily, from different cities, offices, cubicles and even their homes.

Established in 1991, the BrokerLink companies, constitutes one of the largest property and casualty insurance brokerage operations in Canada. With over 130 offices relying on more than 1,600 employees across Ontario, Alberta and Atlantic Canada, social media is a key component in connecting not only the individual businesses but their employees as well.

When a drop falls into the ocean, it immediately becomes part and parcel of the Whole. The drop gets accepted and connects with all the other drops and together they become one powerful body of water. When a person joins a corporation with 12,000 employees in 120 offices across 40 countries, the part with becoming One, could be a little more challenging.

Camp-Out RV, Stratford, Ontario, is a recreational vehicle (RV) Business that was started over 55 years ago and has grown from a small mom and pop company to one of the largest RV dealerships in Ontario. The 6 acre property located on the outskirts of Stratford contains an expansive sales lot for both new and pre-owned RVs fondly named the ‘Field of Dreams’, offices for a sales a team of 8, service bays to repair and service RVs for 7 RV technicians, administrative offices, and the retail store. As co-owner Sam Parks explains, “Campers are now looking for a buying experience and our Field of Dreams is meeting their needs.” The popularity of families seeking luxurious camping experiences, others wanting sporty eco-friendly RVs and the evolution of park-model RVs being used as vacation homes, has resulted in an increased demand for a larger variety of RVs that are generally much bigger with more options and upgrades. Good news for the RV industry but challenging for Camp-Out RV. “We were outgrowing our property but we recognized the value of the long established location ” explained Sam. In order to meet the needs of their camping customers, attract new ones and give employees the space and resources they required, Camp-Out RV needed to expand. The solution was to leave the Field of Dreams and Sales Offices in the original location, permitting expansion to fill the entire space, and move the retail store,administrative operations and service bays to a new location that was ready for immediate occupancy and only a short distance away. While giving every department room to grow, co-owner and Human Resources Head, Debbi Parks recognized there was a risk of losing employee interaction and engagement, as face-to-face opportunities between departments would be lost. Camp-Out RV has also increased its’ employee roster by 20% in the past two months and sharing best practices and developing the culture is going to be critical as they invest in training their new employees. As a result, Debbi has initiated a Facebook secret work group page, aptly named InTheCamp, that allows all employees to freely converse, share ideas and update the entire organization in real time on activities at both locations and with employees on the road in service trucks, on factory runs and when delivering trailers.  

In the first decade of the century, BlackBerry (then known as Research In Motion) was an unrivaled leader in the smartphone industry. The introduction of the Inter@ctive Pager brought emails to users wherever they went and with each subsequent device, they further refined their capabilities, bringing in phone features and internet connectivity—making them a household name with prestige across the world. That all changed with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the Android operating system in 2010. These competitors, along with the substandard device launches, left BlackBerry in an extremely vulnerable position in 2011. In July of 2011, they announced the first in what would be a substantial number of layoffs over the coming years, initially letting go 2,000 employees, but in the end letting to of nearly up to 10,000 employees — with 4,500 alone being announced in September 2013. Imploding Employee Morale This landscape led even the most passionate employees to question not only their decision to stay with the company, but the likelihood of their own careers within BlackBerry. The management team knew that they would never be able to perform their critical turn-around strategy if employee engagement stayed low, so they looked to the Internal Communications department to make sure employees were heard and valued during the upheaval. They knew that fear would not be a motivating factor in ensuring performance, so they needed to appeal to their own motivation and job satisfaction. Though the company was known for emails and was an extremely email-heavy culture, the team decided that they best way to foster that engagement was to have a single space where employees could go to hear from leaders, find out the latest news internally and externally, and communicate with each other. They decided to invest in their intranet.

Is it really necessary in 2018 to teach your staff and colleagues to be more socially engaged in social media? The quick answer is yes it is necessary, but it can also be risky at times. Social media is one of the strongest most powerful tools we have at our fingertips. It is the way that we now do business. 20 years ago it was mostly being used as an internal tool and many didn’t dream that it would become a part of everyday life for business in general.

Companies have long used social media technology such as Facebook and Twitter to reach more customers – but how are businesses using it internally? While business-to-consumer (B2C) companies are using social media to communicate with customers, less is said of the trend in businesses to use social media platforms to improve internal collaboration. In a technologically savvy company like Nokia, it’s no surprise that they’ve been successfully implementing social media into their internal communications. The company’s motto is connecting people and exploring ways to enhance communication. Nokia’s Social Media Communications team was established in early 2008 with the aim of improving inter-company communications and engaging employees. The objective of the Nokia Social Media Communications team is to: encourage the use of social media internally to bring out the company’s unique authentic voice and to engage in social media externally on behalf of Nokia, and contributing to product and service announcements by opening up a dialogue and driving online engagement. “What is the first thing that Nokia manufactured? Rubber boots.” “When did Nokia sell their billionth mobile phone? 2005 in Kenya.” These are just some of the facts that every Nokia employee knows – not just interesting trivia, but history, facts about where Nokia comes from and where it’s going as a brand. This is one of the things that unifies Nokia as a brand.  

In last weeks post I talked about Client Engagement at LiveCA LLP, in this weeks post we’ll look at Employee Involvement. In case you missed last weeks post, LiveCA LLP is a virtual CPA firm. Founded in 2012 when Josh Zweig CPA, CA, LPA and Chad Davis CPA, CMA joined forces and created an online accounting firm out of a love of technology and desire to work from anywhere with an internet connection. As Canada’s first online only accounting firm they provide the same professional services as a traditional brick and mortar firm such as tax, accounting, bookkeeping, payroll and technology services however with an emphasis and focus on systems. With a team of over 40 employees, from across Canada, ALL working remotely, how do they stay connected?