Organization: Wells Fargo & Company
Name of contact: Kelli Carlson-Jagersma, VP, Internal Collaboration
Web references: Wells Fargo, Case Study: The Road to Social at Wells Fargo, Charlotte Observer: Bank Watch Blogspot (Feb. 2015), Wells Fargo Blog
It’s no secret that engaged employees have the potential to drive a high-performing business. In fact, a 2013 report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services titled “The Impact on Employee Engagement on Performance” showed 71% of respondents valuing employee engagement as “very important to achieving overall organizational success”.
But, do engaged employees really have to invest in their company relationship? Absolutely. That’s what makes it work. And, not just one employee, all employees. Here’s why:
A look at Wells Fargo’s approach
Wells Fargo is an American multinational banking and financial services holding company founded in 1852. Having been in business for more than a century, it’s safe to say they have learned a thing or two about achieving – and maintaining – success through varying economic cycles. How do they engage employees? It’s no surprise they have started using the social approach, an online, employee-focused practice to develop relationships and foster collaboration.
Following a sizeable corporate merger several years ago, Wells Fargo’s VP of Internal Collaboration, Kelli Carlson-Jagersma, introduced the use of social media as a community-based method to integrate employees across teams and functions. It was not as a replacement for their employee intranet and email. Instead, it was a tool which served to take their passive employee participation beyond simply reviewing company information to a new level of involvement – investing time in their relationship with the company and one another. Within an online community, employees became active “investors” in idea sharing, project collaboration, and problem solving on an easy and attractive platform.
Wells Fargo started with pilot exercises using Jive and Salesforce Chatter with three major use cases and 350 team members. Over time, the knowledge sharing and collaboration spread to other areas of the company, becoming the primary means to ask questions and obtain information about best practices for mentoring, servicing customer inquiries, and other areas.
But the key to creating their employee-focused social media program was not limited to the choice of tool alone. It was about establishing a real and shared purpose between the employees and the business activity. The approach was to meet employees where they were and inspire the first steps of a shared, more involved experience. This “team member connection”, as Wells Fargo terms their employee relationships, was rated as 8:1 (eight engaged employees for every disengaged one) in a 2014 voluntary employee survey. This compared to 7:1 in 2013.
Wells Fargo appears to be doing something right. After all, their business started with a stagecoach for transportation – and today uses social media for instant, multi-site, multi-employee collaboration.
Lessons for others
Observations by Kelli Carlson-Jagersma about what works in Wells Fargo’s approach are included from her presentation, “Internal Social Media Collaboration – The Enterprise is Social, Now What?” at the Chicago Social and Mobile Financial Services Leadership Forum.
Whether working within a large legacy company or a smaller organization, it would seem the most important aspect of employee engagement is developing their relationship with the company. Using social media can make it simple by meeting employees where they are, with an easy and attractive medium rooted in the existing company culture.
An online interview with Kelli Carlson-Jagersma has been requested via Wells Fargo.
Submitted by: C. Laughren, University of Waterloo
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