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.

Schneider Electric SE or Schneider, is a multinational organization specialized in energy management and automation solutions. It is headquartered in France, Paris also known as Le Hive with more than 160K employees. Speaking of multinational organizations , Schneider Electric undoubtedly connects employee from different countries together through various programs and communication media, and this is the real definition of employee engagement in my opinion. Schneider Electric as one of the leaders promoting Internet of Things IOT and connected devices in the Electrical industry business (The EcoStruxure Platform) has also taken the idea to the next step by engaging employees to share and brainstorm their brilliant ideas through connected systems by different communication platforms. SE intranet SPICE portal for instance!

  Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) is a not-for-profit organization based in Leamington, Ontario. OGVG was formed in 1967, representing approximately 220 members who grow greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers on over 2,500 acres in Ontario, Canada. OGVG works hard to promote and connect its growers with government agencies, consumers, retailers and foodservice operators across North America through various government lobbing events, research, marketing initiatives, trade shows and community activities. As a whole, OGVG strives to support the Ontario greenhouse vegetable sector and its growers, however possible, to ensure success for today, sustainability for tomorrow, and fresh, nutritious, quality produce for all!

Today, business happens at lightning speed. Organizations are building internal social media platforms to encourage knowledge sharing and creative thinking. They are also discovering benefits of internal social media platform in their workplaces – employees can be powerful brand ambassadors, encouraging social media interaction can strengthen engagement between colleagues and when an employee is actively involved they become more invested in the outcomes. Great-West Life, leading Canadian insurer is utilizing their social media (facebook, twitter, YouTube channel) brilliantly not only with their clients but also employees, introducing various internal communications campaigns.

For small town non-profit, WES For Youth Online, social media plays a large role in volunteer involvement. As a small organization, WES For Youth Online currently has less than a hand full of staff members on pay role. To wear as many hats, and play as many roles as these individuals do on a regular basis takes real passion. Therefore, their issue doesn’t lie in keeping employees engaged and connected; the question is, how do they keep their volunteers involved? The answer… social media.

Starting out in a 1 room unit back in 1999, Saysons Web Design & Printing has grown to be the go-to hub for small to medium businesses in Brampton, Ontario to help with their marketing and technological needs. The team of Shafia Hussaini and Ilyas Yazdani combine to use their respective skills in a joint proprietorship that would allow for them to run their own organization and at the same time, provide the expertise and creativity needed for other businesses to stand out among a crowded and competitive environment. Saysons has developed a unique team that spans worldwide and not just offers graphic design services, but also IT solutions, web design, hosting options, and valuable marketing & consulting help.

When it comes to social media, most of the time it is the IT and retail companies actively engage with their employees and customers through digital channel. Unlike many traditional manufacturing companies who struggle with effective social media communication, Cummins, a Fortune 500 tech giant, knows how to make the most of social media to engage with its employees.

Professor Justin Bruckmann walked into his martial arts academy on September 8th, 2016, expecting a normal day of teaching classes. What he was instead greeted by was the destruction of his life’s work. The club’s hot water tank had burst, flooding the entire building. Nothing could be salvaged, from the floor mats, to the washrooms and Justin was left waiting for insurance to pick up the pieces. With nothing to do but wait, Justin turned to his social media network to spread the terrible news, there were classes to teach and no academy to house the students. What happened next was a perfect example of employee involvement helping an organization recover and thrive.

As excitement continues to build for the Jays, I started thinking about how this week’s topic of Social Media and Employee Involvement draws several parallels to baseball. Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) is a solid team. It’s one of “Canada’s most shopped general merchandise retailers” (CTC, 2015)  and is “strengthened and supported by a Financial Services sector (CTFS).” (CTC, 2015). Yes, its outfield is well positioned with a vast external Social Media presence; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Linkedin, but its infield is quite impressive and should be commended as well. The use of Social Media within this company has been a key contributor to involving their employees.

While the success of a company or business is dependent on the product or service offered, its long-term success is heavily dependent on engaged employees. Without dedication and a desire from staff to want to do their best work, the long-term success of a company is all too often going to falter. So what makes for a truly engaged workforce? There are many things that can contribute – recognition, remuneration, growth opportunities – but perhaps one of the most important aspects is staff involvement. There are many approaches companies can take to engage staff. Having been ranked as one of the top 5 employers in Hamilton in 2016, I turned to McMaster University to explore their approach to, in their words, create a work environment for staff that encompasses respect, recognition and engagement.

Going to the dentist for most of us can be a stressful visit and many patients suffer from anxiety before going to the dentist.  At a visit to Gardner Dental Group (Burlington, Ontario) they do their best to make the patient visit a relaxing and enjoyable experience. From the moment you step into their office you are greeted with a friendly smile in a modern environment. You have the choice of three waiting areas; a quiet reading room, a TV room or an arcade room that actually includes retro video games!  This made me think …the patients are likely at peace in this setting…but how does the practice maintain the morale and engagement of the employees?

When William Booth founded The Salvation Army back in 1882, he based much of its mission on the concept of “adapting to attract.”  Employees of the Ontario Central East Division of The Salvation Army have recognized that utilizing the social media communication methods of today is in keeping with that concept, which is one of the reasons they are looking to Facebook Groups to help employees plan their 2016 Christmas Kettle Campaign.

FedEx made a concerted effort in 2012 to develop a social learning strategy to encourage their employees to share knowledge to drive continuous improvement at the company. The results were better than expected prompting the Great Place to Work Institute to praise the company for “developing social media to…improve communications and manage the company’s reputation internally…”

Employee engagement is measured by how happy and involved an organization’s employees are with their work.2 In more recent years, employers have been looking for ways to ensure that their employees feel committed to the organization’s values, goals, and success. Many organizations have now taken varying approaches to achieve this motivation and contentment among their employees, and Google is staying ahead of the trend by using innovation to increase engagement.

Employee engagement is a vital element of a successful and productive work environment. 1  Companies like Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants (herein referred to as “O&B”) have been empowering their employees for years, which has helped them become one of Canada’s top fine dining restaurant companies. Their employees are passionate, energetic and have a sense of pride when speaking about their employers. O&B operates a portfolio of unique and innovative restaurants across Ontario3.

About Mayo Clinic Mayo Clinic is a world renowned medical center that specializes in clinical practice, education and research. Based out of the U.S., the three main campuses are located in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and this year alone they have treated over 1.3 million people from around the world who came to the clinic for care. Being the large institution that they are, they have roughly 64,000 personnel which speaks for everyone from physicians and scientists to administration and support staff. The main point of their  mission statement is that the needs of the patient always come first and this focus resonates strongly with all employees enabling them to provide an unparalleled patient experience.    

“Now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”* I can’t help but relate this famous Winston Churchill quote to the current use of social media and other strategies at the Royal Canadian Legion and how the opportunities are just a page away.

Social media is often perceived in the business world only as a marketing tool that bolsters customer satisfaction and engagement. This client-centric approach limits the ways in which social media can be utilized as a positive tool in the workplace. Social media has many business applications that are not related to marketing, including strengthening employee engagement by improving internal communications.

In North America, many employees are disconnected and disengaged from their work, making them less productive. When an employee is engaged in their work, they are more focused and motivated, allowing companies to stay ahead of their competition. Internal social media platforms for employees to stay up to speed have become increasingly favoured in organizations and this will only continue to increase.  

When you go out for dinner with family or visit friends, it’s easy to see the obligatory question of the night creeping up: “So how is work?” For some, this question is followed by a very short answer, which, in turn, is followed quickly by the introduction of a new, more likable topic. But for others, that question is answered with great pride and joy in the work they are doing. So why don’t we all look forward to that question? Well there could be many reasons but in general terms it all boils down to company culture and employee engagement. A company’s culture is evident in how people get work done, how they communicate, and in the stories they tell their friends, family and followers. Culture and engagement are impacted by everything you do and start with the core of any company: it’s employees.

So, I avoided real life and chose the beer/food and fun arrow. The warm hop aroma met me at the door, followed by a smiling hostess with a warm “hello”. Immediately, I knew I made the right decision. The beer and food were delicious but above all else the atmosphere was magnetic. Looking around, everyone was having fun… especially the staff. It was obvious that they loved their job and had a genuine passion for craft beer. The Elora Brewing Company has only been operating for a little less than a year, but already it is evident that this is more like a family than a traditional business. The building itself, a former local hardware store in the picturesque town of Elora, Ontario, was completely renovated by local tradesmen, artisans, and current employees. Community involvement has been a big part of their plan from day one as locals and future staff members were encouraged to bring their sledge hammers and pitch in during construction. This approach built a foundation of community and employee brand ownership. This feeling of ownership has led employees to personal investment in the product, which shines through and ultimately drives sales.

It was late 2012, and the weather had just turned bitterly cold.  Despite the frost-bite warnings blanketing local media, I still found myself huddling against the warmth of the external siding of my heated garage, desperately determined to finish every last inch of my cigarette.  On the other side of the wall, I could hear the almost inaudible sounds of my husband; seated under the heater that brought the garage temperature up to a balmy 20 degrees, he was surrounded by the swirls of the sweetest smelling “smoke” I’d ever known – I was later to learn that it was called “Swedish Pastry”, and it was billowing from the tip of an impressive new gadget that he had picked up online a few weeks before.  Enter the (now much aligned) E-CIGARETTE.  Now, four years later, my husband works for the most lucrative e-cigarette business in Alberta – possibly even Canada – and I am proud to say that in those four years, though the battle was sometimes fierce, I am now vaping in my home office as I write this.

It is no secret to major brands that consumers’ faith towards regular brand messaging is decreasing. According to Erik Qualman from http://www.socialnomics.net/, 90% of consumers trust peer-to-peer brand recommendations, as opposed to 14% of consumers who trust advertisers. Brands now know that their employees are their best spokespeople on social media. The “State of the Global Workplace Report” reveals that 40% of engaged employees cite their company’s social media communication as the source for keeping informed on important news But how can companies get their employees involved on social media?

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to stop into the Klick offices in Toronto for a little visit. I must say, I left their office in quite the amazement! From their kitchen equipped with a popcorn machine and a chest-freezer filled with ice-cream, to their living plant walls, yoga studio, or social area furnished with game consoles; It was obvious that this organization cares and invests in their employees more than anything else. For Leerom Segal, Klick’s Co-Founder and CEO, he believes that with the right company culture, they can attract and retain the best and brightest employees. Happy employees generally means better productivity, higher quality products, and ultimately happy customers. Klick has been recognized as a Top 5 Great Place to Work company, has been in the top 10 for two consecutive years now, and also celebrates 5 consecutive years for being named a “Best Employer” by Aon Hewitt. Holding such prestigious titles, it’s no wonder why anyone who aspires to work for an organization that promotes growth and fun would want to work for Klick. The Relentless Pursuit of Awesome is this organization’s commitment – whether it be the company’s products and services, or it’s company culture.  

Employee empowerment. While many companies around the world claim to empower their employees on a daily basis, many times, their actions don’t support their claims. Could it be that, in 2016, companies still don’t understand the value of employee engagement? It seems so. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that other priorities like customers, sales, profits and, well, money, are important. After all, without profits, most companies won’t be able to keep their employees around, right? But, maybe they should be looking at it the other way around: without their employees, they can’t do business. From what I can see, Adobe, recently valued at $4 billion, seems to have figured out that, happy “everyday” employees make the best brand ambassadors.

Social media is one of the fastest-growing industries in today’s interconnected world. People more or less have relationship with social media in their daily lives. This gives organization a new situation to face — like it or not, your employees’ uses of their own social media channels could put the organization exposed to the public in good or bad way. There are challenges and opportunities living together. On one hand, it will give organization more promotion opportunities. On the other hand, employee’s wrong or negative mention of organization on social media will possibly bring crisis to organization. Organization should more likely deal with it as an issue or take the initiative to leverage employee’s social media resources for its use? Corby Spirit and Wine’s best practices in promoting responsible drinking give a successful example of how organization uses social media to enable employee to become more involve in organization’s missions.