Greater employee engagement doesn’t necessarily mean greater worker involvement

mirko    February 1, 2015

Organisation name: Rightpoint Consulting LLC

Industry: Intranet design and implementation

Web references: Rightpoint Consulting LLC, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Psychometrics Canada, Maria Z. Gonzalez article

How social media is used for business performance:

In 2013 Rightpoint Consulting launched a new intranet service, dubbed the Vine, for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a Michigan-based philanthropic organization employing about 200 people.

In a case study, Rightpoint described the project:

“Guided by three words, informed, engaged and productive, The Vine launched in November 2013. It is WKKF’s go-to resource for employees to learn about what is happening across the foundation, stay better connected and engaged with staff/teams and access the news, information and resources they need to be productive. The Vine’s social collaboration capabilities are an integral component to the overall experience focused on supporting conversations and interactions: person-to-person, person-to-team and person-to-company.”


Rightpoint reported that a month after launch there was a 500% increase in pages visited per visit; 205% percent increase on average time spent on site; and a 51% percent decrease in bounce rate.

But of course those numbers alone can’t — and don’t — tell the full story.

Lessons for others:

Can the jump in page visits and increased time spent on the site be attributed to employees learning how to use the site? Were employees spending more time on the new intranet because more of their required tasks (such as submitting medical benefits claim forms) were added to the Vine? What other factors might have explained the reasons that employees were spending more time on the Vine?

In fairness, Rightpoint’s case study is intended to provide a snapshot — not a complete picture — of the Vine’s performance.

And of course the Vine may be functioning, as advertised, to the great satisfaction of employees. But we simply don’t know. We’re taking Rightpoint’s word for it.

And this case seems typical.

When trying to determine whether or not social media tools are boosting worker engagement that results in “higher levels of performance, commitment and loyalty,” (as defined by Psychometrics Canada in the introduction of its 2010 study on employee engagement), outcomes are difficult to verify.

Much of the information available online is company generated promotional material delivered through well-crafted videos with underlying feel-good soundtracks.

For example, take a look at this video testimonial for Yammer,  Microsoft SharePoint and Office365:

But if we’re trying to determine whether or not social media tools are boosting worker engagement, we need a lot more context.

Engagement vs. involvement:

According to Maria Z. Gonzalez, in the field of human resources management the term employee “involvement” is linked to employees’ direct participation in helping run their companies (p. 163)

Unfortunately there seems to be few academic journal articles that explore the effects of corporate intranets on worker involvement.

Perhaps social media tools in the workplace are creating greater engagement, boosting job satisfaction and leading to greater worker involvement. But it’s difficult to judge with any confidence.

More independent research — to counterbalance the reports by firms that design and implement social media tools — would help cut through the blizzard of marketing that’s currently available online.

If you’re aware of independently researched case studies on this topic, please send titles and/or links to

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.