The new MSLGROUP’s Quarterly is dedicated Â to employee engagement. They’ve asked me to write an article about this topic and the shift related to the socialization of the uses in companies. Here is my article, you’ll find the quarterly at the end of this post.
No man is an island, and no company either. Megatrends, like the downturn, digital, new generations and instability, show that the world is shifting and companies have to evolve too, to survive. Evolve means become more digital about customer experience and employee engagement, and a changing business model.
Last year, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value could be unlocked in just four sectors by products and services that enable social interactions in the digital realm. De facto, former CEO of Burberry Angela Ahrendts, who is moving to Apple to head retail, wonders how companies will survive without becoming digital and social.
For this article we are going to focus on the internal part â€“ employee engagement.
Employee engagement is not simple
We are no more in an industrial world where an employee runs repetitive tasks â€“ most are now automated. Today, added value is more about autonomy, creativity, innovation andÂ nimbleness.Â Your employee has to be engaged, not justÂ present.
But many studies show that more than 70% of the employees are disengaged and at the same time 75% of CEO expect from their employees to be collaborative. Schizophrenic? Maybe. But thatâ€™s why you really need to engage your employees to be social. Transforming an organization it is not a question of technology, itâ€™s aboutÂ establishing new relationships based on trust and transparency. But of course, you canâ€™t ignore the existing processes, and even if a decision is taken at the highest level, it takes time and often pain to come to life.
You are not a start-upâ€¦
You are not a start-up and canâ€™t set up again from scratch. As Pascal Picq shows with the triangle adaptations in his book, A paleoanthropologist in enterprise: adaptÂ and innovate to survive, a company is based on a triangle : processes, history, structure
We can rework processesâ€˜easilyâ€™, buy historyÂ represents the culture of the company andÂ its identity and cannot be shaken just likeÂ that. Similarly, the formal and informalÂ relationships structures of the organizationÂ cannot simply be ignored. This is true at allÂ levels of the organization.Â â€œMake a clean sweep of the pastâ€ remainsÂ an ineffective slogan in this regard. ChangeÂ takes time, and must be brought about step Â by stepwith all stakeholders (who do notÂ necessarily have the same vision).
â€¦But it doesnâ€™t mean you canâ€™tÂ change
When companies think about change, theyÂ often fail to think out-of-the-box. CompaniesÂ shouldnâ€™t just wonder why their businessÂ works like it does. Then they should dream ofÂ things that never were and ask â€˜why not.â€™JustÂ imagine what their business will look like inÂ five years:structures and practices that lookÂ nothing like the current corporate modelÂ but focus on the value chain and customerÂ relationships.Â When you interrogate companiesâ€™Â histories you find that theyÂ have shifted and taken risksÂ multiple times, to transformÂ their processes and structures toÂ adapt.
Today, C-suites are totally focused on theÂ economic downturn. If social can be part ofÂ the answer, itâ€™s a mid/long term view, notÂ really a short one. But companies need to setÂ up a long-term vision and strategy too. Yes,Â a digital transformation can unsettle someÂ employees and part of the management, butÂ the actual situation is already unstable andÂ wonâ€™t slow down. Employee disengagementÂ is one of the most important warning signs ofÂ that situation. And yes, climbing the maturity Â curve can take long. For the moment, mostÂ of the companies (and competition) areÂ walking, sometimes stumbling, but soonÂ they are going to run. Mistakes that areÂ forgivable today wonâ€™t be in the future.
(Re)Engage your employees
Companies must have an approach thatÂ combines both short-term and long-term.Â Showing employees that the company isÂ not only focusing on cost killing, but alsoÂ has a long term vision where employees areÂ central is a strong signal, one that opensÂ perspectives and allows for commitmentÂ between organization and employees.Â The issue is not about adding complexity,Â but focus on central points to spark a move.Â When you look at these central points aroundÂ disengagement, you can see that a socialÂ approach can be part of the answer.
- comes from lack of information,Â consultation, autonomy andÂ understanding of changes imposed
- affects relationship with others (focus,Â help, team leadership, communication,Â recognition)
- affects relationship with managementÂ (understanding of the vision, strategyÂ implementation, confidence / image)
- leads to a sense of isolation, lonelinessÂ and lack of recognition
By being social and using social tools,Â management will be able to communicateÂ more easily, share and cascade information,Â explain the vision and decisions, take intoÂ account employeeâ€™s suggestions, andÂ improve listening skills. All this results inÂ greater transparency â€“ everyone can seeÂ that they are not the only ones facing issues,Â and anyone can find answers through theÂ enterprise network. Transparency will alsoÂ highlight the investment of everyone andÂ allow a greater recognition of each one.
Social tools have existed for years now.Â The crux of the issue is willingness â€“ areÂ businesses willing to be social?
Here is the Quarterly