Employee Engagement: The Real Social Network

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Never in the history of mankind have we seen a more socially connected and technologically savvy generation as the millenials. Their new approach to communication and the speed with which it happens is having a huge influence on workforces around the world, from traditional First World economies to developing countries like India and China. With dramatic increase in business pace, faster time-to-market, innovations, and need for higher productivity, millennials are becoming a critical part of the work force.

As you’ve no doubt experienced, the way people work has undergone a paradigm shift, fuelled by rapid technology advancements. Work-from-Anywhere is becoming increasingly prevalent and globally-dispersed teams are the norm. Nowadays, social networking is not just an integral part of personal lives but it’s a part of our corporate cultures as well, driving a tremendous change in the workforce dynamics.

Going forward, organizations must leverage crowdsourcing platforms for gaining more traction as a way to get work done and drive results. Work teams with members across the globe can collaborate with each other to work on existing projects or build new ones. Soon, one would see work being handled by a remote workforce that is present only for transaction purposes.

In the light of these changes, organizations are being forced to rework their employee engagement and performance management strategies. Some key changes that are being made on these fronts are:

  • Continuous Performance Management: Performance management can no longer afford to be a once-a-year affair. Today’s work culture demands giving a regular feedback to employees to help them evolve and grow faster. It should help to track feedback & ratings, generate performance charts, and provide analytics that can guide employees to plan their future performance. Even managers need to change their mindsets and adopt the continuous performance management process which requires them to be transparent and data driven.
  • Employee Engagement Strategy: Employees today are engaged in social networking, which is continuous as well as technology driven. They do not have the patience to sit through a once-a-quarter town hall or skip level meeting. They expect employee engagement mechanisms to be dynamic and have a cool factor, just like the way they experience on social networks.
  • Socially yours: Organizations may devise mechanisms which mirror engagement styles of social networks. E.g. generating employees’ feedback through a system that allows them to express their likes or dislikes. Similarly, organizations may place mood indicators on intranet pages to understand employees’ emotions. If an employee shows negative mood on a regular basis, it will serve as an alert to the HR team to reach out and understand the employee’s problem. This could become an interesting way to address employees’ morale issues.

These are only some of the ways organizations should leverage emerging technology platforms to increase employee involvement and ownership in corporate activities. As with any new paradigm there will be some bumps in the road but the end result will be better communication. But remember, the onus falls on everybody. Employees will be expected to leverage the platforms to become engaged and HR will have to engage employees on the platforms where they are!

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