• Jul 2014
  • How HR can Align Employee Engagement to Business Success

    HR and FinanceAs a professional who leads HR communication and strategy, discussions on how to analyze, increase and measure employee engagement are a regular part of my meetings with HR executives and senior leadership. And what I've come to realize is that employee engagement means different things to different people... and how you achieve engagement has differing thoughts as well. But a common theme that surfaces in all my conversations is how to equate an engaged workforce to being successful as business? For some companies, engagement means providing the tools necessary to be more collaborative (Sharepoint). For others, it's a workforce that is more communicative (Yammer). And still, for other companies, engagement is based solely on the response rates and/or data collected from employee surveys. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, these are all important aspects of employee engagement, but they do not paint the entire picture.  What I'm finding out is that just because you increase employee engagement initiatives, it doesn't mean those efforts translate into an  increase in business results. And I am not the only who feels this disconnect. My leadership wants to see results. And I know yours does too. In fact, recent research by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) shows that employees are more engaged than ever, but they are less focused and do not feel aligned with corporate objectives. So for those of you who rely solely on employee engagement surveys to help measure engagement, it alone is insufficient in driving business performance. In today’s world, the way people work has fundamentally changed and organizations are more challenged than ever to achieve business priorities. And according to the CEB, a big part of the answer is that the global work environment has fundamentally changed in recent years. CEB research identifies the following trends:

    • Decision making is more complex. Fifty percent of employees say more people are involved in decisions than there were just three years ago.
    • Work requires more collaboration. Sixty percent of employees need to coordinate with at least 10 people to complete their day-to-day work; 30% of employees need to coordinate with 20 or more.
    • Work is more global and virtual. Fifty-seven percent of employees say they are doing more work with colleagues in other locations.
    • Work is more matrixed. Sixty-seven percent of employees say they are working with people from different teams and departments. Multiple dotted line reporting structures are common.
    • Change is endemic and more frequent. Sixty-three percent of employees report that organizational objectives are changing more often than they were three years ago; 56% of organizations have experienced significant changes in the previous 12 months.
    These realities make it more difficult for employees—however engaged they might be—to apply their energies in ways that matter and drive toward success. HR is in a unique, enviable position to help the organization achieve its most critical business priorities. Because your functional area touches every business unit at your organization, you sit at the center of the C-suite, with the influence to leverage your workforce survey in a powerful way. But while  surveys are good, they are not the same as listening to employees and helping them understand how they individually contribute to business success. This can either create a dilemma or an incredible opportunity for HR to make significant contributions to helping an organization achieve its business strategy. So how can HR help? First and foremost, the key is for HR to see the potential of everyone around them and ask, “How can we, and they, add value?” That kind of thinking will earn HR a seat at the table in all organizational conversations. Second, HR can leverage its expertise to deepen its involvement in the organization by grooming new managers, translating employee engagement into actionable items, enhancing its interface with operations and linking HR metrics to business performance. And finally, make sure your HR Dashboard contains metrics that connect to general operational measurements to show how the success of both correlate. Depending on the organization, different types of metrics will make a bigger impact when communicating to executives:
    • Organizations that want bottom-line growth: These are businesses focused on cost-cutting and delayering. HR should prioritize measuring transaction effectiveness, quality of execution and quality of learning or training. For example, how well does the company perform on-the-job training and informal learning in the context of downsizing?
    • Organizations that want top-line growth: These are businesses performing mergers and acquisitions, increasing new customers, expanding products and growing revenue. In these types of companies, HR must focus on the quality of direction and building big-picture strategic value.
    Content attribution to the Corporate Executive Board and Paycor

  • May 2014
  • Enabling The Social Workplace Through Social Technologies

    [caption id="" align="alignright" width="240"] Image courtesy of equatehr[/caption] Through my own conversations, I have seen a shift in the C suite towards having a better understanding that social technology is no longer a “nice to have” but a “must have” in today’s results-driven workplace. There has been significant growth in the deployment of cohesive social platforms as a communications tool to help employees not only understand how their individual role contributes to overall business success but also as a valuable information tool for knowledge sharing and collaboration activities. However, while "72 percent of companies use social technologies in some way, very few are anywhere near to achieving the full potential benefit. In fact, the most powerful applications of social technologies in the global economy are largely untapped. Companies will go on developing ways to reach consumers through social technologies and gathering insights for product development, marketing, and customer service. Yet the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) finds that twice as much potential value lies in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within and across enterprises. MGI’s estimates suggest that by fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25 percent." [source: McKinsey - The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies] For example, take the employee portal (intranet): A valuable tool for employees as a resource of knowledge and information. But, still today, there are many companies who approach the employee portal as a social collaboration tool. A good approach for many companies and, to be honest, I've seen a social portal launched quite successfully within many companies. But, I work in a corporate environment where the C suite isn't satisfied with a "social / collaboration" tool. Rather, the employee portal needs to solve for something bigger and more comprehensive. For example, a more comprehensive approach to an effective employee portal, especially one that needs budget support (and which one doesn't!?)  means that it must be more than a social tool. It must be something that enables employees to get their every day tasks done resulting in higher levels of productivity. But it's not just the C suite who demands this. As Appirio says, "today’s workforce is demanding a consumer-grade intranet experience to access business applications, corporate services, and bring about new levels of collaboration using social and mobile tools in the workplace. Cloud, mobile and social technologies make it possible to create an intranet that provides anytime, anywhere access to organizational information, knowledge, expertise, and tools—all designed with the employee experience in mind." [ Appirio: Social Intranet by Appirio] I've written previously about the importance of creating a social intranet where employees can learn, plan and do their work and personal lives. That is, an employee portal that is not just a communications and information vehicle, but one that is transactional as well. I would even take this one step further by emphasizing that through the application of social technologies, that traditional HR transactions can be transformed into interactions. With today's technology and available platforms, companies have a unique opportunity to transform portals that have previously been very one-way communication tools and turn them into two-way conversations and interactions -- from corporate information to knowledge sharing to employee and manager data management to all facets of HR program tools. That's why I love this report from Appirio which really provides companies with a better understanding of employee portals today. In conjunction with IHRIM, they found that while few companies have social intranets today, those that offer social or mobile features in their intranet are able to dramatically increase employee engagement and HR effectiveness. You can read the report in its entirety, but the highlights are available in the infographic created by Appirio below. [caption id="attachment_5917" align="alignnone" width="600"]The State of the Employee Portal - by Appirio The State of the Employee Portal - by Appirio[/caption] I hope that this information helps illustrate why an effective employee portal isn't just about being social. Rather, it's about enablement and productivity that facilitates social collaboration and interactions. The result of which is a more productive and engaged workforce. If you are interested in learning more, I invite you to come hear me speak at the Talent Management Associations' Employee Engagement & Retention conference where I will be speaking about the transformation of HR transactions into HR interactions through social technology, and how the roadmap for doing so is based on the employee lifecycle.

  • Mar 2014
  • 2014 CMO's Guide to Social Platforms

    Since 2010, CMO has released its annual infographic that highlights the social platforms that matter to marketers. For this year's guide, teamed with data visualization specialist to help with both content and design. For 2014, the Big Four are joined by newcomer SlideShare, 2013 entries Google+ and Pinterest, and Instagram, which makes its second appearance since2012. As in past years, each platform is evaluated by four key criteria: SEO, brand awareness, customer communication, and traffic generation, with performance compared with the past two years (except in cases where the platform was not previously included).

    It's  a valuable year-round resource--and one worth sharing with co-workers and colleagues. 2014 CMO's Guide to Social Platforms Attribution: The 2014 CMO's Guide To The Social Landscape

  • Employees Are Your Best Brand Advocates #infographic

    Why is it so important to leverage your employees as brand advocates? Because they're TWICE as trusted as your C-level executive! Employee Advocates are Hiding Super Powers Infographic by @socialchorus

  • Building A Social Business - It's Not Just About Technology

    The 8 Step Guide to Building a Social Workplace While social business has become a hot buzzword over the last few years, the evidence of success has been hard to capture and measure. Successes are much more clearly identified and defined when it comes to technology and collaboration platform adoption, but much the lines become more blurry when it comes to emotional, cultural impacts and business successes as a result of becoming a social workplace. It's no wonder that the industry has entered what Gartner refers to as the trough of disillusionment. Consultant Adi Gaskell wrote The 8 Step Guide to Building a Social Workplace which reviews current trends that promise to make our workplaces more social – ranging from open innovation to crowd funding – but also identifies eight key levers that should be used to sculpt a social workplace. The general thesis is that there are many facets of the systems within which we all work each day, whether it's how we're rewarded, what things are measured or how decisions are made. These things, taken collectively, therefore influence the way we behave at work. If you want to change behaviour therefore, you need to change the system so that it encourages those behaviors. The guide goes on to highlight some examples of how this might be achieved for each of the eight levers:

    • Measurement Lever: research reveals how lighting and even sound can influence our work behaviors.
    • People Lever: job descriptions play a major role in work behavior, and whether they allow enough time or scope for us each to help our colleagues and contribute to other projects inside our organizations.
    • Measurement Lever: challenges faced when seeking to measure the impact of collaboration or innovation, and how organizations can look to overcome some of those challenges by determining the right sort of things to measure in the first place.
    There are a number of interesting case studies and best practice examples, ranging from the Idea Jams implemented so successfully at IBM to how Telus applied the people lever to promote collaboration. Overall, it’s interesting insight into how to make social business work, and comes very much as the enterprise 2.0 wave shifts its focus from to culture and behaviour. You can purchase the book online , or check out the contents and executive summary below.

  • Feb 2014
  • Why Employee Voice Results in Employee Engagement #infograph ...

    The value of the voice of the employee is something I've been passionate about for some time. I love this infographic because it provides clear proof points as to why it's so important to keep employees informed and how doing so results in higher employee engagement.

    Attribution: Kevin Ruck, Exploring Internal Communications

    The Importance of Employee Voice

    Kevin Ruck is a founding director of PR Academy, which provides qualifications and training in all aspects of internal communication and PR. He initiated and designed the internal comms qualifications accredited by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Kevin is presently doing a Phd in the measurement of internal communication. He is a regular speaker and author on all aspects of internal comms.

  • Overworked Employees Impact Your Bottom Line #infographic

    "Employee Overloaded" How Overworked Employees Can Impact Your Business' Bottom Line via @Barbelo_Group

    "Employee Overloaded" How Overworked Employees Can Impact Your Business' Bottom Line via @Barbelo_Group

  • Engaged employees key to building a lucrative base of loyal ...

    Guest post by: David Bator, Vice President Client Strategy, TemboSocial TemboStatus_-_An_eBook_on_setting_the_groundwork_for_changePoor customer service and huge profits usually don't go hand in hand. Rather, when consumers are provided inadequate support, they are likely to take their business elsewhere. Although the service landscape is changing with the advent of new social media and interactive tools, quality support is not confined to the help desk. Any organization that provides any type of service can see sales decline if employee performance lags. Just as a customer will be unhappy if a service agent can't answer a simple question, a company involved in a business-to-business relationship would likely be unsatisfied if a PR partner is unable to contain a negative story. In the simplest sense, quality is money. But how do businesses ensure they are able to create a staff that is willing to go the extra mile to keep clients happy? One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to take proactive steps to boost employee engagement levels. When professionals are not motivated to succeed, they are more likely to produce average work, which will do little to help a company grow. However, by investing in software solutions that are able to get employees more excited to consistently perform at a high level, businesses can benefit. With social engagement programs that reward and track performance, co-workers can compare and compete against each other in a healthy work environment. It's this type of proactive work that can take companies to the next level to better serve clients. Business success isn't everything According to Forbes, employees don't simply engage more with their work when profits are high or the business is growing. Rather, they are more likely to produce better results when levels of organizational commitment are high. In turn, the source suggested engaged employees are more able to meet customer demands, making clients more satisfied. Although the source noted that data from a study of retail bank employees published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found enterprise performance can motivate employees, it's a temporary engagement. "Results indicated that organizational commitment had a more persistent influence on performance at the business unit level than vice versa," the report stated, according to Forbes. "Consistent with prior research, this suggests that job attitudes may come first, and that practitioners might be well advised to aim to improve job attitudes in order to boost performance." After less than a year, the source indicated that employees stop being motivated by corporate success. Rather, they value a social workplace that embraces a collaborative approach and positive attitudes. For this reason, engagement software to manage talent is a must for modern companies. The financial benefit of loyal customers Despite the fact the Forbes noted a more engaged workforce can provide better customer service, some executives may still be hesitant to invest in software solutions that facilitate engagement. However, by doing so, they are destroying their chances of building a loyal and lucrative base of loyal customers. MarketingProfs recently cited data from FiveStars that found loyal customers make up only 20 percent of a company's entire customer group. However, they are responsible for 80 percent of revenues and 72 percent of all visits. Also, the source found that VIP and loyalty program customers are 70 percent more likely to recommend a brand or company than normal consumers. While 65 percent of returning customers want access to coupons and promotions, 99 percent of new customers ignore such campaigns. Returning customers should be treated as walking advocates for a brand, as well as a major source of revenue. Focus on customers by focusing on employees Some businesses may struggle to find ways to make consumers more interested in their products. However, as both sources showed, it may be a better idea for companies to get employees more interested in what they offer. An engaged employee is one who will produce better work for clients. Potentially, this will allow enterprises to boost customer retention rates, as well as their bottom lines. So you recognize that changes need to happen, but putting that change into action is easier said than done. Many times organizations jump head first into new initiatives without doing the necessary groundwork; these initiatives are often destined to fail. In order to improve the likelihood that your change efforts will be successful, there are eight stages that should be followed:

    1. Create a sense of urgency - Evaluate the competitive market to determine where potential crises may occur and what opportunities are being missed - Convince others that the status quo is more dangerous than making changes
    2.  Create a guiding team - Create a group of individuals who share your commitment for change and who have sufficient power to influence others
    3. Create a vision - Create a vision to drive change and identify strategy for realizing this vision
    4. Communicate a vision - Use multiple methods and channels to communicate the vision and strategies to achieve it and have the guiding team and change agents model the new behaviors/changes
    5. Empower action -  Remove obstacles that undermine the vision and encourage risk taking and new ideas and ways of doing things
    6. Create short-term wins - Define what performance improvements look like and recognize and reward individuals contributing to improvements
    7. Don't let up - Use credibility from early successes to change systems, structures and policies that undermine change efforts - Reinvigorate the change process with new projects
    8. Make change last - Articulate the connection between new behaviors/change and organization success
    For more information on the 8 critical steps to sustaining change after your employee survey, check out this TemboStatus ebook as it sets the groundwork for change and gives clear pitfalls to avoid. TemboStatus is all-in-one employee engagement software for HR professionals. We take you beyond survey results and recommendations and offer the actual tactics you need to move the needle on engagement. David Bator is passionate about programs that move people. As Vice President of Client Strategy, David leads TemboSocial’s Conversation Consultants, a group responsible for helping clients leverage TemboSocial’s tools to interactively engage and share knowledge with employees and customers alike. Follow David on Twitter: TemboSocialDB.

  • Dec 2013
  • 10 Ways to Inspire Employee Loyalty and Commitment

    How to Build Successful Employee EngagementImproving Employee Engagement is not the product of one initiative. Organizations need a framework to achieve significant improvement in engagement. Sequencing and content of the initiative are critical, as is communication. There have been many traditional approaches to improving Employee Engagement, including Leadership Training, Company-wide ‘Programs,’ Learning & Development and other such initiatives. Given the experiences of the traditional approaches outlined above, most organizations struggle to shift Employee Engagement more than a couple of percentage points. In discussing this with CEOs, as well as Human Resources and Organizational Development Executives, it became clear that new approaches were required to create a significant shift in Employee Engagement. With old or new approaches, the factors that need to be addressed remain the same:

    • Job Importance: An employee needs to know how their job is important to the organization.
    • Clarity of what is expected of them: Employees need to know what their manager expects of them.
    • Career Advancement: Employees want to know that there is a fair and equitable system for career advancement and that, if they perform, they will be considered for advancement.
    • Improvement and Reward: Employees want to make improvements to the organization and, if they do, would like to be compensated where possible (a reward and a sincere thank-you).
    • Regular Feedback: Employees want to know when they, the department and the organization are doing well (or not so well).
    • Good Relationship: Employees want to communicate with their manager, even if the news is not good.
    • Clear values: Employees want to know the values and behaviors that will be looked upon favorably; they don’t want to be left in a vacuum to guess.
    • Good Communications: Employees want to know what is happening so they’re not the last to find out important information.
    In order to address the above needs, the solution needs to incorporate all of the above factors – and then some. The following infographic, designed by Insightlink, is a 10-point outline of a comprehensive solution that addresses each of the major influencers outlined above. 10 Steps to Building Successful Employee Engagement #infographic by Insightlink via @socialworkplace Attribution: 10 Steps That Ensure Employee Engagement Success, Enterprise Engagement; Learn 10 Steps to Building Successful Employee Engagement, Insightlink

  • Five Recognition Myths that Hinder Employee Engagement | #in ...

    Employee Recognition | Image courtesy of @mcfrecognitionThe value of a measurable recognition strategy is far reaching for employers and by conquering common misconceptions, organizations can help elevate employee engagement and promote a more positive and productive workplace. In order to dispell common myths about workplace motivations, Michael C. Fina, a leading provider of global employee recognition and incentive programs,  recently released a Top 5 Myths of Employee Engagement infographic. “Employee engagement goes far beyond salary raises and bonuses—employers should take a close look at what motivates their unique employee base,” said Ashley Fina, president of Michael C. Fina. “Companies that make the commitment to recognize and show appreciation for employees are more likely to have a happy and inspired workforce.”

    Five Myths of Employee Engagement by @mcfrecognition | via @socialworkplace

    According to Michael C. Fina, the “Top 5 Myths of Employee Engagement” are: Myth 1:  Cash is king While salary and raises are important, intangible rewards like appreciation, recognition and career development are the most effective employee motivators. Myth 2: Recognition programs offer little ROI Research from The Forum shows that when organizations formally engage employees they can help increase ROI by more than 20 percent. Myth 3: High performers don’t need extra motivation Even high performers can become unhappy or uninspired at work. Recognition initiatives should engage them on a personal level. Myth 4: Managers know how to engage employees Don’t assume that managers know how to engage employees. Instead, managers need formal training related to employee engagement. Myth 5: Millennials are difficult to engage According to research from Robert Half International, Millennials benefit from formal employee engagement strategies including recognition programs. In fact, Millennials put a high value on employee engagement, work/life balance and working for organizations and managers they like and respect. Michael C. Fina’s “5 Myths of Employee Engagement” can be downloaded at About Michael C. Fina Michael C. Fina is a leading provider of global employee recognition and incentive programs that not only align with core values and business goals, but also inspire people to do great things. With a focus on personal service, the company's recognition and incentive programs help organizations develop more inspired relationships with their employees. Headquartered in New York since 1935, Michael C. Fina is family-owned and operated and certified by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council.

  • Nov 2013
  • The Dollars and Sense of Employee Happiness

    Yesterday, I wrote a post on how you are in charge of your own employee happiness, so this recent post and infographic by on the high cost of unhappy employees is timely and relevant. As writes, unhappy employees have a direct impact on the financial success of the business so it only makes sense that companies evaluate how best to create a balanced culture and workplace that recognizes, develops and connects employees. According to the State of the American Workplace, a 2013 Gallup study, seven out of 10 workers in the US say they aren’t fully engaged at work, meaning they aren’t working to their fullest potential. The resulting loss of productivity can cost companies between $450-$500 billion a year. We have seen reports on how employees who aren't happy with their supervisors claim that they’re disengaged and ultimately less productive, how new hires quit or are fired within their first 18 months, and how all of this churn costs as high as 100-300 percent of the departed employee’s base salary. On the flip side, satisfied employees perform an average of 20 percent better than their dissatisfied counterparts, are 87 percent less likely to change companies, may outperform their competitors by as much as 202 percent, and employees who are content have 31 percent higher productivity, generate 37 percent more sales, and are three times more creative than their disengaged counterparts. Savvy employers are also paying attention to their employees personal needs:

    • Recognition: Workforce Mood Tracker survey found that 69 percent of employees have said that they’ll work harder for a company that recognizes their achievements.
    • Work / Life balance: Net Impact found that 88 percent of employees polled believe it’s crucial to have a healthy work/life balance, as well as a positive atmosphere in the workplace.
    • Collaboration: Jobsite UK found that 70 percent of polled employees say that cultivating friendships at work generates a positive influence on their productivity and happiness.
    • Personal Development: Gallup found that managers and supervisors would do well to focus on their employees’ individual strengths, as this can ultimately double the number of satisfied, happy employees.
    What does all of this say about employee morale and how it affects productivity? Plenty, according to the statistics. That’s why savvy business owners are paying more attention to the concept of creating a corporate culture/workplace climate that’s conducive to overall employee satisfaction. Implementing these changes may cost a bit more time and money, but, according to the wealth of research being done, the payback can be invaluable, not just in terms of employee retention, but also productivity and earnings.

    The Dollars and Sense of Employee Happiness [#infographic]

    Original Source: The High Cost of Unhappy Employees [INFOGRAPHIC]

  • You Are in Charge of Your Own Employee Happiness

    There is so much conversation lately around employee engagement and how to make employees happy and I fullheartedly embrace and participate in all of it. There's also the sentiment that having an engaged workforce doesn't necessarily mean that you have a happy workforce -- which is absolutely true as well. Afterall, employee engagement and job satisfaction do not necessarily equate to employee happiness. And why is that? Because employee happiness isn't a solution. It's a result. It's the result of  management and employees striving to communicate, interact and develop our individual talents and coming together to create a high-performing company overall. As a senior leader in my own organization, I want my employees to be happy. I want them to be engaged. I want them to be productive and successful. But I also tell my employees something very important...  to be a happy employee, you also need to be a happy person. Said in another way.. the happiness of the Whole is dependent on the happiness of the Parts. So control your own part. Do what's right for YOU, and then you will have the tools you need to do what's right for your work. So sometimes it's nice to have a gentle reminder that as people, individuals, and contributors, we are all in charge of our happiness, our own development. Take for instance this recent post on Entrepreneur. Written by an entrepreneur but relevant to everyone... here are ten ways to being a happy person so that you can set the foundation to being a happy employee. Without balance, happiness is elusive.... Sometimes we wonder -- for whom are we doing this? And, I have one answer: You’re doing it for you. 1. Unplug. The wired world connects us in wonderful and unimaginable ways, but there’s a lot of to be said for the real world. You have to learn to let go. Set aside the phone and laptop and carve out quality time with the people who really matter to you. At the end of the day, they are the only definition of what’s real. Time is actually our greatest virtue. Cherish each of these real moments. 2. Keep learning. At 16, I dropped out of high school, but I never stopped learning. On the contrary, that’s when I learned how to learn. Feeding the brain is a strong component to happiness. Never rest on your laurels. Always look for ways to give more than what's expected of you. Challenge yourself. Open your mind and keep it open. And remember: There is nothing you can’t do. When others see obstacles, look for opportunities. Dream big. Hustle more. 3. Give back. There's a quirky bumper sticker that asks people to "practice random acts of kindness." And there’s some truth to this life lesson, as long as it comes from the heart. It reminds you of the blessings you have and what you should be grateful for, including all the basic things we take for granted. It also allows you to contribute to something greater than yourself. Whatever you believe in -- a higher power, the law of attraction or just karma -- this will further fuel your success. 4. Don't overthink things. It's alright not to know all the answers. The answers will come to you when you least expect them. Trust your gut. We are complicated creatures. That inexplicable feeling you get sometimes tends to be right fairly often. Try not to overanalyze it. Some mysterious Inner You is trying to help out by pointing you in the right direction. Remember that time heals almost everything. Give it time. I can summarize this lesson in three simple words, Life Goes On. 5. Be grateful for what you have. The only person in charge of your happiness is you. You don't own all the problems in the world. Count your blessings, not your problems. Be grateful, because if you’re reading this, you're already way ahead of billions others in this world. It doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full; the only thing that matters is that you have a glass and you're responsible for what you pour into it. On the other hand, don't compare your life to others and don't judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about. So when things go wrong, just take a deep breath and remind yourself of your greater purpose. Purpose isn’t defined by what you want to achieve, but what you want to live for to achieve happiness. It also eliminates all fears. And, if you live a life with purpose, you’ll never be bored. 6. Relationships are everything in life. You can always improve your connection to your loved ones. They teach us to become better people, to become the best possible version of ourselves and remind us what’s worth fighting for. They are also our biggest fans during our ups and supporters during our down moments. 7. Make piece [sic: peace] with your past. Don't let it disturb your present. Own your mistakes. At the end of the day, every decision you make, even the bad ones, are your responsibility. Nobody wins when you start looking for someone to blame, so stop looking and keep moving. Forward movement is the key. You will have bad days and more than your fair share of failures. But, it’s really about getting back on your feet, dusting yourself off, and getting on with this business of living. That’s the Big Secret of Life. You fall down, you get up. 8. Stop worrying what people think of you. Live in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, no one would believe it. Don’t succumb yourself to a world where you are constantly consumed with wondering what people think. What matters most is what you think of yourself and if you're projecting a life you are proud of. 9. Don't hold grudges. We all run into people in our lives who test us, use and disappoint us, but revenge doesn’t serve a purpose. At the end of the day, we are all characters of a complicated universe. Why complicate it further by letting vengeance devour your day. If you forgive, you learn and move on. 10. Be authentic. Too many people try to fake who they really are. At the end of the day, it’s about who the inner you is and what you contribute to society. Always surround yourself with people who want you to succeed. That seems simple on the surface, but until you get out there, in the real world, you will discover that most people are rooting for you to fail. Stay away from them. Authenticity is hard to find. But, when you do find it, hold on to it.

  • The Traits of a Social Employee

    As explained in the book, The Social Employee: How Great Companies Make Social Media Work, there can be no mistaking that brands’ relationships to both their customers and employees are changing. In the digital bazaar, the authentic voice of the social employee can be a brand’s most powerful asset in forging long-term, dynamic relationships with customers and other important members of online communities. So, how do you find your social employees? Employee engagement, their inclusion of their profession in social media, their commitment to the company, their ability to collaborate, their listening skills, their customer skills and their ability to influence change in the organization are all traits of a fantastic social employee. Here are seven distinct traits of a social employee:

    1. Engaged - take pride in their work and know that their contributions contribute to shareholder value.
    2. Integrates Personal and Professional - anticipates and even expects that work / life balance will be simplified through cloud and mobile technologies.
    3. Is a Corporate Storyteller - believe in their companies and don't hesitate in being a brand advocate.
    4. Born Collaborator - embraces and promotes a culture of sharing ideas and fostering creativity.
    5. A Good Listener - appreciates that effective listening is not waiting until it's"their turn to speak" but rather to ask clarifying questions and to offer feedback.
    6. Customer-Centric - doesn't just feel that the customer is "always right" but also understands that they represent the brand and therefore works to deliver meaningful outcomes.
    7. Empowered as Change Agents - a social business empowers the social employee to make positive change either by providing the right work tools or by listening to the employee voice.
    Check out the infographic below for more information on how to find your social employees. Now all you need to do is go find them! Source: Infographic: The 7 Traits of the Social Employee | Marketing Technology Blog

  • The Art of Corporate Storytelling

    Who doesn’t love a good story? I know I do. Especially one that inspires me to think differently or incites me to do something. I also like to find stories elsewhere... especially ones that have personal meaning to the people who tell it. Every company has a story and the best way tell it is through the people who LIVE it. In a recent post, O.C. Tanner says “every team has a narrative, and every company could do better at incorporating storytelling into recognizing their employees. Whether your company has an epic story, a storied history, or has a vision of the future, the way you recognize your employees’ efforts and contributions should be tied to the stories you tell. Take the chance to remember your employees efforts and how they fit into the story of where your company is going and how it will get there. Recall the times employees contributed their energy, time, and special resources to accomplish a project; it puts the story of their efforts into context, creating a narrative that gives the employee, and their colleagues not just satisfaction, but allows them to develop a passion for great work.” There has been a lot conversation lately regarding how best to recognize employees and how the use of social technologies helps to better facilitate this process. But don’t forget that storytelling is a tried and true classic that often gets lost in the digital shuffle. More than recognizing employees, storytelling can convey your company culture, highlight your products and services (and the people who work on them), drive engagement, demonstrate transparency, share knowledge, and also strengthen your values and credo. Storytelling evokes emotion and can be used to spark action, drive conversation, and to amplify the voice of the employee (internal communications) or customer (external communications). Most importantly, you "do not want to tell a beginning-to-end tale describing how results meet expectations. This is boring and banal. Instead, you want to display the struggle between expectation and reality in all its nastiness." Tell a truthful  story which means that while the story itself might not always be very pretty, the authenticity  of the story will produce positive results.

    The Story Tree

    When developing stories for internal and external use, it’s important to understand your story tree; that is, how the core story itself will be adapted for the appropriate internal versus external audiences. For consistency, you’ll want to follow this hub and spoke model to ensure that your story remains consistent across all audience and distribution channels. storytelling-tree

    Telling Your Story

    Building a good storytelling campaign isn’t as simple as putting pen to paper nor is it necessarily an exercise in creative writing. Rather, to tell a good story you must start with a thoughtfully designed strategy -- the structure of which is comprised of several dimensions: Storytelling dimensions
    1. Channel Delivery - will you distribute your story via online channels such as the corporate intranet, digital channels such as video or Yammer, or traditional channels such as printed posters / flyers? Or a combination of all of the above?
    2. Truth or Fiction - Your story should be told by the person best equipped and most knowledgeable to tell it. Leaders are great to use when communicating change management, but if you’re recognizing employees obviously it’s their story that should be told either through their own voice, their teams voice or by their leader. In addition, you should consider whether your story is built from real, personal experience or as a best practice or case study.
    3. Drivers and BarriersHow often will your story be told? As with any communications campaign, storytelling needs an execution plan. How often will you tell this story? Once? Monthly? Quarterly? If your story has several “chapters”, how will you tie your chapters together so that your audience understands that it’s a continuation of the same story versus a new one all together? What will be the process for collecting and selecting stories?
    4. Corporate versus Product - What is it you’re trying to achieve overall? Storytelling should not be your end goal. Rather, it is the means to which you will achieve it. Is the story a marketing tool? Communications tool? Are you conveying products and services? Trying to achieve a stronger brand? Driving change management? Recognizing employees?
    5. Target audience - As with any good story, if you don't know your audience, your story will not resonate. Your story should be personalized and/or customized to the audience who will be reading it to build relevancy and emotion. The story you tell to your external audience will differ, obviously, from the story you will share with your employees. Also, remember to tell your story in narrative language... stay away from corporate speak!

    “The Volvo Way”

    So putting all of the above together, you can craft a compelling corporate story, for both your internal and external audiences. There are a lot of really good corporate storytelling examples, but I really like this one from Volvo. The first Volvo car was finished in 1927, on the island of Hisingen in Gothenburg. Over the years, it evolved from a local manufacturing company to become “one of the world’s largest manufacturers” and on to be sold to the Ford Motor Company. The decisions in the corporation were, for the most part, made through a decentralized type of management and company focus was put on reaching long term objectives and strategies. In order to facilitate this type of management, the company considered it very important for employees to engage and participate in an active way. "The Volvo Way” became a collection of 35 stories told by employees from different companies within the Volvo Group in Gothenburg Sweden, Lyon France, Greensboro USA, Curitiba Brazil and Shanghai China. 107 employees told the stories based on eleven key values of the organization’s corporate culture. These stories are the employees’ own experiences of working in Volvo; these stories therefore reflect Volvo’s people, values and itself as an organization. The primary idea of “The Volvo Way Stories” was to support the organization’s corporate values and objectives, “The Volvo Way”, and to inspire people to transcend these values and goals into actions. A secondary benefit was that it also became a tool for unifying the organization, and creating a common culture and shared values among different companies. Moreover, it is a written dialogue and reference point for employees and leaders to discuss issues and areas needs to be improved. “The Volvo Way Stories” is about real people telling real stories; there are no cuts of the stories in order to keep their authenticity. Methodology To collect the stories, Volvo’s internal communications team firstly decided on what the values of the stories that were worth telling and employees could relate to. They then decided that the stories should be collected from different locations, in particular, Sweden, France, the US and China, in order to reflect different companies and variety of cultures within the Volvo Group. They also chose to go to plants with strong Volvo culture, as there is more potential of getting good stories. The Volvo team also found that the best stories were the ones from real people telling and sharing their own experiences -- employees weren't offered scripts or outlines. In essence, these stories were told by normal employees from their own personal experiences, not corporate theories; and consequently, people felt that they could relate to these employees and their stories. Volvo found that corporate storytelling illustrated that “our culture, in despite of which company, is what binds everyone together; and the stories employees told are their experiences based on the organization’s common values. For a large international organization like the Volvo Group, stories can help integrate different companies and achieve the goal of creating a common culture and shared values. This is exactly why the team in the Volvo Group started this project. So what’s your story? Feel free to share it! Sources:

  • Oct 2013
  • The 3 Common Time Wasters at Work – #Infographic

    No business can afford to have wasted time at work, especially when growth and profitability is directly tied to how productive your employees are. So check out this super cool infographic that identifies the top three reasons why people waste their time at work, so that you can find possible solutions to eliminating them:

    1. Chatting with co-workers was the number one biggest time waste
    2. Non-work related internet browsing like going to Facebook, Youtube etc
    3. Useless Meetings
    So how do you cut these time wasters at work? Infographic courtesy of [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The 3 Common Time Wasters at Work – #Infographic The 3 Common Time Wasters at Work – #Infographic[/caption]

  • Sep 2013
  • 10 Employee Engagement Ideas That Get Serious Results

    wpid-photo-may-8-2012-139-amIdea #1: Concentrate High-Engagement Leadership At The Employee Management Level

    Employee surveys consistently show that the single most important factor in employee engagement is an employee's relationship with his or her direct manager. In fact, employees don't leave companies; they leave their managers. And they're willing to do this despite tough economic conditions. According to HR Magazine, engaged employees perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave an organization. So, managers and team leaders need to become expert relationship builders and they need to learn how to nourish and sustain those relationships over time. Managers can build and maintain strong employee relationships at the employee level by: 1. Leading and coaching employees to success. Without employee performance coaching there can be no sustained employee engagement. Coaching is all about helping employees to become more effective in their roles both strategically, culturally and through performance. 2. Aligning employee goals to business outcomes. It's also about aligning and facilitating each employee's professional development and learning goals to the goals of the team and the organization. Employees need to know that they are working for their own goals as much as the organization's when they come into work each day. When they have this understanding, they also realize how their individual role impacts business profitability overall.

    Idea #2: Live Your Organization's Core Values

    Your organization's core values should be conducive to creating a work environment that enables active employee engagement and provide employees with opportunities to demonstrate the company's core values through their daily work. In high performing organizations, employees and leaders regularly refer to and use their core value statements as a real time compass and positive shaper of both formal environment and work life behaviors. For true leaders at every organizational level, the organization's core values are the moral, ethical and even spiritual law of the land. High engagement employees thrive on being treated fairly and honestly. Ask yourself:
    • Without checking, can you list your organization's core values -- the ones that are most related to building trusting manager/employee relationships?
    • Do your employees know these core values and understand their importance?
    • What values would you and your direct reports add to or change about that list?
    • What concrete steps are you taking to put these values into actions as a means of rewarding and recognizing your employees via formal and informal performance management processes?

    Idea #3: Recognize and Reward Your Employees

    The strongest organizational science is clearly teaching us that employee recognition simultaneously builds and maintains healthy employee/manager relationships and greatly impacts bottom-line performance. Organizations who actively recognize their employees see a 6% higher net profit margin over companies who don't. [ Towers Watson Study ] Doing effective employee recognition is all about implementing the "3 R's of employee rewards and recognition:"

    R1: The Right Kind of Behaviors -- Role Behaviors proven to meet clearly stated performance goals. Examples of clearly defined and communicated performance goals include:

    • Mastering a new work process or procedure,
    • Demonstrating a core cultural value in relation to co-workers
    • Meeting or exceeding work quality and quantity metrics
    • Solving a problem or challenge in a way that creates value for the organization

    R2. At the Right Times -- It turns out that the best time to provided effective employee recognition is right when the employee is doing or completing a performance goal.

    R3. In The Right Ways - Recognition is something that must happen consistently throughout the year and not just as an annual event. 43% of engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week compared to only 18% of employees with low engagement.

    Idea #4: See Your Employees as People Not as a Number

    Feeling valued, confident, inspired, enthused and empowered are the key emotions that lead to employee engagement. These emotions can't be fostered unless you build strong relationships with your employees and by seeing them as human beings. Actively engaged employees are fully aware and secure in the knowledge that their managers really know them and care about them as human beings. Employees thrive when managers really understand and connect with them through the lenses of their personal values, goals and passions. Aligning individual goals and organizational goals through shared values is one of the most important distinctions between real leadership and management. Key questions here include:
    • Do you or your team leaders really know what your employees are passionate about?
    • Do you know what they most value in life?
    • Do you know their most heartfelt career aspirations?
    • What steps are you taking to acknowledge, validate and coach towards the realization of these personal goals values and interests?

    Idea #5: Take a Genuine Interest in Employee Well-being

    The bottom line: A healthier happier employee is a more productive and engaged employee who sticks around for years and rarely misses work. Heightened employee well-being directly translates into increased employee engagement and performance. The world's leading organizations are growing and sustaining employee well-being through integrated work-life balance and innovative employee assistance programs. These wellness and support initiatives provide everything from personal money management to professional counseling with relationship, parenting and stress management experts. They also provide employees with flex time planning and work from home options towards maximizing work life balance in an ever increasing world of stress and responsibility. Can you think of a better way to show genuine interest and concern at the employee manager interface than to help solve serious stress, parenting, marriage, family and money problems?

    Idea #6: Support and Facilitate Workplace Giving

    Many employees have a shared need to know that their work is making a positive difference in the world and to their fellow human beings. High performance organizations identify and facilitate ways for their employees to give back to the community as a function of their work -- running employee driven community assistance, volunteering and go-green programs. The most effective workplace giving programs allow individual employee's and teams to define the why, the how and the when of giving back. They also provide solid tools and processes for formally meeting co-created community giving goals.

    Idea #7: Channel Positive Relationship Energy into Performance Supporting Structures and Processes

    Now that you understand the importance of building strong positive relationships and organizational bonding at the employee/manager level,  the next question becomes what do you do with all this new positive relationship energy and employee motivation to generate results driven organizational performance? Again, help employees understand how their behaviors align with performance goals. It's really a cascading effect: senior leadership  identify the over-arching business objectives for the organization, managers then take these objectives and create more focused goals for their teams, and then employees, in partnership with their managers, need to establish their individual goals. The performance management process is crucial to facilitating this process. SMART Goal: In general, help employees establish personal goals by using the using the SMART methodology:

    Specific -- Goals are objective, clearly stated and very specific.

    Measurable -- The goal's progress is measurable in terms of objective and easily share-able quantity quality and time measures.

    Attainable -- It's one that you can actually achieve and is realistic. High performing organizations don't reward goals attainment that is outside of the control of employees or team members. They primarily define, recognize and reward goals that are within the complete control of a given employee's control.

    Relevant -- This is where the organizational performance dimension comes into play. Goals need to be clearly linked to meaningful business or positive organizational outcomes. Key questions here include:

    • To what extend is this goal creating value?
    • To what extend is it reducing costs or increasing product and service quality to internal and external customers?

    Time Bound -- The question here becomes: When will the particular task, project or goal be completed? Not only does time-limiting a goal facilitate performance by reducing wasted time, but it enables for time based process and quality improvements as well.

    Setting time bound goals also enables managers to precision target their recognition and reward efforts on employee behaviors that approximate, meet and exceed clearly predefined expectations.

    Idea #8: Increase Employee Involvement

    Only 27% of employees feel they are involved in the important decisions made by their organizations. Yet the bottom line is that increased employee involvement = increased employee engagement. Employees are more likely to  buy into and feel a motivation-enhancing sense of ownership for goals when they play a major role in creating them versus feeling that they are simply executing someone else's vision. In short, it evokes a sense of ownership and shareholder stake in the success of the business. Idea #9: Harness the Incredible Power of Teamwork Whenever Possible The essence of operating as a high-performing team and using team-based organizational design is that you already have all of the basic ingredients needed to capitalize on active employee engagement. For example, effective teams must communicate, collaborate and interact with each other in order to meet their goals and objectives. Effective team leaders know how to instill trust in their teams so that each employee can work with each other and share work, they also know how to reduce conflict by helping each member of the team to get to know one another better and to understand each other's personalities, and finally, good leaders know how to increase collaborative efforts by conferring with each other and valuing each other's opinions. Really high performance teams actually distribute the leadership role among team members, taking on and relinquishing the leadership role based on the team's current performance goals and by recognizing and leveraging the "superpowers" of each team member.

    Idea #10: Hire Based on Core Values and Leadership Skills First and For Optimal Work-Role Compatibility or Management Skills Second

    The world's leading high engagement organizations hire for leadership potential as expressed in individual values that align with core organizational values. Finding employees who will fit into the company's culture is more important than hiring based on work role competency. For example, a high performing team is a direct result of the leader who manages it. The best managers have personalities that are predisposed to the role:  strong work ethic, natural leadership, genuine interest in helping others, and intent on finding the right solutions. Underperforming, low-engagement organizations, on the other hand, continue to hire managers primarily based on their work skills rather than their demonstrated capacity for leadership effectiveness. These are the organization's who are most likely to be hemorrhaging top talent. These are the same managers who can't tell you what their organization's core values are or why each value is most critical in continuously guiding and shaping a real high-engagement organization through expert relationship building and maintenance. What are your organization's core values? What is the best example of when you consciously made a leadership decision today, that was in complete alignment with those values? A version of this post originally appeared in The Person 2 Person Engagement Blog

  • Intranet Revolution: 5 Tips to Stay Up-to-Date

    We came across this post by Andrea Mollett, associate at Standing Partnership, and thought we'd share it. Enjoy! 280_0_3808446_340818Like all things digital, intranets have changed dramatically over the last decade. The first intranet I worked on launched in 2007. So much has changed from that basic online repository of news and documents. Intranets must adapt to the ever changing interactive world. Most of these changes boil down to one idea – giving employees the features they’ve come to expect from external sites. Beyond that, good intranets can also serve a greater business function and deliver real value by supporting and engaging employees. 1. If the intranet features company news, it needs to be updated daily. Do you re-read news stories? Stories sitting on the homepage for more than a day (maybe two) just eliminated one of your main reasons for employees to use the intranet every day. Most intranets and employee newsletters use lengthier feature stories that are great for telling a full story, but also take longer to create. Consider alternate content to deliver that daily update.

    • Try shorter updates on performance or projects that relate to the business’ goals.
    • Include an external news feed about your company, customers and the industry to help keep employees informed.
    • The Intranet Benchmarking Forum even suggests adding lifestyle content like health and wellness articles, which drove a 41 percent rise in overall traffic in six months for Unilever.
    • Use employee authors to help balance the workload and increase engagement. Taking it a step further, encourage the employee to then follow and respond to comments to enable more information transfer and collaboration.
    2. Search has become the most common method for people to find information online. Give your employees that same service on your intranet with features like search-as-you-type, search results sorted by view count and smart search that recognizes common misspellings so a match can still be delivered. 3. People like personalization. The Intranet Design Annual Report from Nielsen Norman Group  suggests allowing employees to create personalized shortcuts, or bookmarks. Borrowing a tool from online news sites, recommend related articles on the intranet news stories. 4. Researchers project there will be 1.4 billion smartphones and 268 million tablets in active use in 2013. Companies with a mobile workforce, or a workforce without daily computer access (manufacturing and service industries), can increase intranet use and build a more informed employee base by providing access via mobile devices, or at-home online access. 5. Feedback mechanisms drive engagement and buy-in for company strategies, according to CMSWire. A Hewitt Research Brief on employee engagement at double-digit growth companies found that in companies where 60 to 70 percent of employees were engaged, average total shareholder’s return (TSR) stood at 24.2 percent. By comparison, in companies with only 49 to 60 percent of their employees engaged, TSR fell to 9.1 percent. But, a good intranet design is only that (a good design) if it’s not tailored to serve the needs of your company and employees. Involve leaders from all divisions of the business to help guide the strategy and content of the site. Not only can this increase leadership support, it facilitates feedback on each departments’ functionality needs and ensures all areas of the company are represented in the employee news. The most important step may be to commit to continuous improvement. Measure the success of story topics and types, functionality, quicklinks, etc. to determine what is most valuable to your employees. Then, listen and adjust so the intranet the tool your employees need. What other best practices are you using for your company’s intranet?

  • The Big Picture Between Internal Communications and Employee ...

    social-crowd1Internal communications is a critical success factor for effective organizational change and employee engagement. Without effective internal communications, poorly planned and managed communications, as well as change management programs, will almost certainly fail to meet expectations with the business, senior leaders, and employees. In fact, rather than creating positive change and employee engagement, the opposite can happen, ultimately creating employee disengagement. This means the way organizations approach, structure and drive internal communications sets the stage for the success of effective change and employee engagement. That's why we love this infographic created by H&H Comms. While it's specific to the UK, which is your field guide to understanding the bigger picture of internal comms and employee engagement and why they matter to the bottom line. Click on the image for the full-size version or download the PDF. Internal Communications and Employee Engagement Infographic via @socialworkplace

  • Five Trends that Will Transform HR Technology | #HRISWeek

    HR_Tech_Trends_iStockImportant to understanding how best to leverage your HR technology systems of today, it's equally important to see how HR technology has been instrumental in transforming the field of HR, and how changes on the horizon have the potential for an even greater impact in the future. Some of the most important tech trends to follow are listed below.

    1. Growth of social networking

    One of the next challenges for HR executives is learning to integrate information from social networking sites. Potential benefits exist alongside problems of privacy and data accuracy. Challenges are evolving as new legislation and applications develop. German politicians have already proposed to outlaw the use of social networking information in employment decision-making.

    2. Expansion of compliance and reporting requirements

    Organizations will increasingly need to adapt their HRIS in order to remain compliant with state and federal requirements. Pending changes in tax codes, financial reports, EEO compliance and health care all suggest that compliance and reporting demands will increase. For example, the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will significantly increase the amount of corporate reporting required by the federal government. It is hard to imagine organizations without strong HRIS effectively navigating this new environment.

    3. More renting, less buying of services

    The use of hosted approaches, in which organizations rent services and software from vendors, is booming. The growth of the Internet and web-based systems has enabled organizations to consider approaches such as cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS). Such approaches can provide benefits, especially for smaller organizations that would like to access the capabilities of complex HR systems but are unable to afford a large system. Cloud computing and SaaS are likely to grow in market share and will provide added flexibility to organizations’ HRIS strategies.

    4. Greater use of business intelligence (BI) and dashboards

    One of the key challenges for HR professionals is how to turn HR data into a form that managers can use to measure HR’s contributions to organizational profitability. To address this problem, organizations will begin to use more sophisticated BI applications to analyze the large amount of data available through HRIS. HR dashboards, which present high-level, realtime, graphically formatted data to managers, will become an integral part of the human capital management. In addition, firms will adopt more sophisticated web-based workforce analytic tools and will push data farther out to managers. This will enable managers to use the organization’s personnel policies and practices to make better employee-related decisions.

    5. Increasing HR data transparency, increasing privacy concerns

    As noted above, HRIS can make increasing amounts of HR data more accessible to employees, along with more transparent policies and procedures. But with greater transparency come greater concerns about privacy. News reports of data compromises and identity theft surface almost daily, and few entities manage more personal information than employers. As employers make data easier to access, risks of jeopardizing employees’ privacy increase. Managing this risk is becoming even more complex as HR applications often link to systems outside the organization (e.g., benefits vendors, online job search sites, distance learning providers, etc.). Human resource information systems have dramatically altered how HR services are delivered and managed by organizations. Used effectively, these systems make the HR function more efficient, better informed and better able to accurately communicate how it adds value to the organization. However, to reap the full benefits of implementation, HR executives must combine the best of HR technology with effective HR management processes, and they must be ready to manage the challenges created. Source: Leveraging HR Technology for Competitive Advantage, SHRM Foundation

  • Five HRIS Mistakes and How to Avoid Them | #HRISWeek

    HR MistakesAn effective HR information system will contribute to overall cost reductions through better resource allocation and as such the decision to implement an HRIS is fairly simple, straightforward and smart. What's not so simple is making sense of the numerous problems that organizations have with information systems of this sort. What follow are the Top 5 mistakes that companies encounter with Human Resource Information Systems implementation replete with tested tips to help you avoid some of those same pitfalls.

    HRIS Mistake # 1 - Failure to Effectively Manage Change

    Failing to effectively manage change has the ability to derail even the best initiative. While organizations may have been able to scrape by with change initiatives in the past due to the implementation of very few large-scale, enterprise-level projects, those days are officially gone. A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report, To Make Change, Manage Them, found that large-scale "change initiatives" are on the rise. Says Prosci, Inc. CEO Jeffrey Hiatt, "Thirty years ago, a Fortune 100 probably had one or two enterprise-wide change initiatives going on; today that number is…[closer to]…20," With this rise in enterprise-level changes, organizations have to be able to effectively manage how individuals are impacted by the changes, especially when it comes to the implementation of a human resource information system. Unfortunately, effectively managing change can be an area of major deficiency for many organizations. Indeed, PwC's quarterly Management Barometer Survey of 140+ large company executives found that 66% of respondents cited "lack of change management skills" as a barrier to change initiative success. A study for the Asia-Pacific Journal of Human Resources further validated this by finding critical implementation success components to new HRIS systems in the form of employee needs, concerns and opinions. Although myriad explanations exist of how to actually "manage" these needs, concerns, and opinions, most breakdowns tend to originate from management failing to identify: a) the change that is happening; b) the reason the change is occurring; c) the affect the change will have on individuals; and d) the necessary steps that must be taken if change is not supported. Tip # 1: Numerous options exist for companies to assess the organizational impact a given change will have (e.g. Discovery Learning's Change Style Indicator). Taking advantage of one of these assessments for both supervisors and employees can spell the difference between project success and failure. Tip # 2: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. By communicating frequently; designating specific mechanisms for addressing staff needs/concerns/opinions; and varying communication techniques and channels, you can ensure that the change is understood and contingencies that arise can be dealt with proactively. Tip # 3: Don't forget about (or skimp on) pre/post change training or neglect the training for new hires that come in after an HRIS implementation is complete.

    HRIS Mistake # 2 – Failure to Define, Validate, and Support Data Quality

    Quality decisions come from quality information. That information needs to be valid, reliable, timely, and above all…useful. Unfortunately, too often useless reports make their way to the C-suite without being cross-referenced for quality, especially when it comes to data that originates from HR. For example, retirement data could shed light on a potential exodus of a certain segment of the workforce. If that information isn't accurate, or doesn't allow for specific solution avenues, then those figures aren't very useful—and the quality of that data is rightfully suspect. Once data cannot be relied upon, business intelligence, in turn, suffers. According to a Report, Data Governance, by The Data Management Association (DAMA) "data quality is synonymous with information quality, since poor data quality results in inaccurate information and poor business performance". As such, it is an operationally integral component that data be validated, checked for corruption points, and, if necessary, be cleaned so as to make it accurate and useful. Unfortunately, according to the 2010 research report by Capscan, Data Quality: Reality and Rhetoric, "getting organizations to understand the impact of poor data is seen as one of the biggest data challenges today." Indeed, according to the report only 40% of companies surveyed validated their data, while 57.7% thought their data was of great quality. This disconnect is one of the major mistakes for HRIS applications because poor quality data leads to misinformed business decisions, which can lead to operational inefficiencies, which can lead to damage to the brand, to customer satisfaction, and worst—revenues. Tip # 1: Establish clear-cut procedures and policies that define data-entry, especially for the "core" HRIS software functionality areas. Be aware that any areas that involve self-entry or entry by users that are not fully trained, is a potential data corruption exposure area. Tip # 2: Define when and how data will be validated, making sure to specify if outside vendors for this process will be used and how corrections will be made to any deficiencies.

    HRIS Mistake # 3 - Failure to Properly Plan

    Given the numerous and varied stakeholders present in any Human Resource Information System (HR, Payroll, Accounting, supervisors, employees, vendors, etc.), information stored in the system can theoretically be used in infinitely-configured ways. Consequently, the needs of each user group will be different as well. Human Resources may be looking for real-time data to make balanced scorecards while Payroll may be looking for features that aid in their reporting requirements for regulatory agencies like the EEOC. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to pinpoint what each stakeholder needs from the information system and as a result wind up with a diluted end-product. Effectively planning means identifying HR software requirements that take both micro and macro-level needs into account, but many professionals tasked with HRIS planning, system selection, and implementation only focus on the micro-level needs. Though well-versed in department or unit-level applications, many system implementors do not know how to plan for the big picture. One large mistake that many implementation teams make is failing to recognize the long-term strategic benefits that data systems can bring—choosing to focus instead on short-term, operational gains. Put another way, these individuals don't know how to "speak" the C-suite language. Unfortunately, revenues, P&L, and the host of other key business markers used, can get lost at this phase, which is a major misstep (especially when trying to secure executive-level buy-in). "The more senior executive, the more critical it becomes to talk in financial terms," says Connie Moore, VP and Research Director at Forrester Research. "Without addressing those…[]…issues head-on, it'll be hard to gain executive level buy-in." Indeed, a look through the Standish CHAOS Report for 2009 is a good indication of this fact. According to figures released in the report, only 32% of IT projects are actually deemed by executives to be successful and none of the reasons for this failure reflect a problem with the actual technology. Rather, failure is indicative of issues that revolve around poor business planning. Tip # 1: Identify all stakeholders and their business needs, strategic goals, and processes that the HRIS will have impact on, before any solution is selected. Further, recognize that disparate stakeholders will have different views about what is needed from their vantage point. It is up to the steering committee and project team to determine how to meet both unit-level and organizational goals. Tip # 2: Do not under any circumstance integrate a poor process into your HRIS. For instance, if you have a "requisition to hire" form that is being signed 17 times on paper, don't just blindly use your HRIS to automate that inefficient process. Invest the time to look over your organization's current processes to be sure that all procedures are as close to optimal outside the system first. Tip # 3: Given that many HR software vendors have specific data limits and/or caveats that have to be taken into account (e.g. the number of allowable employee job applicants that can be tracked through an Applicant Tracking System), it's important to consider what the application's limits are before software implementation. Though the needs for your HRIS may evolve over time, knowing up front the HR system's capabilities will help with decisions down the road.

    HRIS Mistake # 4 – Failure to Administer Data Security Properly

    Though present in any HRIS, data security issues (especially privacy and company safeguards) are becoming more prevalent and of critical concern with software as a service (SaaS) or cloud-based HRIS solutions. Grant Thornton International's 2011 Issues and trends: Assessing and managing SaaS Risk highlights that due to the very nature of the cloud, any HRIS that operates through the web gives up full control of protecting data to a contracted 3rd party. This information relinquishment can in turn increase company exposure to liability. Though implementing a cloud-based HR software solution is generally cost-effective (especially when considering efficiencies in global operations), a breach in cloud-stored data is a serious issue. Because of this seriousness, Gartner Research Director Thomas Otter, suggests that companies use vendors that "meet the security requirements of an internationally accepted framework". For example, widely accepted SaaS vendor certifications include SAS 70 and ISO 27001 which test and audit standards for IT infrastructure security. Outside of cloud-based HR systems, HRIS data security remains an ever-present issue as well. The Federal Trade Commission (yes, the FTC!) in fact just recently announced settlements with two companies due to their failure to use "reasonable" security measures in their storage of employee data. Though numerous legal requirements like this exist (which we'll discuss in the following section), these latest FTC rulings shed light on an inescapable fact: that security of HRIS data is one of the most basic and "reasonable" expectations of a data system, and those expectations need to be understood by everyone in the company. LRN's Ethics and Compliance Risk Management Practices Report echoes this sentiment saying, "Team members need to understand how a violation of a company's data…[]…policy can affect their specific business." Indeed, safeguarding employee information is tantamount to full system acceptance—without that security, no employee or executive will trust or embrace the system. Tip # 1: If opting for a cloud HR software vendor, make sure to get answers about security for data in transit and data at rest. Ask about security governance and information security management systems (ISMS). Finally, ask to see independent audit and attestation reports such as an ISO 27001, SAS 70 or NIST C&A. Tip # 2: Cloud HR systems don't lessen the need for strong internal security practices such as proper password management and controls, antivirus and malware detection/eradication, user education and internal network monitoring.

    HRIS Mistake # 5 – Failure to Understand Legal Requirements

    Finally, perhaps the biggest HRIS mistake made by companies is the failure to understand the legal ramifications present with the data, the process, and the structure of an HR information system. Because of what data the HR function is responsible for, even a small organization can be held accountable for ensuring that scores of country, state, and province regulations are adhered to. Local labor laws, internal policies, contract issues, contingent workforce considerations, corporate employment mandates, and a host of privacy laws are just some of the areas of liability for organizations when it comes to HRIS applications. If your organization happens to conduct operations across international borders, then that expanse of legality grows exponentially. Countries that make up the European Union (EU) for example, have data privacy regulations that are far stricter than those found in the U.S., forbidding inter-country data sharing of personally identifying information. Yet, many companies remain unaware of the lurking liability inherent with a human resource information system. In a recent Acquire Report (Top 10 Ways HRIS Data Can Unintentionally Invite a Sarbanes-Oxley Audit), Stephen Chipman of Grant Thornton Intl. says, "Millions are being spent by corporations to comply with…[]…and address internal control weaknesses". Penalties for non-compliance can include fines ranging up to $25M; along with civil and criminal legal action being taken above and beyond the fines. Issues stemming from data related with employee benefits, compensation, and payroll are some of the most troublesome, especially with broad-sweeping laws like Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel, and Solvency to contend with. While some regulatory hurdles are easy to foresee and build into the data process, executives must be cognizant to the potential violation of obscure or country-specific laws. Even in the U.S., vagaries abound between state record-keeping statutes, putting companies that use cloud-based storage at particular risk of violation. Tip # 1: Consult with the legal experts on each given locale your company operates within, and do this before any discussions happen with any potential HR software vendors. This goes back to the tips that come from the Planning/Scope area: have specific needs ironed out before you enter into talks about HR system functionalities. Tip # 2: Negotiate as concrete of an indemnification clause as possible. Because of the ever-changing landscape of legal regulations, it might not always be possible for you to know the yaw and pitch of your HRIS liability. As such, you should be aware of the fact that absent an indemnification clause, your company and not the vendor will often be liable.

    Human Resource Software Bottom Line

    For a growing number of companies, investments are increasingly being made in HR technology infrastructure. Many companies are belatedly realizing that these financial outlays are especially critical as they have a profound impact on one of the greatest assets and expenses the organization has—employees. However, as organizations scramble to get in the game with HRIS solutions, they must still be cognizant of pitfalls such as these that still exist when looking towards these implementations and investments. Source: Five HRIS Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, HR Lab

  • HRIS and HRMS Vendor Landscape | #HRISWeek

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  • The HRIS Dream: In the Clouds | #HRISWeek

    Source: The HRIS Dream by Mike Maiorino, President and Founder of HRMS Solutions Ahhhh, "The HRIS Dream" ... They say dreams don’t come cheap, or that they don’t come true. Yet everyone still wants them. Does “The HRIS Dream” even exist? I’m not talking about the 90’s Dream when Larry Ellison (Oracle) and Dave Duffield (PeopleSoft) were pitching ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) as “The Dream” that would revolutionize the front and back-office. That dream took a small army of technical resources to deploy, learn and maintain. Many would refer to it as “The Nightmare”, not “The Dream”. So what is today’s software dream? “The HRIS Dream” I’m referring to is an eco-system built using cloud-based technology that allows Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) to develop their unique applications on a common platform, working in harmony with every other ISV that deploys on the same platform. In essence, all of these vendors are on the same team. The industry refers to this eco-system as PaaS or Platform as a Service. “The Dream”, as I call it, can mean different things to different people however. For example, “The Dream” for a VP of HR could be an end-to-end suite of HR modules, such as Recruiting, Onboarding, Core HR, Benefits, Attendance, Performance and Compensation Management, Succession Planning and Learning Management, plus powerful reporting and analytical tools. Ask any CFO about his or her enterprise software dream and the answer may be quite different. I typically hear from CFO’s that their dream is to have a financial suite that includes Accounting, Payroll with Electronic Services (e.g. payroll tax filing, direct deposit and sales tax automation); a Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool with Resource Planning, Billing and Invoicing; Travel & Expense Management; full Compensation Planning (budgeting, monitoring, and team collaboration), and very strong Compliance Management and Reporting. The cloud-based Eco-System and its role in fulfilling the dream The most famous of all cloud eco-systems is Apple® iTunes®. The original architects behind iTunes (Steve Jobs and Marc Benioff) wanted to build a cloud-based portal that would allow anyone who owned an Apple device to access a common platform for music, videos, games, applications, etc. This five year old B2C eco-system, which Apple just celebrated in July, now includes hundreds of thousands of different vendors. All of these vendor’s products or applications reside on Apple’s powerful cloud platform. Consumers never have to worry about upgrades or new releases because of the common architecture and simplicity for the end-user. iTunes has been amazingly successful, extremely profitable and revolutionary in its approach for simplicity and ease of use. It is no secret that Apple’s iTunes eco-system has set the bar for innovation, and has created a new standard for how consumers interact with technology. Enter®. For most, (SFDC) is synonymous with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - a collaborative, front-office, cloud-based application designed to help automate and manage an organization’s sales process (e.g. prospects, customers, opportunities, campaigns, communications, activities, etc.) What does a CRM vendor have to do with “The Dream”? The answer…..Nothing and Everything! SFDC is approaching its 16th year in business, employs almost 10,000 people and is a pioneer in cloud-based technology. Benioff’s vision was to offer businesses the ability to access a CRM application via a browser back in February 1999. (Think about how visionary that concept was back then, when most people were thinking about just fixing Y2K issues). No software or hardware! People were probably giggling at him when he presented the idea. I’m sure that no one is laughing at his 3 billion dollar company now, which is ranked as one of the most innovative companies in America by Forbes magazine, and just signed a strategic relationship with Oracle. But where does HRIS technology come into play with SFDC? And what does SFDC have to do with HR Technology? SFDC had nothing to do with HR technology until they announced the acquisition of Rypple – a social performance platform. This caught my attention and I wondered why SFDC bought this company. Was this the start of them building an HRIS solution? Were they going to try and compete with Workday and Oracle? Rypple was a cloud-based social performance management platform that helped managers and employee improve the performance review process in a new and very progressive way. There wasn’t enough horse power to call it a HRIS, since it lacked many of the basic components an HR professional needed to manage their workforce (the list would be lengthy). Today, SFDC has rebranded this solution and has called it It is focused on helping Sales professionals, rather than being an enterprise wide tool for managing performance reviews, throughout the entire organization. SFDC will need to do more if they plan to sell this as an HRIS because is limited. But here is where it gets really interesting and we start to see an innovative shift that does impact HR. SFDC has its own version of iTunes called the AppExchange. The AppExchange works exactly the same way iTunes does, except that it is focused on B2B and offers businesses access to hundreds of Apps to help solve their specific business issues. And by allowing ISV’s to build their specific applications on the platform ( is a cloud computing platform as a service offered by, it’s the first of its kind to allow developers to build multi-tenant applications hosted on their server as a service, eliminating the need for developers to code for the infrastructure and allowing all of them to focus on the user experience. For HR, Finance and Payroll Professionals, the SFDC platform now offers specific solutions for Recruiting, HRIS, Financials, Travel & Expense, and PSA, just to name a few. Vendors like JobScience, Fairsail, Concur and FinancialForce have all built their unique applications on the platform, and as a result, share many of the same characteristics (e.g. object oriented architecture, database, reporting and analytical tools), even though each vendors’ application specializes in very different end-user tasks. This innovative “iTunes” approach is the future. And, software vendors are spending billions to create or acquire their own eco-system for what I am calling “The Dream”. Does anyone offer “The HRIS Dream” today? This depends on who you ask. I don’t think “The Dream” is fully baked yet, but I do believe a few vendors might be getting close. Vendors like SFDC are way out in front with a mature platform, and feature rich vendors such as Fairsail, Jobscience, CornerStone, FinancialForce and Xactly are putting the pieces together quite nicely. NetSuite is also in a good position to offer “The Dream” and continues to accelerate its features and partnerships. It’s hard to call Workday, ADP, SuccessFactors, Ceridian, or Oracle a true development eco-system since they do not allow ISV’s to develop applications on their platform - at least not yet. One thing is for sure, “The Dream” is on a lot of peoples’ minds and is starting to come true. Comments welcome!

    Mike Maiorino is the President and Founder of HRMS Solutions. His 24 years of dedication to the HR technology profession, with a proven track record of results and recognition, has earned him a reputation for being a subject matter expert regarding HRMS software and SaaS solutions. Mike has served in a number of sales and managerial positions for leading providers of HR and Payroll solutions, including ADP, Sage Software, Kronos and Infor (fka SSA Global / Infinium). He is a member of the Northern Virginia Chapter of SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) and completed his certification as a PHR (Professional in Human Resources) in December, 2002. Mike was also recognized in Biltmore Who's Who in 2007 as one of Washington, DC's most distinguished members. Mike's philosophy of representing a choice to his clients has resulted in creating partnerships with the industry’s leading HR and Payroll technology vendors to sell and implement these solutions to meet client needs

  • Five Keys to Leveraging HR Technology | #HRISWeek

    Social-Media-and-Human-ResourcesIn our first post for #HRISWeek, we are reproducing an article from SHRM which discusses how today’s HR technology is moving rapidly to web-based systems to deliver data and services such as employee self-service (ESS), online recruiting, web-based training, online applicant testing and online benefits management. Many organizations now support HR portals, which provide one point of contact for a range of HR services. To better leverage this technology, leaders must focus on the underlying HR processes supported by HRIS. Keys to pairing powerful technology with solid HR processes include the following:

    1. Use new technology as an opportunity to change HR

    When new or improved functionality is added to an HR system, it is an opportunity to reexamine the way a process is done. For example, HR workflow technology can reduce the cycle time of processes and streamline decision making. Fewer people in the loop usually means greater efficiency and lowered cost per transaction. Very often, processes built into HR vendor offerings are more efficient than an organization’s existing HR processes. Although it may be tempting to view technology as the solution to an organization’s problems, most firms will see more productivity and profitability gains by seizing the opportunity to improve HR processes.

    2. Make employees self-reliant for HR services

    Organizations using HRIS to delegate HR transactions and data maintenance to employees will outperform those using these systems solely as an HR compliance or reporting tool. Employees have become data consumers in their non-work lives and want that same level of access and control in their work lives. Giving employees access to their information increases the transparency of HR processes and helps employees better understand the role HR plays in the organization. Increasing employees’ perception of control over their information can also lead to an increased sense of fairness and job satisfaction. the opportunity to improve HR processes.

    3. Communicate with employees when monitoring performance

    Computer-based performance monitoring can be a valuable component of a performance management system, but it is important to inform employees about the aspects of performance being monitored and the reasons they are being monitored. Research has shown that communicating with employees in this way leads to increased acceptance of monitoring and to improved performance.

    4. Use more data to get more answers

    The implementation of HRIS lets HR answer new questions with newly available data. Forward-looking organizations can use these data to ask and answer basic questions like: “What information on job applications predicts long-term performance and retention?” HR managers commonly report that one of the most dramatic effects of third-generation HR systems is the ability to analyze HR data and respond quickly and accurately to questions from the C-suite.

    5. Pay attention to appearance and functionality.

    Web design has evolved into an art form, and users’ expectations are very high. We expect web sites to be intuitive and work in a logical flow. Unfortunately, not many HR professionals have experience in design and user interfaces. When moving to online HR services, it is important to carefully test and evaluate ease of use and functionality of the HR portal or ESS application. Employees will form a revised opinion of HR based on their experiences with the web site. Remember, for many employees, the HR web site is HR. A sophisticated, well-designed site will communicate a sophisticated and well-run HR team, while a site that is cumbersome or difficult to use could detract from the department’s image. Source: Leveraging HR Technology for Competitive Advantage, SHRM Foundation

  • HR Transformation is Upon Us... it's #HRISWeek

    HR TechnologyMost people only know HR as a policy enforcer or as a benefits administrator. But the role of HR is complex and multi faceted. Yes, there is a enforcer aspect to HR, but there is also another, even more important role... that of the engager. And the technology behind HR is the key to managing both these roles. A recent article in Forbes describes it best: HR (specifically talent management) is an art and a science. Achieving the right balance between the two should be the goal of every global leader. HR is an art because, at its heart, it’s about people – in all their messy glory. It’s about hiring the right people, and then inspiring and enabling them to deliver stellar performance. HR is a science because there are ways to measure talent, skills and compatibility that can take some of the guesswork out of the process and dramatically increase the odds of success. The HR technology landscape is ever-evolving. It’s very exciting, but there’s a caveat: in embracing the science, never forget the art. Technology is not infallible. Remember the human dimension. The best HR practitioners and leaders know their organizations and culture brand on a visceral level. Finding talent can be made a lot easier by these fantastic technologies, but finding the “right fit” transcends even technology. [ Source: HR Technology: A Revolution for the World of Work, Forbes ] With that in mind, we've declared this week #HRISWeek.. a look into the systems that "power" HR ... the data warehouse [science] of the people [art]. Every day this week we will be posting articles on: Five Keys to Leveraging HRIS Technology An article from SHRM that discusses how today’s HR technology is moving rapidly to web-based systems to deliver data and services such as employee self-service (ESS), online recruiting, web-based training, online applicant testing and online benefits management The HRIS Dream: In the Clouds A guest post from Mike Maiorino, President and Founder of HRMS Solutions, and how the cloud-based eco system and it's role in fulfilling the HR dream. HRIS and HRMS Vendor Landscape A list of the top HRIS and HRMS vendors currently working in the HR technology and HR transformation space. Five HRIS Mistakes and How to Avoid Them The top five HRIS mistakes that companies encounter with Human Resource Information Systems implementation along  with tested tips to help you avoid some of those same pitfalls. Five Trends that Will Transform HRIS HR technology has been instrumental in transforming the field of HR, and changes on the horizon have the potential for an even greater impact in the future. This article highlights some of the most important tech trends for HR. So we hope you will participate in our #HRISWeek by reading and sharing the posts we've put together. And more importantly, we hope they give you insight into transforming your own HR technology! If you have a guest post that you would like to appear as part of our focus on HRIS and HR technology, please see our Contact page.

  • Using Your Intranet to Build Trust

    Source: 12 Ways To Use the Intranet to Build Trust in the Workplace, Noodle TrustWe know the importance of trust in the workplace. Without trust, employee engagement and productivity suffer. We’ve also seen how the intranet can be used as a barometer for the level of trust in an organization. When that level is low, can the intranet help improve the situation? Yes! In fact, here are 12 different ways your intranet can help build and strengthen trust in your workplace.

    12 Ways an Intranet Can Build Trust

    1. Information sharing Management and supervisors can use the intranet to share information with staff, especially during changes. As part of project management the intranet can be used to make expectations tasks and expectations clear. 2. Success stories Celebrate staff successes publicly by publishing them on the intranet. This way, employees know their co-workers are capable and can be relied on to achieve goals. 3. Trust-building standards Make it clear that flaming and other disrespectful behaviors are not acceptable, nor allowed, on the intranet. 4. Freedom of expression Provide a safe platform, such as a blog of discussion forum, for everyone to express their feelings and opinions in a professional and respectful manner. Staff who voice dissenting opinions shouldn’t be chastised. 5. True brainstorming Keep brainstorming areas of the intranet safe. Remember when brainstorming that ideas shouldn’t be criticized or shot down. 6. One vision Use the intranet to “market” your company’s vision and values. Use a tagline or motto, images, even colors to serve as a constant reminder of what your business stands for. 7. Common goals Remind staff/team members on the intranet about your common goals. Celebrate milestones as you get closer to your goal. This fosters a sense of group accomplishment, that “we’re in this together.” 8. Feedback getting Check in on staff opinions frequently through intranet surveys and polls. Employees trust employers who listen to them. 9. Teach to build trust Set up a training wiki page to help managers and employees develop and improve their communication and other trust-building skills. 10. A welcome mat Create a portal just for new employees, to help them feel welcome. Help other staff get to know them, provide new people the information they need to get settled in and acclimatized to your organization. 11. Get personal Encourage staff to fill out their user profiles, so they can inform others of their expertise and background, and get to know each other on a more personal level. Knowing each other’s capabilities helps build trust. 12. Increase ambient awareness Use intranet status updates, news blogs, and employee spotlight to increase ambient awareness. This helps foster a greater sense of belonging, which in turn, enhances trust. Do you make the most of your intranet to strengthen trust in your workplace? Or do you have additional ideas on how you can use your intranet to build trust? Share them!

  • The BYOD Party -- And 7 Ways to Keep it Under Control

    BYOD PartyEmployees bringing their own devices to work is not new. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is becoming the rule rather than the exception in today’s workplace. In fact, a growing number of employees are already using their personal communications devices for business purposes, whether or not there is a corporate policy in place. This is most evident in the U.S. (68%) and Canada (65%), compared with the UK, where only 47% operate in this way. (Source: Citrix, Workplace Mobility and the Small Business). 2012-13 really was the year mobility entered the enterprise mainstream. 2013-14 should be the year of consolidation and establishing guidelines around BYOD use.

    BYOD was identified by employers as the second most problematic HR policy in the next year, second only to social media policies.

    SOURCE: BLR's 2013 HR Policies Survey
    Just as companies have had to react and establish guidelines around social media, so too must they react regarding the growing use of bringing your own devices. But, can you assume that your existing guidelines will cover BYOD? In short, no. The current policies you have in place for personal laptop use don't necessarily translate over to tablet and smartphone devices. Why? Tablets and smartphones are more ubiquitous -- they connect anywhere, go anywhere, and can be used anywhere. In the same Citrix whitepaper as referenced above, 65% of the respondents confirmed that their company does not have a policy, procedures or IT system in place to manage employees’ personal devices for business purposes. With smartphone sales exceeding computer sales in 2012 to the tune of $122.5 million, according to The Magic Blog, you need a solid smartphone policy in place before BYOD ends in disaster. But creating a BYOD policy isn't always as cut and dry as saying "watch what you say" or "how you say it." There are some special considerations:

    1. Disparate Software and Platforms

    While iPhones have a narrow variation in the hardware they use, Android phones run the gamut from the underpowered to the extra high-end smartphones. The disparate software can make it  difficult for company's who develop mobile applications. Another issue is making sure that it's platform neutral. Your employees might be using Android, iOS, BlackBerry or Windows-based operating systems and your policies need to reflect this to account for all platform nuances. Additional considerations includes writing your policy to establish standards in electronic delivery and the mixed use of personal and corporate data. Make sure the software and hardware runs smoothly no matter what BYOD platform employees use. One of the many benefits of BYOD is the opportunity for companies to use cutting-edge technology in the workplace. It is expensive to upgrade an entire system, but employees can bring their devices that harbor the latest innovations. Encourage employees to take advantage of this opportunity, but provide them with comparable technology if they do not have a supportive device. Keep as much equality among platforms as possible to maintain efficiency.

    2. Approved Applications

    More smartphones and tablets in the enterprise translates into more apps and, according to Infosys, 2013 will see more context-based apps for business functions, mobile-based learning and retraining for talent, and greater social functionalities. More apps means more risk. It's easy to forget that your smartphone is really a miniature computer in your pocket. And as such, they should be protected against malware and computer viruses just as vigilantly as a company computer. App stores cater to the quick and easy install -- it takes 2 seconds to download an application from the app store, but an infected app or an app with built-in spyware can sabotage your network for days. Here are just a few suggested apps to consider:
    • Chat and Instant messaging
    • File, video and image storage
    • E-mail and texting
    • Internet browsing
    • Device tracking
    Establish governance around what apps employees can download. Create a list of approved applications or, better yet, create an enterprise app store. Use push technology to install apps onto approved BYOD. In this sense, you will communicate and drive the mental shift that smartphones are not just being used as personal devices but as a professional business tool as well.

    3. Central Management

    Gartner has called BYOD the "most radical change in the economics and the culture of client computing in decades"... By 2017, Gartner expects half of employers to actually require employees to use their own devices for work.

    SOURCE: BYOD: Best Practices to Future-Proof Your Corporate Policy, eWeek
    Consider implementating a central management system for that manages and facilitates BYOD mobile devices accessing your corporate network. This provides tremendous value to information technology groups as central management works off of a main server -- there is no need to install it on multiple systems. Central management systems such as BYOD by BlackBerry  and Apple OS give you compatibility with built-in virtualization software, and are intended to work perfectly with mobile device management. The mobile device management app lets you audit the smartphones connecting to the network and determine whether or not they are authorized to access the network, and control application installation settings.

    4. IT Overload and Technical Support

    When you write BYOD policies, it's critical that you also establish a clear method to contact technical support. Without clear guidelines, IT and helpdesk resources can be quickly overwhelmed as the organization struggles to configure and support BYOD endpoints for secure network authentication and corporate use. A well thought-out BYOD policy can create efficiency and establish automated processes that allow end-users to securely self-onboard their devices are critical to offload the helpdesk organization. (Source: Conquering today's bring-your-own-device challenges, Aruba whitepaper)

    5. What's in the Cloud?

    Oh that Cloud... another fast growing concern for companies. Most IT and security organizations prevent access of external (non-corporate approved) cloud storage. But when you implement BYOD programs, employees need to have access to their files and information. This means that, in the absence of remote computer access, files must be stored in a place that has anytime, anywhere access. It also means you have to consider whether you will grant access to cloud storage or if you will provide network storage that is accessible from all personal devices. In either case, your BYOD policy should outline proper cloud use and company-approved alternatives if applicable.

    6. Impacts to Corporate Culture

    It should be mentioned that your corporate culture should have a lot of influence on your BYOD policies. It's a great advantage to having a BYOD program -- increased employee availability, cost savings, and improved productivity -- but your policy needs to consider how BYOD could alter your corporate culture as well. Using mobile devices generally translates into making quick decisions on the go, communicating outside of traditional business hours, and quick response times. Decide if your BYOD policies should establish limits or parameters around access and timeliness of response. You should also reinforce a culture of safety -- not texting and driving and how to safeguard personal devices and company information contained on them. Make sure your policy is forgiving of mistakes while also being clear on BYOD best practices.

    7. Who's Footing the Bill?

    When a company provides personal devices, it's easy to establish the boundaries of who's footing the bill. But when your emplyees are using their OWN devices, and generally on their own consumer accounts, the area of who's paying the bill becomes very gray. For employees who work from home, companies have a policy as to whether the company or the employee pays for the employee's internet access / usage. Some companies will 100% compensate the employee while other companies will not because teleworking is considered a "privilege." Do you split the bill? Does the employee need to make sure the personal device is on it's own account, separate from any other personal device accounts? Your BYOD policy needs to clearly state where you stand on all these issues. Make sure you're an employer who considers all the issues before allowing your employees to bring and use their own devices. Don't wait to establish guidelines until after something detrimental occurs. It's important get in front of the mobility movement by mapping out a detailed plan, considering all the advantages, disadvantages and issues involved with a BYOD program, implementing the policy, and then communicating to employees that it's okay to bring your own device. (Source: Should you have your own Bring Your Own Device policy and program?, BLR). With established policies, BYOD can greatly benefit your company and your employees if thoughtfully applied.

  • How to Push Engagement. Push it REAL Good.

    team_arrows_stairstepYou’ve been hearing it for years: Highly engaged workplaces grow faster, adapt quicker, and innovate more. You, yourself, understand the value and even the financial gain; however, you have yet to fully convince your senior leadership that employee engagement has financial results. So you need proof points that you can really push to your senior leaders so that they see results not just in theory but with weight they feel in their pockets. Well.. you've hit the jackpot... Quantum Workplace (@QuantumWork) -- also our #1 pick for Employee Engagement goodness -- conducted a study that gives you the evidence you need to be confident that employee engagement drives business outcomes. Below are 11 ways you can push the relationship between engagement and financial performance. The numbers don’t lie. So don't hesitate to push it real good the next time you’re fighting the good fight for workplace culture and employee experience. Oh, and we absolve ourselves of any responsibility for you having Salt-N-Pepa in your head for the rest of the day.

    1. Greater Revenue Growth

    On average, the companies in the study with the highest engagement experienced 16.29 percentage points higher revenue growth over three years than those with lower engagement. Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 11.47.43 AM

    2. Better Engagement Profiles

    In the chart below, you can see how engagement differed between the organizations with 23.45% revenue growth over three years and those with 39.74% revenue growth — nearly 21% more engaged employees in the group with higher growth. Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 11.48.46 AM

    3. Engagement and the Dow

    Companies with higher engagement more closely followed the DJIA trend during the last three years. Companies with less growth saw greater declines in engagement, despite the positive trend of the DJIA. For example, from 2011 to 2012, the companies with less growth experienced a 3% drop in engagement, while the DJIA increased 8%. Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 11.53.05 AM

    4. Valued Employees Amplify Revenue

    The greatest difference in engagement scores between the two company groups was in the area of feeling valued. Take, for example, this survey item: The leaders of the organization value people as their most important resource. Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 11.59.30 AM

    5. Career Growth Unlocks Revenue

    Companies offering employees opportunities for career development are more likely to see additional gains in revenue. See how the two groups of companies compared on this survey item: I see professional growth and career development opportunities for myself in this organization. Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 12.01.29 PM

    6. Greater Retention, Greater Growth

    Highly engaged organizations retain talent. The second greatest difference in engagement category scores between the two company groups was in the area of Retention.* As shown below, the difference in Retention category scores was .48 on a six-point scale. Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 12.03.22 PM *The retention category includes four survey items: 1. I would like to be working at this organization one year from today. 2. I see professional growth and career development opportunities for myself in this organization. 3. I recommend this organization as a great place to work. 4. It would take a lot for me to leave this organization.

    7. Trust in Leaders Boosts Growth

    The third greatest difference in engagement category scores between the two company groups was in the area of Trust in Senior Leaders. As shown below, the difference in category scores was .47 on a six-point scale. Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 12.06.11 PM

    8. Revenue Growth for Trending Engagement

    The study also examined growth differences between companies with positively trending versus negatively trending employee engagement over three years. Those with positively trending engagement experienced 6.8% greater revenue growth. Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 11.47.43 AM

    9. Stock Price Growth

    Organizations with the highest level of engagement also experienced 26% greater stock price growth during the past 52 weeks. The chart below illustrates the difference in stock price growth. Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 12.08.43 PM

    10. Quarterly Revenue Growth

    Organizations with the highest level of engagement experienced 18% greater quarterly revenue growth during the past 12 months. The chart below illustrates the difference between the two groups of companies. Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 12.14.55 PM

    11. Price to Sales Ratio

    Price/sales is a company’s market cap divided by total sales from the past 12 months. The higher the ratio, the stronger the company. Organizations with the highest level of engagement experienced a higher price to sales ratio. Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 12.38.44 PM So there you have it. Eleven REAL reasons that show employee engagement DOES have financial results. Source: 11 Reasons to be BE BULLISH About Employee Engagement Impacting Financial Success, Quantum Workplace

  • Top Employee Engagement and HR Goodness for 2013

    social-workplace-best-in-award_300Our addiction to reading every whitepaper we can get our grubby little hands onto means that we are able to share our favorite ones with you. So far this year, we've seen many insightful studies on talent management, employee engagement, and social business from  big companies such as Blessing White, Gallup, and Towers Watson. We've loved all of them. But you might be surprised to learn that some of our favorite whitepapers are also from some lesser known companies, and we're glad to highlight them here as well. Enjoy. On a personal note, this collection was born of our own brain power and personal opinion. We weren't offered nor did we accept -- not even shoes! -- any compensation for this list.

    #1 Report for Employee Engagement Goodness

    2013 Trends Report - The State of Employee Engagement by Quantum Workplace Why we like it: It reviews the current state of engagement for today’s workforce, shows engagement variation among different position levels, reviews the ROI of an engaged workplace, outlines where organizations are exceling and failing, provides the value of employee recognition, and something that we don't see too often.. analysis of regional and industry engagement trends. Bottom line: it's the total package -- everything we could want and more in a whitepaper.

    Notable Goodness

    Employee Engagement Capabilities Report 2013 by Red Balloon Why we like it: Based on research from 1,600 organizations, this report helps you to better understand the characteristics shared by highly engaged, high performance organizations and provides actionable insights for improvement. Don't miss the neat employee engagement "wordles" towards the end.
    Engagement and Retention in 2013: Moving from Strategy to Execution by TalentKeepers Why we like it: This report empowers you with knowledge and insight on the latest trends, strategies and practices in employee engagement and retention. It includes data for a select group, the top 10% of all organizations that lead the way in commitment, focus and results.
    Building Trust 2013: Workforce Trends Defining High Performance by Interaction Associates Why we like it: Nearly 400 global leaders at more than 290 organizations are polled for the Interaction Associates research, conducted in partnership with Human Capital Institute. Key findings include a stronger financial picture for participating organizations, and a dramatic turnaround in trust and leadership.

    More Good Reads

  • 2013 Predictions: Are You on Track?

    crystal_ballBack in January, internal communications agency, Tribe Inc., put together a fantastic list of  predications for internal communications and employee engagement. The list was created as a result of conversations with their clients, by meeting with other companies, as well as research and benchmarking sessions. Now that we're heading into the third quarter of this year... Tell us, have you made any progress in Tribe's predictions? A new emphasis on engagement [Tribe] predicts that companies will make employee engagement more of a priority in 2013, in particular as a means to improve retention. In the years since the recession, most employees have felt lucky to have a job. If the job happens to offer health insurance, they’ve been even less likely to look elsewhere. But as the economy improves and the job market heats up, employees will once again have a choice. The scales will tilt so that companies are scrambling to keep their talent. That’s an excellent reason to make engagement a focus now. Cranking up internal communications As companies turn their attention to employee engagement, many of them will also see the need for more robust internal communications. We’ve talked with a number of companies that have made a commitment to expanding their employee communication channels in 2013. In some cases, these companies reduced their communications during the recession and are now feeling the need to crank up the volume again. In other cases, companies that have never had much of an internal communications function are building departments from the ground up, expanding the staff from one or two people to an entire team. Mobile access for intranets Last year, everybody was replacing old and dysfunctional intranets. This year, we predict a trend for taking the intranet mobile. If the intranet is going to be the hub of your communications, then you want employees to be able to access it, no matter where they are. Establishing channels of communication for non-desk workers [Tribe] predicts that one of the top trends for 2013 will be direct channels between company leadership and non-desk workers. When there’s zero communication from corporate, non-desk workers interpret that as a lack of respect. iPads will become more common at work We predict you’ll see a lot more tablets in corporate settings. Companies will be providing them at conferences in order to make the meetings more interactive. Retail companies, hotels and even warehouses and distribution centers will be mounting tablets to secure stands or at freestanding kiosks for their employees to access the intranet while on the job. Tribe is an internal communications agency working with national and global brands. You can follow them on Twitter at @TribeInc.

  • Trust - Will You Catch Me if I Catch You?

    I love the trust game. And have you ever played it at a team-building event? No one wants to do it. And why is that? Because people don't trust that their colleagues will catch them. So what does this say about corporate culture and whether trust exists? A culture of trust isn't just important between colleagues, but between the company and the employee as well. Culture is the unspoken rules of the environment. It’s how your company runs despite what it says in the employee manual or in the press releases. While there can be many components to an organization’s culture, trust seems to be a driving component of how relationships are maintained and, as a result, how business is done. If you don’t understand what is driving relationships in your organization, you risk existing outside the sphere of influence, working hard, accomplishing tasks, and wondering why your work is not being acknowledged or rewarded. As with any relationship, the dynamics of a workplace has spoken and unspoken rules of interaction. There is the clear spoken structure found in the org chart or what you learn from new hire orientation. And then there's the unspoken way of how things work -- which is defined by the culture. According to Christian Baldia, president and founder of Constellation SAS, a global management consulting firm, there are three types of trust that impact the function of work relationships: COMPETENCE: It is the trust you have in the person who has the skill, the wherewithal, and the motivation to get the job done. That’s the person who can make things happen. You may not like or get along well with that person, but if you want to move the needle on a project, you trust that this is the person to do it. BENEVOLENCE: It is trust in the person who has good intentions toward you. They will look out for you and bring you information that will protect you or advance your goals. You know that when you’re not in the room, this person will not undermine you. They are going to have your back. INTEGRITY: This type of trust is similar to benevolence but is really driven by moral character. You know this person always operates with integrity no matter who is involved and regardless of how they feel about them. They will always operate according to their principles. These types of trust intersect and influence how we interact with our co-workers and how relationships formulate. “If you want to get things done in an organization, you need to understand how these connections work and how trust works or you are going to find yourself left out of the loop—no matter what your qualifications are, no matter what your educational background is,” Baldia says. “If you don’t understand, you will find yourself reaching a plateau in your career.” [Source: The 3 Types of Trust You Need in the Workplace, Black Enterprise]

    Trust is a Business-critical Issue

    Some of the demonstrated effects of trust, disengagement and diminished wellbeing are:
    • High-trust organisations provide three times the total return to shareholders than do organisations with low trust
    • Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organisation
    • Engaged employees are 20% more productive

    Assess Your Own Culture

    Are you encouraging employees to be motivated and productive by showing that you trust them? Take Unum's quiz to see if there’s more you can do…
    1. Are employees allowed to work flexible hours or from home? a) Yes. By giving workers a degree of control over their working hours and location you are showing them you trust them. b ) No. It might be worth reconsidering your policy on flexible working. People need to feel trusted in their working environment if they are to perform at their peak. Trusting people to manage their own workloads can help boost their performance.
    2. Do you offer staff opportunities for further training and development? a) Yes. Research has shown that employees who feel challenged are often more productive. b) No. You may wish to assess the training opportunities you offer. The workplace is constantly evolving and your workers’ skills need regularly updating to ensure they are keeping pace.
    3. Do you have a system which allows employees to provide feedback or put their ideas forward? a) Yes. Listening to people’s views in the workplace makes them feel recognized and appreciated. b) No. If workers feel unable to air their views then they feel unrecognized and threatened, and their performance is affected, introducing a system where they can feed back on company issues and make suggestions could help boost morale and trust levels.
    4. Are job roles clearly defined? a) Yes. If workers have a clear sense of purpose they are more likely to be engaged and productive. b) No. Creating a clearly defined career structure with all job roles on it can bring really benefits. If workers are unsure what their contribution is, they can feel threatened and their performance is negatively impacted.
    Rate your response: Mostly yeses: You are clearly taking strides to build a trusting relationship between you and your employees, but there’s always room for improvement. Take a look at the eight drivers of trust in the Jacobs Model for building trust and identify any areas you can build on. Some yeses, some nos: You are taking some steps to create an atmosphere of trust in the workplace but there are still some changes you could make. Do you offer flexible working? Is there a training structure in place? Mostly nos: Building an atmosphere of trust is essential to boosting employee motivation and productivity. For a good starting point, see the eight drivers of trust depicted in the Jacobs Model infographic below.

    A Great Model for Building Trust

    There are many methods a company can use to build trust within its culture.  But the Jacobs model, devised by employee engagement expert Susanne Jacobs, identifies eight intrinsic drivers of trust, which, when combined with a number of environmental factors, can have a significant impact on employees’ wellbeing. The 8 Intrinsic Drivers of Trust: Belong and Connect, Voice and Recognition, Significance and Position, Fairness, Learn and Challenge, Choice and Autonomy, Security and Certainty, and Purpose As shown in the infographic below, when each of the drivers is satisfied, companies will have positive outcomes: engagement, energy release, boosted well-being, and performance. [caption id="attachment_5517" align="aligncenter" width="650"]The Jacobs Model for Building Workplace Trust The Jacobs Model for Building Workplace Trust[/caption] [ Source: Employee motivation: Is trust the answer?, Unum ] Having a culture where trust exists is crucial to business success. Trust forms the foundation for effective internal communications, attracting and retaining employees, and engaging employees so they are more apt to use  discretionary effort -- the extra effort that people voluntarily invest in work to go above and beyond. So go ahead. Play the trust game. I promise, I will catch you.

  • Disgruntled Customer 2.0 - Lessons Learned from British Airw ...

    In just a couple of weeks, I will be flying British Airways  as I travel to speak at Interaction 2013,  an intranet conference in London that I'm really looking forward to and would ideally like to attend while fully dressed -- I'm sure the attendees would appreciate it too. So, the recent firestorm regarding British Airways and the lost baggage incident on Twitter certainly peaked my interest. Painful as it for British Airways right now, it's a great case study of many things: customer service, crisis communications, reputation management and social media presence. Personally, I don't know Mr Hasan or his entire situation. I also don't know the standard operating procedures that British Airways has in responding to online tweets and comments.  But I do know that, in this digital age, things happen at LIGHTENING speed, and that companies, especially those who have a well-established online presence, must adapt to that speed or risk sacrificing their brand reputation. [tweet ] [tweet ]

    A Summary of What Happened

    In case you haven't been following the conversation surrounding this event, here's a breakdown:
    1. Hasan Syed’s parents flew Business Class on British Airways from Chicago to Paris on Saturday, and realised that one of their bags had not made it to the belt in Paris.
    2. When there was no response from British Airways after two days, to help his dad, Mr Hasan bought promoted tweets on Twitter to get the airline (and the world’s) attention, highlighting the airline’s lack of customer service.
    3. In the first six hours since the tweet was promoted, it  garnered over 25,000 impressions on Twitter alone. This excludes coverage on wildly popular blogs like Mashable. (At  last count, that Mashable article alone had over 5000 shares on Twitter and Facebook combined just a few hours after being published.)
    4. British Airways responded to Mr Hasan about 7 hours after his tweet was published but only aggravated the situation by requesting Mr Hasan follow them so they could DM him when he was already a follower of the British Airways accounts.

    British Airways' (Lack of ) Response

    To be fair to British Airways, none of the legs were flown by Mr Hasan's parents were on the airline itself. The Chicago Newark leg was flown by American Eagle, and the Newark-Paris leg on OpenSkies. But the tickets were likely bought on It doesn't look like their US account replies to tweets, but the global account clearly states that they  reply after 9am GMT each day -- Mr Hasan's promoted tweets were outside of these hours. In an email to the social media team, airline brand agency,, learned that one of the key members of the team is out of office till next week. So the social media team was already stretched thin on manpower. They did eventually issue this public statement: "We would like to apologise to the customer for the inconvenience caused. We have been in contact with the customer and the bag is due to be delivered today," British Airways told the BBC.

    Dislike in a Viral World

    In a recent blog post, Zendesk wrote "that when customers have a bad service experience, they don’t just get mad, most of the time they try to get even. A recent survey by ClickFox took a close look at what the repercussions are of a bad customer service experience. While 52 percent of disgruntled customers spout off to family and friends, an even more astounding 32 percent altogether will stop doing business with the company that wronged them. And when customers take to social media to air their ire, more than 60 percent of consumers are influenced by these detrimental comments." [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="680"]What Do Customers Hate Most About Bad Customer Service, infographic by @Zendesk What Do Customers Hate Most About Bad Customer Service, infographic by @Zendesk[/caption] They continue by saying that "there’s a whole new school of loyalty that companies need to enroll in…and fast. It’s no longer good enough to sit around and wait for a bad customer experience to happen, and then react. Companies need to catch support disasters way before they happen."

    What We've Learned

    We ALL have our off days. The British Airways social media team acted accordingly to the training and procedures they had at the time. Unfortunately for them, it just wasn't enough and it created such a stormfire for them that I'm sure the rest of us are appreciating that it wasn't us. But take it for what it's worth, a lesson learned. According to Simpliflying, here are five things we should think about doing, to avoid such a situation in the future.
    • Have a standard operating procedure (SOP) for such incidences. Customers venting their frustrations online is a common occurrence. So why not just have a process for handling such instances? If you start digging the well when you’re thirsty, it’s already too late.
    • Even if you don’t have an SOP, the customer service department needs to work with the social media team to create a proper escalation method for customer complaints online, especially those that have gone viral, like Mr Hasan’s. Just like there are escalation procedures for “offline” matters. A VP-level executive should be alerted immediately, so that the typical hierarchy doesn’t interfere and swift decisions can be taken.
    • Create a digital customer service, and crisis communications plan. This plan should help in all situations. The infographic below was created by Simpliflying for the airline industry, but it outlines a good plan for all companies. simpliflying crisis comms
    • Have an FAQ training for front-staff — a hands-on workshop that reviews solutions to frequent scenarios, like bag loss or flight delays, will help everyone be prepared better.
    • Finally, take a look at this Customer Service 2.0 in-house MasterClass — where 50 case studies are discussed, dive deep into free social media tools and come up with strategies for these types of situations.

    Source: Disgruntled Passenger 2.0: Buys a promoted tweet against British Airways for losing bags. Airline customer service has changed,

    In addition to above, I would add the following: Always be listening and responding. If you have an online presence, especially a Twitter account where customers will naturally reach out to you, you must pay constant attention to the conversation, comments and mentions. Unfortunately, the internet doesn't have "operating hours." It's open for business 24/7. Companies must anticipate feedback from customers 24/7 and plan accordingly. While a 7 hour response turnaround is efficient in traditional customer service standards, in digital media, 7 hours feels more like 7 days. Sometimes you have to go off script. British Airways heightened customer anxiety by first supplying a canned response of "Please follow us so we can DM you" when Mr Hasan was already following British Airways. A simple quick look at Mr Hasan's twitter account and British Airways would have seen that he already followed them. You need to balance response time with thoughtful response. Do your homework first by fully evaluating the situation rather than going by a script. Ironically, British Airways recently launched a heart-warming Youtube campaign, Visit Mum, which went viral. But British Airways has learned, and what we can all learn from this experience, is the tides can turn very quickly. All we can do is learn and adjust, learn and adjust. I'm a consumer who believes in good brands. And, to be honest, despite this recent incident, British Airways -- a 7 billion dollar company as Mr Hasan says himself -- is a good company, a good brand (IMHO). I still plan on flying them to London this month. So, here's hoping that I'm able to speak while fully clothed!

  • Aug 2013
  • Making MAGIC Happen with Your Employees

    crossfit-comfort-zoneA while back, I wrote a blog post on employee engagement and employee satisfaction and presented some real, practical solutions on how to analyze and measure, set SMART goals, and implement talent management and development strategies to drive innovation. But there still seems to be some confusion as to the difference between employee satisfaction and employee engagement. Many organizations believe these are same thing and, consequently,  may be missing opportunities to foster the kind of workforce engagement that helps drive innovation and competitive success.

    Close, but Not the Same

    Employee satisfaction and employee engagement are similar concepts on the surface, and many people use these terms interchangeably. Employee satisfaction covers the basic concerns and needs of employees. It is a good starting point, but it usually stops short of what really matters. [ What is Employee Satisfaction, Custom Insight] Employee satisfaction is functional. What an employee is getting out of their company as much as they are putting into it (that is, the employee value proposition). It is a measure of an employee’s happiness with a company, their particular job, or their co-workers among other factors. While an employee’s happiness or satisfaction is important, and can contribute to their engagement, it’s not the same thing as engagement. Employee engagement is emotional. Employees who are engaged speak positively about the organization to others, are committed to remaining with their current employer, and are motivated by their organizations’ leaders, managers, culture and values to go “above and beyond” to contribute to business success. Do not assume that these two are always aligned: a satisfied employee does not necessarily mean an engaged employee and vice versa. In a recent blog, “Are Your Employees Engaged or Just Satisfied,” Decision Wise reviewed some of the differences between employee engagement and employee satisfaction. They found that satisfied employees operate under a transactional relationship—“Because the company gives me X, I am willing to give X worth of effort.”  On the other hand, engaged employees go beyond a transactional exchange and are willing to give discretionary effort.  They bring their hearts, hands, and minds into their jobs. [ Are Your Employees Engaged or Just Satisfied, Decision Wise, Dec 19, 2012]

    Making the MAGIC Happen

    To help construct what employees need from a job to feel engaged, Decision Wise identified five key employee engagement factors: MAGIC. Meaning—What I do must have some significance to me; it must mean something to me personally, and on more than just a surface level.  To me, my work is something of value—something of worth.  If I’m only focused on a paycheck, I am willing to put in as much work as is commensurate with the paycheck.  However, when my work has meaning to me, what I do has greater purpose. Autonomy—Do I have the freedom and empowerment to perform my job in a way that I do best?  Autonomy involves a degree of self-governance.  It allows me, as an individual, to create or shape my role and environment in a way that is best for me and for the organization. Growth—There was a time years ago when one could maintain a base set of skills or level of development, and that base could carry that individual throughout his or her career.  However, our internal speed of change and growth must match (or exceed) the external rate of change.  Particularly with rising generations, the ability to develop, grow, and progress in a job provides challenge and excitement that benefit not only the individual but also the company. Impact—Have you ever worked for a company where employees give their all, only to face each fiscal quarter with a dismal report of their business performance?  The adage “nothing breeds success like success” holds true here.  When an employee puts in his or her all, yet has little impact on the organization’s or team’s success, engagement is difficult to cultivate.  On the other hand, if what I am doing is making an impact (on the company, the world, patients, etc.), I am often willing to go through tough times if I have hope of making an impact.  This is also where recognition and feedback fit in. I need to understand what kind of impact I am having; feedback from a customer, peer, boss, etc., will help me understand that level of impact. Connection—This factor is clear throughout many of our employee engagement surveys.  Quite often, one of the highest-scoring questions on the engagement survey is related to a version of the following question: “I like the people I work with.”  Employees need to feel a connectedness to those around them.  Similarly, my connection to the organization—whether or not I feel a part of the organization—will often dictate my level of commitment.

  • Hello. Is Your Name Joe?

    Achievers - Employee EngagementMy friends at Achievers have hit it out of the park with another great post, 19 signs of disengagement (and what you can do to avoid them). I've captured some of the content below, but you really should check out their illustrated Slideshare presentation Have you ever felt like you’d rather put a pencil in your eye than attend your monthly team meeting? If not, then you’re probably an engaged employee (congrats!). But perhaps you know someone that feels this way. Here's a glimpse into the dreary world of Joe, a disengaged employee. Let Joe's 19 disengagement experiences teach you how to prevent disengagement by elevating your employer brand and celebrating employee success. Snarky captions authored by yours truly. [soliloquy id="5383"]   Disengaged employees are disconnected from business objectives, receive little to no recognition or constructive feedback, and worst of all—feel like they’re invisible to their employer. Top employers celebrate employee engagement because it’s an effective tool to boost bottom-line results through alignment and increased productivity, and also builds a competitive employer brand that attracts, retains, and inspires top performers. It's time to say Hello. Don't be a Joe.

  • Creating Social Media Policies that Protect... not Police

    Social Media Risk ManagementThe content for this article was sourced from NAVEX Global, a global compliance firm, who  wrote an excellent article on Using Social Media to Promote Ethical Best Practices and their Social Media Toolkit to managing social media risk management. The world of social media is rapidly evolving. Having a well-founded social media policy is essential to preventing, detecting and responding to risks associated with employee social media use. It is important that your social media policy aligns with your corporate values, complies with existing laws, receives frequent review, and is effectively communicated to your employees through training.

    Good Social Media Policy Protects You and Your Employees

    A solid social media policy is the first step in harnessing social media use and reducing risks associated with employee misuse. But be careful:  there are  things you should consider before you can establish an effective and legally defensible policy. Following are some considerations to create a social media policy that not only protects your company and its assets but  also protects your employees as well. 1: Align Policy Objectives with Your Culture There really is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to social media policy. The policy must reflect your culture, your risks, and your organization. Start by thinking comprehensively. Consider issues that may be raised in different areas and departments within your organization. Determine if groups have unique needs and may require tailored guidelines due to specific business use requirements. You then need to gather a wide team of contributors who will help shape the policy. Consider including people from such areas as HR, Audit, Corporate Communications, Finance, Legal, and Marketing. 2: Determine If Your Policy Will Be Permissive or Restrictive Many employers are moving away from policies that restrict social media use or try to ban it altogether. With most employees able to access their social media accounts using personal devices, monitoring and ensuring compliance with this type of rule is impossible. Organizations are therefore focusing on smart and ethical use, finding ways to support employees who want to be brand ambassadors. Before you get to work on your policy, determine whether your culture supports a permissive policy (where employees are allowed to use social media) or a very restrictive one. Talk with contacts in other organizations and find out what is and is not working for them. 3: Identify Your Organization’s Key Legal and Reputational Risks Your social media policy must take into consideration your organization’s unique risk areas and opportunities. Organizations like hospitals that deal with private, highly sensitive information, for example, are likely to have different risks than an organization that manufactures goods and advertises heavily on social media. Some risks are likely to be common across a wide array of organizations; for example, most organizations want to protect confidential and proprietary information, prevent the loss of intellectual property, prevent misuse of others’ intellectual property, address antitrust issues, protect brand image, and prohibit employees from engaging in harassment and cyber bullying. But other risks may be unique to your sector or even your organization. Here are some examples of risks that your organization may need to address:
    • Customer privacy
    • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
    • Product liability
    • Antitrust
    • Federal Communications Commission rules regarding advertising
    • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
    4: Define What You Want Your Policy to Accomplish There are many important areas that you may want to address in your policy or guidelines. Before you start drafting, create a list of items that you want to be sure to address. A few of the things you may want to consider in your policy include the following:
    • Define appropriate use of social media
    • Address expectations of privacy
    • Educate employees regarding proper etiquette
    • Protect the company’s confidential information and trade secrets
    • Encourage employees to be brand ambassadors
    • Support employees who are active social networkers
    5: Get to Work and Craft Your Policy One of the most important aspects of developing your policy is to work with a lawyer who has experience in this area. Your lawyer must be familiar with the shifting legal landscape and the current rules and limitations placed on employers. If not, your policy will likely be ruled unlawful. As you craft your policy, here are just a few tips:
    • Don’t trample on employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act; your policy language must be specific and aligned with current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) positioning.
    • Look at the NLRB acting General Council’s third memo (dated May 30, 2012) and the policy that the NLRB thinks is okay. It’s a great place to start. Check out other policies and guidelines.
    • Don’t violate state laws that protect employees who engage in lawful off-duty conduct and that protect employee social media passwords.
    • Decide how specific you want to be about using such sites as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The more specific your policy is, the more likely it will quickly become outdated.
    • Make the language reader-friendly; don’t let it read like a legal treatise.
    • Keep the policy language tight and clear. Avoid blanket statements and broad generalizations.

    Engage Employees and Drive Understanding

    Kathleen Edmond, Best Buy's Chief Ethics OfficeA policy is helpful only if employees know about it and understand what is expected of them. You should train all employees, including managers. Ensure that employees attest to your social media policy regularly and keep a record that they have viewed and accepted its terms. Whether you develop training in-house or use a third-party vendor, make sure your training is effective, engaging, and interesting—that’s what social media users expect.
    1. Host a moderated conversation group (think LinkedIn style). These groups allow compliance professionals to post content, questions, and stories – and then employees can respond.
    2. Invite employees to submit videos regarding ethics and compliance topics. For example ask employees (and even business partners) to submit nominations for people they work with whose behaviors/actions demonstrate high levels of integrity.  Share the submissions on a company intranet.
    3. Create compliance videos that employees can share with each other. Let them help spread the word.
    4. Start a company blog dedicated to ethics and compliance. Use this site to communicate values, explain what is meant by ethical performance, and share examples that are directly relevant to employees and managers. Best Buy has done a really great job with a public-facing blog run by their chief ethics officer, Kathleen Edmund. Consider allowing employees to submit stories and thoughts to the blog as well.
    5. Create a compliance department intranet where employees and managers can share ethics and compliance resources (articles, websites, blogs, books, etc.) and where managers can add/download materials for team meetings or to facilitate further discussion.
    6. Create a moderated wiki page; allow managers and employees to help create content.
    7. Use social media tools (such as Facebook and YouTube) to publically share your organization's good deeds. Many large companies now communicate with the general public about their commitment to ethics and compliance.
    8. Host internal webinars that allow employees to answer poll questions anonymously, and ask questions of senior leaders about ethics and compliance.
    Social media outreach also comes with considerations for organizations to make before embarking.  Some key factors to contemplate:
    1. Think broadly: engaging employees through social media is about more than a full-blown experience like Facebook or LinkedIn. It can be an internal network or information sharing system that is fairly simplistic. It’s about using technology to help start the dialog and encourage interaction.
    2. Make it interactive: social media, by definition, is not one-way communication. It’s participatory, collaborative and interactive.
    3. EMC Social Media VideoEducate employees about proper use: teach employees how to use your tools properly and how to be brand ambassadors for your organization. EMC does a great job of this in the video they produced on social media policy for their global employee base.
    4. Start with a focused approach: try one type of tool or method and really tend to it carefully.
    5. Enlist content creators: if you want the experience to be successful you need to create content often; enlist the help of people who are dedicated or responsible for regularly generating content or discussions.
    6. Post content on a very regular basis: you have to keep it interesting and refreshed if you want people to engage in a dialog.
    7. Make it relevant: make the content interesting and relevant, and allow employees to comment or submit questions/information.
    8. Tell good stories: find a way to share stories about managers and employees in your organization that are doing the right thing; you will set a good example and help build a more ethical culture.
    Crafting a policy on social media use is no simple task. It is a collaborative effort that requires a comprehensive approach. And once you get it right—it matches your culture, complies with the law, and is effectively communicated to your employees. And most of all, remember that a good social media policy protects both the company AND the employee.
    NAVEX Global is the trusted ethics and compliance expert for more than 8,000 clients in over 200 countries – the largest ethics and compliance community in the world. A merger of industry leaders ElT, EthicsPoint, Global Compliance Services and PolicyTech, NAVEX Global provides a comprehensive suite of solutions to manage governance, risk and compliance, providing critical cross-program insights through unmatched expertise and actionable data.

  • Jun 2013
  • Employee Happiness Isn't Fluff, It's a Business Tool

    A bowl full of HappinessSource: Daily Infographic Employee happiness affects the productivity of the workplace, and the overall feelings that employees have about their work. Fixing issues that make employees unhappy can turn the productivity of a workplace around, and can ultimately save a doomed business. Melanie Graham, of digital and web design agency Gravitate, created this infographic to illustrate that employee happiness isn't just a bunch of fluff and that there is real financial value in creating better work environments. Employee Happiness as a Business Tool About Daily Infographic Daily Infographic features the best information design and data visualization from the internet. They spend countless hours searching the web for the most interesting, stimulating, mind-blowing infographics, then curate their findings and choose one infographic to publish every week-day.

  • May 2013
  • Social Tools, Social Workplace?

    Source: Bring Your Own Service, Microsoft Press Release, May 27, 2013 Nearly half of employees report that social tools at work help increase their productivity, but more than 30 percent of companies underestimate the value of these tools and often restrict their use, according to new Microsoft research. The survey asked 9,908 employees in 32 countries and found that 39 percent of them feel there isn’t enough collaboration in their workplaces, and 40 percent believe social tools help foster better teamwork. More surprisingly, 31 percent said they are willing to spend their own money to buy social tools. “Employees are already bringing their own devices into their workplaces, but now they are increasingly bringing their own services as well,” said Charlene Li, founder and analyst at Altimeter Group, a firm that studies social media and other technology trends. “Employees expect to work differently, with tools that feel more modern and connected, but are also reflective of how they interact in their personal lives. Enterprise social represents a new way to work, and organizations embracing these tools are improving collaboration, speeding customer responses and creating competitive advantages.” New survey reveals how information workers around the globe view social tools. The research also found distinct differences between countries, sectors and genders as they relate to the levels of productivity, collaboration and communication tools used in today’s workplace. Regions • Employees in the Asia-Pacific region were most likely to attribute higher productivity levels to the increased use of social tools, followed by Latin America and Europe. Employees in Latin America, however, were most likely to credit social tools with greater collaboration in the workplace, followed by the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. • Greater proportions of workers in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region are using social tools — and with greater frequency. In contrast, those in North America and Europe have been slower in adopting many social tools. Sectors • Financial services and government employees are most likely to say their company places restrictions on the use of social tools, likely due to the high level of regulation in those sectors. • Moreover, professionals in financial services (74 percent) and government (72 percent) are more likely than those in other fields to say these restrictions are due to security concerns, while those working in retail (59 percent) and travel and hospitality (57 percent) are more likely to blame productivity loss. Gender • Men are more likely than women to attribute higher productivity levels to social tools in a professional setting. • Women are more likely than men to believe their company restricts the use of social tools. • Men are more likely than women to say these restrictions are due to security concerns, while women are more likely to blame productivity loss. “Just as email accelerated the pace of business in the ’90s, enterprise social will be the driver of greater agility and transformation in the 21st century workplace,” said Kurt DelBene, president, Microsoft Office Division. “As we look ahead at how collaboration and communications continue to evolve, we believe the tools people use today — email, instant messaging, voice, videoconferencing, social — will come together and be deeply integrated into apps in ways that will speed collaboration and truly transform the way people work.” Microsoft envisions enterprise social as a fiber connecting all collaboration tools within an enterprise, not as a separate website or app that must be added into employees’ daily mix of activities. As companies start to use social tools such as Yammer, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Dynamics CRM for collaboration, sharing and communicating outside and inside their organizations, they stand to benefit from an increase in team collaboration, employee engagement, organizational connectedness, and the flexibility required to react nimbly and quickly to business changes and demands. For example, "with Lync-Skype connectivity, Skype users will now be able to reach a broader network of colleagues, partners and customers who are using Lync, Microsoft's unified communications platform, connecting them into organizations of all sizes," Skype said in a blog post. "Lync provides a consistent, single client experience for presence, instant messaging, voice, video and meetings for business productivity and is owned by over 90 of the Fortune Global 100 companies." Done correctly, enterprise social can drive significant business value by improving how employees connect, share information and work across teams and geographies, as well as beyond the firewall to customers, vendors and other key relationships. “Enterprise social tools like Yammer have helped Red Robin transform a widespread employee base of nearly 30,000 across 44 states into a more tightly knit workforce focused entirely on team member and guest satisfaction,” said Chris Laping, senior vice president of Business Transformation and chief information officer, Red Robin. “Even more importantly, it helps us ensure we reach our workforce — 87 percent are millennials — in the right ways for learning and engagement because how they want to be engaged is through social and mobile.” More information about the Microsoft survey is available at Microsoft also invites participation in the social enterprise conversation happening on Twitter. At “The Worldwide Water Cooler” — — participants can answer questions and share thoughts via Twitter directly from the site.

  • Star Trek Out of Darkness and Into Enterprise Mobility

    This article originally appeared: What Star Trek Can Teach Us About Enterprise Mobility, Citrix Online

    [caption id="" align="alignright" width="291"]
    Photo courtesy of: Legoagogo via Flickr[/caption]
    Being on the Starship Enterprise was like being in the workplace of the future. In fact the Enterprise operated with the same challenges that enterprises face today. Everyone had lots of devices, needed access to lots of different apps and desktops from these devices, and the ability to share data and do this with complete security and control. On top of that, everyone wanted the ability to work at any time, from any device and from anywhere. The Enterprise was definitely the workplace of the future. Let’s take a step back and actually put this into context. On your average Star Trek work day the following occurred:
    1. The entire Enterprise crew used communicators (remember those Tricorders), various devices, monitors and screens of all shapes and sizes to access the apps and data required to get their jobs done. In other words, they needed a client that could be installed on all these devices, connect to a centralized backend system, deliver all these different apps and customize it to the form factor they were using.
    2. Each crew member had varying levels of access to the ship’s apps and data from their devices. The lower your rank, the lower access you had. In some cases it was necessary to deprecate or block a crew member’s level of access in the event they became compromised by some alien life form. Can’t have a possessed crew member disabling the ships engines.
    3. Securing communication from an external source was essential. Only Enterprise crew members had access to apps and data while off the ship. Nothing worse than the Romulans being able to access the ship’s internal data and find out the ship deflector shields were down or that you were out of photon torpedoes.
    4. And last but not least, Captain Kirk was always talking to the Romulans face-to-face through a large screen on the ship’s bridge. Face-to-face collaboration in hi-def video was clearly important when developing relations with a foreign race especially in life or death situations.
    Yup, you guessed it right. The Enterprise had a mobile workstyles strategy and a very good one. They managed multiple devices, secured their apps and data, and collaborated with people working in multiple locations… the same issues facing today’s organizations. They knew that a complete end-to-end mobile solution that addressed the challenges of working on a starship was required for success. Learn what the Starship Enterprise knew….an end-to-end enterprise mobility strategy is essential for success. *** PS... for a little extra Star Trek fun, check out Citrix Online's infographic: Which Star Trek Character are You Most Like?

  • Commit. Engage. Excel. Keeping and Engaging Your Talent.

    Commit, Engage, Execute.TalentKeepers just released its 2013 Talent Engagement and Retention Trends Survey Report which is now the largest and longest running study of its kind.  This year's research signals another shift in nearly every aspect of how organizations manage human resources is underway, and finally this time the shift is signaling a brighter outlook. This optimism shows up in a wide range of measures as organizations gain confidence and take a longer view in planning their talent strategies. In all, it's a great, comprehensive report and a valuable read for any human resources and employee engagement leader and practitioner.

    What Was Learned

    Viewed broadly, the trends are clear. For example, in the four year period from 2010 to 2013:
    • Organizations reporting significant layoffs or employee downsizing dropped from 43% in 2010 to 21% in 2013
    • Urgency in making changes in major business practices declined significantly, and broad changes in business strategy have steadily slowed being replaced with a greater focus on execution
    • Fundamental human resources practices such as compensation and benefits have largely stabilized, with just 18% planning significant changes, down from 31% in 2010.
    The study also highlights a more significant trend. Employee engagement and talent retention are becoming more embedded as a core talent management practice and, more importantly, an integral business strategy. For the first time, over 30% of the respondents are operations executives, from sales and service to finance and manufacturing. Sixty-five percent of all organizations now budget for engagement initiatives and another 18% are considering formal budgets for it.

    Benchmarking the Best of the Best

    This report also includes, for the first time, data for a select group, which represents the top 10% of all organizations that lead the way in commitment, focus and results. This “Best in Class” group keeps their employees engaged in their jobs and create a culture where employees want to stay with them in spite of options elsewhere. As benchmarks, the report highlights the specific strategies and practices that achieve high performance they consistently do well and from which others can learn. Specifically:
    1. dedicating resources;
    2. executing impactful processes;
    3. holding leaders accountable at all levels for energizing their teams and retaining them longer; and
    4. showing proven results.

    Executing for Change

    Isolating the Best in Class group gives deeper insight beyond just high level "best practices." Now, we were able to determine an array of strategies and tactics that, when executed systematically, greatly increase the likelihood of achieving the targeted outcomes. There is synergy among particular strategies that warrants close attention when planning your next steps. In all, there are seven strategies and tactics that can be learned from the Best in Class. Some we've seen before, for example, actively involving senior leadership or effectively sizing the problem. One of my biggest challenges for this year is to align my efforts with business practices not only through strategy but through data, so it's nice to see metrics appear in the list of best practices. You can read the full report to see the entire list of seven practices, but below are my personal top three:
    1. Work from Data through internal metrics and well-designed employee surveys which yield highly valuable data and make sense for your organization and culture, and will resonate with executives in your company; hold stakeholders accountable for improving key engagement metrics just as you do sales, service and productivity metrics
    2. Link Engagement and Retention Metrics to Business Results to build sustainability and to negotiate for resources; recruit accounting or other internal support teams to develop a small number of metrics that everyone can agree on
    3. Focus on High-Impact Areas including onboarding, job/career discussions, strong relationships with leaders and co-workers

    The Ultimate Goal: Sustainability

    The most important lesson we can learn from the Best in Class has less to do with selecting strategies and everything to do with systematic, sustained execution over time. This is the hard part. Building and strengthening an engaged culture where retention is the norm is a process that requires a well-grounded foundation and continuous reinforcement over time. Meaningful cost savings and performance gains require vision and tenacity. And those attributes will take you well down the road to best in class results. TalentKeepers® offers proven, award-winning employee engagement and retention solutions that span the employee performance continuum. From igniting engagement during on-boarding and creating an energized culture that promotes high performance, to comprehensive employee and leader survey and development tools, they specialize in creating a thriving culture built on mutual trust and collaboration.

  • Mar 2013
  • The Business Impacts of Talent Intelligence year, Oracle President Mark Hurd outlined the ways that executives can use HR intelligence to help them make better business decisions, shape the future of their organizations and improve the bottom line. He highlighted that talent management is one of the top three focus areas for CEOs, and explained how HR intelligence can help drive decisions to meet business objectives. Hurd urged HR leaders to use data to make fact-based decisions about hiring, talent management and succession to drive strategic growth. To win the race for talent, Hurd explained that organizations need powerful technology that provides fact-based valuable insight that is needed to proactively manage talent, drive strategic initiatives that promote innovation, and enhance business performance.

    What Employee Data Should Be Tracked?

    According to Oracle, the key to aligning talent intelligence to drive business outcomes starts with access to the most important employee/talent data. This includes:
    • Knowledge of an employees experiences', their skills and competencies before and during current employment enables you to place the hire appropriately.
    • An understanding of an employee’s career ambitions enables you to align your development plans and identify succession candidates.
    • Employee performance ratings enable you to ensure that high performers are identified and retained.
    • Access to succession plans enables you to understand the transferable skills of employees and to seek out high-potential employees.
    • Employee performance information enables you to identify future leadership potential that will help you fill the leadership pipeline.
    • Identification of critical skill sets that are at risk or the gaps where new skill sets are not yet available to the organization enable you to plan for future hiring.
    • Information about business performance goals that have been established enables you to ensure that all employee goals are aligned to help execute the business strategy.
     This data cannot be collected as an afterthought or as a separate process. It must be captured as part of the overall talent management process. The role of the HR department is becoming in sharp focus of the CEO and CFO. The infographic below  illustrates the view from the C-suite and explores talent intelligence and the bottom line.
    Infographic: Talent Intelligence and the Bottom line
    Oracle white paper “Talent Intelligence: Key to U.S. Business Success, ” July 2012

  • Recognizing a Multigenerational Workforce this Employee Appr ...

    Happy Employee Appreciation Day! In order to help you quickly identify generational differences as well as motivators and themes for recognizing employees of every generation appropriately, Michael C. Fina, a leading provider of global employee recognition and incentive programs, launched a new infographic: “Appreciating A Multigenerational Workforce”. The infographic allows managers and leaders to quickly identify generational differences as well as motivators and themes for appreciating employees of every generation appropriately. “While it is important to recognize employees every day, Employee Appreciation Day reminds us to refocus our workforce appreciation efforts,” said Ashley Fina, president of Michael C. Fina. “With four generations working together, each has distinct characteristics that organizations need to take into account when appreciating their employees.” According to Michael C. Fina, generational differences include:

    • Traditionalists (1922-1945) – Want their actions to connect with the good of the company. Recognition should hone in on service and loyalty with awards, trophies and plaques.
    • Baby Boomers (1946-1964) – Need to see how their actions make a difference so recognition should promote and reward performance.
    • Generation X (1965-1978) – Needs flexibility to get the job done based on their schedule and recognition should embrace these personal needs and goals.
    • Generation Y (1979-1988) – Connects their responsibilities to their personal goals with tangible evidence of credibility. For example, post about the employee’s career milestones on a Recognition Wall, an internal social platform.

    Appreciating A Multigenerational Workforce

  • Feb 2013
  • Who's Using Social Media Anyway?

    Guest post by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy at Sun Life Digital. You can find Ann via her Social Recruiting blog where she writes about social media and Human Resources. She can also be found on LinkedIn. Facebook. Twitter. Google+. Pintrest, Instagram, LinkedIn. They all have become mainstream words we use in our everyday conversation. They have penetrated all forms of media including print, TV, radio, video and digital. It would almost seem strange not to hear or see those familiar icons. Instagrampca_icon_linkedin_111w_116h googleplustwitter Copy of YouTubeCopy of pca_icon_facebook_111w_111h For a long time, there seemed to be a perception that only younger people (under 25) were “on” social media. So why then are companies putting so much time, effort and money into using social media platforms for marketing, branding and engagement to a small segment of the population? Think about it:

    • Almost every company, globally, is using a social media channel for branding and engagement
    • News channels use Twitter to solicit questions and comments
    • Commercials almost always have a “check us out on” Facebook or Twitter as part of their closing
    • For reality TV shows… Twitter is a staple
    • For mobile, social channels are readily available
    • Many web sites enable you use your Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts to sign into other accounts such as Pinterest, TripAdvisor, etc.
    • Some companies provide the ability use your social accounts such as LinkedIn to apply for jobs.
    So it’s not just young people who are using social media channels. age_demographics As social media becomes more intertwined with consumer marketing, recreational activities and personal transactions (such as banking), it encourages more people across a wider demographic to use these channels. Mobile technology also offers social media as a core part of their smart phones (including tablets) which make social media channels readily accessible and easy to use on the go. In the last two years we can see a steady increase across all demographics of people using social media. Edison-research-graph No surprise that the highest usage is the under 25 age group. But what we are seeing is the year over year increase of people over 45 using social media. In just one year the 45-54 age group increased 10% shifting to more than half of that demographic now using social media channels. Another interesting observation is an 8% increase of those 65 and over using social media between 2011 and 2012. The marketing of social media on traditional channels has increased conversion to use these channels and apps to engage and perform transactions. The upsurge in usage for those 55 and over may also be attributed to the way they have determined how the use social media. Research shows that as people get older they tend to take a more thoughtful approach to social media; separating their professional and personal social channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Friends and network connections tend to be people they know, instead of casual acquaintances.  Increased ability to control privacy settings also make people feel more secure about social networking and sharing information. As more people start to use social media we also see them expanding and using a variety of different channels. If we think about personal usage on channels such as Facebook we can see in the chart below, there is a broad distribution of users across all demographics. If we look at LinkedIn, we can see more usage for those over 25, the highest among those in the over 55 age bracket. Twitter on the other hand has broader usage for those under 25 and the least amount of usage for those over 55. What they all have in common, are all demographics are using these channels, but at a different capacity, based on what they deem the channels are useful for. What we will start to see is a rise in channels like LinkedIn for those under 25 looking to build their professional profile. social-media-demographics-age2 The results show us that social media is being used by all demographics. With technology making it easier to connect we can expect to see a continued rise in the number of “older” people using social media. This is key if you are thinking about possible avenues to market your products, services and jobs. Consider where you could source your next new hire or business opportunity from using a social media platform. Ann_Nov_2012 by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

  • A Four Step Strategy to a Secure Mobile Enterprise

    enteprise-mobile-secuirtyIn a post on ReadWriteEnterprise, guest author Vijay Dheap, Mobile Security Strategist at IBM, outlines how organizations can effectively implement a mobile risk management strategy. Below is an excerpt of the post, but for the full version please read: The Mobile Enterprise: 4 Steps To Keeping It Secure [Infographic] Security is a balancing act, especially when it comes to emerging technologies that promise to unlock massive business potential. Each new wave of change requires an enterprise to adapt its security posture, or risk being left behind - or exposed to unmanaged risk. Mobile is no different. Given the dynamic nature of the mobile market (see mobile stats in the infographic below), it can be difficult for an enterprise to define a mobile risk management strategy. Organizational inertia alone can lead to increased risk. One approach is to concentrate on four focus areas of mobile security: 1.BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device. BYOD policies should reflect the organization’s risk appetite based on its industry, regulations and culture. Policies can modulate the degree of device choice and which employees participate. Of course, before it can enforce its BYOD policies, an organization needs to gain visibility and control over these new devices. 2. Protected Access: Mobile devices empower employees to access relevant information whenever they need it. No matter how much enterprise data is stored on the device, users will frequently need to access additional enterprise data and resources. The enterprise must not only establish secure connectivity channels but also manage risk associated with user authentication and authorization. Given that mobile access typically takes place predominantly outside enterprise boundaries, special care is needed to prevent unauthorized access and reduce risky behaviors. 3. Secure Mobile Solutions. Apps have emerged as the primary interface for delivering mobile solutions to consumers, partners and employees. External mobile app developers - who are generally not particularly security aware - need tools and processes that help them bake in the enterprise's security standards and best practices. And the enterprise must also enforce a baseline of security standards across the entire range of mobile solutions it develops. 4. Mobile security through risk management. As mobile adoption accelerates, it becomes a richer target for attackers towards individuals or organizations. To identify risks and take appropriate mitigation steps, enterprises need to gather intelligence across all the touchpoints of mobile engagements. Intelligence gathering should include aggregating security events from the device, users, apps and the network for analysis - including tracking compliance with existing risk management policies. The Mobile Enterprise: 4 Steps To Keeping It Secure [Infographic]

  • Engaged Employees Come in All Shapes and Sizes | #infographi ...

    Engagement comes in all shapes and sizes depending on the needs and motivations of the specific individual. I love this #infographic by Bloomfire that breaks down employee engagement by demographic and gives insight on how to identify engaged employees. Engaged Employees Come in All Shapes and Sizes | #infographic by @bloomfire

  • The Multi-Channel Intranet

    This article has been co-authored with Wedge from Kilobox Communiqué; his original article forms the foundation of the thoughts presented. multiChannelPublishing The intranet often gets defined as an amorphous mass, or just as bad, as the home page and news archive. This seems obvious and clear if the internal communications team is charged with just "sending out information." ‘Channel management’ seems to be an important yet glamour-lacking tactical responsibility for any internal communications team. A ‘channel audit’ is a regular requirement when a senior person joins the team; defining the capabilities, benefits, and reach of a channel and who is responsible for its use and maintenance is crucial to getting the best out of it. Defining the intranet as a single channel is as brutal as discussing the split between digital and print, as if digital is a thing of and in itself. Digital encompasses so much that it’s an unhelpful simplification to use the word.

    The Intranet is Living and Breathing

    Just like any living person, what you see initially is just the surface to what can be find underneath. Employees do not go to just your intranet’s main home page -- and in fact, you shouldn't want them to. Rather, the home page is an entry point -- but not the ONLY entry point -- to a breadth of news, tasks, information and reference material aimed to help employees to learn, plan and do their work and personal lives. So, instead of considering the intranet a single digital channel, consider it a multi-channel platform. And being multi-channel is not easily as easily achieved by simply making "tabs" or categorizing your left-hand navigation into content buckets. It's recognizing that employees enter the intranet from a variety of sources (e.g., e-mail, e-cards, mobile devices, other internal sites) and that information should be organized and targeted in acknowledgement of this.

    Diversify and Target Your Communications

    As with any good communications strategy, the message is matched to the audience, and the channel to the audience. The changing trend in internal communication has moved beyond one-way communication in that it is no longer a passive ‘send and receive’ event. Instead,  it has now become an active, tw0-way conversation. To engage an audience, go where they are already, or to where they are shifting. It's easy to publish a single reference article that can be updated over the months by a designated content owner, and then have shorter, more pointed news articles that then link back to it. Tailoring intranet content to the audience or channel means editing and re-writing communications, rather than just posting redundant versions of the same article. The challenge is in balancing "single source of truth" against uniqueness and variety -- customizing the information so that it is relevant to your diverse employee audience. Considering content strategy and even content marketing, we might:
    • Publish a full-length article for the long-term, which can be easily found through search or navigation, and has a longer shelf life in the news archives;
    • Highlight employee transactions or tasks relevant to the article, so employees know an action is expected of them;
    • Spotlight a unique "teaser" or banner on the intranet home page that instantly draws attention to  purpose of the news article  in a compelling and interesting manner, and links back to the original article;
    • Re-purpose the news article for the HR home page (not landing page*) to communicate specific instructions or process changes to  the individuals responsible for enforcing this change (HR business partners, etc.);
    • Customize the message for all areas of the business so all employees have a full understanding of changes to the business and how it impacts their individual organizations;
    • Shorten the message down to 200 words for the mobile intranet for traveling or employees in the field;
    • Shorten the message even further to 25 words and send as a text message to employe mobile devices;
    • Socialize the 25 words along with a link to the relevant news article on internal collaboration platforms such as Yammer (or equivalent) or as profile status updates, and cross-post among target communities / groups;
    • Re-shape the message into 30 words for digital signage around your buildings, and remember to explain how to find the main article;
    • Be prepared to address questions and be involved with social communications and feedback channels to not only respond to concerns but to also solicit feedback and comments.
    Communication professionals know when to go heavy and when to go light, when to release news all at once and when to drip-feed. This isn’t a process to follow slavishly, it’s a shift in concept from a single, flat  intranet to multiple sub-channels strung on the intranet. And remember, the depth and breadth of a multi-channel platform should not be confused with complexity, multiple click-throughs and overly hierarchical information. It's about building self-service, enabling simplicity, and being relevant. Effective internal communications isn’t something you just do when you get a chance. It's real work.  And it requires planning, and it demonstrates commitment to values and employees. *Home pages vs landing pages A home page is the page that appears when an employee first opens the intranet. When content is personalized to an employees role or organization, an intranet can have multiple home pages, so that an HR person’s experience of the intranet is different to that of an IT person’s. A landing page is the main page of a department that everyone can visit. So when you’re told to go to the Legal team on the intranet, the Legal landing page is their ‘welcome to the Legal department’ page, followed by the obligatory ‘mission’ page and team photos.

  • BYOD Policy Should Precede BYOD Technology

    Following is an excerpt from The Ten Commandments of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) by MaaS360.  For the full list of "commandments" please visit the Maas360 site to download the entire guide. Like any other IT project, policy must precede technology—yes, even in the cloud. To effectively leverage mobile device management (MDM) technology for employee owned devices, you still need to decide on policies. These policies affect more than just IT; they have implications for HR, legal, and security—any part of the business that uses mobile devices in the name of productivity. Since all lines of business are affected by BYOD policy, it can’t be created in an IT vacuum. With the diverse needs of users, IT must ensure they are all part of policy creation. There’s no one right BYOD policy, but here are some questions to consider:

    • Devices: What mobile devices will be supported? Only certain devices or whatever the employee wants?

    According to Forrester, 70% of smartphones belong to users, 12% are chosen from an approved list, and 16% are corporate-issued. Some 65% of tablets belong to users, 15% are chosen from a list, and 16% are corporate issued. In other words, users in most cases bring their own devices.

    • Data Plans: Will the organization pay for the data plan at all? Will you issue a stipend, or will the employee submit expense reports?

    Who pays for these devices? For smartphones, 70% paid the full price, 12% got a discount, 3% paid a partial amount, and in 15% of cases, the company covered the full price. With tablets, 58% bought their own, 17% got a corporate discount, 7% shared the cost, and 18% were issued and paid for by their companies. (Source: Forrester, 2011)

    • Compliance: What regulations govern the data your organization needs to protect? For instance, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires native encryption on any device that holds data subject to the act.
    • Security: What security measures are needed (passcode protection, jailbroken/rooted devices, anti-malware apps, encryption, device restrictions, iCloud backup)?
    • Applications: What apps are forbidden? IP scanning, data sharing, Dropbox?
    • Agreements: Is there an Acceptable Usage Agreement (AUA) for employee devices with corporate data?
    • Services: What kinds of resources can employees access—email? Certain wireless networks or VPNs? CRM?
    • Privacy: What data is collected from employees’ devices? What personal data is never collected?
    No questions are off limits when it comes to BYOD. There must be frank and honest dialog about how devices will be used and how IT can realistically meet those needs.  

  • Workplace Values Across Four Generations [#infographic]

    Engage employees across generations by understanding what motivates them.

  • Make Recognition Your Superhero!

    Disengagement is an evil villain... Recognition to the rescue!

    Source: INFOGRAPHIC Recognition to the rescue! by Achievers

    RecognitionSuperheroAn evil villain is roaming our workplaces. Employees are fleeing in droves as this evil-doer pilfers profits and steal souls. Who is this masked marauder? Why, none other than the longtime foe of productive workplaces everywhere: DISENGAGEMENT. But never fear—a hero is waiting in the wings! Recognition is the super hero today’s workplaces need. Let us join forces and do battle, starting now!

    Comic book villain or not, disengagement is a real threat. A Gallup study found disengagement costs $300 billion in lost productivity every year. That’s nearly eight thousand times more than actual bank robbers stole throughout the U.S. in 2011. Plus, 71% percent of Americans are not engaged in their current positions—and probably spending their days dreaming about robbing banks. (We don’t recommend it. It doesn’t pay as much as you think.) Many companies are working to combat disengagement. Companies spend $47 billion annually on employee rewards, but there is definite room for improvement. Unstructured and inconsistent recognition is a waste of company funds, but budget invested the right way leads to reduced turnover and increased productivity. It may not wear spandex and a cape, but recognition is the best weapon we have to make the workplace safer for everyone.  By teaming up and helping recognition do its thing, we can all do our part to make the workplace a more welcome place. Check out this infographic by Achievers for more info on the threat of disengagement and how recognition can come to your rescue.

    Make Recognition Your Superhero! [#infographic by @Achievers]

  • Social HR, Self Service Style

    One of the most important steps to putting social HR in it's place is to take a look at the employee lifecycle and determining your best opportunities for integration within an HR portal. Doing so drives self-service, relevancy to employees' every day work and the ability to interact and engage with employees. Effective social HR is more than just building online communities... it's also about integration of backend data and enabling self-service -- improving the way employees help themselves online. Self service is a driving force in how companies now interact with customers: mobile apps, social technologies, etc. are all enablers of self service. It's becoming, or has become rather, the norm. So it's not a stretch to say this same methodology needs to be applied to how organizations interact with its employees. Check out this infographic by ZenDesk that explores why implementing more intelligent self-service technologies is important to business success. zd_search_customer_self_service_inforgraphic I also like this infographic by Evocos because it highlights some good points on learning and development -- a key area in the employee lifecycle -- and identifies ways to let employees manage their own training & development via an integrated online portal -- the result: self service. Beside reducing your costs, increasing efficiency and improving employee motivation, there are many other advantages, most noteably:

    • Give your employees a sense of empowerment and control
    • HR staff are able to focus on more strategic tasks
    • Get a clear view of your employee ‘s career development
    • Employees are able to update their own records at any time
    • Manage all organization training from one central platform
    • Improved training reporting and analysis
    • Leverage the investment made in your back end systems/HR solutions
    • Improved efficiency and control over staff training
    • Provide more for less and better for less
    I will be holding a 4-hour workshop at the IntraTeam conference (along with my friend Kerry Leidich, SVP Strategy at Humantelligence) in Copenhagen where participants will work hands on with me to break down the employee lifecycle, identify opportunities for social integration such as the Learning and Development ones presented in this infographic, and how to execute an HCM strategy that results in an integrated HR portal that enables, educates and engages employees. I hope to see you there! Employee-Career-Development-Infographic

  • Creating Real Value from Employee Engagement Scores

    This article originally appeared in Workforce Magazine, January 2010. Numerous studies show a clear link between employee engagement, retention and financial success. Measuring and improving employee engagement is time-consuming, difficult to do ... and yet, can be extremely rewarding. But many organizations continue to seek the answer to how to benchmark employee engagement. Three key steps help ensure that you will be successful.

    1. Define terms and understand benefits and risks.
    2. Design and implement an employee survey with an “engagement index.”
    3. Establish and implement a strategy to improve baseline results and/or consider internal benchmarking.
    1. Define Terms, Understand Benefits and Risks Benchmarking is used by organizations to evaluate various aspects of their processes or results in relation to “best practices,” usually within their own sector. Employee engagement generally is defined as the strong emotional connection an employee feels for the organization—a connection that causes the employee to exert greater discretionary effort at work. Organizations benchmark this to compare best-practice engagement scores with their own employee engagement results. Simple, right? Not really. And there are two risks you need to anticipate: Risk 1: Benchmarking may not help you to determine what engagement scores actually mean. Although some benchmarking services claim to be the definitive engagement standard for an industry or geography, it pays to be cautious. Identifying a reliable benchmarking source—especially one that is relevant to your organization and sector—is not easy. Even within the same industry, same geography or company size, companies are as different as people and have different cultures, values and ways of getting work done. This makes comparing across companies one of the most widely misused practices. It’s akin to comparing your personality test results with one of your peers in another company: interesting result, just not very relevant. Risk 2: Engagement is defined differently at many organizations. Most of the major recent studies on employee engagement have defined the term differently, and as a result, studies have come up with different key drivers and implications. Companies have different definitions too. If your employee survey results indicate a pattern of low engagement, you know there is a need for improvement. If 60 percent of your employees indicate that they intend to stay with your company, and the benchmark is 52 percent, should you rest on your laurels? If you do, you miss an opportunity to reach an even higher level of engagement. Given this, you ought to challenge your assumptions about benchmarking and reconsider its value. It may make more sense to establish your own baseline engagement score set improvement targets, track progress to the target or goal, and seek out the relationships between rising engagement scores and financial or operational success. 2. Design a Survey Instrument With an Engagement Index Employee surveys are commonly used to determine the level of engagement, which results in an “engagement index” that measures respondents’ attachment, or emotional connection to the organization. The index is calculated by grouping together questions or statements that are closely linked to employee engagement. For example:
    • I would recommend my company as a good place to work.
    • I am proud to work for my company.
    • At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best.
    • My company can win in the marketplace, and I want to be part of this success.
    • I receive the resources I need to do my job well.
    Statistical analysis can reveal that performance on these engagement questions is influenced by performance in critical areas, known as key drivers. A key driver analysis is a statistical procedure that identifies a small number of survey issues that have the greatest overall impact on important outcomes. Determine your strategy to improve on a baseline and/or benchmark results before finalizing the survey design. 3. Establish and implement a strategy to improve baseline results and/or consider internal benchmarking. Here’s a little secret: There are greater differences between departments within your own company than you will find between companies. The most meaningful and actionable benchmarking is done internally—between groups and departments over time. Given that employee retention is critical, it’s important to understand how employee engagement scores can be improved. It is, however, less critical how these scores compare with your competitors. Actions that will improve your baseline scores year over year can help you discover the link between engagement and key financial metrics. SOURCE: Richard Greenberg, Capital H Group, Los Angeles, October 25, 2007.

  • Jan 2013
  • Do You Social HR? Accepting Submissions for Social HR "IT" L ...

    Social-HR-and-the-Employee-Lifecycle-by-The-Social-Workplace-(short)You do? Then submit your company to appear in the Social HR "IT" List. The Social Workplace believes there are two key areas of social HR transformation: 1) implement high performing systems that streamline business and people processes to enable productivity; and, 2) leverage the employee lifecycle to create a sustaining and engaging experience that drives relevancy and adoption. In creating the Putting Social HR in Its Place infographic, I broke down the employee lifecycle and identified opportunities to socially transform each area. As a result, I'm  frequently asked to name companies that provide products or solutions to enable this social transformation. So, I'd like to put a list together that aligns the need with the solution -- companies who need to socially transform their learning processes can easily find a company that provides a solution. My past lists of top case studies, social HR experts and the Who's Who in Social HR Technology continues to be my most popular posts ever. This year, I'd like to align the Who's Who in Social HR with the areas in the employee lifecycle infographic -- creating what I'm calling the Social HR "IT" List. So, if you haven't already, take a look at the employee lifecycle infographic, identify the area you enable social HR, and submit your company so that you appear on the Social HR "IT" List. [si-contact-form form='2']

  • Power Your Bottom Line with Employee Engagement

    Imagine the impact of working at just 33% capacity. According to Gallup research, that's exactly what's happening. Their research shows that as many as 67% of your employees may be less than fully engaged — and the average company loses $2,246 per disengaged employee every year. World class organizations make engagement a priority by focusing on: -- Outcome-based accountability and performance -- Communications that not only tie personal performance to business goals but also guides employees on how to best meet individual performance goals -- Performance-driven development programs For all of the reasons above, it's critical that HR has an infrastructure that provides the necessary tools to help you develop and sustain a successful employee engagement strategy. HRIS is not just about the data. It's about the people. Check out this great infographic by ADP for more information on this telling research.

    Employee Engagement infographic by ADP

  • Making Social Recognition S.M.A.R.T in 2013

    Social RecognitionMy friends at TemboSocial sent me their most recent infographic on social recognition and it prompted me to take a few minutes to dive a little deeper into their recent whitepaper on why social recognition matters. Below are some highlights from that whitepaper as well as some additional thoughts of my own. "Fifty-four percent of organizations involuntarily lost high-performing employees during the first half of 2010”, reports T&D Magazine.1 According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number one reason people leave their jobs is lack of appreciation.2 These figures speak to the challenge of talent retention and employee engagement, illustrating that a troubling percentage of employees who feel undervalued move on to what they hope will be greener pastures. But what about the productivity of those employees who remain? Discretionary effort is directly linked to feeling valued. If you believe that your efforts matter, then you will be less likely to leave and more likely to invest greater effort into your job each day.

    Enabling a Culture of Personal Legacy

    When companies embrace social media within their organization, they quickly realize that the currency that has the greatest value to knowledge workers is the desire for recognition. What employee doesn't want to leave their mark on the work they've done, the successes they've achieved? Social recognition allows an employee to build a personal legacy within the organization, bringing to light the contributions and milestones of the employee. Recognition becomes a cultural asset, infusing the social intranet with stories of success and achievement.

    Low Cost, High Return

    Social recognition programs provide short and long-term benefits. They deliver a win-win situation. Not only are they far less expensive than traditional monetary rewards programs, they are also proven to be more effective in engaging and motivating knowledge workers than traditional monetary incentives. Social Recognition and Why It MattersThe ripple effect of personal legacy means that the stories collected and shared through the right social recognition program will:
    • Provide Public Validation  - Recognition by your peers makes you feel valued, and does so in a significant way. This is because only your peers truly understand the skill, time and effort of the finished project. Although others may appreciate the result your peers recognize the process, and this recognition is especially validating.
    • Increase Talent Retention and Productivity - If you believe that your efforts matter, then you’ll be less likely to leave and more likely to make greater contributions. Non-monetary social recognition builds employee engagement, which is proven to increase retention and discretionary effort.3
    • Reinforce Corporate Culture -  Peer-to-peer recognition programs build institutional memory, serving as a repository of stories that would otherwise go untold. The act of publicly celebrating these stories helps to shape the culture of the company.
    • Improve Talent Spotting - When your peers recognize your contributions your successes are seen by the entire company. The sender also benefits by visibly demonstrating managerial skills.
    • Foster Collaboration - Allowing praise and recognition to be shared out in the open creates a rich gallery of stories that can be searched and browsed by anyone.
    • Inspire and Energize Employees - It doesn’t take much to say “thank you” for a job well done. Yet the impact of those two words can be astounding, changing the way employees feel about themselves and their work.
    • Streamline Processes - Ongoing peer-to-peer recognition removes the bottleneck often experienced when already busy managers are the required starting point for recognition.
    • Build Community - The achievement system brings everyone together to work towards a mutual goal that drives employee engagement to meet strategic goals.

    Making Social Recognition S.M.A.R.T.

    To make recognition part of your company culture it makes sense to look at the ubiquity of social media and its success, but it’s important to choose a platform that is SMART:4
    • Sincere. Above all else, a good reward should reflect a genuine expression of appreciation. Token acknowledgements leave something to be desired.
    • Meaningful. To endure a motivating influence, rewards should be aligned with the values, goals, and priorities that matter the most.
    • Adaptable. The diverse workplace demands alternatives. Consider creative options to keep your program fresh. No single reward format works for everyone all the time. [Recognition should be adapted and valuable to the receiver.]
    • Relevant. Some personal dimension is essential to a good reward. No matter how formal or informal, expensive or affordable, the relevance of any recognition will be improved with a personal touch -- it’s a little thing that makes a big difference. [Recognition should be provided by someone of significance to the receiver.]
    • Timely. It is important that rewards respond to the behavior they are intending to reinforce. Don’t let too much time pass or the reward may be devalued and credibility eroded.
    To better visualize the points presented here, check out TemboSocial's infographic which illustrates why social recognition programs matter and the power of peer-to-peer recognition... and learn how the right social recognition program increases employee motivation and retention. 1 Pace, A: (2010, September). As future brightens for job seekers, disturbing trends emerge for trainers [Electronic version]. T&D Magazine, Retrieved March 25, 2011, from 2 Nelson, N: (2007, April). Unleashing the ‘secret’ at work [Electronic version]. Canadian HR Reporter, The National Journal of Human Resource Management, Retrieved March 25, 2011, from 3 Wagner, R., and Harter, J.K. (2006). 12: The Elements of Great Managing. New York: Gallup Press 4 “What Makes a Good Reward?” by Jim Brintnall, Debbie Gustafson, Bob Nelson, Recognition News, Vol. 2, Issue 2.

  • Create a Culture of Employee Engagement in 2013 ...

    productive-employees-smallFACT: 71% of the workforce is disengaged, causing US businesses $300 billion annually. Reducing turnover and improving productivity starts with you, the business. As you start to establish business goals for 2013, you must also think of ways to ensure your employees remain engaged at work or risk your business suffering as employees become unproductive, or worse, look elsewhere for employment. NBRI's latest infographic breaks down the anatomy of an engaged employee and re-emphasizes the importance of creating a culture of long-lasting employee engagement, along with providing four goals to help fuel employee engagement initiatives.   The Anatomy of an Engaged Employee by NBRI

  • Dec 2012
  • The Best of 2012's Social Media White Paper Goodness

    Are you addicted to white papers, just as I am? Well, my friends at Awareness, Inc. have put together an epic list of the top 10 social media whitepapers of 2012. Enjoy the white paper goodness. And try to tweet every once in a while so we know you're still there, K? Source: Awareness Inc. To help you understand important shifts in the social media landscape and how they affect marketing, Awareness Inc combed through the juiciest research findings from 2012, pulling out 10 studies and 30 essential takeaways for any successful marketer and created a guide to help you with them . The ten white papers included are:

    Get a year's worth of social marketing knowledge in one convenient package; download 10 Ways to Learn in Style: A Guide to The Year's Best Social Marketing White Papers today!

  • Survey Says... Job Feedback Ends Family Feud

    More than 19 million employed Americans plan to leave their jobs in the next year. With the average cost to recruit and train one employee estimated at 2.5 times an employee’s salary, the feud between employer and employee job satisfaction could potentially cost U.S. employers $2.1 trillion. Many employers today face the challenge of attracting and retaining top talent with the right skills to move their business forward. But what motivates employees and keeps them engaged in their jobs? In Cornerstone OnDemand's recent 2013 U.S. Employee Report, employees have spoken: one of the most significant ways employers can win the feud is through job performance feedback, and ultimately creating a win-win situation for all. Cornerstone OnDemand and research firm Kelton went straight to the source to capture the employee’s perspectives and attitudes regarding performance feedback, training and development, career management, and more. Employers can use these insights to evolve their people management strategies in the year ahead to narrow skills gaps, increase employee engagement and retain top talent. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="699"]The Cornerstone OnDemand 2013 U.S. Employee Report The Cornerstone OnDemand 2013 U.S. Employee Report[/caption]

  • Work Engaged, Work Inspired - The Benefits of Employee Engag ...

    Here's another great infographic on employee engagement... Engaged workers are happier, more productive, and more enthusiastic about their work. However, the majority of workers are simply spinning their wheels, costing themselves and their companies in terms of both well-being and dollars. In fact, disengaged workers are costing upwards of 370 BILLION in lost productivity annually. That's billion, folks. Work inspired, and help keep your team in high gear, by utilizing everyone's strengths, recognizing others' contributions, and building a healthy culture. The benefits speak for themselves. Ways to engage and inspire:

    • Offer recognition - 82% of employees say recognition inspires them
    • Play to strengths - Employees whose strengths are properly utilized are 6x more engaged
    • Build culture - 66% of employees work in a healthy culture
    Work Engaged, Work Inspired – The Benefits of Employee Engagement [#infographic]  

  • Nov 2012
  • The Game of Employee Engagement Includes Enablement

    Source: 3 cost-effective ways to boost employee engagement, from the March 2012 issue of CeridianVoice. Game of EE Engagement Infographic With 71 percent of employees "not engaged" or "actively disengaged" at the end of 2011, according to Gallup, most companies can only dream of a workforce that is 100% engaged. And with 6 percent of net profits at stake for disengaged companies, according to Towers Watson, employee engagement has become a major business issue. According to Charles Daye, senior vice president of HR for Ceridian U.S., exploring cost-effective, easy-to-implement HR technology solutions is a great place to start improving employee engagement in today's economy. Ceridian suggests that one of these solutions in particular should be added to every HR executive's to-do list this year; however, I like one of its suggestions in particular: employee self service. One of the biggest strategies I speak of in how to effectively transform current HR systems for today's workforce is based on enablement. And with enablement comes engagement. According to a recent CedarCrestone surve, 45 percent of companies are spending some of their budget on employee and manager self-service. With everything from smartphones to Netflix giving consumers more independence, it makes sense that employees want control over their HR information. Today, HR self-service allows employees to go beyond simply viewing paystubs to taking major actions such as enrolling in benefits, adjusting their payroll preferences and managing their shift schedule, often from anywhere on their mobile devices. "Employees like having the ownership," said Betty Rifford, corporate payroll coordinator for Huhtamaki Americas, Inc., a Ceridian self-service customer. Companies with best-in-class workforce scheduling in particular report an average 23 percent higher employee engagement, according to Aberdeen Group. "Workforce management tools significantly decrease the time managers spend on administrative tasks, and help them better track and recognize employee performance," Daye said. "This gives managers more time to lead people, build trust and foster engagement." See how easy-to-implement, cost-effective technologies can help you win The Game of Employee Engagement. For more information, read Ceridian's post on "3 cost-effective ways to boost employee engagement."

  • How Your Lover Could be Killing Your Productivity

    Very few people have followed this blog from its beginnings. If you are one of those people, you might remember that my very first blog post was called, "My Crackberry is my Blankie," and it was all about my addiction to my Blackberry and how I go to sleep with it every night. Fast forward 4 years, replace the Crackberry with my new HTC DNA, and you pretty much have the same situation. I'm so attached to my phone that I call him, Stan. And yes, I sleep with him every night. He's my lover and he's more than likely killing my productivity. The act of checking texts, emailing, Facebooking, or anything else on the web before bed has become a habit to over 95% of participants in a recent survey. In fact, 83% of young people sleep next to their cell phones and 35% of smartphone users boot up apps before getting out of bed. Maybe it's not your phone. Maybe it's your tablet. Or the computer. But if you're guilty of any of the following, then your technology is your lover and it's killing your productivity too.

    • Is it that last thing you look at before you close your eyes?
    • When you wake up in the middle of the night do you look over to make sure it's still there?
    • Do you cuddle with it while you sleep?
    • When you wake up is it the first thing you say good morning to your phone?
    When your mind is obsessed with checking messages constantly, it can effect your head – one in two people say that if they wake in the night for no reason, they’ll check their phone right away. Two-hour exposure to light from electronic displays suppresses melatonin by 22%. This doesn’t just affect your sleep but also stress and depressive symptoms.  (Your Technology is Keeping You Awake) Not only does lack of sleep makes you downright witchy, but it also has short-term consequences at work:
    • Sleep deprivation induces significant reductions in performance and alertness. Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as 1.5 hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32 percent.
    • Decreased alertness and excessive daytime sleepiness impair your memory and your cognitive ability—your ability to think and process information.
    • Excessive sleepiness also contributes to a greater than twofold higher risk of sustaining an occupational injury.(How sleep deprivation affects work performance)
    And in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers estimated that lost productivity due to poor sleep cost $3,156 per employee with insomnia and averaged about $2,500 for those with less severe sleep problems. Across four sample companies, sleep-related reductions in productivity cost $54 million a year. This doesn't include the cost of absenteeism--those with insomnia missed work an extra five days a year compared to good sleepers. So, power down! Set some boundaries with your lover... I know it's hard, especially when it's shiny and brand new. But check out this infographic and you'll see why it's important that when you go to bed, you say good night to your technology too.  

  • Does HR Really Get It?

    Original post: HR Perception vs Reality, Kenexa Blog As HR professionals, how tuned in are we to what our employees think and feel about our organization? This year, Kenexa set out to answer this question by asking the same questions of both HR professionals and employees around attitudes and engagement. The results were disconcerting. Gaps exist between employees and employer perceptions across a variety of topics from benefits to retention. For more information, check out the free Kenexa white paper “Employee Attitudes and Engagement” and discover how HR’s perception of engagement, pride and retention compares to the reality for employees today.


    69 percent of employers believe employees are engaged, while only 34 percent of employees claim to be. Engagement means different things to different people. For employers, engagement can be represented by employee productivity, attendance and development. For employees, engagement may be more about feelings than actions.


    81 percent of HR professionals think employees would recommend the organization to a friend. Only 38 percent actually would. If your employees aren’t fully engaged, they might consider leaving the organization. Bringing a friend into an organization that you aren’t fully engaged with might affect a personal relationship—a risk many aren’t willing to take.

    Fair Benefits

    71 percent of HR professionals think the organization has fair benefits while only 48 percent of employees agree with this statement. Communication is key for employees to understand their benefits package and how much the organization spends on their benefits, particularly when it comes to health care. Employees might only notice when they pay more out of pocket for benefits, when in reality both employees and employers are sharing a growing cost.


    53 percent of HR professionals think they provide fair compensation compared to only 30 percent of employees. After a few years of tight budgets, organizations are starting to give reasonable increases, but not yet at pre-recession levels. Focus on key employees to ensure top talent is compensated fairly.


    83 percent of HR professionals think their employees plan to stay for the next year. 41 percent of employees agree with this statement. With engagement low and belief that compensation and benefits aren’t fair, it should come as no surprise that employees aren’t committed to their organization. Moreover, through the recession, many employees stayed with their organization out of a need for security. Now that organizations are hiring again, loyalty starts to waver. So how can we resolve these gaps in perception? Through communication and manager training. Even the best intended HR programs fall flat without proper communication. Often times our employees aren’t fully aware of all the organization is doing for them or how much the organization is spending on programs. Moreover, all the communication in the world won’t offset a poorly informed manager. Managers need to be trained not only on understanding and evangelizing the company message, but also on bringing concerns back to HR so employee issues can be addressed.

  • Where's Your Employee's Head?

    Whether your traditional HR programs need a simple revitalization based on modern best practices or because you'd like to revolutionize them by applying a social layer, your FIRST step in transforming your existing HR programs is understanding where  an employee's head is: what they're thinking, what they need, where they want to go, and who they want to be. If you follow this blog, you know that I believe the employee lifecycle is the foundation for balancing business needs with the needs of your employees. By integrating them into the employee lifecycle, you turn every day HR transactions into interactions that become tools relevant to how employees live and work, resulting in higher adoption and sustainability. To that end, you will not know where your employees' heads are unless you break down the employee lifecycle. In a recent post, Boxer Property identifies its own version of the employee lifecycle and provides some information on each stage. I especially like what they say about onboarding, learning and development: More compelling is that their infographic illustrates that the current expected tenure for junior roles is 18 months to 3 years. For intermediate roles the average tenure is 3-5 years, and for VP or C-Level executives the average tenure is only 3 years. An average employee may complete this loop more than 15 times in their career. This message is further strengthened by the infographic presented by Rasmussen College which illustrates the current landscape of employee tenure based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Infographic- Changes in Employee Tenure Armed with this information, it's clear that employee needs are different based on where they are within the employee lifecycle and your HR programs must be customized to those needs. For example, engagement and productivity levels are high when an employee is onboarding versus an employee who is separating where levels are extremely low. It's also important to understand the needs of those employees in between -- the ones who you want to maintain a healthy level of engagement -- not too much to prevent burnout but enough that they don't start becoming disengaged. How you define the employee lifecycle can vary based on your own culture, values and mission. How I would define the employee lifecycle differs slightly from that of Boxer Property. In fact, if you haven't seen it already, you should take a look at our own infographic: "Putting Social HR in it's Place: The Employee Lifecycle" which not only defines an employee lifecycle, but also identifies opportunities within the lifecycle to interact with employees socially. Have you created an employee lifecycle for your organization? If so, tell me! I'd love to see it!!

    Social HR and the Employee Lifecycle by The Social Workplace

  • Global Employee Recognition Has a Really L-O-N-G Arm

    As the global economy continues to change and challenge employers, one of the most crucial ways to engage and align employees to the company mission is through employee recognition. I know this. Employers know this. And chances are, if you're reading this, you know this as well. Consequently, EVERYONE is looking to revamp their recognition programs. Not an easy challenge for domestic companies and an even harder one for companies who have employees across the globe. One of the strongest messages that has resonated with me is that recognition is NOT an annual event that mimics an awards show. Rather, recognition should happen more frequently, in the form of  continuous feedback. New best practices now focus on recognizing what matters most to your organization, actively involving management, basing recognition on performance or achievements continuously over time, etc. That means a pat on the back, the quick "Thank You" note, and, for some employers, even a hug (gasp!). Wrapping your arms around recognition is challenging no matter what -- domestic or global you need to understand what employees need. But when you have global employees, you need to stretch your arms a lot further by also understanding the cultural similarities and differences your employees have so that you are delivering a united and relevant recognition program. There a whole lot of information out there on how best to restructure recognition programs. But while recognition best practices apply globally, employers still need to account for cultural nuances locally... and understanding and catering to these nuances are vital for a global recognition program. What I love about the latest infographic from OCTanner, is that it takes a deep dive into these nuances by region / country.  They also outline an excellent list of best practices to keep in mind for global program adoption and success:

    1. Invite local leadership, human resources, and managers as early as possible into the planning process. This gives a sense of ownership to each locale, leadership support and endorsement, and creates recognition champions. If you are having trouble getting local support, position employee recognition as a business initiative rather than just an HR program. This involvement also helps give you valuable country-specific insights to guide program positioning.
    2. Position your recognition strategy, nuanced by country—before rolling out to non-U.S. locations. Employee recognition should be positioned as a strategic way to celebrate your mates in Australia, recognize performance in a clear and equitable way in Japan and Europe, etc. This will help ensure your recognition initiatives are not seen as “American” programs being implemented in non-U.S. locations. As part of this strategy, make sure you thoroughly review concepts and attributes of new initiatives to ensure they are culturally appropriate (especially true in Germany and France). And don’t underestimate the importance of milestone or career achievement recognition. Employees around the world find recognizing milestones extremely meaningful, yet few organizations are doing so consistently.
    3. Design solutions that recognize performance, but also acknowledge effort and celebrate career achievement over time. Most countries only reward results, failing to appreciate those critical day-to-day (and often peer-to-peer) efforts. These provide great opportunities to bring individuals, teams and departments together.
    4. Ensure everyone has access to all employee recognition tools and has been trained on how to use them. Apply appreciation consistently across departments, managers, and locations to ensure fairness. In Australia and Mexico, incorporating team recognition is important, while in Germany, China, India, and Japan, it’s more about ensuring the individual stands out.
    5. Translate everything- marketing materials, websites, training—using the local language (even if employees are expected to speak English). Communicate with simple, direct, straightforward language, avoiding jargon or complicated words.
    Global recognition programs can be as easy as stretching your arm a l-o-n-g way to provide a pat on the back -- in fact, in many cases, that kind of continuous feedback is exactly what employees are looking for. But it's also important to keep in mind both the similarities and the local nuances so that you can develop a united recognition strategy that impacts all of your employees, all around the world. Employee Recognition - OCTanner

  • Oct 2012
  • How do you define HR?

    When you talk to most HR professionals and ask them to define HR, you are likely to get a response that is similar to “HR is about the people” or “HR is about the greatest asset of any organization which is the people.” When HR Daily Advisor asked Kojo Amissah, SPHR, HRMP, MBA from Ghana to define HR, he provided an answer you don’t hear every day: “HR is about the business to the extent to which you can utilize people to obtain business goals.” Amissah supported his answer by explaining the reason why businesses do focus on the people that work for them and why it is a priority to ensure employees are happy, satisfied and motivated. Simply put, he says, “Organizations want people engaged to help achieve business goals. That is why employee satisfaction is so important”. Amissah provided a great analogy that compares employees to the customers which the organization serves. Many of us ensure that when we encounter our customers we treat them with respect and kindness, and before ending our engagement we make certain that all of their needs were met. Amissah asked us to think about why we take such care and spend so much energy on making our customers happy. Not a hard question at all. We want our customers to have a great experience so they will be repeat customers and tell all of their friends about the service and/or product we are offering coupled with the great experience they had. Companies do the same. To ensure that they continue to attract the best talent, keep the best talent, and have a reputation for doing so, organizations must work hard to make their employees happy. The end result impacts the business’s bottom line. Amissah believes that HR is put in place to ensure employees are happy and well engaged so in turn they will do more for the company. He suggests that HR leaders combine satisfaction with performance. It will allow them to better measure success. When linking HR to people alone it is almost impossible to measure performance but linking the people with business goals will provide HR with a more tangible gauge. So how do YOU define HR? And what do you think HR means for you and the organization? I would love to hear your comments below!   This post was originally published on HR Daily Advisor: Definition of HR? Hint: It’s More than ‘I’m a People Person’

  • No More Silos... Just Social Business

    From: Holistic Social Relationships, Breaking Down Social Media Silos and Enabling a Coordinated Brand Voice, Astute Solutions A holistic approach to social listening and engagement can transform your business into a social business, help you quickly find relevance in the massive social world and allow you to use the information for the betterment of your entire organization. At first blush it might seem like marketing should take the lead and “own” social media and there are plenty of benefits available that can be leveraged to enhance the brand. But once you identify the numerous stakeholders who have or will find tremendous value in social information, it quickly becomes clear: social media is not all about marketing, sales, PR, HR or even support. It’s about the complete business and the impact it has is enormous. Each part of your business can benefit from social conversations. These conversations reveal incredibly valuable information, sometimes information that would be costly and difficult to achieve through surveys and focus groups. A conversation that starts with a support question can quickly turn into an opportunity to up-sell, cross-sell or to provide a valuable customer testimonial. A question to your legal department can shift to investor relations or product development. A shipping inquiry might end up being a PR discussion. And so on… But many organizations who have jumped into social, seriously misuse their data and in the process minimize the true impact the information has. Why? Silos. The true benefit of social becomes significantly diminished when valuable information fails to make its way to those who need it most. But you’ll never know any of those things if they’re hidden away in departmental silos. But it’s not easy to break down these silos. Why? It’s the same problem most companies have had for decades: departments want to control their own systems and tools and have very different needs.

    • Customer Service cares about:
      • Reputation management
      • Customer notices
      • Customer service
      • Talent acquisition
    • HR cares about:
      • Community building (former and future employees)
      • Research
      • Talent acquisition
    • Marketing cares about:
      • Social profiles
      • Conversion
      • Branding & PR
      • Sales support
    Can this be fixed? Can these silos be eliminated or at least bridged or connected? The answer is yes. In fact, it’s absolutely essential that organizations find a way to integrate their social media efforts and systems. In its latest best practice guide, Astute Solutions identifies six lessons to help organizations break down social media silos and enable a coordinated brand voice: Lesson #1: the majority of social media conversations aren’t relevant to the business, but those that are can be incredibly valuable. Finding those relevant conversations is critical. Lesson # 2: Social isn’t to be owned, it’s to be leveraged as an integral, vital and strategic business channel. Getting access to relevant information is important. Delivering it to key stakeholders is critical. Lesson #3: It’s not enough to simply monitor the social universe. You must be able to find and act on critical issues in real time and do so in a way that doesn’t dampen the bottom line. Lesson #4: Consumers want to tell you more about what they like and don’t like. They’ll tell you in great detail about how they use your products and services. You have to make their feedback a strategic part of your organization. Lesson #5: Integration is important and the connecting of all parts of the organization to social systems is absolutely critical. Build a common platform based upon the needs of your service origination and you’ll find more flexibility and access to the most important information. Lesson #6: Collecting data is terrific, but look closely for actionable feedback from consumers AND act on it!

  • Finding the Needle in the Proverbial Social Media Haystack ...

    97% of chatter on social media offers little to no value to your organization nor its goals. So how do you get to the 3% that matters? Astute Solutions, a CRM software solutions company, has created an infographic to help you make business sense of all the social media chatter and integrate valuable social insights throughout your entire organization.

  • The People's Portal: Of the People and For the People

    A couple of weeks ago, my face hurt. Really, really bad. So I went to the doctors office expecting to spend the first half hour of my visit filling out all of the obligatory paperwork. I was surprised to find, then, that gone where the paper forms and instead my data was collected and tracked electronically. My doctor and I spent more time interacting, addressing my problem and coming up with a solution. And as a result it was a much more enriching experience. It struck me that if the medical industry, which has a history of being a system of records and paper files, can recognize the importance of enabling a more interactive experience between doctor and patient, then HR departments should be able to enable the same between the organization and employees. Less bureaucracy. Less transactions. More engagement. More interactions. A traditional employee intranet delivers information the organization believes is relevant to employees... it is something created FOR the people. HR portals and systems contains all of the information about your employees... it is created OF the people. It's not uncommon to find two different intranets that separately serve communication and HR purposes. But, today's world, what most companies need is a combination of both an employee and HR portal brought into one seamless experience that balances organizational content with HR transactions and systems and delivers both in a more interactive way. A portal that has been created of the people and is for the people: a PEOPLE PORTAL. A people portal puts employee needs first. It's not a business solution: it's a people solution. And a people solution generally has three defining characteristics:: 1) streamlined; 2) distinctive; and 3) personalized.

    1. Streamlined Experience

    Most companies intend for their intranet to be designed for the people, but when it makes finding information / resources overly complex, when it focuses on transactions rather than interactions, and when it does not recognize your employees as people, then you've missed the mark. At a recent HR summit, I asked attendees if they had single sign on (SSO) for their intranet. Most attendees nodded yes that indeed they did and another attendee even said, "SSO has been around for a while. I think most companies have it now." OK, maybe so. But to what extent? When I asked this same group if they could change their employee information, view their paycheck, or sign up for a learning course through that same authentication, almost all of the attendees said NO. The essence of SSO is to seamlessly connect multiple systems to each other through ONE authentication. And as we know, there are a multitude of HR systems: ATS, SAP, PSoft, ESS, MSS, TMS, ADP -- it's a whole alphabet soup that Campbell's has never seen before. It's not uncommon to find corporate / employee communications the initial content on an intranet and employees then springboard to separate HR systems and transactions. But if your SSO applies to the core site and doesn't pass that authentication to your HR systems, then you don't have an SSO strategy that streamlines employee experience. Employees should be able to enter the intranet portal and manage their health benefits, view their pay, without having to sign in multiple times.

    2. Distinctive Delivery

    There are two important aspects to distinctive delivery: content and control. Distinctive content on a people portal enables collaboration of information, applications, tools and software. It's a balance of timely updates regarding corporate and organizational news along with automated HR transactions where possible. Good distinctive content continues to highlight the company as an employer of choice and extends the employee value proposition into the digital world. Distinctive control puts more power into the hands of the employees to manage their content and data. Traditionally, employee data has always been managed solely by HR. But on nearly every external social networking profile, users have the ability to change their photo, personal data and customize their information. Why then wouldn't we give employees control over doing the same for their employee profile? HR transactions no longer need to happen in the back office. Rather, they can now happen through the front end via interactive user interfaces. If you're scratching your head and thinking that it's not easy to present HR transactions or data in interactive ways -- or, more importantly, why would you want to -- don't feel bad. You're not alone. Interactive doesn't always mean flashy or having lots of bling. It can also mean contextual. That is, in order to make content more relevant to employees, content is made contextual as part of the transaction itself. Figure 1 shows an example of a "Time Off / Vacation" widget on a People Portal. It achieves several goals:
    1. Employee information -- up-to-date information on how much time off the employee has used / has available
    2. HR interaction -- links to relevant policies regarding time off and access to the HR systems to request time off
    3. Organizational information -- news stories on how the company has been recognized for work / life balance
    The interactive delivery is that you're providing organizational information and giving employees the ability to manage their time all within one contextual interface.

    3. Personalized and Customized

    I would never expect my doctor to introduce himself to me as Dr X and refer to me as Patient 123879. The relationship between a doctor and patient is personal and so too should the relationship between an organization and its employees be. The content, navigation and design should be personalized to the employee: who they are, where they are, and what they do. Personalized doesn't just mean that an employee is greeted by name, but it also means that you recognize that employees' time is valuable by providing role-based access to the information, tools and resources required to be effective employees. Supervisors should immediately see manager systems, international employees should see HR guidelines specific to them or their country, field workers should have quicker access to time reporting tools, and, if you use them, social platforms such as Salesforce should be integrated for your sales & marketing teams. If you're still not sure where to start, begin by listening to your employees. Talk to your HR business partners, user experience teams and your HR Help Desk. When employees can't find information, these groups are the first to hear the complaints. Second, inventory all of your HRIS and identify all the systems where employees are required to re-authenticate to initiate a transaction. Streamline this experience into ONE authentication wherever possible. Third, take a look at the employee lifecycle. Not only do employees have distinct needs based on where they are within that lifecycle, but their engagement levels are different as well. Ask yourself if your intranet delivers relevant content and interacts with employees based on where they are within the lifecycle, properly utilizes the high engagement levels and properly addresses the low engagement levels. Then determine HR interaction points and blend it together with organizational content. And finally, remember: organizational needs and employee needs are complementary goals. And a people portal brings these two together through a streamlined, distinct and personalized interactive experience. If you don't believe me, believe my doctor. He knows!

  • Employee Engagement + Customer Satisfaction = Financial Perf ...

    Increased employee engagement and customer satisfaction can directly bolster your bottom line. NBRI's latest infographic takes a closer look at these two concepts and provides examples of companies that embraced them. Bottom line: Their pocketbooks were quite happy they did. Employee Engagement + Customer Service = Financial Performance

  • Sep 2012
  • Sustainable Engagement isn't an Event, It's an Experience

    Image courtesy of SummerHill Group when you're thinking you are wrapping your arms around engagement, there is a new ( or not so new, depending on your point of view) and robust approach to engagement. There is no doubt that there is a clear relationship between high levels of employee engagement and improved financial and operational results. The question -- and challenge -- for organizations, then, is how to continuously draw out that coveted discretionary effort from employees so that it becomes an ingrained workplace practice or behavior. And so what we're seeing is that engagement is not just an event... it's an experience that shapes employee behavior and performance in positive ways. And it  presents a new definition of engagement — sustainable engagement — designed for the  21st-century workplace. To help guide your efforts to sustainable engagement, Towers Watson's 2012 Global Workforce Study provides a comprehensive snapshot of the attitudes and concerns of  workers around the world. Findings from this year's study show that the steps organizations have taken to improve engagement are beginning to fall short, making it even more important to modify engagement programs so that it becomes a sustainable experience rather than "event" driven one.

    What is Sustainable Engagement?

    Towers Watson describes sustainable engagement as the intensity of employees’ connection to their organization, based on three core elements:
    1. Extent of employees’ discretionary effort committed to achieving work goals (being engaged)
    2. An environment that supports productivity in multiple ways (being enabled)
    3. A work experience that promotes well-being (feeling energized)
    The chart below shows some of the key attributes fundamental to each element of sustainable engagement.

    Using a set of nine survey questions to measure the extent to which survey respondents believe these three elements are part of their work environment, responses were categorized into four distinct segments:
    • Highly engaged: Those who score high on all three aspects of sustainable engagement
    • Unsupported: Those who are traditionally engaged, but lack enablement and/or energy
    • Detached: Those who feel enabled and/or energized, but lack a sense of traditional engagement
    • Disengaged: Those who score low on all three aspects of sustainable engagement
    This segmentation allows employers to understand the root causes behind changes in employee behaviors or performance, and more accurately pinpoint the practices or interventions required to move people from one segment to another over time.

    The Top Five Drivers of Sustainable Engagement

    According to Towers, there are five top workplace elements on sustainable engagement that have the greatest collective impact. The figure below illustrates a set of practices and behaviors that make a difference to employees in terms of traditional engagement, enablement and energy.

    The Challenge

    To move the needle in these areas, it's essential to first define the broad principles of behavior and the corresponding processes and actions that must occur at the enterprise level, and ensure that these cascade appropriately to the local level where they can influence on-the-ground experiences. While policies and programs certainly come into play, the first step has to be a comprehensive examination of core processes — from leadership style, communication and values, to reporting relationships, collaboration approaches and work arrangements.

    Next Steps

    Determine what’s required, broadly and locally, to improve the daily interactions and experiences for individual employees. Some key questions include:
    • How do leaders earn employees’ trust and confidence, and demonstrate interest in employee well-being?
    • How do they balance messages about short-term priorities and financial results with longer-term vision and strategy?
    • Do managers have the skills and time necessary to effectively differentiate and manage employees’ performance, coach their teams and support individuals’ career advancement?
    • Are career paths clear to employees as they consider how to navigate today’s flatter structures with a variety of different employment arrangements?
    • Are the right tools and processes in place for workers to collaborate and connect across locations and functions?
    • Do employees have some level of flexibility in their schedules or work arrangements, and do they feel comfortable taking advantage of it?
    • Are communication vehicles and content appropriately tailored for diverse audiences across ages, cultures and life stages while providing the necessary consistency of message?
    Refine Your Model of Engagement By focusing on the five drivers of sustainable engagement, organizations can set a focused and relevant agenda that can make a difference in their performance, often without a significant monetary investment. What follows is a closer look at the actions employers can consider to close gaps in those five areas. Towers suggests that the lower hanging fruit for most organizations is to focus on the individuals who already have a well-established connection to the organization, but who are missing some things that might move them further along the engagement spectrum — like greater autonomy, and involvement in setting their own schedules and managing their work, feeling able to take some risks and try new things, and getting help and direction from their manager. Link to Performance Results It's crucial to examine the relationship between sustainable engagement, productivity and retention metrics. Towers found that companies with low traditional engagement had an average operating margin just under 10%. Among those with high traditional engagement, average operating margin was just over 14%. But among those with high sustainable engagement, average one-year operating margin was close to three times higher, at just over 27%. While many other elements affect margin — and in more direct ways — this finding underscores why organizations need to think more broadly about all of the factors that influence their performance, in both the short and long term. Change Your Leadership Model There are three immediate challenges:
    1. Recognizing that current practices need to evolve in very different ways. (While those responsible for leadership development may believe their processes are effective,  the targets of those processes don't necessarily actually agree.)
    2. Determining how to identify and assess these new competencies in selection processes.
    3. Making a commitment to develop and nurture leadership competencies more consistently and fluidly in both current- and next-generation leaders.
    Wherever your organization is in terms of its leadership model, there are a number of immediate actions to consider that can help strengthen the connections between leaders and employees. Specifically:
    • Establish (or review and refresh) a well-defined competency model for leadership that incorporates the new requirements for leaders.
    • Align competencies with strategic plans, particularly in terms of global expansion.
    • Regularly assess leaders’ capabilities against the model, and deliver development opportunities to close competency gaps.
    • Ensure succession plans are robust and extend far enough into the organization.
    • Help senior executives find meaningful ways to demonstrate interest in, and commitment to, employees through regular communication, recognition and visible support for meaningful programs.
    • Create opportunities for leaders to actively sponsor innovative approaches to how, when and where work is accomplished.
    Tower's Global Workforce Study validates what we already know -- and what many of us are currently facing -- that effective engagement is continuously evolving and ongoing. And that engagement that drives an organization's performance long term cannot be event driven, rather it must be something that is integrated into an organization's culture as a behavior or practice.... something that is... sustainable. I absolutely encourage you to download Towers Watson's full 2012 Global Workforce Study. It discusses what matters to employees today, and what can help drive higher levels of sustainable engagement to yield the behaviors and performance required to achieve organizational goals. Get your copy of Towers Watson's report

  • Company Culture the Biggest Hurdle to Becoming a Social Busi ...

    Image courtesy of Moleskin.comTo find out what people actually think about social, cloud enablement technology company, Appirio recently conducted a survey with 300+ international (UK and US) respondents where they  focused on end-users of social and what they think of it. Interesting findings include:

    • People's bosses uses social tools twice as much as they do
    • Brits are more social at work than people in the US
    • Everyone generally recognizes the potential of social and wants their company to invest more in it
    • People think culture and having an owner for social are more important for success than budget
    Mark Fidelman, Forbes, on Appirio's study:

    After surveying over 300 professionals, technology service provider Appirio determined that most people are far more social personally than they are at work.

    Interestingly, 41% believe their company should be doing more to become a social enterprise, and twice as many managers are using social media compared to their employees they manage. So the takeaway here seems to be that employees either are not allowed to engage in social networking activities at work, or don’t see the value in it.

    Most importantly, as the survey suggests, enterprise workers now understand that culture and ownership of the social business transformation are key factors to the success of a social enterprise.

    ZDNet's Rachel King shares her thoughts on Appirio's survey as well:

    Overall, Appirio's results indicate that nearly a third of businesses surveyed had no idea what the term "social enterprise" meant.

    That doesn't mean that businesses aren't on-board with the idea of integrating social media throughout work infrastructures. Researchers found that more than 35 percent of respondents said their companies had set aside budgets or resources to make business processes more social. Furthermore, 57 percent of respondents said they currently use social tools to do their job.

    Thus, it's shouldn't be surprising that many businesses are hesitant or even reluctant to adopt social media at work. According to Appirio's survey, 30 percent of respondents admitted a shift in company culture is the biggest hurdle on the way to becoming a social business.

    Interestingly, even though and other proponents of social enterprise who typically advertise collaboration and a boost to productivity as top reasons for implementing social technologies, Appirio's researchers found the truth behind why businesses are most intrigued by the shift: an impact on sales.

    As seen in the graphic below, nearly a third of both employees and managers think that social media could help attract new customers, while collaboration is only the third-best reason behind engaging existing customers. Social at Work Infographic

  • Is Engagement Keeping Your CEO Up at Night?

    As an HR practitioner, employee communications professional or even just an employee engagement advocate in general, most often your most challenging audience to engage is not your employees themselves, but your organization's leaders -- the C suite. To know how to successfully engage your executives means that you must also understand what is their motivation and what are their primary areas of concern. Simply put, it's highly unlikely that you're going to get executive level support of your engagement programs unless those programs are solving for what the C suite currently sees as organizational issues or needs. So how do you know what keeps your CEO up at night? At the Achievers Customer Experience event (ACE 2012), designed to connect workplace success with employee engagement and recognition, executives from the best-in-class companies shared the hottest topics in today’s volatile business environment. The insight was so valuable that Achiever's documented the Top Five Takeaways:

    1. Talent skills shortage is a top CEO concern—according to a 2011 study by Lloyds of London, the top two business risks that CEOs worry about are customer retention and the talent and skills shortage. As you build a business case for recognition programs, this information should be top of mind as the talent war is expected to escalate.
    2. The approaching “youth quake”—according the US Census, by 2013, 47% of employees will be those born after 1977. They are also the ones less likely to be engaged and be actively looking for new and interesting work. Recognition programs have proven a key tool to motivate a younger workforce because they require constant feedback to improve performance.
    3. Change management is critical—building a culture of recognition drives powerful employee productivity and improved financial performance, but it is a journey (not a destination). Thoughtfully planning, socializing and implementing a recognition program will draw results connected to business success—and C-level attention.
    4. The power of real-time recognition—recognition has proven to be most effective when it is specific, meaningful and timely. With mobile tools that are available, recognition can be given to both offline and online employees on a 24/7 basis.
    5. Engagement matters—recognition drives engagement, and engagement drives business results (according to Gallup, disengagement costs $300 billion in lost productivity alone). The Fortune 100 Best Companies to work for—which have high levels of employee engagement--have a 10% annualized return compared to the general return of 3% for other companies over the same time period.

  • Engaged vs Disengaged Employees... and What to Do About It

    Employee Engagement Infographic by NBRI

  • Aug 2012
  • The Importance of Being Known

    I admire people who are able to easily separate their work and personal lives. Many people are able to go to work and then go home without mixing the two. I am not one of them. As a professional, as a blogger and as a mother, my work and personal lives spill over constantly. It's part of my human nature to want to know my co-workers as people, to understand what motivates them both professionally and personally. For me, it makes me an empathetic team player, a more engaged employee, and all around happier person. In this same vein, BlessingWhite's most recent piece of workplace research reinforces the positive impact that managers can have on their team's engagement – simply by opening up a bit more and becoming better known as a person. One of the interesting aspects of employee engagement is that there are no single-shot solutions. If you really want to move the needle on engagement it takes a concerted effort and attention to detail on several fronts. It's not just about managers coaching employees, it's not just about rewards and recognition, and it's not just about inspirational leadership from up-above. And these different channels all work a bit differently. Take managers and executives for example.

    Managers vs. Executives

    In this context we define an executive as a senior manager with broad span-of-control who is two or more levels of management above those they aspire to engage. Managers, on the other hand, have direct working relationships and daily (or at least frequent) interactions with those they aspire to help get engaged. Senior executives need to inspire the workforce despite few (if any) direct interactions. They face the challenge of having few opportunities to communicate yet are subject to a high level of scrutiny and cynicism – especially from those who are less engaged. A key focus for executives as a consequence is to build trust – through their words but most importantly through their actions. Managers have the option of going beyond trust-at-a-distance and becoming known to their direct reports as a person. Yet many managers elect not to do this, hiding behind their title and remaining aloof. This is a missed opportunity because becoming known as a person to your team is one of the biggest facilitators of engagement. As part of our ongoing research, we have focused increasingly on the relationship between the individual and their immediate manager. We have found compelling correlations between an employee knowing their manager well as a person and key working dynamics such as effective use of talents, rewards and recognition, providing regular feedback etc. So who benefits the most from getting to know their manager as a person? We asked respondents to rank their manager on a number of important aspects of their working relationship such as delegating tasks and utilizing talents. We also asked them how well they knew their manager as a person. By cross-referencing the two we can see clear patterns of who most benefits from better knowing their boss. Naturally this correlation between knowing your manager as a person and working effectively day-to-day is closely correlated to engagement. For instance 85% of European Engaged employees report having that positive working relationship, but only 35% for Disengaged. In North America 87% Engaged employees report having that positive working relationship, but only 30% for Disengaged. While they do benefit greatly, Engaged employees appear much more tolerant of not knowing their manager as a person: when it comes to scoring their direct manager on these 8 critical items, the gap between engaged employees who know their manager well and those who don't is not nearly as large as the gap for the other 4 less-engaged segments. So while engaged employees have other factors to hold onto (interesting work, a sense of contribution, career hopes), less-engaged employees are far more dependent on knowing their manager as a person to reach higher levels of engagement. This becomes apparent if we look at the average gap over all 8 of the factors in our most recent study, by engagement level:
    Average gap on favorable responses to 8 manager items between employees who report knowing their manager well as a person and those who don't.
    Engagement Level* Europe North America
    Engaged 28% 42%
    Almost Engaged 49% 50%
    Crash and Burners 51% 57%
    Honeymooners and Hamsters 59% 60%
    Disengaged 54% 63%
    [*For an explanation of the 5 levels of engagement, please refer to the online video found at] So what does this mean in practice? While companies focus on equipping managers with tactical skills such as delegation or matching individual talents to tasks, engagement is driven more effectively through leadership and connection skills. Particularly difficult for a manager is the challenge of authenticity – because typically they are being taught how to behave, how to 'play a role'. In actual fact, it's becoming better known as a person to their direct reports – not being the person they think they ought to be – that will build the relationship needed to increase engagement.

    Where's the data?

    As the following tables show, items such as a 'great working relationship with one's manager' are contingent upon knowing that manager as a person. Here we have ranked the items based on the gap size between those who know their manager well and those who don't. It quickly reveals (as we would expect) that manager tasks that require strong connection skills become more difficult if the manager has not built that relationship based on being known as a person. In the tables below, we are looking at all employees – from Engaged to Disengaged and all levels in between. Tables 1 & 2: Impact of being known as a person on a manager's effectiveness (in the eyes of his or her direct report)
    ITEM - Europe Overall Favorable Response Know manager well as a person Gap size Do not know manager well as a person
    'Soft' / connection skills I have a great working relationship with my manager. 64% 82% 70% 25%
    My manager has built a sense of belonging in our department or team. 45% 61% 69% 19%
    My manager treats me like an individual with unique interests and needs. 63% 77% 57% 33%
    My manager recognizes and rewards my achievements. 57% 72% 53% 34%
    Tactical Management Skills My manager provides me with regular, specific feedback on my performance. 46% 55% 53% 26%
    My manager encourages me to use my talents as much as possible. 60% 72% 47% 38%
    My manager asks for and acts on my input. 68% 79% 41% 47%
    My manager delegates assignments effectively without micromanaging me. 73% 80% 30% 56%
    ITEM – North America Overall favorable response Know manager well as a person Gap size Do not know manager well as a person
    Soft Skill My manager has built a sense of belonging in our department or team. 50% 66% 73% 18%
    Soft Skill My manager recognizes and rewards my achievements. 58% 73% 66% 25%
    Tactical Skill My manager provides me with regular, specific feedback on my performance. 48% 59% 64% 21%
    Soft Skill I have a great working relationship with my manager. 68% 83% 63% 31%
    Tactical Skill My manager encourages me to use my talents as much as possible. 67% 79% 56% 35%
    Soft Skill My manager treats me like an individual with unique interests and needs. 69% 82% 55% 37%
    Tactical Skill My manager asks for and acts on my input. 69% 81% 54% 37%
    Tactical Skill My manager delegates assignments effectively without micromanaging me. 70% 78% 40% 47%
    Percentages indicate favorable responses based on a 5-point Likert scale. Percentages include responses 'strongly agree' or 'agree' to each statement. Source: The Importance Being Known, BlessingWhite
    Find out more in Blessing White's upcoming report update. Intended for business executives and HR leaders, the soon-to-be-released North American Employee Engagement Update 2012 is based on survey responses of more than 3,500 employed professionals – 2,616 of whom reside in North America and 629 in Europe. The recommendations focus on the roles and responsibilities of executives, managers, and individuals in driving engagement every day. The survey was conducted between March and June 2012, and results were compared to data gathered in 2010 and 2007. More than half of respondents hold executive, management, or supervisory titles.For more information on how BlessingWhite can help your organization reach the next level, call 1.800.222.1349 or email

  • You're Invited to Have an Impact... Join me at #Impact99

    There is an overwhelming torrent of information hitting us from all angles when it comes to social media. For most professionals, the question is no longer why, but how. But it's a daunting task to interpret and sort out the knowledge, statistics and research, and determining the best approach for you and for your organization. If your experience is anything like mine, every answer results in even more questions.

    If this sounds familiar, please consider joining me on Oct 2 at Impact99-HR Summit in Vancouver -- a unique one-day experience that helps HR and business leaders move from thought to action as they get educated on social workplaces, HR innovation and business thought leadership. Expect hands on experiences, lots of time for questions, very real scenarios and concrete tips, resources and relationships to help you in your role. Simply by attending, you are placing yourself at the forefront of innovation in the world of workplace engagement and HR impact. I'm proud to say that The Social Workplace is a community sponsor of Impact99 - HR Summit.  And as such, I have access to VIP ticket pricing and VIP hotel pricing as well. To receive the discount, you MUST register using the button below.   If you're not able to join in me in Vancouver, then perhaps Impact99 - Toronto might be a better choice! Either way, you shouldn't miss this opportunity!  
    Where does the name Impact 99 come from?  It started with 99 HR leaders who began a conversation around the possibilities that exist when you integrate social, technology, people and process in the workplace. Employees, like customers, are re-defining the relationship they want with their future or current employer – and HR practitioners, senior management, and thought leaders alike need to understand and leverage that before the competitors do.

  • I Can't Get No... (Employee) Satis-fac-tion...

    In recent years, businesses have spent more on employee reward and recognition programs to attract top talent and retain good employees. However, a recent Maritz Motivation Solutions study shows more than half of employees do not feel meaningfully rewarded and recognized by those programs. In fact, only 45.3% of employees feel rewarded and recognized in meaningful ways. To identify opportunities for creating better employee programs, the study focused on distinguishing the specific drives and values of employees relating to reward and recognition programs. Four distinct employee value segments emerged – Altruists, Drivers, Pioneers and Stabilizers. The national study indicated a relationship between how effectively employees felt rewarded and recognized, and several factors that can be improved with good program design. These factors include leadership support, reward and recognition efforts of direct managers, appropriate reward options and communications, support of personal goals, alignment with company strategy, reinforcement of consumer-focused actions, and alignment with corporate culture and values. “Businesses tend to create employee programs in a vacuum, adopting a one-size-fits all approach,” said Michelle Pokorny, solution vice president of employee engagement and recognition for Maritz Motivation Solutions. “To engage employees in a manner that is meaningful and motivating, businesses need to understand what drives and motivates individuals, and then design a program to fit those needs. In all cases, we have to consider that employees are people first.” The study also indicated a relationship between feeling meaningfully recognized and levels of engagement. For example, of employees who stated they were not meaningfully recognized: “With these specific employee values segments, companies can better understand the uniqueness of employees, as well as their different needs in employee programs,” added Jennifer Kallery, division vice president for Insight Services at Maritz Motivation Solutions. “This understanding will help companies design more effective and efficient reward and recognition programs, leading to happier, more engaged employees.” For more information on the Employee Values study, please check out their really cool infographic below or visit www.maritz/Employee-Values-Study.

    For more information on the Employee Values study, please visit www.maritz.

  • Jul 2012
  • How Play at Work Makes Work.. Work

    It's a touchy subject: does promoting "play" (or gamification) at work actually make your employees more engaged? It's a topic that I've broached with many senior leaders with varying and valid concerns, mainly:

    1. Gamification can't truly drive productivity because it is too much of a distraction.
    2. Doesn't it foster competition rather than drive community and collaboration?
    3. Current internal portal structure doesn't support or enable gamification technologies.
    4. Correlation between gamification and business performance is unclear.
    Target Work Activities to Reward Desired Behavior Sure.. it's playing at work... kind of. It’s basically a way of using symbols (badges, titles, ranks, levels, etc.) to signify status in a community, among colleagues and peers. But when implemented judiciously, gamification can also be used to encourage certain cultural and performance behaviors. More aptly, it's a great way to foster connectedness, encourage collaboration and to recognize achievement among employees. On its face the case for gamification, which is defined here as adding game-like activities to improve non-game contexts, is a strong one and easy to state. Namely, if properly situated in business processes, the incorporation of game features in work activities can reward desired behavior, create more intensively participative processes, track group progress, establish feedback loops that reinforce and accelerate sought after business outcomes, and more. (Enterprise gamification: Will it drive better business performance?, ZDNet). How TemboSocial Makes Play Work TemboSocial takes a similar approach towards enterprise gamification, taking elements from gaming and integrating them into your business to encourage a desired behavior, such as productivity or retention.  According to TemboSocial, this year gamification will have 20% of Global 2000 organizations playing, and by 2014 this number is expected to rise to 70%. TemboSocial's research continuously shows that even though the best way to motivate employees is to recognize their achievements, gamification remains an underutilized tool. Successful computer games align personal passion and commitment to task completion. Well-designed games recognize progress, encouraging players to continue to engage and be inspired to meet the next challenge. This is key for the enterprise. We love this new infographic created by TemboSocial. Advance through each level to learn more about their approach towards enterprise gamification. About TemboSocial TemboSocial enables the social enterprise for some of the world’s most progressive organizations.  Leading companies turn to TemboSocial’s hosted suite of tools to foster engagement with customers and employees. Download their whitepaper on gamification.

  • Are you monogamous? Or is job loyalty dead? [#infographic]

    The latest infographic from Jobvite explores who today's workers are more entrepreneurs than traditional employees, embracing change in the pursuit of career growth. In fact, 61% of employees are looking for greener pastures. Obviously, this creates a challenge for employees to retain employees. Take a look at Jobvite's infographic to see how you can build a monogamous relationship between you and your employees that is lasting and more enjoyable.

  • 50 Shades of Engagement

    Update: A version of this post was published on Ragan Communications: "50 definitions of employee engagement" on August 6, 2012. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to this post! With the evolution and growing attention to employee engagement one thing has become very clear. Employee engagement comes in many shades, different definitions. It's a concept that outwardly has a very simple meaning, but we know underneath, there are multiple layers, multiple shades that add to its complexity. Its meaning and how you define it can vary depending on your role, your organization, your individual satisfaction and even personal happiness. The levels of interest vary: there are those who don't understand its value and won't take part at all, those who play more of the voyeur, watching as it  happens, and then there are  those who are eager participants, actively driving and leading engagement efforts. We also know that how organizations define and promote employee engagement has evolved over time and has varying shades of definitions depending on the needs of the organization. I know how *I* define employee engagement. But I think you already know that too. So, I asked you -- the employee, the average joe, the thought leader, and the social strategist, an eclectic mix of professionals -- how YOU would define it. Here is the list of Top 50 Shades of Employee Engagement in no particular order. Many thanks to everyone who responded with their own shade -- or definition -- of what employee engagement means to them.

    1. Alan Lepofsky @alanlepo - Make sure there is a clear reason why employees should be using the tools you provide them, don't just roll out the latest shinny object.
    2. Andy Jankowski @andyjankowski - Social tools and processes materially contribute to Employee Engagement by addressing & enabling the core components of intrinsic motivation; Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose (as defined by Dan Pink in DRiVE - The surprising truth about what motivates us)
    3. Rob Garcia @RobGarciaSJ - Engagement stems out from commitment and loyalty, which are both two way streets. Be ready to put your employees first before you roll out any social tools....then and only then you can really enable them to be more productive, more collaborative, more appreciated with social tools.
    4. Sean Nicholson @seanrnicholson - Great ideas come from everywhere. ASK employees to contribute innovations & reward them for their input.
    5. Lee Vincent ‏ @LeeVincent2 - Engagement comes from a sense of community (common purpose, aligned vision etc.). Effective communities are based on TRUST. Social can help you build and maintain trust but it needs to be purposeful.
    6. Yvonne LaRose @Vivavoce - Motivation keeps [employees] focused on goal attainment. It also spurs teamwork where necessary. Having the right tools and support shows management support and relevance. Motivation comes from the belief that what's being done [by the employee] has positive impact on the ultimate goal (or that their input does so).
    7. Christine McLeod @impactresults - Who you ARE is more important than what you DO. Hire for attitude, train for skill #engagement.
    8. Michael Brito @britopian - Employee engagement needs to be a strategic business initiative. they are trusted among their peers and can influence others.
    9. Mary Barnes @IrishOats - Create an environment where employee initiated and driven efforts are welcome.
    10. Zafira N @fantasyfinds - Be invested. For your employees to care about the business, they have to feel that you appreciate them.
    11. Nicholas de Wolff @nicholasdewolff - Inspire excellence by advocating for innovation and transparency. Eliminate silos and fiefdoms.
    12. Jacqueline Mills ‏@JackieSueMills - Employee engagement is the missing link to help the US economy fully recover and become competitive again.
    13. TemboSocial ‏@TemboSocial - Every business is a social enterprise. Focus on the people! Employee engagement
    14. Achievers ‏@Achievers - An engaged employee is someone whose confident that their hard work has a meaningful impact on the organization. The key to building Employee engagement is creating a culture of recognition in the workplace.
    15. Liz Harrell @Musical_Iris - As an employer, if you're going to ask for employee input be prepared to use it. Don't ask and then do the complete opposite anyways. (I hate it when my managers go on and on about things being a "team effort" when management has already made up their mind and ask our opinions anyways.)
    16. Karen Dredske @kdredske - Don't penalize mistakes that lead to learning and innovation -- encourage them.
    17. Charles Slang™ ‏@CharlieSlang - True employee engagement means management listens to front line workers, as they often have good ideas to increase efficiency!
    18. Sean Reddell ‏@ThatHappyGuy - For me it's being able to pursue things I'm interested in, using skills I like using, with people I like working with.
    19. Lauren Fritsch ‏@MagnetismFactor - support their growth. even if it means growing out of role, division, company.
    20. Sean Royer @Royersm87 - I love this question. Employee engagement is how in tuned employees are with their position in the company. When I think about my "team" I want them to come in with a sense of pride and entitlement to what they do. How do your employees view their job? As a 9-5 where they can't wait to get home? We try to get employees engaged with the client. We want them to be proud of what they have produced and the impact that they have. I bring my employees out to company events to get them to feel as they are a true part of the company and not just a number. This ultimately helps their dedication and love for what they do and the company they are working to build.
    21. Brandon Morris ‏@qb_baron - Employee engagement is employees who positively engage not only the customer, but everything about the business where they are employed. Let me also add that you generally do NOT get employee engagement without employer engagement with the employee...take a personal interest in them, you get a better worker plus one who is ENGAGED!
    22. Gerry Dunn ‏@potomacsecret - Check in with employees often to see how they are (honestly) - what they need - how you can help them work more efficiently and show genuine care and gratitude for having them as employees. A happy employee will work harder and ultimately make more money for the employer.
    23. Ernest Koncaba ‏@abacnok - Instill customer satisfaction and the ability to answer their questions. An ignored customer is a lost customer. Give the customer all the time they want.
    24. Sandor Benko ‏@SandorBenko - Employee engagement begins when the company's vision statement is big enough to cover the employee's vision.
    25. JB King ‏@jbking2 - Employee engagement isn't just for HR! Every worker in a company has a responsibility for building the culture at an organization. What are you building today?
    26. David Blankenship ‏@Davorado - Employees actively participating with clients, suppliers, and colleagues in the business and mission of the company ~ not just there for the job and paycheck.
    27. Tom Fong - Employees are the backbone of any corporation. Treat them well, motivate them and get them involved. Involve them in brain-storming sessions, establish solid communications to resolve issues and move forward with stellar ideas. Employers are in a relationship with employees. Make it a good relationship.
    28. E. J. Jay Williams ‏@ejwilliamsjr - Get your team involved in all aspects of your helps them to learn and take ownership of the need to succeed..!
    29. Don ‏@bmw_free - Let employees share ideas in private, use their ideas (with credit) to create a sense of employee ownership in the company.
    30. Mike Bazaluk ‏@mbazaluk - as a "manager" working with my team instead of sat away in an office, so as to gain understanding of workload and pressures they are under.
    31. Chris Stylianou ‏@ValleyGemsSA - Always remember that your employees are not commodities and are fellow human beings who have desires, fears and ambitions as you have. Compassion, care and concern for who they are and what they strive for is very important. Listen.
    32. © MrBill ‏@MrBill01 - Employees feel fully involved and enthusiastic about their jobs and the company.
    33. Miriam Slozberg ‏@msmir - Employee engagement is crucial if the employer expects to have a high retention rate.
    34. Tulleuchen ‏@tulleuchen - Employee engagement is a great thing however it's a luxury that many cannot afford to have these days, as first and foremost people need money to survive. So many times we take jobs or even career paths we are not really passionate about.
    35. Krishnendu Dutta @intelliron - True employee engagement happens when employees are aligned with company's vision, mission and find their own personal goals in it. It also means culture and temperament are perfectly tuned
    36. Lana Bandoim @Lana_Bandoim - Employee engagement means being actively involved in the work and caring about the results. It's more than simply showing up to collect a paycheck.
    37. geoff tegjeu @tag64geoff - Employee engagement is crucial for the betterment and growth of the company, to the point , it is the investment of the company;s most important asset that must be cultivated, groomed and advanced.
    38. Sam Botstein @botstein - Employee engagement is the heart of any 501(c)3. It is all about the people involved.
    39. Lynn O'Connell @omdirect - Engaged employees are "present" in the moment, understand the mission, and take personal responsibility for serving customers.
    40. abhijit pradhan @abhijit_dan - Getting the employee to see natural alignment between personal vision and the company's expressed in the day to day, will create engagement.
    41. Jacob Rosenberg @jrosenberg - How you treat your employees tells them what you think of them. If you value them, don't say it, do it.
    42. Laura Stuker - Be a benevolent tyrant. Tell your people what you want then get out of their way. Trust them to give their best and they will.
    43. Barry Gumm ‏@GummBarry - ME at work usually called Team work, but when I [hear] that from a boss I know that TEAM spelled backwards means "ME AT work !
    44. Alex Zmushka ‏@azmushko - Very brief: If you care, they do care too.
    45. Bryan Murphy ‏@theBryanMurphy - Keeping employees engaged is effective for mission congruence and participation..
    46. sea lily @photocopied - To me it means that your employees are actively and positively functioning as a group towards a common goal.
    47. Tom Gardiner @Thogar - To me employee engagement means just how much an employee is invested in their occupation. It's a combination of satisfaction, manager appreciation, & a feeling of being integral to the company.
    48. Candace Mountain @candacemountain - Employee engagement is providing meaningful two way input in some of the decision making processes that will effect them.
    49. Leia D @Nurse_Techy - There are only 2 words that come to my mind and those are 'TEAM PLAYER' =)
    50. Emmanuel Gonot @EmmanuelGonot - Employee engagement means employees are in tune with the company's goals and vision and contributing enthusiastically to the overall push to reach these goals and realize the vision.
    51. rictownsend @rictownsend - Employee Engagement = being involved in the planning & goal setting process so they take ownership and are rewarded in line with the outcomes.
    52. Greg Harvey @fitnwell - Employee engagement- That's a tough one. To me it means involving your employees in the company and encouraging an empowering role. I find it is becoming more difficult as our younger workforce is generally less loyal to companies and work seems to be becoming less of a priority in that generation. I have read a lot of books in this area, tried different things over the past 14 years and I can't say I have been as successful as I would like us to be in that area yet. I do have some great employees and am still hopeful.
    53. NeoshaGEE @NeoshaLatrice - An engaged employee is one who [is] on top of things while in the workplace or doing business outside of the workplace. Those employees are very valuable.
    54. Catherine White @CatherineWPhoto - An engaged employee is one who is on, while on the job.
    Okay, so if you're counting, you'll notice there are a little more than 50 listed. It just goes to show that there varying shades, varying definitions. What's your shade of employee engagement? How would you define it? Or what would be your best advice regarding it? Comment below!

  • 16 Characteristics of a Social Workplace

    Original post: 16 Characteristics of The Social Workplace by Shirley Williams (Blogger of Social Media Pearls) One tool or platform does not make an organization social. It is not just about the tools- especially in isolation of the bigger picture. Well at least it ought not be. Sensational headlines just feed the fear of those with a  social media phobia.  What organizations and businesses should be thinking about is how can they leverage this new way of doing business. Social media and the new technologies of today have totally changed how we work, communicate, interact, collaborate and relate to each other. Business leaders need to rethink how to take their organization to the next level and consequently “enable” their staff  to succeed in this new environment- our new reality. Here are 16 characteristics of a “Social Workplace”: 1. A consistent brand built on trust, integrity and relationships.  Not built on  a flashy logo. 2. The brand voice and tone is understood. That is to say not just by the Marketing department but by everyone. 3.  The social media sandbox is understood with a well defined social media policy. 4. An above average digital/ social IQ across the organization. Employees, managers and C-suite leaders have a comprehensive knowledge and consistent view on how social media can be used and leveraged. 5. Unleashed creative minds. 6. Listening is a core competency. 7. Cross-functionality is a way of conducting business. 8. The social media lines of of home and work are blurred; accepted by the employer and accepted by the employee. 9. Social networking is a key way of communicating, engaging and collaborating - both inside and outside the organization. 10. Key  stakeholders’ needs and strengths are understood (including the customer and the employee). 11. Similar to an organization’s culture, Social media is integrated and owned by all employees. 12.The business lives the values of transparency, customer focus and continuous improvement. 13. Another core competency includes the agility of  sharing and accessing information, knowledge and innovation within the organization. 14. Go seek, find and research information is a norm. Employees no-longer totally rely on a vertical structure to get information. 15. A culture of continuous learning. 16. Monologues are replaced with dialogues.

  • Making Employee Engagement Sticky

    Interacting with employees via your annual employee survey, your quarterly town hall, company picnic, or annual recognition are all extremely important components to fostering an engaged workforce. But we see these more as employee events or tactical opportunities for engagement. As an overall engagement strategy, you need to transform your business and build an engaged employee experience. That is, to really make employee engagement stick -- i.e., sustained engagement-- you have to stop thinking in terms of individual employee events and start thinking in terms of interactions between the employee and the organization that build a relationship over time. That's why we love this blog post by Derek Irvine, Vice President, Client Strategy & Consulting Services, at Globoforce, and author of Recognize This! blog. Derek identifies three key points for building sustainable engagement and the importance of ensuring employees have what they need to do good work in an environment that is conducive to doing so.

    Yesterday I wrote about the findings of multiple recent global employee engagement research reports, including Towers Watson’s latest Global Workforce Study. Today, I want to look more closely at Towers Watson’s new idea of “Sustainable Employee Engagement.” I’ve written about this idea before, but in summary, here is a graphic from the Towers Watson report explaining Sustainable Engagement: There are three key points here to understanding sustainable engagement: 1)      Engagement is not satisfaction or happiness at work. Employees can be quite satisfied with their work and happy to come in every day because the love the Starbucks in the café or spending time with their friends at work. That doesn’t mean they’re truly engaged – willing to give additional discretionary effort (above and beyond job specs) because they want to. 2)      Sustained engagement requires you change the game. You cannot continue to do the same things ad nauseum and expect continued strong results. What engages people today will change as the people themselves and their work also change. That’s the key part of the “enablement” portion of the sustained engagement equation. Are you continuing to give your employees what they need so they want to deliver the discretionary effort you need? 3)      Energy matters – and so does attitude. Well-being, a key component of Towers Watson’s definition of “energy,” is another topic I’ve written on before that is too easily discounted. Do you want to come to work and do your best in a miserable environment of grumpy, mean or even abusive people? I know that’s not conducive to me doing my best work. Creating a positive work environment is fundamental to sustained engagement. What does your organization do to create an energized environment and enable you to do the work?

  • Zombies Do Not Make Good Employees! [infographic]

    Having a warm body fill that vacant seat in your office may seem like a better option than nothing, but beware: Your new hire could be a zombie. No, not the living dead type. More like the deadbeat variety. A bad employee could cost you upwards of $50,000 when all is said and done. While salary makes up part of the figure, to really calculate the full cost, you have to factor in recruiting, lost business, training and possible legal action. [Mashable] The scarcest commodity in business is not customers or technology capital — its people. And the greatest challenge for recruiters and leaders isn’t just hiring people — it’s hiring the right people for the right jobs.  Zombies simply can’t compete against people with passion. Anything a zombie can do can be done by a hungry worker in a low cost location. You can’t outsource people who create value, but you can’t create value if you hate your work. [Glassdoor]

    “Forty-one percent of companies estimate that a bad hire cost them more than $25,000. One in four say it cost them over $50,000.”

    Calculating employee turnover costs is tricky, but once you add up:

    • Cost of time spent writing/posting jobs, reviewing resumes & interviewing candidates
    • Cost of time spent training & providing orientation
    • Cost of salary, benefits and perks
    • Cost of providing severance or (yikes!) handling a lawsuit

    Then add on the often overlooked costs of making the wrong hire:

    • Lost clients and new business opportunities
    • Subpar work and rework due to mistakes
    • Inefficient resource management
    • Blown deadlines
    • Lower team morale

    Staffing firm Vitamin T created an infographic to help you avoid hiring the wrong person. Because they care, and honestly, after working with thousands of clients of all shapes and sizes, they know just how spot a zombie. [Vitamin T]

    The ‘Zombie Test’

    The numbers are gruesome and impact both hiring managers and their teams. In fact, zombie uprising should be contained as quickly as possible. For a really in-depth survival guide, you should check UpMo's post on "The Manager's Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse." A company’s culture and the leadership that sustains it are responsible for determining whether or not employees are susceptible to a zombie mentality. We also like this “Zombie Test” that was created by Bill Jerome in Business First. The Zombie Test can be summarized by five questions.
    1. Does the company support or even encourage a culture of self-preservation and the status quo? These companies accept “good enough.” They look to eliminate conflict that might stimulate new thinking rather than embrace its opportunity. On the other hand, companies with “zero-zombie tolerance” also have zero-tolerance for accepting the status quo.
    2. Does the company enable political nests that breed complacency? These environments reveal that there are perpetual idea-killers lurking in the company. New ideas are sucked dry by those who wield the greatest political clout.
    3. Do company surveys measure employee empowerment to change or, instead, encourage a herd mentality? If evaluations focus on the trivial rather than what truly has a lasting effect, the company will simply “major on the minors” rather than enjoy radical progress.
    4. Are new employees required to “blend in” or are they encouraged to bring in new ideas? The average tenure for new executives tends to last under 18 months. Companies give lip service to change, but when confronted with new concepts, they are more likely to eliminate disruptions rather than embrace a culture of true diversity that includes new management styles or perceptions.
    5. Is there an overriding vision that the customer drives the success of the organization? When the customer’s current and anticipated needs are paramount above politics and complacency, zombies are exposed.
    It becomes clear who is dedicated to the company’s success and who is dedicated to self-preservation and comfort. Zombie-proof companies always are pushing the envelope for the next level of success.

  • Doing Business Better through Enterprise Mobility

    Over 5.3 billion people or 77% of the world’s population are now on mobile. This growth has led to an explosion of various devices and networks connecting each other, and creating a borderless world. Consumers and enterprises views on how a mobile device can change their lives or enable them to do business better is rapidly evolving, even as vendors and service providers continuously innovate to fuel this mobile culture. The consequence of this end-user demand has been consumerization of IT. With the blurring of lines between the professional and personal, CIOs must rethink their mobility strategy. This could be through creating programs to support corporate applications, equipping your employees with smartphones and tablets or putting in place processes to drive customer engagement, supply chain operations and collaboration with partners/suppliers. Enterprise Mobility is the use of mobile technologies to enable anytime anywhere information access to employees, customers and suppliers to bring about improvements in revenue and operational performances, employee productivity, and customer satisfaction. In fact, enterprise mobility can have the following positive outcomes:

    As the IT landscape evolves, companies that embrace the social and technological challenges originating from that enterprise mobility will be better equipped to lead the growth and future of the organization. For more information, check out this infographic from Wipro Mobility Solutions:

  • Becoming an Employer of Choice... By Choice

    Among all the feedback employers receive from its employees, one that particularly interests me is employee perception that a company cultivates and attends to the relationship it has with its customers more so than the one it has with its employees. How many of you feel that your external brand or web site is dynamic, sexy and interactive while the internal one for employees looks like it was created in 1998? We create products and services to attract customers, but why does it seem that we lapse in putting the same effort in attracting and retaining employees? Few companies are as rigorous or precise at branding themselves as employers as they are at branding their products and services. What these organizations either fail to realize or underestimate is that they have an employer brand whether they know it or not. While the concept of product and trademark brands have been around for quite some time, the concept of employer brand is relatively new.  An employer brand is the essence of an organization. It encompasses a company’s culture, ethics, reputation, products and services, and the way it values its employees. An effective employer branding not only communicates an organization’s commitment as a way to retain current employees but portrays itself as an employer of choice to prospective hires.

    The New "Dating" Game

    In today's world attracting and retaining talent is a dating courtship. 58% of potential employees follow a company's social media presence because they want to become an employee. And considering that more than 61% of job seekers want answers to specific questions they might have about employment, it's clear that active and passive job seekers are interested in getting to know potential employers before they make a career move. Your employment brand is defined by one key job seeker question: “Why should I work for this company?” The answer is based on the combined perception of candidates, applicants, and employees; a perception that is increasingly expressed in social networks. How you interact externally impacts opinion on how you might interact internally.

    Retaining Employees is a Big Challenge

    To understand how or where you stumble in becoming an employer of choice, a company must first understand the strength or weakness of its employer brand drivers. According to a MarketTools study, only one-third of employees are "very satisfied" with their jobs. Nearly 50 percent of employees surveyed have considered leaving their current jobs, and 21 percent have applied for another job in the past six months. According to the study, salary was by far the leading cause of employee dissatisfaction, cited by 47 percent of the study participants. Other leading causes of dissatisfaction cited include workload (24 percent), lack of opportunities for advancement (21 percent), and the employee’s manager or supervisor (21 percent). It might surprise you (as it did me) that this study found that nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of surveyed employees’ companies do not have a formal program to regularly solicit employee feedback, or the study participants weren’t aware of such a company program. Of those companies that do solicit feedback from employees, more than 60 percent solicit feedback only quarterly or less often. A regularly distributed employee opinion survey is not only essential to understanding employee sentiment, but it's necessary to establish an internal benchmark. What you really want to measure is the reality of what it’s like to work in your organization and then compare from that baseline where you need to be. “A strong correlation exists between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, a company’s revenue and profitability,” said Justin Schuster, vice president of enterprise products at MarketTools, Inc.

    Examples of How Companies Measure "Employer of Choice" Brand Efforts

    At Qualtrics Labs, Sean Otto looks at the number of hits the career portion of his company’s Web sites gets; how employees discuss the company in weblogs and other media; and the way employees talk about company culture. He also monitors how the culture changes over discrete periods. Emerson Electric Co. According to Sandip Mallik, Emerson looks at three broad indicators. The first is the impact on employee satisfaction, especially parameters like pride in working for Emerson, would they recommend Emerson to their friends and relatives, etc. The second is the attrition (turnover) statistics, especially reasons given by employees [who leave] with high value to the company. Third is the company's ability to hire the best from engineering and business schools, and laterals from the market. The attractiveness of the company in all three counts needs to go beyond the pay. Starbucks’ Paul Rogers uses “tactical measurements” to get feedback that helps the company reposition its Web site message to attract qualified candidates. One method is an in-home interview of candidates who have applied; another is a satisfaction survey of candidates who accepted or declined a job offer. Such methods help Rogers refine the branding message to increase the number of candidates referred by current employees.

    The Allusive Measurement Factor

    Can employer brand efforts be measured? In all likelihood, this specific metric is too new for your company to really pinpoint numbers and financial gain. There is no simple black and white; it’s not a string with a beginning and an end. Rather, it’s a constant process. It would only be a process we could give one answer to if everyone took the same approach and made the same dollar investments. And investment is personal to the company ... Companies can't and shouldn't invest in its employer brand the same way. The drivers of engagement differ from company to company, department to department, and employee to employee. I like what Paul Rogers says: “It’s really hard for me to put a timeframe on it,” says Rogers. He sees branding as an “ongoing platform you keep extending to meet the needs of the organization.” In this view of a dynamic, adaptable brand, what’s effective is “what works every day.” JWT INSIDE urges a focus on a company’s internal alignment of human capital management, business model, and strategy, and measures a branding effort by the impact it has on all three components. A brand is not about what you say but about what you do. What you’d like people to believe about you is irrelevant unless backed up with action. Rather than try to look at the effectiveness of branding strategy as a whole, the company suggests a yearly examination of specific components (what Rogers calls “tactical measurements”) for example, time to hire, cost of hire, acceptance level, etc. Since one of the main goals in defining your employer brand is to be able to attract the most appropriate talent and get it on board, this is a good place to measure.

    Developing "Employer of Choice" Mentality

    Becoming an "Employer of Choice" means that you must also adapt to the ways current and potential employees interact. In fact, 42% of job seekers agree that the absence of company interaction degrades their opinion of the brand. They added that restricting fans’ ability to comment on an employer’s social recruiting page creates a perception the company doesn’t care to listen - sentiment that can hinder employment brand. [TalentMinded]. That's why I really like the information that I found on H Engage, a company that provides a new way for HR to make programs more fun and relevant. While H Engage focuses mainly on interaction through gamification, their overall mentality really supports employer brand efforts: Analytics. Metrics that occur in a siloed experience are hard to put context around. Metrics that integrate with your current vendor and HRIS systems give better line of sight to your efforts as a whole. You can communicate with employees over time, measure the impact of your efforts, and quantify the ROI as a whole picture. Communication. Deliver the right message in the right medium for each employee -- understand how employees like to be reached – web, mobile and beyond. 88% of adults in the U.S. now own a cell phone, 46% of them smartphones. Employees are smart. It's time for employers to be smarter too. Engagement. Interact with employees throughout the employee experience. Increased engagement means greater satisfaction. But engagement isn't just about interaction. It's also about relevancy. Companies must interact with employees in a way that is relevant to how employees get through their day to day. Start with the employee lifecycle. There are a multitude of opportunities to interact with employees throughout their lifecycle experience and, in doing so, you will strengthen your employer brand. In a nutshell, your employer brand should be a very natural extension of your company’s brand. And if you choose to not cultivate this employer brand, then you are making it easy for employees to not choose you as an employer. Just remember, it's never too late to become an Employer of Choice... by CHOICE.  

  • Why Social is Good for Business [Infographic]

    Source: Social media provides so much for the people who fully embrace it as their own, molding their social media profiles to fit their personalities, and not the other way around. Everything that it has the potential to provide is something your nonprofit’s HR department needs to look into. Implementing rules on social media usage, but also encouraging the use of it to promote your nonprofit, are just a couple ways your HR department needs to be on top of social media. Learn more about why your HR department needs to embrace social technology by checking out the infographic below. Embracing Social Technology: A Call to Action [SilkRoad] image

  • Jun 2012
  • How to Succesfully Bring New Employees On-Board

    Original source:  On-Boarding For Dummies: How To Successfully Bring New Employees on Board Employee turnover is a costly problem. And with 22% of employees leaving their jobs within the first 45 days of employment, it’s all the more important to be sure that your employees are assimilated into your company with special care and ease. Of course, successful on-boarding is easier said than done. Here are some on-boarding tips to help keep your employee turnover rates down, and your on-boarding success rate high.

  • The Connection Between Employment Brand and Employee Engagem ...

    Image source: CaptivationMedia Do you want to make your brand resonate with your employees? Most companies start by using their recognition program to reinforce and explain the desired values and behaviors. But if you want to make those values come alive—–go deeper. The reality is that employee behavior is a big reflection of your business. It speaks volumes about the authenticity of your value proposition. If employees don’t understand or don’t believe in what your company says it stands for, why should your customers? Give your employees a reason to live the brand and your organization will thrive in the marketplace. “Engaged employees who successfully represent the company brand provide a competitive advantage and impact the bottom line – a crucial benefit in today’s competitive global business environment” according to Mike Ryan of Madison Performance Group, a global web-based workforce recognition and employee incentives solution provider. Motivated employees are more productive and creative and recognition programs help keep them engaged and positive about their professional contributions to the organizations. Fostering brand ambassadors through workforce recognition leads to higher employee engagement rates and can positively impact a company’s income and overall market valuation. Check out Madison’s infographic illustrating the bottom line impacts that employees who are brand ambassadors deliver to their employer organizations.

  • Measuring Employee Engagement through External and Internal ...

    Ok... it's time for an honest moment here. I got a D in statistics while in college. I waited until senior year, spring semester to take my math course and Yes, mom... I got D. To this day, I'm known as the person in my family who can't do math. That said, I've never been one for data and putting said data into context. But even I, non-math person extraordinaire, understands the need to breakdown data to create actionable results. So here's my personal hand at providing some insight on the value of external benchmarking and internal benchmarking. After running an employee survey, companies are left with an abundance of data. This can be overwhelming as it needs inputting, analyzing and interpreting in order to create relevant action plans. The results, overall, look favorable. But how can you determine whether your employees are really engaged, or just moderately engaged? How can you tell if your organization’s results are typical or vastly different than the results of other organizations similar to yours? What do your results really mean? Survey results are used to assess and understand the engagement and satisfaction levels of employees within your organization. Understanding how your results compare to other groups, such as other companies or the industry as a whole, the total organization or just the best groups, helps to “normalize” your results. With this frame of reference you can begin to make more informed decisions and implement improvement strategies that provide the greatest benefit to your organization.

    The Value of Using Both External and Internal Benchmarking

    YES. It's important to know how your organization’s practices in engaging employees stacks up against other organizations, particularly with those you are competing for talent. In fact, when asked if forced to choose one over another, 58% of senior HR representatives would opt for external benchmarks, with 42% choosing internal historical data. Simply put, both external and internal benchmarking paints a complete picture.  In internal benchmarking, an organization can compare its historical and overall scores to interpret the latest employee survey results. External benchmarking will be used to determine where their survey scores lie in comparison with other companies. Some practitioners might argue that external benchmarking is more of a "nice to know" but there are others, such as myself(!), who believe that  improving employee survey scores based on internal data alone may not be enough unless you know where to improve scores relative to your competitors.

    External Benchmarking

    There are many companies such as Towers Watson, Blessing White and Globoforce who compile external normative benchmark data, norms, for the sole purpose of sharing data and helping organizations assess their comparative strengths and opportunities. Normative scores are typically presented as a favorability rating and represent a large number of responses gathered across many companies. This approach allows survey results to be compared with a vast dataset with millions of views collated from a range of companies. The most commonly-asked survey questions are typically used in external benchmarking, allowing comparison with a large number of other companies. One important consideration to keep in mind with external benchmarking data is that the scores represent averages. You may or may not wish to use the “average” score as a target for your organization. But external benchmarking can be useful as a temperature check, to give you an outward sense of your results. It can also avoid knee-jerk reactions to apparently poor scores. So, if you are trying to establish a frame of reference for judging the favorability of your results, external benchmarks are an excellent way to make that comparison.

    Internal Benchmarking

    If your company conducts employee surveys on a regular basis, it may also be useful to create an internal norm specific to your company. Averaging item-level results across several work groups or departments within your company creates internal norm scores. Different types of internal benchmarks below: Trend or Historical -- One of the simplest and most commonly used trend or historical data which is used to compare against previous survey years’ results. This allows for a meaningful, longitudinal perspective to be taken. Scores may increase or decline following actions taken or initiatives implemented by the company and in response to external factors. Across the Company -- Generally, this is the average of all survey responses in your company for each survey item. These scores enable internal departments and/or divisions to determine whether their item-level results are higher or lower than the rest of the company. This could be across business units or departments in relation to the overall company performance. This allows for high and low performing pockets of the organisation to be identified, and thus the opportunity to share best practice, knowledge and experience. Best-In-Class -- Internal Best-In-Class scores represent the average score obtained by divisions or departments who scored within the highest percentile of the entire organization on the survey. Best-In-Class scores help dissuade managers from believing that certain results are only attainable outside the company, or that there is a “ceiling effect” in which managers within the company can only perform to certain levels given the current competitive, political or economic environment. Internal norms, whether the internal company average or the Best-In-Class norm, provide proof to those disbelieving managers that better results can in fact be attained.

    Case Studies

    1. A large global manufacturing organization used both external benchmarks and internal benchmarks to compare and “normalize” the results of their employee survey. Using external normative data, the organization was able to see how their results compared to other organizations with global operations as well as other organizations included in their industry designation. The result of this external comparison showed that while scores on some survey categories were below 50% favorable, the scores were significantly higher than other companies globally and within their industry. In other words, they determined that they were a leader in these categories. Other categories showed less favorable results compared to external organizations within their industry. Understanding these comparisons provided the momentum necessary for the organization to make improvements in those critical areas most in need of change. The organization’s desire was to remain competitive within the industry, keep turnover to a minimum, and make sure key talent and expertise was not lost.
    2. A leading service organization used both an internal benchmark (total company average) and a Best-In-Class benchmark to understand how work groups compare across the organization. Many offices, located in different states, were similar in function but operated at varied levels of output. Internal comparisons identified those work groups that were effective and highly functioning and those work groups where immediate improvements were needed. These comparisons helped senior management focus on those work groups requiring the greatest attention first. Using information and examples from the Best-In-Class work groups, senior management was able to create standard practices across the organization based upon improvement strategies that have been shown to actually work in their own organization.

  • Making Social Media "Live" at CiscoLive

    It is my great pleasure to present another post from my colleague Laurie Shook. Laurie brings her vast social media expertise and passion for enterprise 2.0 to bring you her insights from Cisco Live. How do you use social media to create a more engaging tradeshow experience? Based on the pervasive hash tags and social media tracking boards at last week’s Cisco Live in San Diego, Cisco has confronted that challenge successfully. Part of the secret is creating a Social Media Hub. Cisco Live, which is an industry seminar, tradeshow, and user group conference for Cisco customers and partners, featured its Social Media hub prominently on the tradeshow floor. Although a social media hub has been used for several years, this is the first time the hub has moved out from the back office. As many as 5 people supported the tradeshow hub, which featured several live monitors, and was built with the following social media tools: Kred—This tool is the “scoreboard” for the on-line social community. It tracks influencers and outreach. Influencers are those whose actions drive retweets, mentions and new follows. Those scoring high in outreach are heavily engaged in conversations with others. Kred’s claim to fame is that its scoring methodology is transparent, so that participants know exactly how much participation is required to move up on the scoreboard. TweetRiver—this platform works as a filter, ensuring content displayed on Twitter boards and monitors is engaging, in the desired language, and free of spam and profanity. Social Miner—although the Hub focused on Twitter, this platform can also aggregate content from a variety of sources, including blog posts, Facebook public pages, and other public forums. It’s designed as a customer care tool to aggregate relevant content for monitoring and response. Cisco designed and markets this application for contact center agents as a social media work flow manager, but it is versatile and can be used for a variety of situations. So a Social Media Hub is a pretty cool thing at a tradeshow, but what are its functions?

    • Drive engagement among attendees
    • Highlight common themes and topics
    • Protect the twitter feed from malicious comments or hash tag hijacking. It’s sad to say, but you know your event is a hit when you have to worry about this. The last thing you want to do is to prominently display come-ons for free iPad spam or worse on your event boards
    • Create an on-line event presence for those unable to attend in person. They can help to drive engagement within the larger social media audience, in turn building demand for future events.
    Here are several tips which can help you make sure your tradeshow social media activities are effective: Mobile application is a must. When attendees have an abundance of educational sessions, social events, and customer meetings, a huge value add is to have an on-line schedule or calendar application. Since 35% of mobile phone shipments are for smart phones, mobile applications are a highly demanded item. Plus, the application saves the conference organizer flyer and catalog printing expenses, projects a “green” image, and allows for session pre-registration, enabling meeting room capacity forecasting, and facilitating those last minute venue / speaker changes that are inevitable. Link social to a mandatory application. As is true with desktop enterprise collaboration, when you link the social application to the vital scheduler application, you greatly increase social adoption. The mobile application for CiscoLive had a Social Networks tab, allowing attendees to post to Facebook, or Twitter by connecting their accounts. Or, they could follow the discussion, even if they didn’t have a Twitter account. Video keynotes were available via the mobile application. Promote, promote, promote. CiscoLive displayed many monitors throughout the venue. Human nature is to check the live content to see the hot topics, and who has their name “in lights.” Individual session moderators need to be sure to remind audience members of both the event and the session hash tag if there is one. Gamification. Due to crowd size, it would take up to 30 minutes for all attendees to arrive and be seated for keynotes. During that time, a Q&A game with fun Cisco and industry trivia was displayed on the gigantic venue monitors. Audience members registered their multiple choice trivia vote in the mobile application. Those who got the question right saw their names streamed on the venue monitors. It was a nice touch, plus it built familiarity with the scheduling and social media application. Are the Cisco Live social media tactics working? The numbers speak for themselves: attendance has grown from 9000 to 17000 in the past four years. For those who say social media doesn’t work for B-to-B, I say look again. [social-bio]

  • Motivating Your Yes, No's and Maybe's

    Not too long ago, I invited a bunch of people to a get together. Thanks to my compulsive nature, I checked the responses daily and happily noticed the small, eager group of people who immediately said "yes," but frustrated with the  vast number of others who said "maybe," and even more frustrated with the people I never heard from at all. I get it. We live in a world of many choices. People are often hesitant to "commit" when they aren't sure what's in it for them. It occurred to me that you find this same behavior when it comes to employee engagement. There is a small number employees who are highly engaged, a smaller number of those who are disengaged, but then a vast number of employees who are just contributing (there, but not there). In fact, in the United States, only 22% of the workforce are engaged, 68% are not engaged, and 11% are disengaged. (Towers Perrin’s Global Workforce Study) Why don't people respond? What stops them from saying "yes"? And more importantly, how do you motivate individuals to respond? In personal life, this is called fear of commitment. In business, this is fear of engagement. As a business, you want your employees to respond yes, whether that be to an actual event or to performing their role within your organization. An engaged employee doesn't hesitate to say "Yes". A moderately disengaged employee says "Maybe." And a fully disengaged employee says "No." So what does a company need to do in order to motivate its "Yes, No's and Maybe's?"

    Employee Value Proposition

    Well, for starters, it begins with the employee value proposition (EVP). Any good relationship, whether personal or business, is based on reciprocity. Because of the growing demands of today's world, it only makes good business sense for an organization to make sure its employees are "getting out" from their company an equal amount to what they are "putting in." Ask yourself when was the last time you reviewed your EVP assets? And how long ago were they developed? If it's been a while, you really need to make it a point to review all your internal and external EVP communication tools and ask the following questions:
    • Does your EVP clearly reflect the current employment experience?
    • Do your direct line managers understand your EVP and do they know how to execute on it effectively?
    • How inspiring is your welcome pack for new hires? How does it differentiate our employment offering? Moreover, what is the onboarding experience like?
    • Do you deliver on what you are promising in your recruitment efforts?
    • How effective is your social media strategy – are you humanizing and giving insight into your company  or are you merely broadcasting about your products and services?
    • How authentic is your messaging?
    • Does the tone, style and imagery of your communication assets properly convey your brand?
    • Do your direct line managers understand your EVP and know how to execute on it effectively?

    Motivating the YES's

    This may seem unnecessary to you. If an employee is already motivated and engaged, why pay further attention to them? In short, don't make your employees regret that they came to the "party" once they get there. Make sure they want to stay and remain engaged. On the flip side, you also don't want your highly engaged employees to burnout. Develop engaged employees as models of emotional and social intelligence, so they inspire others  to also become fully engaged.
    • Utilize the talent. Employees not only need to have the opportunity to use their skills and abilities at work, but also need to have a place to showcase skills and abilities beyond the position for which they have been hired.
    • Identify job specific training that will extend their core competencies.
    • Provide on-the-job learning experiences. Invite your highly engaged employees to meetings or to participate in projects that will challenge them. Give them something to work on outside of their standard projects.
    • Look for cross-training opportunities.
    • Stretch them through performance goals and other opportunities to use skills beyond what is required for their day to day.

    Motivating the NO's

    If your employees simply refuse to accept your invitation to become engaged, it's time to assess whether or not they should be on the invite list at all. But depending on your company’s industry, size, current market position, competition, location, staff composition, or other factors, you may have a relatively easy or impossibly difficult time in fixing or eliminating the problem. Union contracts, local labor laws, diversity, and/or tenure designations can often make the elimination of actively disengaged employees a challenge. (Disengaged Employees Cost the Company Money, Kelly Services). Not doing anything costs your company even more money.
    • Explore the reasons behind the disconnect to determine if coaching or other interventions are appropriate.
    • Carefully determine if disengagement is a result of events in their personal life. Provide employee assistance as much as possible.
    • Be prepared to transition the employee out if it is better for the organization and the employee overall.

    Motivating the MAYBE's

    Your biggest and toughest audience are the employees who either reply "Maybe" or don't reply at all. Those who are performing, but not excelling in their jobs. For the Maybe's, the role of the direct manager is crucial to motivating and engaging these employees. In fact, two of the top five contributors to employees’ job satisfaction were relationship with immediate supervisor and communication between employees and senior management. The relationship employees have with their direct managers has always been a condition for employee engagement.
    • Provide ongoing encouragement. Recognition doesn't need to be an annual event. When an employee succeeds, say thank you and show your appreciation by recognizing their efforts and accomplishments.
    • Check in with them frequently and ask questions, such as : “How are you doing? Is there anything I should be doing differently?  What can I do to help the team / support you / make your job easier?"
    • Help increase their engagement and enable this to be sustained. Talk to the disenchanted employee to determine what work projects or goals need to change in order to get them re-engaged.
    • Figure out if the employee is in the right role within the right organization. Many employees become disengaged because they have a poor relationship with their direct manager or because they simply aren't a right fit for the role they've either been hired for or been transitioned to.
    • Set Clear Direction. Fluctuations in economy and the changing dynamics of companies overall can cause a disconnect between management and employees.  So it’s important, that clear direction set by the leaders of the organization and HR to will help employees understand what lies ahead – what company goals are. Doing so creates trust with employees..
    • Build relationships and partner with others. A recent study showed that 64% of employees reported that they are unlikely to look for work outside their company. This means that is more important than ever for employees to build better relationships with their organizations’ management and for managers to build better relationships with their employees.
    Motivating your employees in today's world is no simple feat. And the needs of an organization and its employees are ever changing thanks to economy, technology and opportunity. But taking the time to further engage the Yes, to assess the No's, and to inspire the Maybe's is an engagement process worth every dollar you will spend. Creating lasting change drives improved performance, and isn’t that the real goal of employee engagement? So, the next time your company invites you to become engaged.. will you say: "Yes" ? I hope so!

  • Heels in the City - Rating the Best and Worst Cities for Wom ...

    While there are many adequate cities in our country, making an informed decision as to where you will live and work is imperative, as all cities are not created equally. Even more so for women. Today’s infographic highlights the best and worst cities for women found in a recent report by Measure of America that gauged a woman's well-being and access to opportunities by analyzing  results of the American Human Development Index. This index measures factors ranging from available education, income and health. San Fransisco and Washington DC. top the charts, having high female income levels, plenty of available education and females who live happily and healthily. The cost of living is high for both of those cities, but many would say that the pros outweigh the cons. Cities that rank poorly in the survey include San Antonio, Texas, which neighbors Austin, and Riverside-San Bernardino, CA. So based on this infographic... where would your heels go?


  • May 2012
  • How Employee Engagement Determines Your Business Success

    Original source: How Employee Engagement Drives Business Success How do you define success? For most executives, it comes down to profit or revenue levels, brand equity, or percent of market share. But to truly understand the key drivers for all aspects of business success, it’s critical to examine and measure the true impetus: your employees. They are the ones who make your products and serve your customers. They are the face of your brand. Employees are often the determining factor between successful companies and ones that never reach their potential. The difference: successful, admired companies have engaged employees. In a Towers Watson study of 50 companies over a one-year period, organizations with high employee engagement had a 19 percent increase in operating income and nearly 28 percent growth in earnings per share (EPS). Conversely, companies with low levels of engagement saw operating income drop more than 32 percent and EPS decline 11 percent. When Michael Lewis introduced his book Moneyball, a bestseller that showed how statistical analysis and measurement could be used to create the ultimate baseball team, forward-thinking executives began to apply these same strategies to the business environment. These professionals were seeking ways to measure performance, engagement, even innovation. The idea of measuring the “intangibles” provided senior management with a new perspective into their organizations and armed them with insightful and, more importantly, actionable information about their employees. Rather than relying on perceptions, intuition, or “gut feel”, they now had access to concrete, relevant data. Wells Fargo is a good example of a company that was able to successfully measure employee engagement, using what they termed the “happy-to-grumpy” ratio. They surveyed and reported data on engagement levels and also studied what motivated staff, with particular focus on team member engagement. The “what” behind the data provided insight into parallels between projects and time periods, linking internal drivers to business outcomes. Over time, the bank discovered a strong link between high employee engagement scores and elevated employee productivity and customer satisfaction. Tom Davenport, co-author of Competing on Analytics, says “like metrics, analytics is not new, but in both cases what is new is basing your strategy on them.” For example, retail powerhouse Best Buy had been tracking and monitoring its employee engagement and customer satisfaction levels separately. In the past few years, they began evaluating the two together, exploring how they related to one another. If higher employee engagement led to higher customer satisfaction, which in turn translated into more sales, then a case could be made to invest in more strategic employee engagement initiatives. Best Buy found just that. Higher employee engagement scores did lead to better store performance. The company found that for every 10th of a point it boosted employee engagement, its store saw a $100,000 increase in operating income annually. (CFO Magazine, “Measuring Up,” June 26, 2007, Harvard Business Review, September 2010) The examples above demonstrate that management can analyze and measure the impact of engagement on their organizations. However, despite all the research available today, a large percentage of companies that have invested millions in programs to engage employees still fail to measure the effectiveness. They also fail to measure key drivers of employee engagement. As a result, CEOs remain in the dark about how these HR programs impact both employees and the bottom-line. How can you influence the underlying drivers and factors for employee engagement? How can you measure and understand the company’s cultural foundation, which serves as the basis for engagement? One way is strategic recognition. This type of program creates the opportunity for employees and their managers to recognize each other whenever they see good work, behaviors, or corporate values displayed. If recognition is implemented in a strategic way, it gives senior management a new window into the health of the organization. Acting as a barometer for engagement and employee performance, companies can monitor how often recognition occurs as well as in which divisions, geographies and teams. If recognition is infrequent, it could be an early warning that the organization is in trouble. Often recognition declines in organizations pressured to “hit their numbers” at the expense of all else. The same recognition decline occurs when executives and managers ignore employees’ emotional needs, believing compensation is the sole driver of results. The link between prolonged neglect of consistent recognition and deteriorating company health is not always realized — the focus is on productivity rather than on what LEADS to productivity (i.e., happy, fulfilled employees who are fully engaged in their work). The “intangibles” discussed above, such as a sense of belonging, contributing to a meaningful goal, or knowing that one’s job is more than just a paycheck are critical employee performance drivers, but unfortunately are often overlooked. Although these are positive values most employers wish to instill in their workforce, they are too easily dismissed in the face of pressure to perform as an organization. A recent study by the Hackett Group stated, “Money is nice. But attention, recognition and the chance to learn new skills are the keys to keeping top performers on board as the job market improves.” Employees “will be more hesitant to make a jump if they feel like they’re part of a family, an organization that’s investing in them.” This viewpoint was confirmed in a 2011 Globoforce survey that found 78 percent of people are motivated in their job because they were recognized. Countless research proves that frequent and wide-spread employee recognition, tied to corporate values, produces a positive corporate culture and contributes to future company sustainability. But how can leaders look at recognition at their company, measure its effectiveness, and proactively manage the culture to greatest performance benefit? Below are five steps that companies can apply to gain a deeper understanding of recognition at their company: 1) Determine What Success Looks Like The success of any program requires a clear understanding of what defines success prior to program launch. Too often, when employee recognition programs are measured at all, they are measured on a tactical basis such as number of awards given and demographics impacted. These measures have no relevance to impact on overall strategic objectives. While metrics of success will vary based on unique company needs and goals, universal program metrics include: program costs, productivity and performance impacts, and contribution to understanding of company values and achievement of strategic objectives. Take The Dow Chemical Company, for instance. The company realizes the power of its people; they are the main agent for organizational innovation and social transformation. Dow’s “Human Element” approach is a key component to producing products that make a difference in the planet. Building a technology-driven recognition program is enabling the company to align its global workforce with its company goals and values. Dow’s strategy is fully anchored in its Performance Culture. To maximize the impact and driving force of recognition, Dow sought to create a culture in which employees are recognized for behaviors that contribute to the global success of the company. Over the past several years, Dow has invested significant time and resources to implement a single, global recognition program that supports the overall values and goals of the organization globally. With 50,000 employees in 62 countries, Dow’s decision to unify its dispersed recognition programs to one technology platform is helping the company toward its goal of creating a culture where employees are recognized for their contributions and are engaged in the company’s mission and vision. 2) Establish a Performance Baseline for Recognition Once the metrics for success have been established, a baseline of current performance must be determined (such as in the illustration below). This serves two purposes. First, this baseline clearly illustrates the status of employee morale, productivity, and performance. Second, this baseline gives a level-set against which future success can be compared. Without a baseline, it is impossible to accurately or credibly report percentage improvements in any of the areas discussed above. 3) Measure Regularly and Consistently Measurement should be done regularly and consistently to ensure the program stays on target. Measurements should be taken in two ways – via the program itself and through employee surveys. A reputable strategic recognition program should provide reporting functionality by budget spend; reasons for recognition by team, group and/or division; and program reach. These figures should be available in real-time, at the touch of button, and easily customizable to the audience. Program understanding, adoption and true cultural impact, however, should be measured through a regular employee survey that targets all employees annually (at a minimum) and a percentage of employees more frequently (such as a quarter of the employee population randomly surveyed each quarter). Potential employee survey questions on recognition should refer specifically to employee understanding of why they receive recognition and the effect on their work. Symantec, a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help businesses and consumers secure and manage their information, frequently measures its strategic employee recognition initiative. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., Symantec has nearly 18,500 employees in more than 280 locations with operations in more than 40 countries. When the company launched its recognition program – named Applause – in July 2008, Symantec saw 1,500 employees recognized in the first two weeks, nearly 40 percent of all employees recognized in the first five months and a 14 percent increase in employee engagement within the first year. With tracking and measurement mechanisms built into the program, division leaders were able to assess their performance in real-time and adjust areas as necessary. Management was and is today able to measure rewards against desired values, employee performance and business outcomes. For Symantec, recognition moments are tied to company values. When measurement occurs, it’s easy to identify values that aren’t being reinforced or prioritized by employees. Once identified, behaviors can be monitored, targeted, and changed to meet company goals. 4) Analyze Results and Take the Big Picture View Measurement only matters if one can analyze the results to look for trends and compare the results between two measurement tools. Look for trends over time for improvements in the success metrics established before program launch. Are there productivity improvements in areas where recognition is increasing? Have targets for program cost reduction been achieved? How do these results compare six months, a year, or two years after program launch? While analyzing results within the recognition program itself is critical, it’s only one part of the measurement opportunity. As mentioned above, recognition is an engagement and performance barometer for a company. High recognition levels signal a strong culture of appreciation, where workers proactively notice and appreciate the work performance of managers and peers. However, recognition can also serve as a performance review appraiser for individual workers. Employees lacking recognition from managers or peers might be an indication of weaker performance, while frequent recognition may illuminate the hidden power players within an organization. When addressing the true impact of recognition, it’s important to look at all areas that measure employee performance. Strategic recognition plays a versatile role within HR and can often provide results and measurements well beyond the core metrics set up within the program. It can serve as the eyes and ears for the performance of your entire workforce. 5) Report to Target Audiences in a Way that Matters Once management has access to solid results, the next step is to communicate these findings to the organization’s various audiences. While program metrics of success should be focused on top level executive requirements, line managers and employees themselves should also be informed of program success. The methodology used in reporting is just as important as communicating it. Never forget, results are not equally relevant to all audiences. For employees, recognition stories from colleagues across the company, demonstrated appreciation for employee efforts by the company, and continued investment in recognition going forward are of most interest. Managers care about the performance of a group or division against program targets and retention of top performers. Executives are concerned with program cost savings; understanding of values and objectives; and improvements in morale, productivity and performance. As stated by Michael Hammer, best-selling author on re-engineering the corporation, “Companies have not brought to bear a rigorous, analytical mindset about what they measure, how and why. Nor do they regularly review what metrics they track and discard those that are outdated. Collectively, there is a lot of pressure on companies to perform better than ever, and to be smart about performance you have to be smart about metrics.” Creating successful employee engagement programs is certainly no small task. Once that is accomplished, however, companies wanting to fully leverage the benefits of these programs need to pay close attention to Hammer’s advice. Many organizations have not thoroughly reviewed WHAT they measure, how and why. In addition, recognition and reward program “spring cleaning” – getting rid of old, musty engagement tactics that no longer work – needs to be done on a consistent basis and not just once a year.Tackling this is daunting for most companies, especially when faced with the pressure of simply staying competitive and getting the basic, daily tasks accomplished. However, as Hammer succinctly and wisely counsels: “To be smart about performance you have to be smart about metrics.” Reviewing metrics, and applying analytical data to make wise decisions about employee engagement provides major benefits – the biggest being increased productivity across your entire workforce on a global scale. Those that have invested in employee engagement programs CAN measure the impact on employee performance. Those organizations that are able to look deep inside their organization and discover the foundational elements for their company culture position themselves for success. Looking inside will reveal what many companies have already discovered. The key to long-term success is highly correlated to employee engagement levels. When working together toward a common goal, the collective force of engaged employees can bring companies to new levels of innovation, growth, and bottom-line results.

    Eric Mosley ( is CEO and co-founder at Globoforce, which is co-headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, and Southborough, Mass. He also recently co-authored a book, Winning with a Culture of Recognition (

  • Turning Social Influence Into Social Gain

    Again, I admit... I love me some Awareness Inc. And they've recently put together a white paper and infographic on leveraging social influence for marketers. Please note: I do not receive incentive from Awareness Inc. for posting content or whitepapers that is produced by them. Nor have they asked me to post on their behalf. I simply believe in what they do. As a marketer, your ultimate objective is to influence your audience to believe certain things, to behave in certain ways and ultimately to consume or buy your products and services. Sure, your performance may be judged by a very specific set of metrics, but at the end of the day your objective is to influence your audience. Influence has many facets: It encompasses perceived status, reputation, authority and rank. It is the single most effective and most enduring marketing asset. With 90 percent of purchases subject to social influence, it’s no surprise that savvy marketers are looking to leverage social influencers to grow a brand’s social capital – the breadth and depth of social relationships that can be used to increase brand preference, market share and sales. Growing a brand’s social capital is critical because it allows brands to gain market support and increase sales. Brands with larger social capital also have higher valuations, which ultimately delivers value to customers and partners, as well as shareholders. Why You Should Care about Your Social Influence:

    • 90 percent of all purchases are subject to social influence.
    • 90 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know.
    • 67 percent of shoppers spend more money online after seeing recommendations from friends.
    • Sharing and recommendation behavior is growing: 75 percent of Facebook users have “Liked” a brand, and 53 percent of Twitter users have recommended companies or products.
    • Fans of brands are 51 percent more likely to buy.
    • Sharing features can increase the spread of awareness by 246 percent with “Likes” and 98 percent with “Send to a friend.”
    Best Practices for Leveraging Influence
    • Identify and understand your external and internal influencers: Know their passions or pain points, their attraction to your industry, and how they use your product or service.
    • Define influence by several factors not simply by the size of your network. Identify and measure influence based on the size of an influencer’s network, how often they share, and the reaction driven by their content (clicks on links, comments to posts, “Likes to posts, retweets, etc.) Their team then motivates influence by creating a relevant and authentic message.
    • Know how your brand can add value to your influencer groups over time.
    • Benchmark the state of your social capital: Be prepared to act on the feedback.
    • Reward your top internal brand influencers. Recognize, reciprocate and reward the most loyal buyers and most faithful recommenders. Appropriately equip advocates with actions that will create activation. Once you’ve asked your influencers to participate, you need to tell them how to help. Clearly identify the right tool to motivate your audience to take an action, whether that’s a tangible item such as a coupon, or knowledge that’s worth sharing and communicating.
    • Monitor, measure, analyze and evolve your influencer approach and campaigns.
    • Avoid the popularity pitfall. Very often marketers pursue what they perceive as the highest visibility and widest reaching influencer.
    • Marketers should be driven by relevance: Your influencers need to be relevant to the conversation brands are interested in having.
    To help shed some light on the subject, Awareness Inc. put together a white paper, the 3 Keys to Influence: Understanding and Leveraging Social Capital that gives marketers a framework for maximizing their social influence strategy by specifically, outlining steps to leverage both internal and external brand advocates. For even more fun, check out their social influence infographic. The Three Keys to Influence
    1. Tools and techniques for measuring your brand’s relationships in the social realm
    2. The differences between internal and external influence and how to take advantage of each
    3. Best practices for leveraging social capital
    To download your copy of the full report, please visit Awareness, Inc.

  • Employee Investment Means Business Results

    Through their Employer Solutions Blog, Sage HRMS discusses and provides advice on various HR and payroll topics. Their latest post and infographic illustrates how employees are the most important component in the quest to improve business results. Why are some companies thriving while others struggle to stay in business? What is the distinctive difference between a good company and a truly great company? The answers to these questions can only be found when looking at what defines the company: its people. The people that make up a company are that organization’s unique and biggest asset. For most businesses, the workforce is also its largest expense, or better put, its largest investment. Employees are the most important component in the quest to improve business results. It makes sense to treat employee related expenses, like HR technology, as an investment in the workforce. Like any other investment, this critical company investment must yield a healthy return. Sage HRMS calls it the Return on Employee Investment™ or ROEI™. Return on Employee Investment | infographic Sage HRMS is a market leader in HR, payroll, recruiting, training, benefits, attendance, compliance, and employee self service solutions. To learn more visit Sage HRMS.

  • Frontline Employees: Engaging the Dis-engaged

    This post was originally published by CallMe! IQ, the online resource for Human Capital issues facing the Call Center and Business Process Outsourcing industries. The original post: High Cost of Employee Dis-engagement. While this particular post is geared towards call center employees, there's great information, action plan and case studies that apply across all functional areas. The business case for employee engagement is often couched in terms of effort and performance.  Highly engaged employees are willing to invest more of themselves in their jobs, give more discretionary effort, and go that extra mile when needed.  The costs associated with disengagement stem from two factors:  turnover, and lost productivity.  The disengaged are between 3-5 times more likely to leave the company than your average employee.  The Corporate Leadership Council found that disengaged employees have a 23% probability of turnover within 12 months, compared to less than a 1% probability among highly engaged employees.  Think about what that means in the context of a 1,000-seat call center.  Assuming an average 15% population of disengaged employees, 35 are likely to leave in the next year simply as a factor of disengagement.  That amounts to roughly $158,000 in turnover costs alone. But much more disturbing are the costs associated with disengaged employees that stay with our companies.  Their effect on lost productivity can be a silent killer.  Intuitively, we might feel that disengaged employees just aren’t as productive:  less innovation, less follow-up, higher absenteeism, etc.  However, the data is clear.  Disengaged employees cost their employers on average 46% of their salaries in lost productivity. If you care about sales or customer service levels, then you should care about how your agents feel about their job.  For this reason, many call centers are turning their attention to employee engagement.  In our most recent study of nearly 120 call center and BPO firms, we found that 76% of call centers conduct an employee survey to measure and improve engagement. Unfortunately, most managers then focus on the wrong group of employees for action.  The tendency is to try to maximize the number of highly-engaged in a call center.  But managing employees out of disengagement can be just as important to a company’s performance – sometimes even moreso. If you imagine a distribution of employees by their engagement levels, you’d see a bell curve in almost every call center.  There are few highly engaged (around 15%), a few highly disengaged (also about 15%), and a whole lot more or less in the middle.  Most managers spend their time maintaining the percentage of highly engaged, and trying to migrate the middle (those “on the fence” about committing to the company) into that engaged category. They overlook the disengaged…and at their peril, because there is a real and heavy cost associated with this group. In a recent study, Gallup found that 15% of US workers were disengaged and estimated that the lower productivity of disengaged workers cost the US economy approximately $328 billion. If you divide the lost productivity ($328 billion) by the number of disengaged employees (20.6 million), you get a per employee cost of $16,000.  That dollar figure is an average of all positions and levels, so convert it into a salary percentage by dividing it by the average median salary that same year according to the BLS (16,000/34,892 = 46%). Let’s go back to that 1,000-seat call center.  Assuming the same 15% disengaged population and an average annual agent salary of $30k, disengagement costs that same call center $2.07 million on lost productivity in just one year. The total costs of disengagement for that call center – including turnover and lost productivity – amount to $2.23 million. So, given the high cost of disengagement, what can we do about it?  Here are 5 Tips for eliminating disengagement in your call center:

    1. Create a Connection Between Work & Company Success – Employees’ commitment and effort increases when they feel their work is a part of something bigger than themselves.  Show agents how their daily work contributes to the vision and financial success of your company. Case Study:  Stryker Corporation uses business metrics as a vehicle to show the importance of employees’ jobs.  Team leaders explain business metrics, show employees hands-on how their work affects those metrics, and hold team meetings to discuss metrics and how they can be improved.  Employees own a monthly presentation to executives where they are responsible for reviewing metric performance.  As a result, Stryker consistently measured in the top percentiles on Gallup’s Q12 engagement questions.5
    2. Show a Commitment to Employee Development – Engagement is a two-way street.  If you want employees to commit to the organization, show that the organization is committed to its employees through a visible (and actionable) career development program.  The Corporate Leadership Council found that effective career advisors increased engagement levels by over 35%. Case Study:  First USA created a culture of development by increasing the awareness of potential career opportunities, facilitating new roles, and balancing development with business needs.  Call centers held career development workshops each month to identify capability gaps and begin development planning.  Employees had to meet eligibility criteria to participate, and sessions were scheduled around times with low call volumes.  Each call center also facilitated onsite developmental rotations, and built a “Career Resource Center” on the floor that was always open with resources, tools, and space for workshops.  As a result, employee satisfaction scores increased 25% and staff retention increased by 39% (leading to replacement cost savings of $1.5 million).
    3. Ask for Employee Feedback and Ideas – Call center teams want to do more than work, they want to contribute.  Employees have intimate knowledge about the business – especially about sales pipelines, customers, and internal processes.  Their honest feedback can revolutionize performance and lead to innovation.  You just have to ask.  Go beyond the “comment box” and have a genuine and honest conversation with your team.  You both deserve that level of respect.
    4. Set Expectations about Performance – Employee engagement increases substantially when employees have a clear understanding of their job and how they will be measured.  Clearly define job expectations, establish clear and measurable performance criteria, break down any projects into manageable components, and ensure employees understand the purpose of their work.  Teams just want to know the rules of the game and have clarity about how to succeed.  If you provide that, their commitment will rise (by over 36%!)
    5. Establish a Clear Value Proposition – Employee engagement is built on a level of respect between the employee and employer.  Without that respect, the employee can never fully commit to the company.  Build a foundation of respect by establishing a clear value proposition that details the job environment that you will and won’t provide as an employer. Case Study:  Wendy’s uses employee feedback to create a series of guidelines (employment “promises”) that engages and retains both frontline employees and managers.  Wendy’s conducted focus groups with employees and managers to identify factors affecting job satisfaction (quality of interview, quality of onboarding, quality of scheduling, etc.).  They consolidated the feedback into a series of “employment promises” to its hourly employees, and provide managers with training and support to ensure these promises are delivered every day.  As a result, hourly employee turnover decreased by 25% and manager turnover decreased by 45%.

  • From Social Media to Social Business at IBM BeNeLux (Case St ...

    IBM’s goal is to promote the vision of social business by embedding it into the digital activities and everyday thinking of employees. The challenge is to inspire already technically savvy and digitally motivated employees to become ‘digital citizens’, enthuse them about the value social media can add and motivate them to start exploring the online world. With this objective in mind, IBM BeNeLux enlisted the aid of global marketing agency, Ketchum Pleon, to help them transition from not just doing social media, but to transform  their daily business through social technologies. A pool of best technical minds and leading innovators - who believe in building a smarter planet - decided to move IBM and its clients well beyond social media into a new era of collaboration they call Social Business. IBM BeNeLux's Social Business is based on three leading principles that challenge existing conventions in communications and Social Media:

    1. They don’t have a corporate blog or a corporate Twitter ID, because they wanted ‘IBMers’ in aggregate to be the corporate blog and the corporate Twitter ID.
    2. They represent their brand online the way it always has been, which is employees first.
    3. Their brand is largely shaped by the interactions that they have with customers.


    1. Support change program that radically transforms how IBMers sell their expertise and solutions – going beyond social media towards social business
    2. Bridge communications and sales enablement
    3. Transform IBMers into ‘Social Business Ambassadors’
    4. Motivate IBMers to become responsible for their own digital reputation


    Imagine an IBM room full of technical minds, sales specialists and leading innovators. All 300 of them. A room full of energy, where drive and motivation go hand in hand with deep rooted thinking and a common belief what the brand experience for IBM stands for – an experience with an IBMer. But can 300+ of technically savvy and motivated IBMers go even further and be challenged and inspired to become true ‘Social Business Ambassadors’ for IBM? PR activity involved hand-picking 300+ employees from various business lines across IBM, enrolling them in the ‘From Social Media to Social Business’ program, which included communications and personal branding trainings. We positioned them as ambassadors for the IBM social business giving them different roles of i.e. expert locator, social aggregator, or social business manager. Their progress as ‘Social Business Ambassadors’ was charted on their personal dashboards during training and individual coaching. To help them see the impact of their various interactions, we followed up the trainings with one-to-one sessions, co-creating stories on various topics that we pitched after to several online media and generate wide online coverage.


    ‘From Social Media to Social Business’ campaign challenged IBMers to become more enthused about their social and digital interactions. Ketchum Pleon’s mission was to transform them into ‘Social Ambassadors’, by:
    • Handpicking and training a pool of inspired and motivated IBMers – the social business brand ambassadors, who are skilled in their personal branding, own messaging, and personal roadmap to engage on social media, and to reach out to traditional media, and who are able to combine these elements in their sales / client contacts
    • Creating and implementing a suite of communications and sales enablement training programs that combined sales enablement, social media, presentation skills, and personal branding
    • Organizing a crisis communication training for the ‘advanced ambassadors’ (real life situation) involving social media (one tweet about the situation leads to a trending topic on Twitter - the message spreads across several (online) media, press is waiting for a statement from IBM - a TV- and a radio interview with IBM’s communication team are simulated)
    • Co-developing Social Media Strategies for different business lines
    • Co-creating campaigns highly integrated with the Social Media culture;
    • Co-managing IBM’s online communities;
    • Deploying Social Media for reaching their Internal Publics.
    • Charting the results of progress of ‘Social Business Ambassadors’ on their personal dashboard charts and helping them see the impact of their various interactions online
    • Giving rise to an active pool of more than Benelux IBMers who are active on at least one of the Social Business platforms, and who share their expertise and experience with peers and clients via Digital Labs on daily basis
    • Making sure that all programs are dedicated to the success of every IBM client, communicating about innovation, topic at the heart of IBM, and by helping to build trust and personal responsibility in all relationships online and offline


    • IBMers have in-dept platform knowledge and know how to collaborate with and use every type of media.
    • IBMers are able to create hands-on messaging and know how to use media to bring their message across their target groups.
    • IBMers know their tone of voice and how to control their body language so it can strengthen their message when talking to media.
    • IBMers are aware of the role they should take in several situations (e.g. crisis) and know they are always seen as the spokesperson.
    • Benelux IBMers now have an in-dept platform knowledge and know how to collaborate with and use every type of media; they are able to create hands-on messaging and know how to use media to bring their message across their target groups; they know their tone of voice and how to control their body language so it can strengthen their message when talking to media.
    So, did IBM BeNeLux succeed in turning its sales and technical staff into true social ambassadors for IBM’s social business? Yes, they did…and not only that. The newly appointed ‘Social Business Ambassadors’ also passed their knowledge and enthusiasm along, training their peers. Out of 7,000 IBM BeNeLux employees, 200 are engaged and connected to clients and partners through mobile experience and the new IBM way of collaboration – through social business. Original source: Social Business at IBM, The Holmes Report

  • Apr 2012
  • Infographic | The Evolution of Sharing and Communicatio ...

    Original source: The Daily Infographic Communication is the process of conveying information. Almost all species have some sort of communication system. However, successful communication is the trait that has made humans the most successful species. This infographic shows a timescale of how communication has evolved over time. It’s hard to imagine communication long before the hustle and bustle of email and text messaging. Technological communication has grown exponentially, leaving snail mail to be a thing of the past. Facebook and Twitter is the most popular form of communication right now. These social giants are changing the game of communication. Today’s communication seems to only be in the form of short spurts with hashtags or tagging. Social media has taken the complexity out of communication, it is no longer organic, but short and to the point. Today’s style of communication represents the direction society and technology are headed -- towards a more efficient form of communication.

    Sharing and Communication through the Ages


  • Using Social Media to Enhance Company Morale

    Note: We're excited to have this guest post by Brad Shorr, Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North. See Brad's bio at the end of the article. We tend to think of social media as a set of marketing tools. But a social strategy focused on employees is an option well worth considering.  The human resources approach is particularly applicable in these four corporate environments.

    1. When employees are scattered across multiple geographic locations and have few opportunities to interact.
    2. When employees attend conventions, seminars, and other corporate events on a regular basis.
    3. When employees already use social media and are eager to use it for business purposes as well.
    4. When management is interested in using social media for marketing purposes but is unsure about how to proceed.

    Using External Social Media Platforms for Engagement

    Information Sharing, Knowledge Building, Relationship Building In the first situation, when employees are scattered geographically, networks such as Facebook and Google+ are extremely useful for sharing photos and managing and archiving discussions. Both networks are also effective for scheduled or impromptu meetings: Google+ “Hangouts,” designed for video chat for groups up to 10 people, seems especially well suited for this type of engagement, since access is private. Types of information that are often shared by employees through social media include –
    • Photos from and commentary on company outings
    • Discussion of industry news and trends
    • Announcements of awards and honors earned by employees
    There are advantages of using public networks for these activities. First, access is easy and available to any employee with an Internet connection. Second, if employees are participating in social media or curious about it, they will be more apt to use it over company Internet portals intended for similar purposes. Third, social networks have an inherent “fun factor” that encourages experimentation and engagement. Many companies struggle to keep employees off social sites, when they could instead channel their activity productively. Event Communication Hubs In the second situation, when employees attend multiple events, social networks offer efficiency and a host of practical, tactical benefits. Twitter is widely used by seminar attendees to share presentation highlights with the outside world in short, 140-character bursts. Using hashtags, seminar tweets are easy to find either in real time or after the event. Facebook makes a convenient, all-purpose communication hub for conventions. Where should we meet for dinner? What booths should we visit? Where is the ABC Co. reception being held? What were the highlights from today’s session? Can I see a picture of that new XYZ gizmo? Questions like these can be answered and shared with a great deal of efficiency. Thank mobile technology for making these on-the-go applications of social media easier and more powerful than ever. I can’t speak for all devices and apps, but I do know that the iPhone/iPad Facebook app and the HootSuite Twitter app are child’s play. Tapping Hidden Human Resources In the third situation, where employees are eager to use social media, companies enjoy an immediate boost in morale simply by facilitating the effort. But this immediate gratification is only the beginning. As with just about any other aspect of corporate activity, employees bring great new ideas and energy to the table if they’re encouraged to do so. This fact of business life becomes critically important when … Laying the Groundwork for Marketing Success In the fourth situation, when companies are doubtful about social media marketing, starting with an employee focus is a fabulous way to test the waters and lay the groundwork for future, outward-oriented efforts, an approach that is both bold and conservative: bold, because it empowers employees to create, execute and refine their own program within the organization; conservative, because it eliminates the need of hiring outside resources or staffing a new department. For the most part, the activities I’ve been describing can be easily transitioned from inward focus to outward focus. A scheduled Facebook discussion can be extended to customers without changing the way it is handled. Twitter commentary on a seminar can be promoted among customers as well as employees. And certainly, logistics management and information sharing at an industry convention will be just as useful to customers and suppliers as attendees. However, since the methods of executing these activities have been tested and refined internally, customers, vendors and external stakeholders are only engaged in a firm’s social media presence after it has been refined to a great extent. This alone makes it a reliable process for developing a winning social marketing program.

    Examples: Don’t Forget to Have Fun

    Social media can and should mix a little pleasure with a lot of business. From a morale-building standpoint, this is a good thing to remember and something that distinguishes social from most other communication media. Here are a couple of examples that illustrate the point. Simple, Spontaneous Contests Our agency recently had a run on shaved heads, so we decided to have a little fun with it and post a little blurb on Facebook and Google+: This took all of about 15 minutes to set up, write and publish, and we did it mainly for the benefit of our staff, since it had become something of a running joke. That said, nothing here would be offensive to clients who visit our Facebook or Google+ page, and we did manage to tie in a business theme.

    Getting to Know People A better example is something I noticed the Content Marketing Institute doing on Google+. They are running a series of mini-profiles of employees, done in a lighthearted, social media-friendly style: This profile would be interesting to any of Robert’s coworkers, whether or not they already know him well. And I think it conveys a positive and probably very accurate impression of the character of the organization. Again, a little fun and a lot of business serve morale and the bottom line.


  • Nobody Puts HR in a Corner! (The invaluable role of HR in or ...

    Image courtesy of KnotworkShop on etsy
    I know I'm dating myself, but I still get a little faint when I think of the scene in Dirty Dancing where Patrick Swayze comes into the room, finds Baby and says "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." Although often overshadowed and overlooked, she was integral in executing the talent show, where she brought together the entertainment staff and the resort guests. I can’t help but think that HR is often placed in the same role as Baby. Human Resources, the ambiguous partner to marketing and communications,  has always been a point of some confusion, as companies struggle to discover the best ways in which to utilize such a vague, although invaluable, function. I came across a post by which illustrates the need for HR to take action in not only conceiving but in actually implementing strategy, and offers a fantastic guide to help HR professionals in doing so.
    In recent years, HR has proven itself especially useful in the innovative development of organizational strategy. The time has come, however, for Human Resource professionals to push past the strategy-development phase and put their plans into action. The implementation of strategy is a key element of business success, and HR authorities are uniquely positioned to pioneer the realization of such strategies. Strategy, in order to be effective, must naturally be implemented. If a business is to change, people must drive the wheels of that change, and that is where HR’s true role comes into play. Regardless of an organization’s size, function, or ambition, there are certain steps to be taken which are all but essential to the implementation process.

    Leaping the Hurdles of Change

    Before HR professionals can work to implement strategy, they must first ascertain what obstacles presently exist to prevent the desired changes from occurring in their organization. HR can preempt many of their potential battles by anticipating and addressing some of the problems that will likely arise. As a general rule of thumb, there are five basic causes for strategy implementation failure, and from these causes stem ten or so foreseeable hurdles that HR management must endeavor to overcome. The core causes and their related issues are as follows: Cause #1: Poor Coordination Within Management 1. Incongruous goals, opinions, and policies among upper-level executives can obstruct the cross-system cooperation required by the strategy. Cause #2: Employees Aren’t Buying In 2. Employees within the company do not understand the strategy. 3. Employees feel no personal responsibility to fulfill the strategy. It’s possible they may feel that their efforts will be inconsequential in actually bringing about a change, or perhaps they are contemptuous of management. 4. Employees are impassive towards the execution of the strategy, and exert no enthusiasm in taking part. 5. Employees are uninspired by the overarching goals of the strategy. Cause #3: Inadequate Change Within the Work Unit 6. Managers fail to direct the efforts of their work units towards conforming with the new strategy. 7. Managers’ styles and tactics undermine employee enthusiasm about the strategy. 8. Work proceeds as usual even within those units which the strategy requires to exhibit swift and considerable change. Cause #4: Weak Inter-Departmental Collaboration  9. There are insufficient processes employed to advance the collaboration between different operating and functional areas. Cause #5: There Exists No Measurement of Progress 10. A method of measuring progress towards the desired goals is either deficient or else entirely absent. It is difficult, if not impossible, to tell what exactly is changing. In order to establish which of these barriers to change will pose the most difficulty within a given organization, consider the following questions: - “Which of these problems will most directly affect the achievement of our goals?” - “If these problems persist, what kinds of challenges could result?” - “If these problems are removed or reduced, what quantifiable business benefits will be yielded?” - “Which of these problems comprises the most immediate, pressing issue?” - “How can HR work to address these problems?” In order to effectively implement strategy, HR leaders must take a proactive role in seeking out and carefully eradicating these various obstacles to change.

    Strategy Implementation as a Social Issue

    The art of strategy implementation is a symphony in three parts: the technical system, the business system, and the social system. The majority of management teams do a swell job of dovetailing their business processes with the newly-established strategy, and the benefits of cutting-edge technology typically fall into place – but the marriage of social system and strategy is far too often a rocky one. The human resource is fickle and complex, difficult to understand and, as a consequence, difficult to successfully manage. By working to improve human interactions, HR will, by extension, be working to improve the actual execution and use of the more straightforward technology and business processes.

    The Four Key Jobs of HR

    From a big-picture perspective, there are four vital tasks that all businesses must accomplish. These four jobs, when properly fulfilled, add up to the bare-bones work of strategy implementation, and they are: 1. Helping employees to understand the strategy. Not only must employees understand the strategic direction itself, they must also comprehend the reason for the strategy, as well as the driving forces behind it. Employees are the cogs around which the gears of business turn. If the employees don’t understand where the strategy is headed, they will be incapable of realizing their full potential in aiding the strategy implementation. 2. Augmenting employee commitment to the strategy. Changes in strategy mean changes for people on an individual level, and individual change tends to mean frustration, disappointment, and challenge. If an employee is going to put in any extra effort towards propelling a conceived strategy to fruition, he must genuinely be given to believe that, in the long run, the end product will be worth the difficult sacrifices made in order to implement the strategy. 3. Streamlining local effort with the strategy. Though invariably all employees must be on board for understanding and committing to the strategy, this in and of itself is not enough. Implementing a strategy means legitimately changing work production. In order to achieve the business strategy, all off-strategy work must terminate and all on-strategy work must proceed with renewed urgency and dedication. 4. Inducing cross-system cooperation. The final and most important step in strategy implementation is that of realigning departmental relationships within the system. Implementing strategy means carving deeper relationships between inter-dependent organizational units, such as sales and manufacturing, or customer service and distribution. This last job is as challenging as it is critical, because it demands that employees within discrete work units learn to share and interact across the traditional boundaries of their job descriptions. This system of change as organized into four jobs is rather unique among most designs for strategic HR. Where many plans focus in on how HR can appeal to, motivate, and enrich the contribution of the individual, the Four Jobs system recognizes the work that must be done on all three tiers of organization, from the individual to the work unit to the department as a whole. Implementation of strategy is an all-encompassing procedure, demanding change at all levels of the business’s social system. Having established that these four jobs form the core work of strategy implementation, the question now remains: exactly whose work is it? Certainly HR has a necessary role in helping the business to address each of these jobs, but it is not the place of HR to carry them all out. HR should follow its own initiative to complete those tasks it can, and a solid partnership with the executive line will see to the rest. Put simply, HR must establish itself as the driving force behind the strategy implementation effort.
    Just think of Baby. She didn't belong in the corner and neither does HR! Original article: Human Resources Strategy Implementation,    

  • Do "Facebook Breaks" Make Your Employees Happier a ...

  • Mar 2012
  • Putting Social HR in Its Place: The Employee Lifecycle

    Social HR and the Employee LifecycleWhen I present social business as my passion, the typical listener assumes I'm talking about Yammer, Facebook or Sharepoint. It's interesting to see how they can easily confuse social platforms as the same as being a social business. But it's not. It's easy to become distracted by shiny, new tools and platforms, but these are just delivery channels. As I've learned, and I'm sure as you have as well (if you're reading this post), being a social business is so much more than that. Social within a business may have began with Marketing and IT, but let's face it... we've reached a point where it's clear that Human Resources is the GLUE in creating social programs that are not only relevant and adoptable to employees, but ones that transform your organization and its culture. If you're truly looking to transform your organization through social tools, then your purpose should be based on the human ingredients necessary to drive that change: employees. I emphatically believe that a social workplace considers employee behavior in order to create a truly collaborative and  integrated social experience. HR is critical in understanding the needs of your employees so that social tools enable them to be productive, communicative, and engaged in their daily work life. Your roadmap to accomplishing this is through the employee life cycle. Whether your employees are onboarding, developing or growing their talent, maintaining status quo, or separating, they are all somewhere within that employee life cycle and have unique needs. What involving HR and basing social programs on the employee life cycle provides: - Connect with real work goals and processes - Focus on improving performance - Involve people who have the power to take action regarding these goals - Balance employee actions with business context - Increase employee capacity, productivity and recognition - Focus on learning about learning, in settings that are collaborative and relevant

    Ways Social Can Be Infused into the Employee Lifecycle

    The base camps for the employee lifecycle can vary based on your organization's needs and objectives. What I've outlined below are  based on the base camps I've developed for organizations. Oh, and to help illustrate the points below, I've also created this shiny infographic for you. Feel free to download, share and use. Social HR and the Employee Lifecycle by The Social WorkplaceAttraction
    • Reputation and Brand - Somewhere a conversation is taking place that will effect your reputation as an employer. At a minimum, you should be listening to the social conversation to mitigate brand risk but ideally you would be contributing value to the conversation stream as well.
    • Talent Communities - Create talent communities to connect and develop job seekers and at the same as you share insight into your corporate culture. When implemented thoughtfully, these can become real communities rather than just socially sourced lists of names.
    • Peer to Peer Recruitment - A key area that social really enables. Allows companies to use their own employees as brand advocates and give potential hires a unique perspective into the culture of the area of the company they are thinking of joining.
    • LinkedIn overwhelmingly trumps Facebook, even though more candidates are looking to use it, and Twitter as the social network recruiters use to search for job candidates, but it's on Twitter where a recruiter finds the most success as Twitter followers are three times more likely to apply to a job posting than a LinkedIn connection.
    • Referral Schemes – Recruitment is dependent on referrals as a source for qualified candidates. Further develop and expand your current employee referral programs by tapping into the digital social and professional graphs of your employees and leverage their social connections.
    • Role Specific Wikis - Maintain knowledge about particular business functions as living, breathing documents and enable employees to provide feedback to enhance subsequent user's experiences.
    • Experience Forums - New hires often have similar questions and concerns. Establish a  forum where they can reply to a question from another new hire with a solution.
    • Knowledge Connection - Allow new hires and long time employees to contribute and share tacit knowledge around the ins and outs of being successful in a new role.
    • Track Search Terms and  Refine – Save and analyze search terms. This will help to illustrate any large gaps in material that new hires are attempting to locate as they get started within the company.
    • Promote Relationships -- Extend virtual classrooms beyond the course time by allowing employees to connect before and after the course, creating a stronger social support system.
    • Motivation through autonomy -- Encourage autonomous, self-directed workers and learners by enabling just-in-time, fast, and targeted learning opportunities.
    • Social learning creates a positive attitude toward learning, which leads to learning more efficiently.
    • Goal Development – Permit  employees to solicit feedback from each other so they can set specific development goals that is collected via peer review.
    • Idea Generation - Foster  innovation that have acknowledged results. Create a portal where employees can submit ideas, where peers vote on the submissions, and, most importantly, have your executive leadership review the ones that have been voted to the top. Moreover, seek to IMPLEMENT the ideas that are most viable. Employees will stop submitting ideas if they feel that they will never come to fruition.
    • Peer Development Groups -  Connect employees on similar development plans so they can encourage and support one another. In doing so, you will promote leadership.
    • Social Recognition –  Remove isolated recognition experiences by allowing employees to be recognized by their managers and peers on platforms where such recognition can be shared among other portals and social collaboration platforms.
    • Social Performance -- Give employees a way to track how their actions impact overall company performance and help them meet their (and their team’s) shared objectives.
    • Exit Interviews and Feedback - Establish a dignified exit process by soliciting genuine feedback.
    • Known Talent Pool - Use retired employees as an excellent project-based, flexible source of experience.
    • Employee Referrals - Candidates referred by former employees are pre-screened candidates and tend to fit the companies needs.
    • Alumni Community – Keep in touch with employees who already know your business. As they increase their skill sets, they become a talent pool worth tracking.

  • Tactical Awareness of Social Engagement and Interaction

    I'm not going deny it... I'm quite fond of the folks at Awareness Inc. Not just because they afforded me the awesome opportunity of personally visiting and meeting the folks running the  Super Bowl Social Media Command Center, but because they also put together some phenomenal reports (see the State of Social Media Marketing). In their most recent whitepaper, they explore something nearer and dearer to my own passion: engagement. "Engagement" is a hot word these days but what does it really mean? Why is it important? How do you drive it? How do choices such as the day and time of a post affect interaction with content, engagement and loyalty? This paper explores those questions, citing research and comments by social media marketing thought leaders, and drawing on a recently completed analysis of aggregate data collected across all Awareness, Inc. clients, including more than 250,000 posts published to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Slideshare, Flickr and WordPress, and the 31+ million interactions on those posts over the course of 2011. The result is an insightful whitepaper, Social Engagement: How to Crack the Code of Social Interaction, which shows how content performs in the social sphere and how marketers can get the most from each post. But I love this report not just because it's applicable to external engagement, but to how we engage with internal audiences as well.

    What Social Engagement Provides

    Social Engagement: Cracking the Code of Social InteractionAMPLIFICATION: Engaged fans help spread your message within their social network.As they do, posts gain credibility and expand reach. A May 2009 study by Knowledge Networks found that between 10 and 24 percent of U.S. social media users turned to social networks when making purchase decisions. A survey report by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research, “Why Social Media Matters to Your Business,” found that fans and followers of a brand or company were more likely to recommend that brand or company (60 percent of Facebook fans and 79 percent of Twitter followers). BRAND LOYALTY: Engagement also affects existing customers by improving the chances they will become repeat customers. Nearly half (49 percent) of the Facebook fans studied by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research in the study previously mentioned reported that they had become fans because they were already customers. Further, more than half of people who had engaged with a brand or company in social channels said they were more likely to buy (51 percent of Facebook fans and 67 percent of Twitter followers) than they were before they became a fan/follower. CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS: Customers now expect to engage via social channels to ask product questions, give positive and negative feedback, get customer service and to simply share enthusiasm. This expectation is evident in comments by respondents to the Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research survey report. The report asked what it says about a brand if they are not involved with sites like Facebook or Twitter; survey respondents indicated companies and brands are now conspicuous if they have no presence on social channels. “You doubt their relevance in today’s marketplace,” said one consumer. Similarly, brands that do not have a social presence risk alienating certain demographics. “Either they are not interested in the demographic that frequents Facebook and Twitter or they are unaware of the opportunity to get more exposure,” said another consumer. AMPLIFICATION: Engaged fans help spread your message within their social network.As they do, posts gain credibility and expand reach. A May 2009 study by Knowledge Networks found that between 10 and 24 percent of U.S. social media users turned to social networks when making purchase decisions. A survey report by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research, “Why Social Media Matters to Your Business,” found that fans and followers of a brand or company were more likely to recommend that brand or company (60 percent of Facebook fans and 79 percent of Twitter followers). EDGERANK: “Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm … is the key to effectively managing content on Facebook for deeper and more meaningful engagement,” Taulbee Jackson, president and chief executive officer at digital media agency Raidious, told Awareness in an interview for our “2012 Social Marketing & New Media Predictions” white paper. EdgeRank strongly favors content with engagement. As a marketer, or as someone who seeks to engage any audience, you need to know which publishing variables drive meaningful engagement. And  should be able to answer:
    • What day of the week has the highest post volume?
    • What day of the week has the highest interaction rate?
    • What day of the week has the highest number of interactions per post?
    Engagement is the enduring effect of content to motivate an audience to do something; motivate your audience with data proven best practices. Visit Awareness Inc to download Social Engagement: How to Crack the Code of Social Interaction.

  • Work is Murder. Nasty, Nasty Murder.

    Source: Is Your Job Killing You,

    The productivity of the average worker has skyrocketed thanks to technology, but it comes at the price of a sedentary lifestyle. And mounting research suggests that sitting at your desk for eight hours a day can have a dramatic impact on your health. The past 40 years have seen a lot of changes to the American lifestyle, including the way we work. People are sitting more, getting less exercise, engaging with computers on a daily basis, and finding new ways to get stressed out. So how has this shift in the way we work affected Americans? Enter the desk and the fact that less than 20% of all jobs require physical activity. We are quickly becoming a workforce where our fingers get more exercise than any other part of our body. And, if not careful, we are allowing our desk jobs to murder us. People sitting at a computer all day are at a heightened risk for packing on pounds, developing heart disease, and dying young—and yet over 80% of Americans report to a desk job every morning. In a nation that extolls working hard and working often, many may be displeased to find that at the end of the day, all that work just might be killing you. Bottom line: Stand UP! Walk around! Don't let work murder you.

  • The Measurable Value of Human Resources

    Organizations today are moving faster than ever and too many HR leaders are assuming that what they are doing is working.  A recent study revealed that 64% of HR practitioners thought their practices were actively contributing to the organization, yet only 23% of line managers agreed.  Like it or not a global economy is emerging and with it comes an entirely new suite of competitive pressures.  It is not OK for HR leaders to think they know what is working, they must know what works, how to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of various programs, and be able to prove it to line managers and corporate leadership. While a few organizations possess phenomenal metrics, the vast majority do not.  Measures of work activity are not the same as measures of outcome or performance. To be successful, HR leaders need to understand their business colleagues, design consistent processes, and measure more than work and cost.  For HR measures to be valuable, they need only be accepted, and more often than not, it doesn't require a Ph.D. in mathematics, robust organization wide samples, or complex formulas. But for me, and I would imagine for many of you, it's hard to know where to begin your measurement -- what should you measure and how should you measure it? Fortunately, there are experts such as Dr. John Sullivan & Associates, a human resource management advisory services and training firm, based on the thought leadership of author, advisor, and educator Dr. John Sullivan. His expertise on how to measure the value of Human Resources is phenomenal and easy to understand -- easy enough for a non-mathematical person such as me to understand.

    Why are Metrics Important?

    Dr. Sullivan identified several reasons as to why metrics are important for HR. Below are some of the ones that I found most valuable to me and what I do: Distributing metrics can change individual behavior – Only rewards change behavior faster that distributing ranked metrics to all. By ranking and distributing your metrics to everyone, you provide visible side-by-side comparisons that can be embarrassing to some and a challenge to others that are highly competitive. Both spur employees and managers into action. Metrics are superior to culture in changing the behavior of your managers – Instead of solely relying on your corporate “culture” to drive actions you should instead rely on metrics and rewards to send the message about how you expect people to behave in a certain situations. You will find that by simply changing the metrics and rewards you can quickly change the behavior of most everyone. In contrast, most find that changing a corporate culture is extremely difficult and slow, which inevitably slows the needed change in behavior. Metrics can allow HR to provide evidence of its strategic impact - In many organizations, people costs are the highest variable budget expense.  Between 35 and 60% of all variable costs of corporations are people costs.  With people being that high of an expense, HR really has no choice but to prove it's economic value through the use of metrics. Nearly everything in HR can be measured but it's smarter to focus on the few items that have the biggest cost and the most impact.  If you can prove their value most CFO's will assume the rest of HR is operating efficiently. Most strategic HR metrics focus on productivity, recruiting, retention and employee relations. Of these, productivity is the most important. Whenever you can demonstrate to top management that you can produce one unit of your product or service at a lower labor cost (because of efficient hiring, retention, training or motivation) you will be a hero.  You don't have to demonstrate individual program effectiveness if overall worker productivity continually increases.

    Top Metrics to Measure HR ROI

    Workforce productivity: The single, most powerful measure is return on investment. Employee ROI is the total dollar amount spent on labor costs divided by total revenue. The premise is that if you hire, train and place employees effectively, the average revenue per employee will increase as a result. An easier-to-benchmark alternative is revenue per employee (total revenue/the number of employees). Dollar-impact metrics: HR can show the direct dollar impact of specific actions. For example, measure the revenue increase as a result of reducing "position vacancy days" for revenue-generating jobs. Also assume that actions to reduce turnover among top performers increases revenue by three times their salary. Ask your chief financial officer for approval to calculate the impact of other actions. Top problem metric: You need a current "hot issue" metric. Ask executives to select the biggest workforce issue and select a metric for it. If it's recruiting, measure the quality of hire. For retention, measure the turnover rate of top-rated employees. If it's leadership, survey the executive team on their satisfaction with leadership bench strength. HR's impact on manager business results: The relative ranking of HR compared to other overhead functions can be powerful. This survey has managers rank each overhead function, based on its relative contribution to helping them meet their own performance goals. Manager/employee satisfaction with HR: Managers and employees are important constituencies of HR, so they should be satisfied with HR service, programs and results. A yearly survey should be given to a random sample of both groups. Know what HR does: You can't be successful if your constituents don't clearly understand your role. A yearly survey can determine the percentage that completely understand HR's role (as many as 80 percent can be unsure). HR costs: For cost-conscious executives, measure HR costs as a percentage of revenue or as a percentage of general and administrative expenditures. Individual program effectiveness: The language of business is money and dollars.  HR gets itself into trouble by getting into the bad habit of using other "language".  CFO's don't understand or appreciate the value of worker satisfaction or engagement; they do however understand costs and ROI.  It's not wise for HR to report its results any differently than any other business function.  HR should demonstrate that for every dollar spent, it produces increased results and output. It's possible to demonstrate the efficiency or impact of any HR program.  Below are a few examples of the potential dollar impact of various HR functions.
    • Compensation -- demonstrate that highly paid workers produce more than workers that are paid an average wage and that giving a worker at 10% raise increases their productivity by more than 10%.  Tying worker pay  to their output or productivity always pleases top management
    • Training -- demonstrate that there is a high correlation or connection between the number of hours a worker receives in training and their productivity. Show that worker productivity increases immediately after they receive training
    • Recruiting -- demonstrate that new hires produce more than the average (already on staff) worker.  Demonstrate that your hiring process produced recruits that score at the very top of your performance appraisal scale. Demonstrate that the sales people you hire under your "new recruiting system" produce average sales significantly higher than those hired under the old system.
    • Employee relations -- demonstrate that malcontents and bottom performers become average or better performers within a year after employee relations deals with them.  Also demonstrate that your program identifies, fixes or removes bad managers rapidly
    • HRIS systems -- HRIS systems demonstrate their effectiveness by their impact.  By demonstrating the "before and after difference after technology implementation you can show that for example applicant tracking systems result in faster and better quality hires then prior to the implementation of the system.  You can also demonstrate HRIS impact through manager satisfaction surveys, which show how satisfied managers are with the efficiency and effectiveness of the technology.  If technological systems do not produce outputs or results that are a higher quality, cheaper or faster than non-technology systems, there's really no reason to implement them.

    A More Intensive Look into HR Metrics

    For you really intense metrics-oriented professionals, Dr. Sullivan has created a more extensive list of the 27 individual metrics in 10 different categories that he recommends HR organizations track within any large global company.  These are all strategic metrics that are relatively easy to understand and the data needed to populate them relatively easy to acquire. First-Tier Metrics I) Overall workforce productivity - the very best measure of overall HR success is workforce productivity.  Any HR department that takes responsibility for improving workforce productivity is sure to be a hero among senior executives.  The key is to continually improve the ratio between the dollars spent on employee costs (wages, benefits and overall HR expenses) and overall company revenue.  Metrics in this category include:
    1. The % improvement in workforce productivity – Improvement in cents spent on people costs for every dollar of revenue/profit generated (compared to last year’s ratio)
    2. The dollar value of the increased workforce productivity between this year and last year
    II) Recruiting - managers consistently rate recruiting in their top three things they expect from HR. Without overdoing it, here are some simple metrics that you can use to assess recruiting effectiveness:
    1. The number of overall days that “key positions" were vacant (due to recruiting)
    2. Average performance appraisal score of new hires (this year compared to last in the same job)
    3. Manager satisfaction with new hires (survey of hiring managers, results compared to last year’s average)
    4. The turnover rate of new hires within the first year
    5. % of diversity hires in managerial and senior positions
    III) Retention - retention is also a highly rated management issue. In this case, most turnover measures are too simple.  Potential metrics include:
    1. Performance turnover in key jobs (where performance turnover means that top performer turnover is “weighted" more heavily and bottom performer turnover more lightly than average worker turnover
    2. Preventable turnover in key jobs (where a sample post exit survey is utilized to identify the real reasons that these individuals left the organization and if the turnover could have been reasonably prevented)
    3. Diversity turnover in professional, managerial and technical positions
    IV) Overall HR costs - even though overall HR costs are relatively small compared to all G&A expenditures, it never hurts to have a metric to ensure that the dollars spent in HR or resulting in a continuous rated improvement of workforce productivity.
    1. Cents spent on HR costs for every dollar of revenue generated (compared to last year)
    V) Manager satisfaction - I recommend you use a forced ranked survey of line manager’s satisfaction with HR.  Within that survey managers are asked just one particularly important question, which is... "Rate each of these individual HR functions on how much they contributed directly to your business unit’s productivity and its success at reaching its goals?"
    1. Average ranking of all individual HR functions in a all managers survey where managers are asked to rate all individual overhead functions specifically on their contribution to productivity and in helping the manager to meet their performance goals
    Second-Tier Metrics These metrics are still important but they tend to be less valued among senior executives. VI) Compensation and benefits - rather than trying to use a statistical method to determine pay fairness, I recommend that you instead survey employees on their perception of pay fairness compared to work expectations.
    1. the number of “cents” (insert your local currency here) in total compensation and benefits costs that it took to generate a dollar of revenue (as an indication of compensation effectiveness, where this year's ratio would be compared to last years ratio)
    2. % of employees that are satisfied with their compensation (survey of a sample of employees on their satisfaction between the rewards and the expectations of the firm)
    3. % of employees that are rated in the top performance appraisal level… that are paid above the average salary for their position and vice versa
    4. What % of the average employee’s pay is “at risk” based on the employees on the job output
    VII) Employee relations - the metrics focus in the employee relations area is on whether poor performing employees rapidly improve their performance or are terminated within a year.
    1. Percentage of employees that report that they have a "bad manager" (survey of employees comparing this year's percentage to last years)
    2. Turnover percentage of the bottom rated/ performing managers and employees within one year of receiving the bottom rating
    3. % of bottom level performance appraisal rated employees that are on a performance management program
    4. % of employees that are all in any performance management program that improve at least one level on performance appraisal ratings within 1 year
    VIII) Training & Development - I recommend a training and development metrics focus on the aspect of learning, development and growth.
    1. % of employees that report that they are satisfied with the learning and growth opportunities provided by the firm (survey of a sample of employees)
    2. % of employees that report that they are satisfied with on-the-job learning, project assignment's for growth/ development and job rotations (survey of a sample of employees)
    3. Percentage of employees that report that they are in the leading edge of knowledge in their profession (survey of a sample of employees)
    4. Percentage of new hires that report excellent training opportunities among the top three reasons that they accepted the job
    IX) Generalist activities - In many HR departments a significant percentage of all HR services are provided by generalists.  As a result, it is important to identify metrics that measure generalist’s satisfaction and impact.
    1. % of Managers satisfied with generalists (survey of all managers that are serviced by generalists)
    2. The average % improvement in workforce productivity (ratio of employee costs too dollar value of output) within the division's that each generalist serves
    X) HR goals met - HR departments frequently set unclear and unquantifiable goals at the beginning of the year but that are seldom measured throughout the year and formally assessed at year-end.  In order to improve HR performance and ensure that HR professionals are focused on the appropriate goals and activities, it is essential that the goal assessment process be more formalized.
    1. % of top priority HR goals that were met or exceeded during the year (goals are set, quantified, prioritize and approved by senior management at the beginning of the fiscal year)
    Be careful when trying to build a balanced score card—executives and CFOs place lopsided emphasis on money. A better measure of success is whether an individual reaches the expected percentage of improvement (pre-set by executives) each year. Executives may also expect comparisons to industry averages or direct competitors. Work with the CFO to revise and improve your metrics each year. Source: Metrics -- The Future of HR and Strategic HR Metrics for a Global Organization, by Dr. John Sullivan  

  • Is Email Overload Killing Your Productivity?

    Email OverloadAt the tail end of last year, I spoke at the Internal Social Media Forum in Madrid, Spain, where I met Luis Saurez, Knowledge Manager, Community Builder & Social Computing Evangelist in the IBM Software Group division. Two and a half years ago, he developed plan to show his coworkers just how dependent they really were on e-mail, emphasizing how many times a day they were compelled to check it, and proving that it was no longer a productivity tool, but a procrastinator’s best friend. He’s advocated for social software to replace e-mail as the go-to communication method. And in fact, in less than three years, he’s been able to reduce 90% of his incoming e-mail by communicating through social software. E-mail is simultaneously the most used business application and (has been labeled) the number one "killer" of productivity. According to a new infographic, businesses lose $650 billon a year due to unnecessary emails, with the average worker costing his or her employer an annual $10,000 because of distractions such as emailing. For those professional interested in the recent discussions around employee productivity, this is a very compelling number. The infographic (created by  illustrates the story of Atos, a French technology company, who will soon ban internal email. CEO Thierry Breton estimates that only 10 percent of the average 200 emails his employees receive every day are "useful" and Atos has already reduced its internal emails by 20 percent over the last six months. I have to say that, as much as I'd love to be like Luis or Atos by completely replacing traditional e-mail with social technologies, my current corporate culture simply hasn't  changed enough to sustain that kind of detachment for a variety of reasons: 1) while I consider ourselves progressive in the implementation of social tools, we still don't quite have the technical infrastructure to collaborate solely through social media, wikis, and online chat; and 2) our employee demographics simply haven't adjusted to the level of adoption to social tools that would be required to remove e-mail as our primary communications tool.

    Three Issues that Cause Email Overload and How to Fix Them

    Problem #1: Lack of e-mail prioritization The root cause of the e-mail overload problem is us, our powerful psychological tendencies. Fear and uncertainty and/or the need for instant gratification are powerful drivers for constantly checking one‟s e-mail. These taken together with a constant flow of e-mail encourage unproductive behaviors which include interrupting your concentration and your work to check e-mail, wasting time and impairing decision-making. All too often, employees disrupt their activity to check email and then switchback to the activity, eroding overall productivity. This behavior tends to feed on itself leading to further distraction and delayed decision making on important e-mail. The use of mobile devices in meetings to check non critical e-mail is not only a distraction but dilutes the quality of decision making. Solutions:
    • Prioritize your inbox. Research indicates that more than 53% of the e-mail you receive is not a high priority to you. However we still tend to read and respond to these “easy” or low priority e-mail first. The risk being that we are then leaving important emails unanswered or delaying required immediate action times.
      • Use sort and search to filter through your email to make finding lost messages much more efficient.. If all else fails, simply ask the sender to "resend" the message so that you don't waste excessive time crawling through hundreds of messages to find the original one.
      • Delete messages sent by your family of the most recent reunion and / or ask them (and your friends) to use your personal email address.
    • Fast response to important matters is a requirement for most businesses. Advocate for fewer and smaller emails by asking that emails sent to you be treated more like twitter tweets, where the sender is limited by a certain number of characters. Having a maximum number of words creates more focused writing. Email wastes time both in writing and in reading.
    Problem #2: Treating your Inbox as an unfocused To‐do list I admit. I do this ALL the time. When I receive messages that require action from me, I move them into a "Honey-Do" folder and I use that to track items that I need to complete. But in fact, almost 50% of your important e-mail requires some action other than just reading it. So, in effect, you are really just moving half your email from your Inbox to an unfocused To-do list folder. These To‐do tasks are co‐mingled with new incoming e-mail clogging your mailbox and in turn leads to excess time spent either determining which e-mail are high priorities or constantly searching for actionable e-mail; raising your anxiety levels by searching for time sensitive e-mail. This gives the individual the feeling of lack of control over their deliverables creating stress and anxiety. Solutions:
    • Separate action items from other e-mail from within your inbox. Once this is done, you will have a focused to‐do list that can be completed much more effectively. Take advantage of MS Outlook's (or your email client) task feature.
    • Ask yourself if you should send that email. If possible, do not try to answer everybody with emails. Make a call or meet with the person to talk about the problem and solve the problem. If you don't want colleagues to clutter up your email box, then don't clutter up theirs.
    Problem #3: False sense of productivity Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), your job performance is not measured by how many emails to which you've responded. Quick e-mail checking or response offers a false sense of achievement and a false sense of control. In spite of working on many e-mail many times during the workday, many people wonder by the end of a day, what they have accomplished, and question the value of their contribution. Solutions:
    • Establish clear and effective protocols. If you have ambiguous decision-making processes and your colleagues don't get what they need from each other, they'll flood the system with email and meeting requests.
    • Establish email guidelines without writing policies. Develop guidelines for yourself and for your team on how to send and respond to email messages but hardcore policies that effect a broad population of workers and dictate how and when they check email are not realistic, nor likely to be effective.
    • Get your current inbox to zero(or as close to it as possible). Once you have done that, adopt the following three steps for each email you receive:
      1. Delete. Glance over your inbox and delete any messages you don't need to read or keep: calendar invites, advertisements, etc. "You ought to be able to discard 80% of them just by looking at the title," says Pozen.
      2. Respond. If you can reply to a message in a few minutes or less, go ahead and do that. "If you put it off, you lose time by trying to find it, or remembering what you wanted to say," says Pozen.
      3. File. For the rest of your messages, decide where they should go. Put them into folders or use flags or labels to indicate how high priority they are and when you need to respond by.

  • When Employees aren't Happy, then the Company Isn't Happy

    Happy Employee, Happy CompanyRemember that saying: "When Mom isn't happy, then no one is happy." It's true. I'm a mom. So I would know. I also know the same can be said for employee engagement. When your employees aren't happy, guess what... your company isn't happy either. What are the differences between a happy employee and a disengaged one? Many. Not only are there differences in attitude and performance, but there are definite differences in their value to your company. Many HR professionals struggle to quantify the business impact of a disengaged workforce, and to justify the expense of programs or initiatives aimed at improving employee engagement. But all is not lost. When companies make the engagement of their employees a core initiative, there is not only bottom line return, but when an employee is happy, the company is happy too.

    The Difference Between Employee Satisfaction and Employee Engagement

    Employee satisfaction is functional. What an employee is getting out of their company as much as they are putting into it (that is, the employee value proposition). It is a measure of an employee’s happiness with a company, their particular job, or their co-workers among other factors. While an employee’s happiness or satisfaction is important, and can contribute to their engagement, it’s not the same thing as engagement. Employee engagement is emotional. Employees who are engaged speak positively about the organization to others, are committed to remaining with their current employer, and are motivated by their organizations’ leaders, managers, culture and values to go “above and beyond” to contribute to business success.

    What is a Disengaged Employee Costing You?

    To determine the cost of a disengaged employee, it's necessary to make some assumptions about the different returns on salary each level of engagement delivers. In this example, we’re assuming:
    • Fully engaged employees return 120% of their salary in value
    • Engaged employees return 100% of their salary in value
    • Somewhat disengaged employees return 80% of their salary in value
    • Disengaged employees return 60% of their salary in value
    Then, use an average salary to calculate how much each employee at a given engagement level is returning to the organization. In this example, we use an average salary of $80K.
    • Fully engaged: $80K x 120% = $96K or +$16K value
    • Engaged: $80K x 100% = $80K or even in value
    • Somewhat disengaged: $80K x 80% = $64K or  -$16K in value
    • Disengaged: $80K x 60% = $48K or $-32K in value
    Finally, to determine the estimate cost of disengagement to the organization, you can multiply the return for each level of engagement by the number of employees who ranked at that level. So if you had 500 employees, and they followed a typical distribution pattern: the 40% engaged, and 12% fully engaged would be adding $960K in value to the organization. While the 39% somewhat disengaged, and 9% fully disengaged would cost your organization more than $4.5 million dollars in productivity. In this scenario the organization is losing more than $3 Million dollars because of disengagement.

    Creating a Culture of Happiness

    In their employee engagement research, the Corporate Leadership Council found that up to 76% of employees are “up for grabs” in terms of engagement, and could become engaged or disengaged. The potential financial impact of this could be substantial for your organization. So what are some practical steps to creating a culture of happiness? Here are some good places to start: Analyze and Measure.  Before you can seek to improve happiness within your organization, you must first have a clear understanding of the current state of employee satisfaction and engagement, the combination of which will provide insight into overall employee sentiment. What your employees currently like and don't like about the company. Use this information to establish your baseline and create a realistic goal for "sentiment lift" so that you can use future data to measure the return on your engagement programs.
    • If you don't have the internal capabilities to analyze and measure then partner with an external engagement firm. The data and information collected will be well worth the cost.
    • Include employee satisfaction, engagement and sentiment to your corporate benchmarking dashboard. If you don't include it on your quarterly read out and note the percent of change (where you've succeeded and where you need to improve) then they easily become a forgotten numbers.
    Goals and Performance. As a business it's essential to establish yearly priorities and business imperatives. As an employee, it's not always apparent how your individual role contributes to the successes of those priorities and imperatives. Engaged employees understand how their individual goals affect company goals and, ultimately, the bottom line.
    • Ensure all employees have clear, SMART goals that are aligned with the organization’s high-level goals.
    Development and Innovation. Employees have always sought companies who support and provide resources for professional growth and development -- this is not new. But with the rise of social technologies, the method of how we deliver and foster said development is becoming critical to how employees perceive whether a company sufficiently supports them. Just as we don't want our employees to become complacent, then neither should we as a business. Continually seek new ways to develop employee skills and foster a culture where innovation thrives.
    • Provide training and coaching for managers to enhance their ability to motivate and inspire employees which in turn will help improve engagement scores (this is critical since managers have such a direct impact on employee engagement).
    • Ensure you support employee development at all levels within the organization. Provide learning and mentoring opportunities and a culture where regular ongoing discussion about career paths takes place.
    • Ensure employees get the regular coaching and constructive feedback they need to direct their work and improve performance. Make sure managers have the skills to do that effectively.
    Reward and Recognition.Gone are the days where recognition occurred as a once yearly event. Bottom line: Employees need to know that you care about them on a year-round basis. Recognition that is timely, values-driven, and open to all employees builds a more connected and fully engaged workforce. Frequent recognition of every employee – by managers and peers alike – is the most effective way of making the values and objectives meaningful and real in the daily work of every employee. How better to encourage what you want to see more of than by saying “thank you?”
    • Reinvent your current reward and recognition program. Let's face it, most organizations still have recognition programs that are old school and rely heavily on HR and annual reviews. It's time to start developing programs that deliver continuous recognition and are sensitive to your employees. In essence, make your recognition programs less mechanical and more human.
    • Develop tools that make recognition more public and where it can be shared. Old programs tend to be isolated experiences: manager recognizes employee, employee receives e-mail, employee chooses "award" from an online catalog. Leverage the use of social technologies to enable the sharing of this recognition across multiple platforms and allow public acknowledgement.
    These suggestions are simply that... suggestions. It's really up to you, as an organization, to assess the current level of your employees' happiness and then craft a customized strategy and practical programs to engage your disengaged workforce. But once you do, you will find that when your employees are happy, then your company is happy too. For more insight, check out this recent blog post and infographic from Halogen Software on the "Dollars and Sense of Employee Engagement." [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="615"]The Dollars and Sense of Employee Engagement The Dollars and Sense of Employee Engagement via Halogen Software[/caption]  

  • Final Thoughts on the Superbowl's Social Media Command ...

    A final follow-up on the Superbowl XLVI's Social Media Command Center If you recall, I shared my experience of the time I spent at the Superbowl's Social Media Command Center - giving a deep dive into its strategy, goals and a complete tactical rundown of the technologies used. Below is a great post by Ryan of Bacon Social Media which further describes the overall strategy and why the Superbowl's Social Media Command Center is considered a tremendous success. Again, as I noted, the true objective was to create a "Superbowl Experience" that provided hospitality to those fans visiting Indianapolis and to extend that experience online as much as possible.

    During the Super Bowl, the guys at Raidious used the Awareness Social Media Hub to power the Hospitality Social Media Command Center. These are the Lessons they learned from the experience and tips they provided webinar attendees on how to strengthen their own Social Media effectiveness. If you missed our first post covering the Superbowl’s Social Media Command Center (which is crazy cool) check it out here.

    Who’s Your Hospitality for the 21st Century?

    The motto for the Command Center was “Who’s Your Hospitality for the 21st Century.” They wanted to take the typical informational items that the traditional hospitality group would provide in the weeks before, during, and after the game, and provide them via social media channels. Social Media Command Center Peeps The goals for the staff of 50 Social Media contributors were to:
    • Address Public Safety Issues
    • Disperse Event and Service Information such as directions, scheduling, and parking updates
    • Highlight positive aspects of the Indianapolis community
    The primary properties that were used during and leading up to the Superbowl were Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr. While other properties were monitored, the team used these properties as their primary channels of communication.

    Get Strategically Reactionary

    All Social Media is basically reactionary. You don’t know what comments you are going to get from customers online. You don’t know what questions are going to be asked. You can’t predict the specifics, but you CAN prepare in advance. Brand Images should be congruent among properties. Make sure you have a consistent look and feel. It will help to get your users following on their most accessible social network site. Provide your audience with reasons as to why they should “like” you or “follow” you. If your brand is a large and emotional brand, you may not have to be as direct and specific with the benefits of connecting with your brand pages.

    Stick to Your Goals

    Social Media Super Bowl One twitter user tweeted that she was unsure as to what outfit she should were to the super bowl village the following night. By using keyword searches on twitter (through Awareness’ software) one of the staff members was able to easily respond to the user and let her know where she could check the local weather reports. They could have taken it one step further by suggesting a locally-owned ladies’ clothing boutique or athletic clothing store if she needed to add anything to her outfit. The Social Media staff was focused on delivering hospitality related information. They did not chat about player stats or TV coverage or celebrity sightings. Their keyword searches were created to focus on and react to hospitality, safety, and local community related messages. They could have, though, considered creating separate twitter streams for different subjects (i.e. player injures, concession specials, etc.).

    Anticipate Your Needs and the Needs of Your Customers

    The creators of the Social Media command center, planned for what they needed. They knew they needed space, scalability, etc. to accommodate the humans contributing to the effort. They knew they needed a software tool that could accept and track multiple users, directly integrate with Social Sites, etc. There were approximately 10,000 tweets per second at both the halftime show and at the final game winning drive of the Super Bowl. Can you imagine the hardware and resources needed to process that data? Wow. They planned for this prior to the game by addressing these requirements with the Awareness team who made sure enough resources were in place. Team members were empowered to engage with fans with information that is both accurate and useful. Some team members were assigned specific tasks (like responding to specific keywords) to reduce rework and maintain focus. Social Media users can get lost quite easily, so a definable focus helps to increase efficiency and performance. Other team members were assigned more general tasks to help spread information and monitor responses. Team members used the Q&A database to find information for their social marketing efforts quickly and accurately. Team members were also trained prior to the event on the Awareness platform relative to Raidious’ best practices. Content Calendars are recommended by the team to keep users on target and focused. Your content calendar should contain actual dates to track progress and set deadlines. Include blog entries, Social Media posts, webinars, emails, etc. Also include response times (what day you will go back and reply to all of your comments.) The content Calendar enabled the team to be proactive about collecting information, photos, videos, etc. prior to their due dates which was a valuable way to spread the work during non-peak times. Use spokespersons and create stars of users behind the scenes to put a ”face” on your social media. Focus on users tapped in to philanthropy, night life, or other personalities connected to your cause. Feature these people in your content. Have them connect with users on the other end of the line directly. Also consider featuring a set of celebrities, not for their celebrity, but for their “human” characteristics (philanthropy, community involvement, etc.). Use Photos and Videos when you can because they hold more weight in Search Engine and internal Social Media sites searches. They also promote engagement among users better than standard text updates.

    Measure Your Inputs and Outputs

    Measurement begins at the planning stage. Develop a fictional report of what your successful Social Media Campaign would look like, so you can begin to understand what you CAN and should measure. Consider measuring the following:
    • Your Audience Reach (where you are interacting)
    • Type of Posts (informational, reactional, fun, videos, pictures, etc.)
    • Type of Engagement (what type of response your post caused)
    • Number of Posts (quantify your actions)
    • Click throughs (going from one page to another)

    Social Media Command Center Results:

    Total Audience: Original total audience goal (direct reach) was 5,000. Final reach: 49,000. Sentiment goal was to be more than 50% positive. Final sentiment total: 3.6:1 positive to negative. Amplification: Combination of Shares/Retweets and Favorites/Likes: 64 million impressions Klout: Exceeded the official NFL handle’s influence based on Klout score. Estimated total value, amplified social reach at $50 cost per thousand yielded a $3.2 Million valuation The Command Center Team wanted to construct an apples-to-apples comparison between traditional media and their social media efforts.  They used the following info for their calculation: The average traditional cost per thousand for adults 25-54 yrs old in Indianapolis is about $50, multiplied by the 64 million impressions they obtained during the campaign, equals a $3.2 million valuation. The average Super Bowl TV commercial costs between $3.2 and 3.5 million for a 30 second spot. Given these numbers, we can see that the investment in the Social Media command center yielded about the same cost as a typical TV commercial, but the VALUE of the engagement, the information provided, and the access to the now connected users (if they choose to access them in the future) continue to add value without adding additional costs.

    Social Media Command Center Infographic

    Click Image to Enlarge Super Bowl Social Media Command Center Infographic If you liked the info presented in this article, feel free to share it with friends who might also like it.

  • Feb 2012
  • How to Cope with The 10 Most Pesky Workplace Personalities

    Original Source: 10 Difficult Employees (and How to Handle Them), Inc. Whether your company is an early-stage start-up or a huge corporation, you've surely run into an employee who drives you batty. Here's an look at of the 10 most irritating workplace characters--along with some advice on how to get them back on track. Be honest now... which one are YOU!?

    The Undecider

    The Undecider

    He takes days to make a decision and then, after it's made, revisits it. Then revisits it again. Then, when things fall apart and he is held responsible for his indecision, he becomes indignant or evasive. "It's not MY fault!" How to cope: Establish a deadline where the decision must be final, and a default decision that will hold true if no decision is made. When the deadline comes, that's it. Refuse to consider any other alternatives.
    The Ultra Competitor  

    The Ultra-Competitor

    No matter how a situation plays out, no matter who gets hurt in the process, the ultra-competitor can't let it go until he's convinced that he's won--and, more importantly, that someone else has lost. How to cope: Get him focused on having the entire team win, rather than just him. Hint: Pay him a bonus based on team achievement--never on individual accomplishment.
    The Drama Queen

    The Drama Queen

    He automatically turns absolutely everything into a hissy fit, replete with pique, umbrage, and a host of other French emotions. He seems to draw energy from the drama, while draining energy from everyone else. How to cope: Set up boundaries for the behavior that you won't tolerate. Eject him from any meeting where his behavior becomes obstructive.
    The Iconoclast  

    The Iconoclast

    He thrives on the negative attention that comes from dissing authority figures and social protocols. He misses deadlines just to prove he doesn't have to follow the rules, and takes up causes without really understanding the implications of his actions. How to cope: It's all about aiming him at the right enemy. Oddly, these types often do well as "customer advocates" who can take on the bureaucracy in order to see that customers get what they need.
    The Droner  

    The Droner

    He's always ready to give you a presentation--and it's usually one you've heard before. He's got a list of bullet points and is going to read each and every one to you, or know the reason why! How to cope: Have an written agenda for every meeting, with a limited amount of time for presentations. Better yet, make a "no PowerPoint" rule for your meetings. Then stick to it.
    Social Butterfly  

    The Social (Network) Butterfly

    He is convinced that it's productive for him to remain online all day "building relationships" with all your customers. In fact, he's just adding to the day-to-day blather that's such an integral part of the social network. How to cope: Assign him measurable goals--like a certain number of qualified sales leads that he has to create every week.
    The Volcano  

    The Volcano

    He explodes whenever things don't go the way he thinks they should. He screams at meetings, yells into the telephone, and gets in your face. While he might apologize later, the whole team ends up perpetually walking on eggshells. How to cope: Raise your own intensity (or you won't be heard), and then refuse to put up with unprofessional behavior. If necessary, leave the room until he's cooled down.
    The Procrastinator  

    The Procrastinator

    He says yes to projects but fails to follow through. As deadlines approach, he can't be found, even via email. When the work is finally turned in (often by others who have covered for him), he'll go on a mini vacation to "recuperate from the stress." How to cope: Unfortunately, the only solution here is a little good old-fashioned micromanagement. Lay out frequent (even daily) milestones, and create consequences for missing one -- or for failing to report that he missed it.
    The Creative Genuis  

    The Creative Genius

    He's a legend in his own mind ... and makes certain that you know about it. He's always talking about the amazing stuff he did in the past and his equally amazing plans for the future. Still, he seldom seems to actually do anything today. How to cope: Give some lip service to his greatness, then bring him down to earth by breaking a project into chunks and getting him to "consult" on each chunk.
    The Panic Button

    The Panic Button

    Some people really shine in a crisis. Others ... not so much. This guy remains calm for day and weeks, but then when a problem has reached its inevitable conclusion, he runs around like a decapitated chicken. How to cope: Create an early warning system so that there are fewer surprises. And replace the regular coffee with the decaf on the day the bad news hits.
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  • Why Social Privacy Needs to be a Social Priority ...

    Original source: The Sad State of Social Media Privacy [Infographic], MDG Advertising

    The relationship between social media and privacy has long been a controversial one, but with recent privacy breaches, ever-changing privacy settings and an overall increase in the things we share in social media, there is now renewed attention to the troublesome topic. To shed some light on where consumers stand on social media privacy issues, MDG Advertising created an enlightening infographic that shows consumers’ levels of trust, feelings of control, and attitudes toward online privacy and protection. It also offers insight on what consumers ultimately want in terms of social media and privacy. With consumers becoming more and more concerned about protecting their privacy in the social media era, social networks must make privacy a priority in order to keep consumers as fans and followers.
    The Sad State of Social Media Privacy

  • Social Collaboration is Here to Stay

    Original Source: The State of Social Collaboration, Central Desktop Social collaboration is here to stay.  In less than five years, the dialogue around social collaboration has shifted from skepticism to “expecticism.” In the near future, software vendors won’t differentiate on whether or not they are social – virtually all business software will be inherently social. The intranets of tomorrow will ALL be like Facebook. Rapid and hyper collaboration tools that leverage the entire company and remote workers will be “table stakes” in the enterprise. It goes without saying we believe that social collaboration is changing how companies work together, how they innovate and how they serve their customers. As such, we’ve created an infographic that chronicles the history of social collaboration, illustrating where the industry has come from, how large it has become and where it is growing. Feel free to share this infographic, The State of Social Collaboration, with colleagues and readers in your blog posts, articles or website. The State of Social Collaboration

  • Social Content Strategy - Cheeseburger Style

    I recently came across this excellent post written by Jeffrey Cohen of Radian6, 6 Layers of Social Media Content Strategy, and also Mark Smiciklas' graphical interpretation of Jeff's metaphor. I loved it so much that I decided to take it one step further and create an infographic from it, adding some of my own thoughts on an effective social content strategy. Content creators are often inspired by their surroundings when developing ideas for their social media profiles, but their content strategy is the guiding principle that makes it all work. Good content marketing plan contains a number of different elements including theme, audience, tone, publishing channel, etc. But how do all of these components come together to form a cohesive strategy? Well, it really is as easy as making a cheeseburger. Pickles and other Condiments (Format) How do you slice the pickles that you put on your burger? They can be sliced in circles, sliced the long way, or even with a crinkle cut device to make pickle chips. These are the different kinds of content you can publish, like written blog posts, photos or videos. There are lots of ways to tell stories and share best practices with your target audience. Knowing what kinds of content resonates and drives the most traffic back to your blog lets you create the right mix. Lettuce (Tone) A big lettuce leaf adds crunch and texture to a burger. The voice and tone of a company’s content adds texture to the words, photos and videos you post to make them more interesting and entertaining. Humorous videos about routers are more likely to connect with viewers than factual, straightforward product videos. Cheese (Relevance) Cheese makes a burger tastier and keywords make social media content more relevant. Do you know what keywords are important your followers? Many marketers focus on keywords for search, as in what keywords are prospects searching for, but in the endless stream of social content, it is imperative to know which keywords are drawing their attention on the social web. Meat (Content) The meat of your strategy, and don’t worry, this will be the only bad pun in this post, is the high level topic of your content. Good social content strategy is just good social storytelling. Whether you are sharing content on a blog, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, you should know the story you want to tell. Effective social media content is educational or entertaining. People don’t really want to hear about your products. Your website already does that. Prospects and customers want to find solutions to their problems. They want to know how to do things better or more efficiently. Airlines don’t blog about their ticket prices. They share travel tips or information about popular destinations. Sauce (Audience) Sauce is a matter of personal preference and my preference is steak sauce. Yours could be ketchup. Or mustard. A key element of your content strategy is knowing your target audience and their personal preferences. Create personas to define who your target customers are, so you can create relevant content. Talking to a current employee is different than talking to a candidate or consumer. They have different needs but you will want to deliver a consistent story. Bun (Platform) And it is all held together by the bun. This represents where you post your content, whether it be on Facebook, a blog, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other place you have a social presence. The bun keeps everything organized, together and properly branded. Also, make sure your platform is timely and genuine -- afterall, no one likes a stale bun. Sources:

  • 7 Trends in Employer Branding for 2012

    Original Source: 7 trends in employer branding for 2012, Daniel Wägerth and Joao Araujo

    2012 is here and after over 20,000 meetings with companies held by Universum’s team throughout 2011, we’ve had interesting discussions about what to expect this year.  The first impression is that our colleagues in Africa, Asia and US are feeling that the competition for talent is getting fiercer, while the European colleagues see a market where employer brands are getting more innovative and competitive. All in all, we see seven trends that might shape 2012:

    1. New players will take up the space left by those that retreat due to the uncertain market conditions.

    We’re just in the second week of the year and we are already seeing new companies jumping into the world of employer branding. But would this represent a fiercer competition in the talent market?   In the stock market there’s a term dubbed “shake out weak hands” which happens when oscillations in the markets make those that don’t truly believe in an investment to get rid of it. 2012 might be the “shake out weak hands” for employer branding and talent attraction: those companies that don’t yet truly believe in the benefits will withdraw and focus on short-term recruitment, while those that have defined their long-term goals will keep working strategically and aim to be the ideal employer of their talent groups.

    2. Employer Branding definitely becomes “glocal”

    There has been the time of many EVPs, then the time of one global EVP. The trend now is one global EVP but adapted to the local reality. While each company needs to have a “soul” (a set of core values that define what the organization is), talent across the globe is different and has its own interpretation of what their organization represents. Gen Ys who work for the same company, but in different locations, tend to associate the company to the same set of core values; yet the importance they give to each attribute, under the drivers of employer attractiveness, differ.

    3. “Do or Die” for employer branding & social media

    Since Bank of America got defaced in Google+ (see picture), we’re all convinced that companies will be present in the mainstream social media (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Weibo, Ren Ren…). Not being present represents a big risk of identity theft. Key question are: why be there (define goals), what to communicate (set the message) and how to monitor & act? The answers differ based on target groups.

    4. Winning companies have an Employer Branding Dream Team

    Is employer branding exclusively a HR responsibility? Our opinion is that it is not! There are 4 people / departments that should be highly involved: -  CEO: has the inspiring vision and the decision-making authority.  The CEO will be the key to ensure that the vision is included in the EVP and that the teams work together. - Communications Director:  promotes the company’s reputation & image and has vast experience in adjusting messages to the target audience. She/he has a budget to spend on communication and is used to creating the messages and going through the media purchasing process. - HR Director/Regional HR Director: has the full overview of the HR strategy in the company. This person is understands the full scope of job characteristics and remuneration & advancement opportunities. - EB Director /Talent Attraction Director: has the insight on the talent attraction strategy, a full overview of the people & culture and the knowledge about how external & internal talent groups perceive the company as an employer. The employer branding dream team should have the 4 roles above; otherwise companies risk missing  one of the five important areas.

    5. EVP becomes more inspirational by taking in the vision

    We already revealed part of the trend in #4, but EVPs will start to be more inspirational. While you can define what makes your organization an attractive employer based on 40 different attributes, including the company’s vision in the EVP will make it more appealing to your desired target group. After all, we don’t just go to work to deal with international colleagues or to have work/life balance – there’s more to it! We go to work to fulfil our purpose in life, one which is aligned to the company’s vision.

    6. Talent attraction and retention enters the gamification arena

    Gamification is taking over marketing activities. What is gamification? Wikipedia defines it as “the use of game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences.” Marketing has been using it to engage audiences: recognition / badges, special benefits or tailored communication are all part of the game. Will employer branding and talent attraction board this train? We believe so. We won’t be surprised to see companies using gamification in their online communities and start rewarding the talent that is truly engaged and favorable to the brand.

    7. More and more companies are investing in market intelligence

    We see this trend already since 2008, but it looks like companies in 2012 will definitely start using talent market data to define KPIs, implement smart talent segmentation and plan their communication activities in a very efficient way. With uncertain economic times, the need to make sound decisions is even bigger – that’s why there’s market research.

  • A Definitive Guide to Social Intranet Strategy

    Original Source: The Social Intranet Infographic: 10 Steps to a Social Intranet, The Social Intranet Infographic, Prescient Digital

    A social intranet is only one part technology, and two parts people and process. In fact, technology is only an enabler, and may only be worth 20% of the total value of an intranet. Truth be told, a successful social intranet is remarkably similar to an intranet. Not unlike like the high-performance sports car to the family car, a high-performance social intranet resembles the corporate, family intranet at first glance… but only when it’s not performing to expectations. A flourishing social intranet needs many of the requisites of a regular, run-of-the-mill intranet: well-defined governance and process(es), highly engaged people, and highly functional technology. But the devil is in the non-technical details: the process. People and process drive the social intranet – governance and content make it sing.


    The first ingredient to a social intranet is of course people: executives, managers and front-line employees who depend on social media to communicate and collaborate with each other on a daily or weekly basis. Unfortunately, executives aren’t quite pulling their weight when it comes to contributing regularly to Intranet 2.0 tools, stifling many organizations’ attempts at turning their intranet into a social intranet:
    • 58% of employees contribute to Intranet 2.0 tools on a weekly basis or more frequently.
    • Only 28% of executives contribute to Intranet 2.0 tools on a weekly basis or more frequently.
    Many executives still do not embrace the intranet, even from a sponsorship or stewardship role. However, the most successful intranets have one common ingredient: active executive support and sponsorship. Without active executive support, a social intranet will fall short of its potential. To be a true social intranet, access to these tools needs to be open to all or most employees. Only two-thirds of organizations with social media tools on their intranet allow all employees to access them. This means a large portion of the employee population doesn’t have access to social media tools and is missing out on an opportunity to help create a social intranet (source: Social Intranet Study).


    Giving employees free reign of Intranet 2.0 tools doesn’t come without risk. To mitigate that risk, you need to plan accordingly and support the tools with the proper governance, standards and policies before rolling out these tools and giving employees full access. Key to the process component is establishing and defining a thorough governance model. Simply put, governance defines an intranet’s ownership and management model and structure including the:
    • Management team
    • Roles & responsibilities of contributors
    • Decision making process
    • Policies & standards
    Like the content of your website or intranet, planning and governance is technology agnostic; whether it’s SharePoint, IBM or another portal or content management system, the necessity for and the approach to governance is the same. Given its technology neutral status in governance is largely applicable to any technology platform. Politics and the issues of control, ownership and standards go hand-in-hand with intranet management and perhaps these issues, more than any other, have driven the requirement for planning and defined governance models. Sadly, very few organizations actually have a well-defined governance model, and many of those have spent hundreds-of-thousands to millions of dollars on their website or intranet – amounting to extraordinary investments left to chance and execution on a whim.


    The best social intranets comprise a consortium of social intranet tools: blogs, wikis, user commenting, tagging and forums, to name a few. The results of the Social Intranet Study show a wide range of Intranet 2.0 tools being used in organizations today. The top three are:
    • Intranet blogs (present in 75% of organizations with at least one tool)
    • Intranet discussion forums (65%)
    • Intranet messaging (63%)
    Given the low cost of Intranet 2.0 tools (38% of organizations spent less than US$10,000 licensing and installing their tools) it’s no surprise organizations are opting for more and more Intranet 2.0 tools as they become available. But each tool has different strengths, weaknesses, and adds varying degrees of value to your organization, so identifying which tool is right for you can be difficult. Often this means gathering business requirements for the Intranet 2.0 tools to be integrated into your intranet from key stakeholders in your organization.

    10 Steps to a Social Intranet

    You’ve probably figured out by now that the technology behind a wiki, or a blog pales compared to most web content management systems… and can’t carry the dirty laundry of a killer portal or enterprise content management solution. The technology is terribly simple; what makes it ‘sing’ is people and process. The secret sauce to sites such as Wikipedia is the collective wisdom of the contributing crowd; the end contributors, and the process that encourages the all-too-simple, effortless contribution and peer reviewing of content. The collective wisdom of the crowd is transformative; so significant that it sparked a landslide evolutionary leap in user technology, and the Internet as we know it. How does this translate to the intranet? It’s the same IP technology, the same browser, and the same users, but with a different focus, perspective and set of requirements. However, the intranet is not the Internet. A quantity of fundamental intelligence must first be applied before said technology can trigger a transformation of the corporate world behind the firewall. But when done successfully… the social intranet is the intranet on Starbucks: caffeinated, ubiquitous, and engaging. A successful social intranet, though, is not easily achieved. If you build it they will not come… necessarily. However, if you understand the requisite process(es), you will attract the people, and the enabling technology that will help catalyze an antiquated business system into a dynamic ecosystem of collaboration and innovation. Ten steps to a Social Intranet:
    1. Business requirements
    2. User requirements
    3. Best practices
    4. Strategic planning
    5. Governance
    6. Information architecture
    7. Wireframes
    8. Design
    9. Launch
    10. Change management
    Learn more about the social intranet…. Download the full size version of The Social Intranet Infographic Read the latest version of The Social Intranet White Paper (30 pages of intelligence and case studies)

  • How Productive Are Your Employees? [Infographic]

    A newly created infographic by time tracking and productivity software company, DeskTime, unveils negative working habits... or does it? According to DeskTime's research, the average employee will spend 12% of the working day using unproductive applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Only 59% of the day is spent using applications, which are deemed productive. This amounts to 65 hours a month, which have not been used productively, according to the data analyzed. Of course, DeskTime has a vested interest in these results. DesktTime's data demonstrates that after a month of using their time tracking system, the productivity of an employee increases by 15%. In theory, DeskTime's application is for time management and to allow employees to see which applications they use and the amount of time spent productively, unproductively, and neutrally. It's my understanding that the application allows you to change sites such as Twitter and Facebook to productivity mode and that employees also have the option to enter "privacy" mode where their time is not tracked. But still... what employee isn't more productive when they know that their activities are being "monitored"? Personally, I use social technology as part of my job. I'd hate to think that means I'm a slacker. Original source:

    A direct correlation between tracking employee time and an increase in productivity has been observed after analyzing data about how people typically spend their time at work. This information has been compiled and arranged in the form of an infographic made by DeskTime, which has monitored over 1 million of work hours. The study shows that the average employee will spend 12% of the working day using unproductive applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Only 59% of the day is spent using applications, which are deemed productive. This amounts to 65 hours a month, which have not been used productively. The date demonstrates that after a month of using a time tracking system, the productivity of an employee increases by 15%. When considering this data it must be understood that the employees have access to the collected time-tracking data, that is, they see which applications they use and they see the amount of time spent productively, unproductively, and neutrally. Additionally, the statistics show valuable information on generic working habits, such as a high level of different applications used (including both desktop applications, as well as different web sites) - which indicates a tendency to be doing a lot of link-jumping at work. Though this may be a good indicator for PR employees, it might not be the best result for programmers. The results of the analysis demonstrate that access to employee time tracking statistics are beneficial both for employees to self-manage an increase in their own productivity, as well as for managers to understand the working habits of their employees.

  • Do You Quit When Your Boss Doesn't Fit?

    If you answered yes, don't feel bad. In fact, an overwhelming 75% of people voluntarily leaving jobs don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses. (Employee Engagement Statistics, August 2011) No matter where or how much you work, everyone has an interesting story about a "boss gone bad." Since many people spend more time with their bosses than they do their friends and family, it’s understandable that bosses have a direct impact on overall employee satisfaction. There are three types of bad bosses:

    1. A boss that doesn't know he's bad. (Time for an intervention.)
    2. A boss that knows he's bad but wants to improve. (There's hope!)
    3. And a boss that doesn't care either way. (You're screwed.)

    Bosses Gone Bad.. Real Bad

    So, what is it that bosses do that can drive their employees mad? Here are some real life examples:
    1. Giving the first employee recognition award... to himself
    2. Rewarding an employee with an iPod... except the employee is deaf
    3. Call attention to himself during meetings... by intentionally farting
    4. Suffers from business bipolar disorder... disgustingly happy in the morning, tyrannical by the afternoon
    5. Eats in front of  you .. and then proceeds to pick the food out of his / her teeth
    6. Schedules meetings with no agenda... only to not show up or leave everyone twiddling their thumbs
    7. Her feet are constantly cold... and uses your butt to warm them up
    8. Chooses who to hire and promote... by using astrological cycles
    9. Giving jewelry to employees as holiday gifts... except they were counterfeit
    10. Checks into a hotel while on a business trip... and asks the hotel desk clerk where he can "get some."
    11. Encourages medical staff to order a surplus of drugs... for personal use.

    Finding theFit

    When you're fresh out of college, your primary focus is often the amount of money you will be paid. But as your professional career matures, many people realize that compensation no longer a primary motivator. Rather, the people you work for and with become significant factors in how long you remain engaged and how long you ultimately stay with a company -- it's essential to find that perfect "fit." When someone doesn't fit at work, it's painful for everyone. But it happens all the time because job descriptions and resumes reveal nothing about how someone will fit with a company's culture. Bullhorn, a web-based software and services provider, launched a new site called theFIT which asks the "awkward" questions of current employees regarding their company's culture. If you've ever asked someone, "So tell me... What's your company really like?" then this site is for you. The objective is twofold: 1) provide insight into how a company's culture stacks up to work life elsewhere (for current employees) and 2) help job seekers find companies that match their personal style, values and career goals, using social connections to get a foot in the door. Using information gathered from employees about key aspects of company culture, theFit created this infographic to show the impact your boss can have on your job satisfaction.

  • Become an Employer of Choice by Recruiting from the Inside O ...

    Original source: Inside Out Recruiting, The job of the recruiting department today has become somewhat of a business generalist role.  They are measured in terms of typical recruiting metrics, but they really have to be astute in every facet of the business.  Marketing is one of those skill sets that a progressive recruiting department must add to their list of skill sets.  You’re no longer just recruiting for the marketing department, but you are literally doing marketing for your company in order to attract and retain top talent. Marketing you ask?  Yes, you must become kings and queens of messaging as it relates to conveying your “employer brand”.  This starts on the inside of your organization.  It doesn’t do much good if your recruiters know that your company is an employer of choice but nobody on the inside of the organization knows that.  Once you “market” your key messages inside of your organization, your employees begin speaking with that same vernacular and hopefully recruiting great candidates along the way. Utilize tools such as an Intranet or Employee Benefit Portal to communicate these key messages about your company.  That’s a start, but from there you should brand some of these key messages on things like trade-show giveaways, posters within your physical building, on your email tags, and certainly on the pages of your career site on your company’s external website. The important thing here is to make it a whole-company effort: every touch point between your company and the outside world is a potential recruiting opportunity. How can your company be an employer of choice?  Here are 7 ways that you promote your company from the inside out:

    1. Go for “best of lists” best company to work for, fastest growing, etc.  Make sure that you use these accreditations on your Intranet, company Facebook page, company LinkedIn page, and as an email signature.  This messaging should be well known to your employees so they can easily throw that little factoid out when they are explaining to their friends what they do and who they work for.
    2. At the end of each fiscal year put a short summary together that shows the number of people promoted and what % of your staff that is.  Track that year over year and announce the results and any goals associated with that.   Post this information on your Intranet and your career pages.  People like to know that employee development is important in your company and that they won’t just get stuck in a dead end job.
    3. Highlight your employees who have reached milestone anniversaries, post their story on the Intranet for employees to see and have something to look forward to. Consider more public options as well, so long as they are permission based.
    4. Have you had employees get recognized for awards in their field, published articles, or patents?  Make a big deal about that with your employees on the Intranet as well as on your career portal; that tells people that they will be recognized for their personal achievements and contributions.  If you can influence HR to offer a bonus for these types of achievements that would be even better.
    5. If your company offers salary or other benefits that are better than other companies in your industry, announce that.  Make it known that you research this information every year and that your goal is to stay xx above the average in order to attract and retain the best talent.  If it’s working, say so.  Your employees will remember that when a recruiter comes calling on them or when their friends ask them if your company pays well.
    6. Work with your sustainability or energy management department to get some stats on what your company is doing above and beyond to reduce your facilities and overall carbon footprint.  If it’s better than other employers in your industry and area, make sure to announce that to your employees.  A greater number of employees are concerned about sustainability and would prefer to work for a company who promotes sustainable practices.
    7. Get quotes from your employees on why they like working for you and use those quotes to form your branding messages. Make your employer-pitch as human and emotive as possible. The best messages from a marketing standpoint are ideally stories, not just quotes.
    The bottom line is, if your employees are fed the branding messages consistently, your marketing can stick in their heads like that 5 dollar footlong commercial. If every employee in your company both understands the value of employment branding and knows “the pitch” by heart, your recruiting efforts will be easier. If your overall goal is to land the top talent in your market, it can’t just be you doing all the heavy lifting.  The whole company from the inside out needs to be on point and on message, but of course most importantly, be inspired to help follow your company vision and advance its image.

  • What Does Your Employer Branding Fishbowl Look Like?

    Every company has two distinct brands, its employer brand and its consumer brand. With the rise of social networking, your company, how you run it and your culture has become a fishbowl -- everything you do is on display for all to see. And like it or not, your employees have an abundance of channels for broadcasting their opinions -- both negative and positive. Company branding and employer branding aren’t the same, but they intersect to fuel each other. Many of the same characteristics that motivate consumers also motivate job seekers. Successful companies foster a culture where employees not only like where they work but also believe in the products and solutions they support. Understanding what distinguishes your employer brand and how it may affect attracting and retaining employees is an essential component to being an employer of choice. It also requires an awareness of changing workplace considerations from the employees’ perspectives to formulate a value proposition to employees that clearly answers the age-old question, “What’s in it for me?” The employer brand is comprised of a myriad of factors that contribute to how your employees learn, plan and do their work and personal lives. These include everything from the obvious (such as compensation and benefits) to factors which, while more subtle, ultimately affect how employees are motivated and retained -- and demonstrate how you’ve taken steps to create a corporate culture where they can thrive. Below is a list of 11 Employer branding best practices (adapted from a list created by Brett Minchington) that provides clear steps towards establishing an employer brand that bridges business “needs” with employee “wants" and thereby creating a fishbowl that you can proudly display.

    1. Establish a real-time career development for employees

    Today real-time career development can be facilitated with some imagination, technology devices, innovation and focus. Take an hour to speak with your employees and assist them to develop a real-time career development plan. This may include coaching them to develop a plan that tracks their career development interests, current job function responsibilities and personal development interests (if it’s just work related people will switch off, many employees want a blended life so if you mix it up a little you will keep it interesting).

    2. Get buyin from other functional areas within your organization

    It’s no longer efficient or effective to develop and implement an employer brand strategy solely with HR resources and budget. Your employer brand is interconnected with your corporate and consumer brand and the total portfolio needs to be considered if you really want to build an adaptable and agile employer brand. Schedule a two hour meeting with leaders from HR, Marketing, Communications and IT and have a discussion around these agenda items – it will start the conversation and provide for some good discussion on where to go next. Some of the questions that may be useful include:
    • How will a stronger employer brand support our business strategy e.g. mergers and acquisitions, growth, consolidation?
    • What are the main factors currently driving our employer brand?
    • What kind of organizational culture do we have? How consistent is it across geographical and divisional boundaries?
    • What are the most consistently attractive and compelling organizational attributes for both current employees and potential employees?
    • What behaviors are felt to be most characteristic of our organization? What are the moments of truth when our organization is at its best (and worse?)
    • What is the most useful way of segmenting the employee population in terms of cultural characteristics and distinctive needs?
    • What are the most effective channels of employee communication, both top/down and bottom/up?
    • Which positions are most critical to our success and what are we currently doing/need to do to attract, engage and retain this talent?
    • What levels of resources are we prepared to invest in our employer brand strategy?
    • What time frame will we be working towards to define and develop our employer brand strategy?

    3. Assess your employer branding performance against best practice

    Take this quick assessment to see how your employer branding initiatives measure up against best practice companies. Answer yes of no to each question and then total your score out of 20.
    1. We have developed an employer brand strategy
    2. We have developed a social media strategy
    3. We have at least two of the following working closely on our employer brand strategy – HR/Marketing/Communications/IT
    4. Alignment to brand values is part of our performance management system
    5. We have an active coaching and mentoring program in place to transfer knowledge and build internal capabilities
    6. We have defined our employer brand metrics
    7. We have conducted research to determine the perception current employees have about our company
    8. We have conducted research to determine the perceptions prospective employees have about our company
    9. We monitor what people are saying about our brand online
    10. We have identified the leadership competencies we aspire employees at all levels to have
    11. We have created a database of talented employees who we would like to hire when the time is right
    12. We have a dedicated careers section on our corporate website
    13. Managers have access to a leadership development program
    14. We have defined our employer value propositions (EVPs)
    15. We have reviewed our EVP’s in light of the Global Financial Crisis
    16. We have an active employee referral program which we promote to staff and external stakeholders
    17. We conduct an employee engagement, satisfaction and/or climate survey at least once per year
    18. We participate in an external annual best employers and/or employer of choice survey
    19. Each staff member has a documented career development plan that is reviewed at least annually
    20. We use an IT system to automate our recruitment process and rank candidates against weighted criteria
    How did you rate? 0-5 We are in the very early stages 6-12 We have made a start 13-17 We just need some fine tuning 18-20 We are up there with the best

    4. Review and update your employer value proposition (EVP) communication assets

    When was the last time you review your EVP communication assets, how long ago were they developed? Make it a project to review all your internal and external EVP communication tools and ask the following questions:
    • Does our employer value proposition clearly reflect the current employment experience?
    • How inspiring is our welcome pack for new hires? How does it differentiate our employment offering?
    • Can we deliver on what we are promising in our recruitment communication efforts?
    • How effective is our social media strategy – are we engaging with our communities or are we merely broadcasting about our products and services?
    • If I was looking for a job how inspired would I be by what our company is communicating and how consistent is the messaging
    • How well do our communication assets flow from text – images – audio – video?
    • How authentic is our messaging?
    • How do we feel about the tone, style and imagery we are using in our communications?
    Based on the outcomes of your review, schedule a project to update your communication assets across key offline and online touchpoints. For a best practice case study, see how effective Starbucks is across its online platforms including facebook, twitter and YouTube

    5. Learn from best practice employer brand companies

    Study and learn from companies who are leading the way in employer branding including Google, IBM, Starbucks, Sodexo, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Deloitte, McKinsey, etc there are many but these are some good companies to observe and learn from - for starters!. Don't just study companies in your own industry - you'll find companies outside your industry a great source of innovation for employer branding best practice. Companies in the oil and gas industry companies such as Chevron, Schlumberger and Shell are good companies to follow as are the major players in the banking and finance industry such as Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.  They all invest in employer branding!

    6. Assess the employee lifecycle

    Have your business unit leaders assess the employee lifecycle in their function to evaluate how well it adds value to an inspiring employment experience and one that adds, not distracts from engagement and retention efforts. Employees at your company will transition through different stages of the employee’s lifecycle depending on factors such as age, education, experience, living arrangements, marital status, etc. It is important to understand how important these 'moments of truths' are to employees and to realize which ones if not handled well, can be deal breakers and result in employees seeking another place to work whilst being unconsciously unproductive in their current role. It is important to make adjustments based on observation and feedback from employees.

    7. Your existing employees are your best brand ambassadors

    With the rise of social networking, your company, how you run it and your culture has become a fishbowl. And like it or not, disgruntled workers have an abundance of channels for broadcasting their opinions of the company. The tsunami of people using tools such as Facebook and Twitter to air their loves and hates to the world challenges the degree of control companies have historically had over public perception. You can not control what is being said but you can substantially influence it by communicating the facts about life inside your company and how employees feel about it. Evaluating and upgrading the employee value proposition is the indispensable first step to creating favorable buzz about working for your company. Train employees in how to use and leverage social media to support branding efforts and develop a social media sharing culture within your  organization. It won't happen just because your company has a Facebook page or Twitter profile, employees need to be trained across the company to ensure your initiatives are aligned with your brand strategy. Conduct internal influencer studies to identify your social media rockstars -- those employees who are the most connected, active and influential social media participants in your organization.

    8. Write a handbook

    Write a handbook about your employment practices and use it as an EVP communications tool for all stakeholders. Over a 12 month period, an HR Manager at Essar, a multinational conglomerate corporation in the sectors of steel, energy, power, communications, shipping ports and logistics as well as construction, compiled a book on the company’s mentoring practices and included insights from leaders and employees across the organization. While the publication took a while to write, it provides a lifetime of value for Essar. It has also been an excellent tool to build internal engagement as employees were involved in the development of the product and distribution of it on its release. So find a topic, write about it and share it with stakeholders!

    9. Connect your employees on the inside!

    How often do we see the ‘wheel being re-invented inside organizations because there is no way to track what has been developed previously and if it has, it’s usually outdated or too hard to find. IBM have had some great success in this area by establishing an internal social networking tool, 'Beehive' which has allowed employees across the world to make new connections, share knowledge and capabilities and to advance their career. Connected employees will lead to higher levels of communication and trust between employees across the enterprise and is becoming more important in today's increasingly dispersed workforces.

    10. Foster a culture that mentors employees, not one that burns them out

    Too many of today's leaders are too busy to spend quality time coaching and mentoring or even just communicating with team members due to shorter deadlines, increasing workloads and longer working hours. Even senior leaders become burnt out, fail to take holidays and disconnect from the very people who can assist them, their staff. This leads to higher levels of disengagement which is an all too common output in organizations around the world today.  For the first time in a decade, research from the Hewitt Global Engagement database shows the percentage of organizations with decreasing engagement now exceeds the percentage with increasing engagement. Slow down. Take the time to share your knowledge and experiences with middle managers to enrich your talent pipelines, increase trust and developed capabilities.

    11. Build employer brand awareness, knowledge, skills and capabilities

    Most of time employees don’t buy into your vision to develop and implement an employer brand strategy because they lack the skills and capabilities to do so. Employer branding is an emerging field in many economies so take the time to build awareness, knowledge, skill and capabilities within your organization. I’ve written two books, ‘Employer Brand Leadership-A Global Perspective' and ‘Your Employer Brand attract-engage-retain', and a do it yourself guide, 'The Employer Brand Manager’s Handbook-2011 International edition' which will assist you to build employer branding capabilities inside your company.   Additional resources: Employer Branding:Winning the Post Recession Competition for Talent, Murray Associates

  • Why You Should Attend The 2012 Social Media in HR Seminar The 2012 Social Media in HR Seminar Tapping into the Power of Social Networks April 17-18, 2012 NYSSA Conference Center New York, NY Some argue that human resources professionals are late-adopters when it comes to anything technology related, including social media. But the popularity and possibilities that social recruiting have brought to the profession are causing HR pros to take notice. While part of HR’s role is to mitigate legal risks, another very large component is to help support and cultivate the corporate culture. As social media becomes more defined in the business world, human resources professionals will have a significant opportunity to leverage this powerful medium in many aspects of the business. [The Future of Human Resources, Mashable] Please join me at the The 2012 Social Media in HR Seminars, where you’ll hear how organizations are tapping into the power of social networks for innovation, learning, knowledge sharing, talent management and engagement. You will also learn how to manage risks associated with this important communication channel. The Social Media in HR Seminars will feature case studies on how leading organizations are:

    • Leveraging social networks to benefit the entire organization
    • Implementing and managing social networks to spur innovation and knowledge sharing
    • Using social media to increase employee engagement and bolster employer branding
    • Managing the legal implications of social media in the workplace
    Some of the confirmed speakers include:
    • Ben Brooks, Vice President, Human Capital Performance, Marsh
    • Mike Gotta, Senior Technology Solution Manager, Enterprise Social Software, Cisco
    • Eric Meyer, Partner, Dilworth Paxson LLP
    • Karl Sanchack, Acting Director for Innovation, Lockheed Martin Corporation
    • Mary Ellen Kassotakis, Director, Leadership Development Center of Expertise, Global Talent and Development Group, Oracle
    • Thomas Barfield, Director of Social Learning & Knowledge Sharing, Growth & Strategy, Accenture
    • Elizabeth Lupfer, Senior Manager, Employee Experience and HR Technology, Global HR, Verizon and Founder and Chief Blogger, The Social Workplace
    • C.V. Harquail, Faculty Affiliate, Stevens Institute of Technology, Howe School of Technology and Management and Scholar, Blogger, Resource,
    • Trish McFarlane, Director, Human Resources, Perficient; Co-Founder at HRevolution
    • Steve Boese, Director, Talent Management Strategy, Oracle; Creator and Host at HR Happy Hour; Instructor at Rochester Institute of Technology
    Previous participants of The Social Media in HR Seminars include: Bose Corporation, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Caterpillar Inc., Choice Hotels International, Estee Lauder Company Inc., Lockheed Martin, MetLife, Moody’s Corporation, National Grid, Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP, The Walt Disney Company To register, or for more information: please visit  or call (212) 339-0345.

  • Why the Super Bowl's Social Media Command Center Scores ...

    An exclusive, in-depth look into the Super Bowl's first ever social media command center, the folks who ran it, and how the convergence of technology and people created the ultimate online Super Bowl experience. [caption id="attachment_4200" align="alignright" width="192" caption="Me with Taulbee Jackson, CEO of Raidious"]Me with Taulbee Jackson, CEO of Raidious[/caption] You would think that, the day before the biggest sporting event of the year, the people in charge of the Super Bowl's Social Media Command Center would be frantic, running around and putting out last minute fires. So imagine my surprise when I walked in and found it to be quite the opposite. Entering the offices of Raidious — the Indianapolis-based digital communications company behind the social media command center — the air was full of activity, but the mood was quiet and calm… almost, I dare say, serene. And it’s no wonder. Having worked with such brands as Finish Line, Bass Pro Shops and Comcast, Raidious has honed the art of making, managing, and measuring the content that makes digital marketing work. And so, for the folks at Raidious, this really is almost like business as usual — despite this being the largest event they’ve ever managed. A group of 16 Raidious employees and 30 local college and university volunteers were stationed at what can only be akin to iMac Heaven and focused on monitoring all of the Super Bowl’s social media channels. Leading these individuals was Taulbee Jackson, CEO of Raidious. It was my pleasure that he took a few minutes of his day to chat with me The Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee in Indianapolis reached out to Raidious for assistance with the committee’s media department over a year and a half ago. They  wanted to create a social media infrastructure for visiting fans. Their goal was to present "Hoosier Hospitality for the 21st Century." With this objective in mind, Taulbee Jackson formed the Super Bowl Social Media Command Center -- a state of the art social headquarters to service fans online -- and developed a mission that didn’t compete with the social media or marketing efforts of NFL Enterprises, but rather to showcase the city of Indianapolis and to create what he calls the “ultimate Super Bowl experience.” The model was simple: monitor, moderate and publish. Aside from monitoring the Super Bowl’s official blog, Twitter account (@SuperBowl2012), hashtags (#sb46, #superbowl, #sbvillage and #nflexperience), and Facebook page, below is a play-by-play of the action plan: [caption id="attachment_4205" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="A 9-screen monitor wall (over 100 sq feet) which provided real-time info from various sources"][/caption] Mission & Goals

    1.  Super Safety - With an anticipated 150,000 visitors to descend on Indianapolis, a main focus of the social media command center is to ensure public safety. They will monitor social media channels for traffic situations, parking recommendations, and anything that could be considered suspicious behavior or malevolent. Additionally, should a crisis situation present itself, the command center will disseminate information for Homeland Security and public safety command centers.
    2. Super Service - Part of delivering on the ultimate Super Bowl Experience means highlighting the hospitality of Indianapolis, providing directions, guidance and navigation, and offering information about ongoing Super Bowl events to visitors. The command center will also respond to any negative dialog related to the city or event and to mitigate any negative sentiment -- that is, Twitter messages or Facebook comments from disgruntled fans and followers will likely get a rapid response.
    3. Capture the Experience - A large function of the social media command center is to gather information, post images and videos, and write content. Essentially, to know what’s happening when and where, capture it and publish it.
    4. Amplification - The command center not only monitored conversation, but it was also curators and communicators of content that highlighted positive things related to Indianapolis and the Super Bowl, and used digital channels to spread this information.
    Campaigns & Programs
    • #Social46 - As part of the effort to make the Super Bowl the most connected story in history, 46 of the most socially influential people (based on their Klout scores) in Indiana were selected to represent the city and state of Indiana, as well as give exclusive insight into all things related to the Super Bowl. Read more.
    • #Supercars - To  bring a little "Indy" to the NFL, 33 Indy cars were placed around the state of Indiana, one for each of the 32 NFL teams and one for Super Bowl XLVI. Fans of both the NFL and Indy 500 drove around the state  to find each car. Read more.
    • Foursquare - Considering that over 130,000 people checked into last year's Super Bowl, it was only natural to use location-based Foursquare as a means to deliver flash sales to visitors checking in to local hot spots and Super Bowl events.
    • #46Stories - Raidious asked 46 media outlets in and around the Indianapolis area to collect and publish stories and to help generate conversation and hype. The 46 stories series gives fans access to events around the city and also asks for them to share their own stories. Complete archive of Super Bowl 46 stories.
    • Content Team – Huddles were spread around the city to act as "human versions of Google." Armed with Galaxy tablets, members of the huddle teams were prepared to answer visitors questions such as where to find a good place to eat or to provide directions and guidance. Each huddle was comprised of an 11 person team, including a Quarterback (the leader) and a Running Back (a runner of information). Additionally, visitors could take images or record a video at various Social Sharing kiosks that would then be posted to the Super Bowl’s YouTube or Flickr channels.
    [caption id="attachment_4203" align="alignright" width="179" caption="Thirty university and college students helped monitor online chatter using Awareness, Inc. Social Media Monitoring Hub"][/caption] Tools & Technology
    •  Awareness, Inc. - After test driving many different social monitoring systems, Raidious chose Awareness Inc.'s Social Media Marketing Hub for publishing, monitoring and analyzing conversation streams. Raidious  chose Awareness, Inc because of it's capabilities and user interface, liking it so much that they even worked with Awareness, Inc. developers to further enhance the analytics portion of the service (to be available in a future release). Using the Hub's built-in workflow, the 30 university volunteers would monitor and respond to chatter that would then be immediately put into an "editing" queue. One of the 16 Raidious employees would then approve the response and push it live.
    • ChaCha Answers Application - ChaCha, also based in Indianapolis, is a service that gives free, real-time answers to any question both online at and through mobile phones. Raidious used ChaCha to build a list of responses to take the guess work out of how to best answer comments or chatter for the volunteers.
    • NSixty – Raidious used NSixty to create the video recording kiosks found throughout the Super Bowl Village. These were available for visitors to create videos via the video recording stations which would then be uploaded into a moderation queue and then published to YouTube or Flickr by a Raidious employee.
    • Monitor Wall (NFL Network, WTHR, ESPN) - On the wall of the social media command center was a 9-screen monitor wall (over 100 sq feet) which provided real-time web traffic from Google Analytics (beta), sentiment & web monitoring via Social Mention, geotargeted monitoring from real time trends from NewsMap, and sentiment from
    Before Raidious became involved, the direct audience was hovering around 5,000 followers and fans. In two weeks time, Raidious grew that audience to over 48,000 simply by commenting on wall posts and responding to tweets. Which proves that proactive engagement does indeed work.
    Measurement & Engagement The Social Media Command Center tracked five key metrics :
    • Reach - this metric is based on the number of people in the direct audience. So, the number of Twitter followers (27, 955 as of this writing) and Facebook fans (currently just over 17,000). Before Raidious became involved, the direct audience was hovering around 5,000 followers and fans. In two weeks time, Raidious grew that audience to over 48,000 (as of Kick off) simply by commenting on wall posts and responding to tweets. Which proves that proactive engagement does indeed work.
    • Amplification - this metric is based on the number of impressions generated by the direct audience's audience. So, retweets, shares and other impressions that were generated by the second level audience (friends of friends). According to Jackson, they were seeing content amplified at 800K - 1M impressions a day -- that's an estimated 14 million audience just in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Translating that into cost per thousand, he estimated that they were providing over 500K in value to the Super Bowl's overall marketing strategy.
    • Sentiment - assessing the mood / emotions of the overall audience by looking at the context, tone, emotion, polarity and objectivity of the comments. Sentiment is measured as a positive:negative ratio -- the ratio of mentions that are generally positive to those that are generally negative. According to the metrics available at the time I spoke with Jackson, the current sentiment was 3:1 positive ratio — this ratio is not commonly seen above 2:1, so this achievement is something of which to be quite proud.
    • Influence - relates to how influential the Host committee is based on Klout score. The Super Bowl's Klout score is holding steady at 68 while the NFL has a Klout score of 65.
    • Activity - how often content was being published. Jackson anticipated this number to increase slightly, but he was also very cognizant of avoiding audience burn.
      • As of Friday, fans had already made more than 1,748 videos and 4,502 postcards via the social sharing kiosks with an average of 700+ interactions a day. Read more.
      • Jackson estimated that his team was sending one response every two minutes. Compound that number over the 48 hours just before Kick off and you have an activity rate of 1,440 responses.
      • Social-TV analytics company, Bluefin Labs has so far tracked more than 12.2 million social-media comments during and after Super Bowl XLVI, primarily on Twitter and Facebook. That’s a 578% increase over the total Bluefin tracked last year (1.8 million). Read more.
    It’s clear that the efforts of the Social Media Command Center had two overall accomplishments of which everyone involved (the NFL, Raidious, and all the vendors) should be proud: 1) provided guidance and generated content for people who attended the Super Bowl in real life, and 2) extended the Super Bowl experience to a direct audience of 48,000 plus an amplified audience of 14M (calculating the 2 weeks leading up to the Super Bowl) in various online communities. I would like to thank Taulbee for his time and a shout out to all the folks at Raidious for a great visit. Most importantly, I would like to thank Awareness, Inc and Scratch Marketing + Media (Jenn Reilly) for inviting me to experience the efforts of the Social Media Command Center first hand.  

  • Jan 2012
  • Online Privacy and Why Pinterest Should "Binterested&qu ...

    For once in my life I'm skeptical. And for you die-hard Pinterest fans, I hope you'll bear with me as I explain my current disinterest in Pinterest. I can't get my sister-in-law to interact with me on Facebook. But she freaking LOVES Pinterest. And has been trying to get me to use it for a couple of months. And given the recent chatter on Social Media Today, I finally broke down this past Saturday and joined using my Facebook account to establish my Pinterest profile. Over the course of the weekend, I noticed that I was receiving e-mails that "so and so" was now following me on Pinterest. At first I thought, WOW, I'm super popular. But then reality set in and I decided to see what was up. A quick call to my sister-in-law let me know that she received an e-mail that I was now following her on Pinterest and so she followed me back. My reaction? Wow, I never asked to follow you. In fact, I didn't ask to follow anybody. It turns out that when I used my Facebook account to create my profile, Pinterest accessed my personal information to automatically have me start following common connections. In my book, Pinterest broke a basic tenet of online privacy: to not invasively use my online information. Connecting your Facebook account should either be an easier method for authentication (verifying identity) or to suggest friends to follow. I appreciate the ease of use that Pinterest is attempting to provide, but when it comes to deciding whom I follow—or not—that should be at my discretion, exercised manually. Additionally, while the Pinterest Privacy Disclosure does mention the use of personal information from Facebook to create a Pinterest account, it does not explicitly mention that it would be using that information to predetermine my followees. (You also have the option to establish your profile using your Twitter account, which does not trigger auto-follow, I'm told.) A quick Google search shows me that other individuals have encountered this same issue:

    "wow, Pinterest, really bad behavior you don't make me automatically follow people without telling me just from signing up" Adam Fick, Twitter "The warning that I will give out about Pinterest is that they are not very good at maintaining your privacy when it comes to respecting your wishes about how much they share from your other social networking sites (you have to use Facebook to open an account)." -- How to Unfollow People on Pinterest, Infobarrel "I thought pinterest would be a cool way for me to categorize great content from webpages so I could stop emailing links to myself. I thought my page would be a nice blend of my and other nerds' (whom I followed by choice) repositories of great info. As it turns out, I'm now following 78 women and 3 men against my will." "Pinterest has really bad privacy settings (or none) and I hate that. If you find a forum for pinning photos or links, that is private (like as private as an email account or something of that nature) let me know. I don't like the automatic follow and following. I don't like that I can't link to articles, as well as, photos. I would like to use it as my own personal links library, not as another social media platform." -- So, let me tell you why I dislike Pinterest...and how to unfollow people on Pinterest, Josh's Blog
    In today's world online privacy is critical. So here are some quick suggestions that I have for Pinterest:
    1. Use Facebook information to suggest friends to follow, but do not automatically follow them on my behalf.
    2. Create privacy settings as there currently are none. At a minimum, I should be able to create contributor groups and then establish individual viewing permissions for each of my boards for those groups.
    3. Establish a method that allows people to unfollow connections in bulk. Currently, you have to unfollow people individually.
    4. Err on the side of restricting information first and then allow the user to decide what information should be shared.
    Online privacy is difficult to manage and I don't envy budding social networks like Pinterest because they have many factors to consider. The relation between privacy and a person’s social network is multi-faceted. In certain occasions we want information about ourselves to be known only by a small circle of close friends, and not by strangers. In other instances, we are willing to reveal personal information to anonymous strangers, but not to those who know us better. (Information Revelation and Privacy in Online Networks, Carnegie Mellon University) This is a painful lesson that Facebook learned: the importance of user-controlled privacy settings. Many people have voiced frustration as Facebook has released new versions. But the value in what they've done is that they've become the only site that allows you to personalize who and what people see all the way down to the individual news items or even individual photos in your albums. It's been worth the pain for me. It is absolutely not my intent to lessen the current excitement and chatter Pinterest has been generating, or the value that it introduces to the social networking community. But I think it's important to call out the importance of online privacy. And please, don't get me wrong. I'm still really excited about the possibilities of Pinterest. But, unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to really try it out because I'm currently in the tedious process of unfollowing people.. one by one. For a social media geek you could say that I don't necessarily adhere to traditional views on privacy. I say this because I'm "out there." EVERYWHERE. In fact, when I usually bring up online privacy, most people who know me have a "YOU are talking about privacy??" reaction. But here's the thing. I care about online privacy because I'm so out there and it's critical that I have the ability to personalize and control what information I share and with whom I share it. I'm interested in knowing if anyone else had a similar experience? And I'm also interested in collecting more online privacy control suggestions for Pinterest from those people who have actively been using it. Please feel free to post your comments below. Best, Elizabeth  

  • Hire Good People So You Can Operate As a Good Company

    I consider myself very philosophical. But I do not like the proverbial chicken and egg question. And I get asked this a lot: What do you think comes first? A great company to work for or great people who work there?  To me it's just an exercise in futility because, at the end of the day, one doesn't exist without the other. That is, without good people, it's extremely difficult for an organization to be great. And vice versa. In 2009, employee turnover cost U.S. businesses an estimated $300 billion. The staggering cost of employee turnover can be viewed as simply the cost of doing business, however, additional damage occurs when turnover is compounded by poor hiring and management practices. (The Real Cost of a Bad Hire, TEK Systems)

    Finding Great People

    But that means you have to be deliberate and thoughtful in your hiring practices. It's tempting to make rash hiring decisions because you simply "need a body." But that wrong body in the wrong job can end up costing your company more in the long run. With today's economy and operating costs, companies simply can't afford to hire "bad eggs." The scarcest commodity in business is not customers or technology capital — its people. And the greatest challenge for recruiters and leaders isn't just hiring people -- it's hiring the right people for the right jobs. When people operate in their “sweet spot,” they lead, naturally. You don’t have to tell them to lead. You don’t have to ask them to lead. They just do it. (Developing Great Leaders for Great Companies, Steve Olson, Generative Consulting) There are several different costs associated with replacing an experienced employee, all of which directly impact a company’s financial performance:
    • The cost of covering the position while vacant
    • The cost of finding a replacement. In fact,
    • The cost of getting a new person up to speed
    And did you know:
    • Replacement of an employee can range from two to seven times his / her salary
    • Hiring and training costs can vary from 25 to 200% of annual compensation
    • The more an employee earns, the more money it costs to replace him / her (The Real Cost of a Bad Hire, TEK Systems)
    Thanks to a survey published by and illustrated by Mindflash's infographic, "The Staggering Cost of Bad Hires", we learn just how much bad hires cost companies, and what you can do to avoid them.
    • Conduct great interviews
    • Always check references
    • Give your employee a great first day on the job
    To this list I would also add:
    • Be methodical. It's better and more cost effective to take a longer time to find the right employee with the right skills rather than hiring the wrong employee / replacing a bad one.
    • Culture fit. Ensure the person's personality and work style fit within the company culture.
    • Consider the EVP. The Employee Value Proposition. Ask yourself what makes someone successful at your company? What makes someone unsuccessful?
    People are ‘not’ the most important thing…The ‘right’ people are. In fact, the ‘wrong’ people are your biggest liability.

    Operating as a Great Company

    Some people might argue that the greatness of a company is based on the greatness of its leaders. I don't disagree. But great leaders must come from somewhere: great leaders are not born; great leaders are made. And any company looking for great leaders should look first at their own internal talent pool. Operating as a great company means developing great leaders by lining up employees to their "sweet spot." Putting them in positions that takes advantage of what they're good at, what they like doing, and for which they have a genuine passion. Laurie Bassi, Ph.D. co-authored a study showing a link between investments in training and company success. Her research demonstrated that companies that spend more on training on perform better financially than do those companies that spend less. Her publication, Maximizing Your Return on People, identifies 23 HCM practices that fall within five broad HCM driver categories:
    • Leadership practices
    • Employee engagement
    • Knowledge accessibility
    • Workforce optimization
    • Learning capacity
    In general, improvements or declines in organizational performance can be tied directly to improvements or declines in HCM practices. It also includes a great self-assessment survey for estimating your organization’s HCM effectiveness.

  • A Five Step Roadmap to Internal Social Media

    Without a doubt, the adoption of using social technologies inside the organization is rampant. So many companies are hearing the loud beat of the "employee engagement" drum, but the task of effectively assessing your needs, implementing technologies correctly, and measuring for success and sustainability is a daunting project. So, it's okay to slow down, take a deep breath and work from a well-crafted roadmap. Few things make employees more cynical than a social media platform that no one uses. And if your company quickly deployed a ["insert social tool here"] only to find that it fell flat because no one saw the value in using it then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Therefore, it's refreshing to see firms such as Gagen MacDonald and APCO Worldwide working together to help shape internal social media programs. Recently, they analyzed research among U.S. adults working for companies with more than 500 employees that revealed 21 discrete attributes which in turn combine to form three major factors (see image below) that employees look for when deciding whether their company has effective social media internally. As a result of their research, Gagen MacDonald and APCO Worldwide created a five-step process to build social media from within, ensuring sustainable change through shared goal-setting, leadership alignment, employee training and measurement of key metrics. Some highlights are below but the full whitepaper is available: Harness the Power of Internal Social Media.

    A Five Step Roadmap for Internal Social Media

    1. Assess
    • Prioritize your business objectives by determining what it is you are trying to achieve: employee retention, boost collaboration, enhance executive visibility, increase speed to innovation or turn your employees into powerful brand ambassadors.
    • Map your communication by analyzing your current information flow and determining how employees engage your intranet or social media tools.
    • Determine what your ideal social media ecosystem would look like. What cultural differentiators are you hoping to foster?
    2. Align for Design
    • Assess your perceived issues and actual limitations by balancing potential risks against projected gains in productivity, collaboration and innovation.
    • Develop solid company guidelines for social media use and use metrics to measure how well your engagement tools are working.
    • Align and train your leadership and get senior management buy-in to create a social networking mindset across business functions.
    3. Implement
    • Identify the most effective tools for your needs—from wikis and microblogs to robust knowledge-sharing and innovation platforms.
    • Work closely with your IT teams to ensure your efforts are compliant with all internal rules, standards and architectures.
    4. Ensure Sustainability
    • To harness the power of social media and ensure your networking investments are sustainable, it is essential that you implement replicable, enterprise-wide training so that you overcome capability gaps (e.g., generational, geographical) that are present within your company.
    5. Measure and Adjust
    • Let's face it, judging social media ROI is difficult. But by establishing a benchmark and then conducting employee engagement focus groups and surveys, linkage analyses, social media diagnostics and business analytics, it is possible to see how you deliver against expectations.
    • Keep what works, tweak what doesn’t. Troubleshoot your challenges and identify cost-effective ways to reactivate your underutilized social media channels.
    I've said it once, and I'll say it again: it’s innovative and encouraging to see so many companies tackling collaboration and productivity through the use of social technologies. But a connected enterprise doesn’t automatically create an engaged workforce. It’s easy to create a collaboration portal, but it’s much more difficult to make engagement a way of life in your organization. I'm interested in hearing what you think about this five step roadmap and whether it differs from one that you might have created. If so, please share. I'd love to hear from you. ~ Elizabeth

  • Employees Say The Power of Internal Social Media is Real -- ...

    With 61% of employees saying that internal social media helps them to better collaborate and another 60% saying internal social media demonstrates innovation... it's becoming much more evident that Internal Social Media (ISM) can -- and does -- impact the bottom line. To better understand the value of social media in the workplace, APCO Worldwide and Gagen MacDonald recently surveyed 1,000 U.S. employees, and built a model that quantifies the factors that characterize effective programs and the impact on core business drivers. Some significant findings include:

    • 58% of employees would rather work at a company that uses ISM effectively, and 86% would refer others for employment
    • 60% of employees say use of internal social media demonstrates innovation
    • 61% of employees say their companies' social media tools help them collaborate
    Read the full story. And while you're there be sure to check out the whitepaper on "Harness the Power of Internal Social Media."

  • #Infographic: 100 Best Companies Aren't Just Good Place ...

    The best companies employ about 1.6 million people, or 1.1% of the U.S. workforce. They're not just good places to work -- they're engines of employment. Here's a look at the list by size of employer and by jobs added (or lost) last year. This is an excellent companion to CNN Money's 100 Best Companies to Work For. Of note: Microsoft lost the most employees (over 2K) and Google added the most (7K).

  • Who's Who in Social HR Technology

    Welcome to our Who's Who list of companies who specialize in Social HR technology. Are you in HR technology and wondering what options you have in software vendors? Or are you wondering what technology companies are transforming HR into more social functions? Then look no further. The list below has been collected from a couple of online sources as well as from our own research. The companies are listed in alphabetical order, but sortable by product solution. If you feel a company has been listed incorrectly or if you are a representative of the company and wish to modify your information, please contact us. Solution categories:

    • Employee Engagement - Employee surveys, opinions
    • e-Learning - Learning management, talent development
    • HCM Solution - Human capital management system that offers an overall solution
    • People Management - Workforce analytics, case management, succession planning
    • Recruitment - Acquiring talent, candidate search, applicant tracking
    • Total Rewards - Reward & recognition, performance management, benefits
    • Talent Management - Staffing solutions
    [table id=3 /] Sources: HR Tech Conference, Expo List, Top 10 HCM Software Vendors,

  • #Infographic: Is Your Company Ready for BYOD?

    If you're not... don't feel bad. You're in good company. This infographic, by ClickSoftware, examines mobile workforce management, including the expectations of employees (and BYOD - Bring Your Own Device), how to integrate mobile devices into your organization, and the benefits that you will likely see from increased mobility.

    • 66% of employees want IT to let them use any device they choose
    • 45% of IT workers aren't prepared to support a borderless mobile workforce
    • 61% of companies that let employees use personal mobile devices have higher employee satisfaction

  • Top Leaders in #MobileHR Talent Management Apps

    About the Author: Kyle is the HR Analyst at SoftwareAdvice. By day, he blogs about HR trends, technology, and best practices. By night, he’s the Relations Chair for Austin-based independent theatre company, PaperChairs. When leaving home or the office, what are the must-have items you would never go without? Wallet? Got it. Keys? Yup. Your mobile recruiting application...? Well, sure! Today’s anytime-anywhere mobile access is changing the way we do business. You see, with the right apps and  tools, users can manage any number of human resources and workforce management processes from their mobile devices. It's official: HR technology developers are working full throttle to bring new solutions for hiring, managing the workforce and tracking HR to the mobile market. Many of the mobile tools currently on the market in our industry are focused on recruiting and talent management. Thankfully, we've begun to see applications cropping up that give business owners the ability to access highly valuable data on the go. Based on functionality, ease of use, and downright coolness, there are a few mobile tools that rank amongst my favorites: Acquiring Talent Kenexa 2xMobile enables hiring managers to manage their hiring processes on the go. Keeping in mind how busy managers can get, the application focuses on key hiring tasks so they can execute the most basic actions needed to move the hiring process along. This app is free, and syncs with Kenexa’s SaaS-based applicant tracking system, but users must have a Kenexa license. Jobvite is one tool that has a lot of people talking. This an innovative candidate sourcing solution that enables your employees to send job invitations (or Jobvites) to members of their networks on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook from just about anywhere. Attracting passive candidates by way of employee referrals just got that much easier. To plug in to this tool, though, you’ll need a Jobvite subscription. Managing Talent VortexsMobileManagerConnect is an online workforce management application that enables users to manage their operation's scheduling needs on the go. Review, edit and approve time cards, violations and time off requests, and seamlessly sync changes with your existing HR management and payroll systems. The app is free, but users need users Vortex Connect license to use it. RyppleFeedback is another web-based application is getting some buzz. At its core, it turns performance reviews into a far more engaging experience. Leveraging social networking concepts for a more collaborative experience, Rypple makes it easy for you to recognize achievements and offer regular feedback to your employees. Rypple currently offers various subscription options from free to $9 per user per month. Additional Resources HRatYourFingertips is an HR terms and concepts reference tool. Valuable for the layman and guru alike, this application is divided into three sections. The glossary covers 270+ key terms and concepts. The HR Laws section contains information on federal laws, including eligibility and compliance standards. The app also contains a beginner’s guide for writing an employee handbook. This mobile app is currently available only for the iPhone or iPad. HRConceptsMobileBenefits gives employees the ability to tap into health benefit account information on their smart phones. Review claims and account balances, and submit new receipts by taking a picture with their mobile devices. Transmissions are encrypted and secure, and sensitive information is never stored on your mobile device. This straightforward tool takes employee self-service one step further. What are some applications that are helping make your life easier?

  • What SHRM's Future Insights Report Means for Engagement ...

    SHRM released its Future Insights Report on the Top Trends for HR according to SHRM's HR Subject Matter panel.  This report highlights key HR-related topics and trends, as seen by subject matter experts from SHRM's Special Expertise Panels. These trends are a valuable resource for any HR professional interested in seeing what issues HR subject matter experts believe will have the biggest impact on the workplace today and in the years ahead. The report is broken down into key categories for HR, with each area having about 10 top trends. The trends indicate a promising revolution to the traditional role of  HR in the organization and how organizations interact with employees and HR's important role in this change. Of note, however, is the distressing (but not all that  surprising to read) insight that technology and social media are seen as becoming more of a negative influence on workplace civility, manners, company information, privacy, business writing and etiquette. And their use is seen as increasing opportunities and avenues for harassment. The full report is available here. Here are some highlights from other key categories: Employee Engagement

    • HR is seeing the importance of being high-touch in a high-tech world and is increasing efforts to maintain and enhance employee engagement.
    • As companies and workplaces change with economic, social, technological and other demographic shifts, HR is becoming more instrumental in facilitating effective change management and integrating culture as a regular duty as opposed to a special project.
    • HR has seen the need to increase efforts in building trust between employees and the company, especially when lack of trust is not based on one specific incident or a situation specific to the employee. Companies have forgotten that employees matter.
    Technology and social media are seen as becoming more of a negative influence on workplace civility, manners, company information, privacy, business writing and etiquette.
    Employee Relations
    • Effective employee relations practices are becoming essential to business continuity in the context of possible natural or other unforeseen disasters.
    • HR continues to develop an acute sensitivity to the impact of the external environment on the workforce and the business as a whole. In that context, effective employee relations practices are becoming increasingly important as companies observe the link between employee engagement/satisfaction and productivity. Recognizing the importance of embedding effective employee relations practices in all HR disciplines will make HR more effective as a business and strategic partner.
    • HR is increasing efforts toward workforce readiness now and in the future. As the economy changes, those currently in the workforce—especially the underemployed—are becoming more of a focus for HR. That is, HR is determin­ing whom their organizations can—or want to—retain once the economy has turned around while keeping an eye on the possible overall talent loss as international workforces expand.
    • Managing multiple generations in the workplace is not the issue some thought it would have been. Baby Boomers are not leaving in masses, and they have shown that they can work with Gen X and Gen Y; generations in the workplace isn’t an area where HR professionals are spending their time.
    Human Management / Technology
    Are you working on a social intranet strategy? These trends are important considerations as to become more of a digital / social workplace that meets employee needs.
    • User experience and ease of use are becoming significantly more important to employees when it comes to HR technology solutions.
    • One-size-fits-all solutions are decreasing in popularity and effectiveness, given the increasing diversity and complexity of issues affecting HR departments.
    • Employees are increasingly expecting a more integrated digital experience when it comes to their interactions with HR (e.g. single sign-on, one-stop shopping).
    • Employees are increasingly expecting their HR departments to provide mobile access to core HR functions.
    • Social media tools are increasingly becoming an integral component of virtually all HR functions, including employee relations, benefits management, and training and development.
    • HR less frequently views its role in social media as a policing function and more as a means of helping its organizations leverage social media for maximum employee engagement.
    • HR departments are gaining more autonomy and flexibility in making technology decisions that affect their work.
    •  HR departments are increasing their reliance on video conferencing as well as helping their organizations adopt this technology in appropriate ways.
    • Software as a service as well as cloud-based software solutions are increasingly becoming the preferred direction for HR technology.
    •  HRIS solutions are increasingly offering integration with social media tools such as LinkedIn.
    About the Special Expertise Panels’ Trends As part of the thought leadership pillar within the SHRM strategic plan, Special Expertise Panel members act as thought leaders whose input creates pathways for SHRM’s thought leadership within the profession and among a wider business audience. The lists of key trends the panels produce make use of these experts’ insights to uncover a wide range of HR-related trends. These lists assist SHRM in creating forward-looking information and content for our members in forums such as the online HR Focus Areas, research articles, reports and surveys, and through media and outreach efforts.

  • What's In Your Social Intranet? Top 10 Most Common Intr ...

    Wondering how other organizations are faring with the social transformation of their corporate Intranets? The Go To" report for companies interested in knowing what other companies are doing has just been released by Prescient Digital Media. The Social Intranet Study December 2011 examines social media use on corporate intranets and the magnitude, use, and popularity of social media by employees and executives. The study findings and analysis are based on  the survey conducted between late May and early June 2011 by Toby Ward, Prescient Digital Media, in association with the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). The results reveal  rapid adoption of social media on the corporate intranet in the past year. The survey was completed by over 1,401 participants in small, medium and large organizations in all types of industries, from all corners of the globe. The Top 10 Most Common Intranet Tools The report found that social media tools such as blogs, wikis and other vehicles are present on most corporate intranets: 61 percent have at least one social media tool available to some or all employees. The most popular Intranet 2.0 tools are blogs, discussion forums, instant messaging and wikis.

    1. Blogs - 75 percent have intranet blogs; 26 percent have deployed blogs enterprise wide; only 4 percent have no plans or interest in deploying blogs.
    2. Discussion Forums - 65 percent have intranet discussion forums; 26 percent use them enterprise wide; 7 percent have no plans or interest in deploying intranet discussion forums.
    3. Instant Messaging - 63 percent have intranet instant messaging; 44 percent use instant messaging enterprise wide; 16 percent have no plans or interest in intranet instant messaging.
    4. Wikis - 61 percent have intranet wikis; 19 percent use intranet wikis enterprise wide; 12 percent have no plans or interest in deploying intranet wikis.
    5. User Commenting - 60 percent have user commenting on their intranets; 32 percent have enterprise wide user commenting on their intranets; 8 percent have no plans or interest in user commenting.
    6. RSS Feeds - 56 percent have intranet RSS; 21 percent use RSS feeds on their intranets enterprise wide; 10percent have no plans or interest in intranet RSS.
    7. Search Tagging - 51 percent have intranet tagging; 26 percent use intranet tagging enterprise wide; 12 percent have no plans or interest in intranet tagging.
    8. Video - 43 percent have user videos/vlogs; 15 percent have enterprise wide user videos/vlogs; 16 percent have no plans or interest in user videos/vlogs.
    9. Social Networking - 43 percent have intranet social networking; 19 percent use social networking enterprise wide; 22 percent have no plans or interest in intranet social networking.
    10. Microblogging - 42 percent have microblogging; 18 percent use microblogging enterprise wide; 22 percent have no plans or no interest in microblogging.
    This is the free, summarized version of the complete Social Intranet Study. Non-participating individuals and organizations wanting a full copy of the 46 page report may purchase a copy for$89.00 through Prescient Digital.

  • Empower Contact Center Employees: Give Your External Front L ...

    I have a friend who works in a call center here in Columbus, OH. She is someone who's not only passionate about her job, but also about having a voice and affecting change to improve her teams' functions. But her greatest challenges to feeling included in impacting / changing company processes are related to the working environment itself: with the exception of a half hour lunch and two 15-minute breaks, she must be on the phone all day long making conversation with other colleagues impossible, and 2) opportunities to express opinions with other team members or suggest changes are limited to monthly team meetings. Neither of which are conducive to driving a culture of social, human interaction. It's hard enough to drive engagement in the standard corporate environment, but imagine what it must be like to promote interaction in an environment where employees are separated and siloed as a requirement of the job. Call centers have a workplace setting that differs greatly from those of corporate, so I've always appreciated the diligence of contact (call) center employees and have wondered how it's possible to drive (and enable) engagement, interaction and productivity when the basic functions of the job requires employees to be connected to their phones and computers their entire work day. Any time away from the phone has a direct impact on performance metrics such as call quality, length and ability to wrap the calls as quickly as possible within government or corporate regulations. With the pressure of performance expectations that are read out on a daily basis even a five minute restroom break can have the perception of costing the contact center money. And the net result of working in an environment that is  regimented is that employees either feel too intimidated to voice their opinions or they feel that no one will do anything about them, making them feel hopeless and unmotivated. If the culture doesn't demonstrate sensitivity to its employees then you're certainly not fostering an environment of employee engagement.

    If you give your front line contact center employees a voice with external customers, why wouldn't you empower them to have a voice within the organization?
    And the thought crosses my mind... if your front line contact center employees are given a voice with external customers, why wouldn't you empower them to have a voice within the organization? Give your front line a voice in process improvement for long term change that impacts culture, performance and morale. In the most recent issue of Contact Center Pipeline, Natasha Gonzalez, Team Lead, Contact Center Operations, Wyndham Consumer Finance, Inc., shares how Wyndham senior leaders decided to implement changes to make contact center employees' concerns a priority and to ensure that they know that their opinions are valued. They developed a plan to engage frontline agents in process improvement, and empowering employees by making them an essential part of the company's decisions and goals; thereby allowing them to take ownership and responsibility of their own work. Some highlights of the article:
    • Identify Staff Pain Points - use the results of your employee opinion survey to conduct sessions with frontline supervisors and team leads to discuss the most common concerns and issues, and working with all departments to rank the issues and create a change plan.
    • Use Six Sigma Tools to Improve Processes - Use an X-Y matrix, also known as a cause-and-effect matrix, which is a Six Sigma tool that allows a team to identify performance gaps and areas of improvement. This methodology removes subjectivity so that employees feel they are being scored fairly and accurately.
    • Implementing Change and Training New Processes - As part of the overall change plan and communications strategy, allow the team leads or agents who participated in the discussions to present the new process to their peers. Use these same team leads to help conduct training sessions on the new process and make sure that management is involved as well.
    • A Continuous Culture of Improvement - After a period of six months, hold follow-up discussions to gauge how the new process has impacted employee morale.
    Do social technologies fit in? One of the benefits to the natural synergy of a workplace environment is the ability to not only socialize but to also learn from each other and share knowledge with one another. In the absence of that, what do you do? Do social technologies fit in?  And how do you blend social technologies with a workplace where employees must be connected to the phone system at all times so they can be ready for the next call that pops up in queue. Even call center employees should feel that they have an impact within their organizations and the company itself should work to provide an environment where employees have an opportunity to learn from their greatest resource: each other. It'd be interesting to learn whether or not there are contact centers who have successfully deployed collaboration sites so employees can connect with each other. If you're such a contact center, I would love to hear what successes (or even tribulations) you've experienced. If you're interested in this and other topics related to call centers, I encourage you to subscribe to Contact Center Pipeline. I actually found out about them because they asked if they could use my collection of employee engagement stats within their latest issue for its "Thought You Should Know" series. Cheers, Elizabeth    

  • Engaged Employees Love Their Work, but Love Their Lives Even ...

    It's been a loooonnng day... I've spent 9+ hours working on the computer for my work job and here it is.. nearing 1AM and I'm still on the computer but now writing a blog post. My eyes are going cross-eyed and my finger tips are raw from tap-tap-tapping on the keyboard. I did take a break today, shuttling my kids around and going to dinner at Golden Corral (yes, I know), but, of course, I still checked my e-mail messages, Twitter and Facebook accounts on my TWO phones while talking school and shoveling buffet goodness into my mouth. To top it all off, I'm still wearing my kick @ss 5-inch heels. And there's a reason why I'm doing all of this. I LOVE what I do.  Aside from the shoes, does this sound familiar? With the dawn of social technologies, "ease of use," and overall mobility, it's easy to get lost in the endless cycle of work-life-work-life-work-work-work. I should know, I admit that I fall victim to mismanaging my work and personal life all the time -- easy to do, especially when snippets of your personal life (e.g., blogging and speaking) are in addition to what you do at work. Well, thank my ever-loving Fatty Catty (I really do have a cat who I call Fatty), my 5-inch heels must come off at some point otherwise my feet would never recover. And that's my indicator that my work has ended and my LIFE has begun. As the new year begins, I'd like to remind everyone the importance of doing the same: like your work, but love your life -- OR love your work, but love your life even more. In the past two decades, the US economy has experienced a 60 percent growth in productivity. But, at what cost? Don't become All Work and No Play (The Overworked American, Work / Life balance is essential to not only you but for your organization as well Organizations that create cultures that value balance, and assist employees to achieve life balance will be rewarded with highly engaged employees. Work-life balance does not mean  that employees are not loyal, nor committed to their organizations, it means that employees want to lead whole lives, not lives solely centered on work. (Driving Employee Engagement, The Banff Centre) We tend to define our lives first by our work and then by all the other facets of our day. We justify working for a living to attain what we want. In the process, are we keeping our lives in balance? (Working for a Living, So go ahead... kick those heels off... or your shoes... end your work day and begin living your life! Be an employee who loves her (or his) work, but loves her life even more! Cheers, Elizabeth :)  

  • The State of Social Media Marketing [Report] #awarenessinc

    Top Areas For Social Marketing Investment and Biggest Social Marketing Challenges in 2012

    From Awareness, Inc Creators of the Social Marketing Hub The definitive social marketing industry report. In December 2011 Awareness surveyed over 320 marketers from a wide variety of industries and levels of social marketing experience. This report brings to you those insights and benchmarks to solidify your social marketing strategy, grow your social footprint and engage with your audiences for maximum return. You will learn how leaders allocate resources, discover the top social platforms and social media management tools they use,  social marketing investment priorities, and the practices companies will adopt to ensure 2012 is the year of the social business. You will notice some underlying themes in this report:
    • Executives and senior managers are looking for traction in three key areas – ROI, integration of social with lead generation and sales, and expansion of social presence and reach.
    • While social marketers feel they do not have the necessary resources to execute initiatives successfully, they must meet the expectations of senior management who demand to see tangible business value.
    • Companies experienced in social marketing are moving beyond growing social presence and reach. Their focus will shift to active social media management for increased lead generation and sales.
    • You will see less-experienced marketers following their visionary peers, adopting established practices as they move along the maturity continuum.
    For more information or to download your own copy please visit Awareness Inc.

  • Attend "Beyond Enterprise 2.0" to Energize your Or ...

    Beyond Enterprise 2.0

    More info: Beyond Enterprise 2.0 Organiser: KGS Global
    Gain insights from some of the world’s largest corporations on Utilising Social Media for Internal Communications 2.0, Collaboration, Knowledge Management, Learning Development and More! Network and learn from top speakers: AHOLD, Alcatel-Lucent, Anheuser-Busch InBev, AXA Group, BAE Systems, BT, EADS, Electrolux, Elsevier, Ericsson, GE, SAP, SWIFT, Swiss Re, United Nations, Dassault Systèmes and more!
      Join the Beyond Enterprise 2.0 event to gain insights from some of the world’s largest corporations on Internal Communications 2.0, Collaboration, Knowledge Management, Learning Development and More! This international summit will bring together cross-industry senior executives to discuss key issues on maximizing internal communications through social media. To maximise knowledge exchange and generate actionable results, we have carefully designed the conference format to be interactive, “hands-on” and productive. The event will begin with an exhibitor showcase, featuring the latest resources for increasing employee productivities with social technologies. The showcase will be followed by  our distinguished speakers, panel discussions and a “hands-on” brainstorming workshop session. Network and learn from top speakers: AHOLD, Alcatel-Lucent, Anheuser-Busch InBev, AXA Group, BAE Systems, BT, EADS, Electrolux, Elsevier, Ericsson, GE, SAP, SWIFT, Swiss Re, United Nations, Dassault Systèmes and more! Topics include: • Maximising internal communications through social media tools and platforms • Creating a strong brand internally whilst building motivation through video • Building international communities, driving collaboration and expertise sharing by taking advantage of social media • Understanding how to roll out an Enterprise 2.0 Strategy across the whole company globally • Creating internal guidelines and a governance policy to ensure social media will be used in the most effective and appropriate way internally • Effectively measuring ROI • Incorporating online and social media tools into traditional Intranet platforms and communications • How to ensure employee usage and engagement of Enterprise 2.0 initiatives • Motivating employees through gamification • Utilising new web 2.0 tools to increase knowledge management Who should attend: The executives that will realise the greatest benefit through attendance include CIO, SVPs, VPs, Board Members, Directors, Senior Managers, Executives in charge of: • Corporate Communications • B2E / Employee Communications • Internal Communications • Employee / B2E Portal • Communications • Corporate Affairs • Webmaster • Social Media / Electronic Media / New Media / Interactive Media • eBusiness • Enterprise 2.0 • Intranet • IT • Innovation • HR Systems • Digital Communications • Knowledge Management Questions? Contact us at +31643001954 or Event website: To book your ticket: Facebook group: LinkedIn group: Twitter:!/KGSglobal/ Official Twitter hashtag: #be20  

  • Dec 2011
  • #Infographic: The New, Social School of Employee Training

    Original source: How The Web Is Reinventing Employee Training, Mindflash In recent years the Web has spawned a vast new platform for learning — a wealth of new tools that organizations can use better train, engage, and share knowledge with (and among) employees. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are embracing the new methods — and the growth of adoption is expected to continue for years to come. This graphic reveals the evolution of “e-learning” and what it means for managers, employees, and others.

  • #Infographic: A Playbook for Smart, Social Business in Your ...

    The Social Business Book The Social Business infographic created by Online MBA

  • How the Talking Stick Rule Applies to Internal Communication ...

    A long time ago, a former boss gave me some sound advice: Seek first to understand, Then to be understood. Do you recognize it? I call it the Talking Stick rule, but some of you might recognize it as Habit 5 of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People". I love the whole purpose of this phrase. To understand and to be understood. And what better mission for any internal communicator? It's easy to go "through the motions" of listening, selectively hearing only "certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. So why does this happen? Because most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc." (Stephen R Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). Likewise, in internal communications, business communicators tend to selectively hear their employees -- and this is expressed through how we deliver and filter content based on business needs as opposed to employee needs. Employees are feeling increasingly overloaded with information, which negatively affects their satisfaction with communication. Although employees report feeling informed about key business issues, they're not sure how these issues relate to the work that they do every day. It's time to put the the talking stick back into the hands of your employees. In today's world, I don't think that internal communications is overlooked -- but I believe it needs to be more finely tuned. "Developing sound internal communication processes and evaluating these processes on a regular basis is the same as making sure your car runs smoothly and is serviced regularly.  If the many different pieces of your car do not fit smoothly together, you will not get where you are going very quickly, if you get there at all.  Similarly, if the people that make up your organization do not work together effectively, your will not achieve your objectives as  fast, if at all.  An effective internal communication strategy is the key to ensuring a cohesive organization focuses on achieving its goals and objectives." (, Internal Communications Toolkit). All companies need effective, long-term internal communication that is maintained with the use of different success techniques. Using the right strategies, policies and modern technologies are important ways to build stronger communication links between the organization and your employees. Team Bond Clearly laid-out internal communication policies will boost the overall morale of employees and improve their workload. Employees that go to face-to-face meetings regularly and actively collaborate with their colleagues will get more work done as opposed to doing all their tasks separately. Employees that have a good idea of the company’s current and future goals should share tips with each other and function more as a unit. An effective internal communications scheme can increase the focus and motivation of your workforce. Goals Internal communication is important for a company that wants to set goals and maintain a certain identity. A business has to make a list of goals and strengths before dealing with customers or stakeholders. Not only do employees have a desire to know where the company plans to head in a certain time span, but they also need to understand how these goals are tied to their day-to-day lives.

    Seek First to Understand...

    Part of the problem is that communication, in its current form, is not designed to meet the needs of its employee audience. Instead, it's shaped to appeal to our internal clients -- senior executives. This means that communication to employees is more often than not written in language that is more suitable to your senior leadership team or board of directors: strategic big-picture pronouncements supported by a lot of data. For example, last year, my company gave "life event scenarios" (e.g., having a baby) to a group of HR Business Partners and asked them to find the corresponding content on the Intranet site. Only a small number of them were able to efficiently find the content. The biggest reason? Because the content was organized to meet business need rather than understanding the perspective of the employee. To see if this is the case at your company, run a quick reading-level test of your communication. If most content is at the 12th-grade level—with complex sentences, long words and many complicated terms— then there is the chance some employees may not understand your communication. Employees don't want to reject communication — they just resent how it is now prepared. Employees want information, but only if it's fresh, candid and personally relevant. They want to learn about the company, but they want that information presented in context, relating to what's going on in the world, to what customers tell them and to the work they do every day. Most of all, employees want to control their communication experience by asking questions, adding comments, learning other employees' perspectives and even creating their own news. (Davis & Co, Can Social Media Revitalize Employee Communication)
    Seek first to understand your employees so that your business goals can then be understood

    ... Then to be Understood

    Once you understand what your employees' need, then you have define the best ways to get your business goals to be understood.  You will have to figure out the communication methods of the employees that work best for them. Significant factors that influence delivery style include age, education and work style. Employers will have to look at current problems and request advice from employees. Basic communication steps are important for employees such as effective listening, relevant questioning and feedback. So how do you balance understanding with being understood? What's in your toolkit? Every successful internal communications plan needs a framework. Components of this framework should include your business goals, employee needs and be flexible for change management / business transformation. It should also standardize your communication methods as well as define your delivery channels based on available technology and measurement tools. The goal of your toolkit is to help improve efficiency and effectiveness through processes that create a cohesive organizational culture. If you need some direction, then check out this Internal Communications Toolkit from Reshape current communication programs In reshaping your current programs, does that mean you must also adopt social media? Not necessarily (for now anyway). But you should also realize that, in general, we do not communicate the same way we used to and social media engages employees in ways that traditional programs cannot. While in some ways, you will be able enhance your current programs with a social layer, in other ways you will need to look at  totally revolutionizing your internal communication so that social media becomes a core strategy that changes the role of employees from spectators to active participants.
    • Employ communication channels that solve a business need Both employees and employers have needs to meet. Employees have families, events and outside work activities they consider important. Organizations have products and services to deliver to customers and obligations to investors and stockholders. One of my biggest rec0mmendations to any client is to make sure that you are reshaping your current program to solve for a specific business need. That is, don't just implement social technology for the sake of doing it. It would be better to take a year to diligently assess your needs and the proper social platform that becomes highly utilized rather than launch something in three months that doesn't fit a business or employee need and consequently doesn't get utilized. There is no win nor ROI in that for anyone.
    • Create an intranet that employees S.E.E.K (Social  interactivity, Enterprise collaboration, Employee Engagement, Knowledge management) Employers should create an intranet system so employees can exchange information quickly and effectively. Since many companies prevent access to emails and certain websites, intranets work to connect staff members in a fast, authorized way. A company can also strengthen communication strategies, especially during the onboarding process.For the U.S.-based consulting and accounting firm Deloitte, social media took hold because it responded to a compelling employee need: making connections with other employees. In a firm of 46,000 employees, many of whom spend a considerable amount of time at client locations, it's not practical to hang around the water cooler to network. In fact, 25 percent of employees who were leaving the company cited the sense of isolation as a primary reason for their departure.Whether you're like Deloitte and building a complete social intranet, or if you're still stuck with the one you have, there are methods in which you can create an intranet where employees can learn, plan and do their personal and work lives.
    • Use social technologies but understand that social media is a moving target So much of the paralysis surrounding social media is based on the fact that communicators feel they not only have to choose the right application but also have to make it work right away (no glitches, high usage, etc.). After all, part of the reason that the employee communication programs have become stagnant is because there's an expectation for them to be perfect: no errors and no angst.But social media requires a different mindset. It's evolutionary. It starts small and gradually builds an audience. It morphs, often in unexpected directions. (Davis & Co, Can Social Media Revitalize Employee Communication)
    Internal communication procedures involve sharing communication methods within a company of leaders and employees. Developing the right communication methods is crucial to maintaining long-term success. has resources that can help business improve their services and reliability. Internal communication is just one way they can reduce confusion and improve the output of employees and leaders. Follow these guidelines and utilize these resources, and you will find that you, as a organization, employ the rules of the Talking Stick. That you seek first to understand your employees so that your business goals can then be understood.

  • Branding and How It Works in the Social Media Age

    Branding and How It Works in the Social Media Age

  • Employee Engagement is Not a Buzz Word, It's a Positive ...

    Original Source: The Employee Engagement Working Paper, by Prof. Nitin Vazirani, M.Com. in Finance, M.Com in Mgmt, M.H.R.D.M. PhD (Pursuing) of the SIES College of Management Studies Employee  Engagement has become a buzz  word for  employee communication.  But it's more than just a buzz word, it is a positive attitude  held by  the employees  towards  the  organization  and  its  values. We already know that engagement has become a priority for many organizations. Employee engagement is the level of commitment and involvement an employee has towards their organization and its values. An engaged employee is aware of business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organization.

    But what does it TRULY mean for an organization?

    I just came across an excellent report, The Employee Engagement Working Paper, by Prof. Nitin Vazirani, M.Com. in Finance, M.Com in Mgmt, M.H.R.D.M. PhD (Pursuing) of the SIES College of Management Studies. The paper focuses on how employee engagement is an antecedent of job involvement and what companies should do to make the employees engaged. Below is just an excerpt from the working paper, but I absolutely encourage you to read the report in its entirety.

    Critical factors to moving beyond buzz words

    • Career Development- Opportunities for Personal Development. Organizations with high levels of engagement provide employees with opportunities to develop their abilities, learn new skills, acquire new knowledge and realize their potential. When companies plan for the career paths of their employees and invest in them in this way their people invest in them.
    • Career Development – Effective Management of Talent. Career development influences engagement for employees and retaining the most talented employees and providing opportunities for personal development.
    • Leadership – Respectful Treatment of Employees. Successful organizations show respect for each employee’s qualities and contribution – regardless of their job level.
    • Empowerment. Employees want to be involved in decisions that affect their work. The leaders of high engagement workplaces create a trustful and challenging environment, in which employees are encouraged to dissent from the prevailing orthodoxy and to input and innovate to move the organization forward.
    • Image. How much employees are prepared to endorse the products and services which their company provides its customers depends largely on their perceptions of the quality of those goods and services. High levels of employee engagement are inextricably linked with high levels of customer engagement.
    • Performance appraisal. Fair evaluation of an employee’s performance is an important criterion for determining the level of employee engagement. The company which follows an appropriate performance appraisal technique (which is transparent and not biased) will have high levels of employee engagement.
    • Job Satisfaction. Only a satisfied employee can become an engaged employee. Therefore it is very essential for an organization to see to it that the job given to the employee matches his career goals which will make him enjoy his work and he would ultimately be satisfied with his job.
    • Communication. The company should follow the open door policy. There should be both upward and downward communication with the use of appropriate communication channels in the organization. If the employee is given a say in the decision making and has the right to be heard by his boss than the engagement levels are likely to be high.
    • Family Friendliness. A person’s family life influences his wok life. When an employee realizes that the organization is considering his family’s benefits also, he will have an emotional attachment with the organization which leads to engagement.
    • Co-operation. If the entire organization works together by helping each other i.e. all the employees as well as the supervisors coordinate well than the employees will be engaged.

    Implementing an action plan

    • Listen. The employer must listen to its employees and remember that this is a continuous process. The information employee’s supply will provide direction . This is the only way to identify their specific concerns.
    • Measure. Current levels of employee engagement needs to be measured at regular intervals in order to track its contribution to the success of the organization. But measuring the engagement (feedback through surveys) without planning how to handle the results can make employees even more disengaged. It is not enough to feel the pulse—the action plan is just as essential.
    • Identify. Identify the problem areas to see which are the exact areas which lead to disengaged employees.
    • Act. Then take action to improve employee engagement by acting upon the problem areas. Nothing is more discouraging to employees than to be asked for their feedback and see no movement toward resolution of their issues. Even the smallest actions taken to address concerns will let the employees know how their input is valued.
    Employee engagement  emphasizes  the  importance  of  employee communication  on  the success of a business. An organization should thus recognize employees, more than any  other  variable,  as  powerful  contributors  to  a company's  competitive  position. Therefore  employee engagement  should  be a continuous  process  of  learning,  improvement, measurement and action. Raising and maintaining employee engagement lies in the hands of  an organization  and requires  a  perfect  blend of time,  effort,  commitment  and  investment to craft a successful endeavor. About this Working Paper: The SIES College of Management Studies Working Paper Series attempt to disseminate the findings of research in specific areas and also to facilitate discussions and sharing of perspectives and information about the identified areas. The papers carry the names of the authors and should be cited accordingly. The views, findings, and interpretations expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not represent the views of SIESCOMS and its management. These working papers are made available online at

  • The Power of Recognition in the Enterprise (It's not ju ...

    The Power of Recognition in the Enterprise (It's not just about the money)

  • The Ethos of the Internet and a Culture of Innovation

    Source: In an Open-Source Society, Innovating by the Seat of Our Pants

    The Internet isn’t really a technology. It’s a belief system, a philosophy about the effectiveness of decentralized, bottom-up innovation. And it’s a philosophy that has begun to change how we think about creativity itself. The ethos of the Internet is that everyone should have the freedom to connect, to innovate, to program, without asking permission. No one can know the whole of the network, and by design it cannot be centrally controlled. This network was intended to be decentralized, its assets widely distributed. Today most innovation springs from small groups at its “edges.” This technical strategy has led to the creation of a gigantic network of far-flung innovators who develop standards with one another and share the products of their work in the form of free and open-source software. The architecture of the Internet and its abundance of free software and components has driven down the cost of manufacturing, distribution and collaboration — of innovation. It used to cost millions of dollars to start a software company. Today, for little or no money, entrepreneurs are able to develop and release a “minimum viable product” and test it with real users on the Internet before they have to raise any money from investors. In their earliest iterations, Facebook, Yahoo and Google were running in dorm rooms and labs before the founders had left college or had raised outside money. Neoteny, ... means the retention of childlike attributes in adulthood: idealism, experimentation and wonder. In this new world, not only must we behave more like children, we also must teach the next generation to retain those attributes that will allow them to be world-changing, innovative adults who will help us reinvent the future.
    Source: Creating the Innovation Culture
    The innovation culture, of course, is likewise an expression of people, their past, and their current beliefs, ideas, and behaviors. They make innovation happen, and they do so consistently over time. Since the innovation culture is not all that common among today’s organizations, we know that it’s not so easy to create one. A key reason for this is that the characteristics needed to achieve an innovation culture are not seen as the some ones that are needed in successful companies. This, actually, is where the genius of firms like Apple, Cisco, and Toyota lies, because their leaders seem to have found a way to standardize the process of innovation. I know that the last sentence seems to express a contradiction - how do you standardize innovation? But that’s exactly the point (and that’s the same point that is made in the title of my book Permanent Innovation). They have created a true innovation culture, which is precisely what it means to make the creation of novelty a consistent output of an organization’s culture.2
    Source: Intentional Innovation
    Innovation is about what’s new and what’s next. It’s about that exciting leap forward into uncharted territory. Innovation is also about what works… better. It’s about that incremental step forward that makes old ideas new again and repurposes the familiar into the unexpected. Innovation—whether small or incremental, large or disruptive—is about change. For most of us the idea of “innovation” is laced with positive and desirable assumptions about something that will be shinier, faster, cooler, better than whatever we have. For some, innovation also comes with questions about whether we really need so much that is “new”—and if the new things are so great, then how do we help everyone to get them?
    An innovative culture is a combination of the right technology, culture and people, working together seamlessly to deliver innovative solutions to important organizational problems. Is there an off-the-shelf blueprint or formula that can guarantee innovation? Absolutely not. But there are best practices and core principles that can be used to guide your effort. That is, if they are intelligently adapted and applied to your specific organizational culture. Accept wonder. Ask questions. Seek answers. Drive innovation.

  • #Infographic: How to Build a Culture of Innovation

    Source: Budco,

  • #Infographic: The Problem with the Intranet

  • #Infographic: Social Media for the Career Minded

  • #Infographic: Personal Internet Use at Work

  • #Infographic: The Social CEO

    #Infographic: The Social CEO

  • #Infographic: Workers of the World Engage!

    #Infographic: Workers of the World Engage!

  • #Infographic: Adding Play into the Enterprise

  • Calculating the ROI of Enterprise Social Software

    Calculating the ROI of Enterprise Social Software

  • #Infographic: How Executives Use Social Media

    #Infographic: How Executives Use Social Media

  • #Infographic: Social Commerce Today - How Social Commerce Wo ...

    #Infographic: Social Commerce Today - How Social Commerce Works

  • #Infographic: Why Content for SEO

    #Infographic: Why Content for SEO

  • #Infographic: Tumblr Numbrs The Rapid Rise of Social Bloggin ...

    #Infographic: Tumblr Numbrs The Rapid Rise of Social Blogging

  • #Infographic: Is Content Marketing Traditional Advertisings ...

    #Infographic: Is Content Marketing Traditional Advertisings New Rival

  • #Infographic: Lifecycle of a Web Page on Stumbleupon

    #Infographic: Lifecycle of a Web Page on Stumbleupon

  • #Infographic: Inbound Marketing on the Rise

    #Infographic: Inbound Marketing on the Rise

  • #Infographic: LinkedIn Bootcamp - Basic Training for the Per ...

    #Infographic: LinkedIn Bootcamp - Basic Training for the Personal Marketer

  • #Infographic: YouTube Killed TV

    #Infographic: YouTube Killed TV

  • #Infographic: Google+ Killer Facts and Figures

    #Infographic: Google+ Killer Facts and Figures

  • #Infographic: Obsessed with Facebook

    #Infographic: Obsessed with Facebook

  • #Infographic: Social Media in Education

    #Infographic: Social Media in Education

  • #Infographic: The Mobile Worker

    #Infographic: The Mobile Worker

  • #Infographic: Is Flexible Mobility the Next Workforce Curren ...

    #Infographic: Is Flexible Mobility the Next Workforce Currency

  • #Infographic: History of Mobile Productivity

    #Infographic: History of Mobile Productivity

  • #Infographic: Connected World Order of College Students and ...

    #Infographic: Connected World Order of College Students and Young Professionals

  • #Infographic: NBRI Importance of Employee Engagement

    #Infographic: NBRI Importance of Employee Engagement

  • #Infographic: Kevin Kruse The Story of Employee Engagement a ...

    #Infographic: Kevin Kruse The Story of Employee Engagement at Work

  • #Infographic: Employee Engagement Are We Slackers

    #Infographic: Employee Engagement Are We Slackers

  • #Infographic: How to Engage Employees in the Workplace

    #Infographic: How to Engage Employees in the Workplace

  • #Infographic: A Happy versus a Sad Employee

    #Infographic: A Happy versus a Sad Employee

  • Social Knows: List of Companies and the Names of their Corpo ...

    Hello, Boris, you AND me, Pitstop - it's just some of the names from various corporate intranets. Some companies give their internal portals just a name. Other companies choose to give their internal portals a complete identity. There are some companies who go the simple route and just call it what it is: Intranet. If you are a company who still operates on multiple portals such as the corporate intranet, the HR portal, and the collaboration portal.. the name becomes that much more important in helping your employees distinguish one portal from another. Coming from a corporate background where all the companies I've worked for have had a "branded" intranet, it still surprises me to hear many companies out there don't. Personally, I like a branded intranet. It's an easy way to strengthen corporate culture, support brand identity and make your intranet a "destination" not just a "site." It's always interesting to know what companies end up naming their internal portals. I will tell you that the MOST frequent terms I came across are:

    • My[company name]
    • _________ Connect
    • _________ Net
    It's in this spirit that I'm posting this list of companies and the names of their internal portals based on my own research as well as the fantastic list available on Intranet Matters. If you would like to add or correct your company listing, please let me know. If you would like your company removed, definitely let me know. Otherwise, please enjoy and I hope this is valuable to your intranet research. (Many thanks to Miri McDonald for initially requesting this list.) [table id=2 /]

  • Nov 2011
  • Employee Engagement: What Employees Need & What Managers ...

    Original Source: The Power of Employee Engagement

    Engaged workers produce more, make more money for the company, and create emotional engagement and loyal customers. They contribute to good working environments where people are productive, ethical and accountable. They stay with the organization longer and are more committed to quality and growth than are the other two groups of not-engaged and actively disengaged workers. How do they do so?
    • Employees have a strong relationship with their manager
    • They have clear communication from their manager
    • They have a clear path set for focusing on what they do best
    • They have strong relationships with their coworkers
    • They feel a strong commitment with their coworkers enabling them to take risks and stretch for excellence
    Engaged employees tend to get the least amount of focus and attention from managers in part because they're doing what they are needed to do. They set goals, meet and exceed expectations and charge enthusiastically toward the next tough task. The challenge for managers comes when the first signs of disengaging appear from an engaged worker. The symptoms need to be addressed immediately or else the disconnection is likely to continue. Most of the time this disengagement process can be interrupted by having meaningful conversations that strengthen commitment through relationship. Great managers don't leave these excellent employees alone. They spend most of their time with the most productive and talented people because they have the most potential. Expectations, Clarification and Measurement To grow and sustain employee engagement managers must regularly provide expectations, clarification, and measurement. Usually companies hire people to do three things:
    1. Achieve the business outcomes of their roles
    2. Contribute to creating a productive workplace
    3. Drive customer engagement
    A good place to start is with conversations about expectations for every person in a given role. Get the individual to view his or her role from a broader perspective instead of from a narrow task-oriented point of view. Encourage the employee to see how his or her work contributes to the organizational future. Ask, "What are the outcomes you are supposed to achieve? What were you hired to do? How do you contribute to making this a great place to work? Are you creating engaged customers?" The objective is to focus employees on outcomes as well as the steps it takes to get there. Next, managers can help employees clarify how they can achieve outcomes. Sometimes they can help employees change their roles to better fit their talents. A person who is not adept at written reports and details can collaborate with someone who is. This requires self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses on the part of both the manager and employee and a willingness to be flexible and find solutions. Measurement is crucial to an employee's feeling of success, as long as the measurement focuses on outcomes, not steps. Good measurement includes regular feedback, aligns with outcomes and matches the expectations for the role. Expectations, clarification and measurement are the keys to helping employees stay in the engaged range, and to keeping them involved and committed. Engaged employees need strong relationships and clear communications from their managers. They also need to be stimulated and challenged in their areas of talent and strengths to help them to continue to grow. Effective managers and leaders help the people who work with them to design and own their own goals, targets and milestones. Everyone needs support and help with focus in order to keep the goals aligned with business results. Great managers provide coaching to facilitate progress and build talents into strengths. Handling "Not-engaged" Employees Efforts to raise levels of engagement are worthwhile for those in the not-engaged range. Not-engaged employees tend to concentrate on tasks rather than the goals and outcomes they are expected to accomplish. They want to be told what to do just so they can do it and say they have finished. They focus on accomplishing a task vs. achieving an outcome. Managers who only provide tasks to an employee reinforce not-engaged behaviors and actually move 180 degrees away from engaging the heart, mind, and soul of that person. Employees who are not-engaged tend to feel their contributions are being overlooked, and their potential is not being tapped. They often feel this way because they don't have productive relationships with their managers or with their coworkers. The way to get people to become a part of an organization is through relationships. Employees who feel disconnected emotionally from their coworkers and supervisor do not feel committed to their work. They hang back and do the minimum because they don't believe anyone cares. These employees "lower the bar" for themselves by doing the least amount of work necessary. Managers need to demonstrate a sense of really caring about employees and what's important to them. Managers can help employees refocus on the demands of their roles and on the skills, knowledge, and talents they bring to their jobs. The manager who takes the time to have a dialogue about an employee's strengths and how these can make a difference forges essential ties and connections that lead to employee commitment. Managing "Actively Disengaged" Employees Too often people have to work with others who have become disenchanted and actively disengaged. Actively disengaged employees aren't just unhappy at work. They act out their discontent and sow seeds of negativity at every opportunity. They undermine the work of others. They are not just indifferent to company goals and mission; they express mistrust and outright animosity. The way to get people to become a part of an organization is through relationships As workers increasingly rely on each other to generate products and services, the problems and tensions that are fostered by actively disengaged workers can cause great damage to an organization's functioning. The Gallup Organization estimates that there are 22 million actively disengaged employees that cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity, including absence, illness and other problems that result when workers are unhappy at work. A good manager will identify those who are disengaged and explore the reasons behind the disconnect to determine if coaching or other interventions are appropriate. In some cases, people will respond favorably to opportunities to reconnect and rekindle their interest and enthusiasm for their jobs. Most people search for ways to make their lives and work meaningful and only disengage when they feel hopeless. Those who are actively disengaged may thrive on the negativity and refuse to become part of any solution, preferring to perpetuate problems. If they repeatedly refuse opportunities to engage again, terminating their employment should be seriously considered in order to avoid further damage to staff morale and organizational progress. Leadership Actions: What Employees Want a Manager to Do For great managers, the path toward engaging employees and keeping them engaged begins with asking them what they want and what is important in order to be effective in their roles. Here is a summary of what workers responding to the a Gallup survey said they what they want from their managers:
    • Focus me
    • Know me
    • Care about me
    • Hear me
    • Help me feel proud
    • Help me review my contributions
    • Equip me
    • Help me see my value
    • Help me grow
    • Help me see my importance
    • Help me build mutual trust
    • Challenge me
    And how do you do that?
    • Provide feedback and guidance
    • Make real time to discuss problems
    • Seek ideas and input from everyone
    • Provide the resources to solve problems or to do a job well
    • Give real recognition and/or reward
    • Provide opportunities for people to develop their potential
    • Keep the pressure to perform and achieve more with less realistic
    • Provide opportunities for social interaction
    • Train people how to resolve interpersonal conflicts
    • Promote joy and appropriate humor within the office
    • Be flexible; help people to actively balance work and home responsibilities
    "Great organizations achieve sustainable growth and profits because they do what other organizations don't: they maximize the innate, individual talents of their employees to connect with customers. They know that tapping the resources of humans is the only remaining area where significant improvements can--and do--lead to an unlimited source of competitive advantages." Curt Coffman and Gabriel Gonzalez-Molina, in Follow this Path, 2002.

  • Top Ten Implications of 2011 NLRB Activity on Social Media U ...

    Source: Association of Corporate Counsel, Mary E. Windham, Labor & Employment attorney, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice

    Though the National Labor Relations Act has been around since the 1930s, its recent application to a relatively new sphere of activity, the virtual world of social media, has created a host of uncertainties.  Are employees’ posts about their workplaces and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media protected speech, or the stuff that may rightfully subject employees to discipline for violation of company policy prohibiting disparagement, discrimination, or defamation?  Though the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has yet to issue a decision on social media policy, over the last nine months it has aggressively publicized complaints and settlements in connection with cases involving employer rules concerning social media use and employee discipline.  Employers – both unionized and non-unionized – should review their social media policies and enforcement practices.  In the midst of ongoing controversies and the continuing explosion of online social networks, employers should consider the following:

    1.    Why Your Company Needs a Social Media Policy

    Social Media includes a constantly changing number and variety of internet and otherwise interactive sites, software, and communications that allow users to communicate with each other.  Analysis of the social media demographic demonstrates clearly that nearly all demographic groups from nearly all regions of the world are already online in some form of social media, and their numbers are growing.  Regardless of what your company does, people are talking about it – good, bad, or indifferent.  Social media is becoming a mainstay in communications.  This can be used to an employer’s advantage by acknowledging this reality to employees and customers, and managing risks by making it clear to employees where lines are drawn between professional and personal use of the medium.  A social media policy, in simplest terms, is a company’s principles and guidelines for communicating online to the outside world.

    2.     Whether Your Policy Implicitly or Explicitly Restricts Section 7 Rights

    Recent complaints filed by the NLRB caught many employers by surprise, as less than two years ago the Board issued an advice memorandum opining that a social media policy prohibiting the use of social media for the purpose of “[d]isparagement of company’s or competitor’s products, services, executive leadership, employees, strategy, and business prospects” was lawful.  Applying the reasoning of the Board’s decision in an earlier case, the Board reaffirmed that a rule is unlawful if it “reasonably tends to chill employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights.”  (Activity that constitutes concerted discussion about terms and conditions of employment is protected under Section 7 of the NLRA).  Because the rule at issue did not explicitly restrict activity protected by Section 7, and certain other conditions were not met, the Board upheld a rule prohibiting “abusive or profane language.”  However, in the first of a series of recent cases illustrating the Board’s priority to scrutinize social media policies, the Board issued a complaint against American Medical Response (“AMR”) alleging that AMR violated the NLRA by firing an employee for posting negative remarks about her supervisor on Facebook and by maintaining an overly broad social media policy that prohibited employees from making “disparaging, discriminatory, or defamatory comments” when discussing the Company or the employee’s supervisors, co-workers, and/or competitors. The NLRB will continue to be active in this area.  In an April 12, 2011 Memorandum, the Board’s Acting General Counsel identified social media rules as a “policy priority” and instructed that all cases involving “employer rules prohibiting, or discipline of employees for engaging in, protected activity using social media, such as Facebook or Twitter” be submitted to the NLRB Division of Advice.  Employers should recognize that the Board now defines “protected concerted activity” broadly with Section 7 protections applying to workers regardless of union status.  Employers may expect close scrutiny of social media policies when those policies are announced or enforced, and should continue to watch developments in this area.

    3.    Whether Your Policy Contains an Adequate NLRA Disclaimer

    According to the Regional Director responsible for filing the AMR Facebook lawsuit, a disclaimer will be considered when evaluating whether an employer’s social media policy violates the NLRA.  A simple disclaimer might state that the policy is not intended to interfere with employees’ rights under the NLRA and will not be applied in that fashion.  The disclaimer should become more specific as a policy becomes broader so as to clarify that general rules do not apply to discussions or activities involving the terms and conditions of employment.  Disclaimers are of particular import if social media policies may be construed to limit employees’ ability to communicate while using the employee’s own resources during non-working hours.

    4.    Whether Your Policy States and Serves Legitimate Purposes

    The legitimate business purposes of social media policies in protecting both employers and employees may be demonstrated by rules of use on company time, obligations to comply with company policy and applicable law prohibiting workplace harassment and discrimination, and clarification of content ownership, monitoring, and enforcement.

    5.    Whether Your Policy Contains Overbroad or Ambiguous Language

    Social media policies should not categorically restrict employees from using social media, or from discussing their wages, hours, and working conditions.

    6.    Whether Your Policy Is Enforced Consistently

    As with all employment policies, social media policies should be enforced consistently.  Uneven enforcement, like the promulgation of a rule in response to union activity, may suggest that the policy serves to restrict Section 7 rights implicitly if not explicitly.

    7.     Yes, You May Discipline Employees Who Abuse Social Media

    Despite its recent track record, this past April the NLRB concluded that it would not file a complaint against a newspaper that fired a reporter for failing to adhere to the organization’s expectations of professional courtesy and conduct.  The reporter set up a Twitter account, identified himself by occupation, and made disparaging remarks about his Arizona Daily Star colleagues.  Thereafter, his employer instructed him that he was prohibited from airing his grievances about his coworkers or commenting about the paper in any public forum.  At this point, he elected to post a number of other tweets about homicide in Tucson (suggesting that all have a good “Homicide Friday,” for example, and rooting for “daily death”) along with sharp criticisms of other journalists.  The NLRB found that the reporter’s outbursts did not relate to the terms and conditions of his employment or seek to involve other employees in issues related to employment. The take-away?  In many of the high-profile cases the NLRB has pursued the Board has focused on the fact that other employees joined in the critical postings or comments.  Where an employee engages individually in offensive or injurious speech the NLRB is less likely to construe the communications as protected activity regarding working conditions.

    8.    Periodically Assess Your Policy and Update at Least Annually

    As with all employment policies, a social media policy should be reviewed regularly.  Updating a social media policy at least annually is of particular importance given the high priority the NLRB has assigned to this topic.  Also, the law in this area is in an unsettled state.  Advice Memoranda issued by the Division of Advice within the General Counsel’s office of the NLRB are not considered to be an adjudication by the Board, and future cases may clarify issues unique to the application of Section 7 to social media communications.

    9.     Discuss Policy with Employees and Obtain Written Acknowledgment At Every Review

    Employers should oversee the implementation of the social media policy to ensure that the policy accomplishes the goals for which it is intended.  Training should be provided as necessary to ensure that those implementing and enforcing the policy have appropriate knowledge and skill.  Written acknowledgment serves to confirm employees’ receipt and understanding of the policy.

    10.    Review Employers’ Use of Social Media in the Hiring Process

    Social media has changed the hiring landscape in significant ways, and hiring decisions – not just termination decisions – may result in scrutiny of the employer’s own use of social media.  An employer in the possession of information about applicants’ or employees’ protected characteristics may face the challenge of establishing that employment decisions were made without regard for that information.  The concerns of the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (“EEOC”) in this regard are reflected in recent regulations implementing GINA (the federal Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act).  Employers should implement clear procedures for social media use in screening job applicants.  A structured process with a division of duties between human resources professionals trained in the use of social media and managers making employment decisions offers one means of risk reduction.

  • Infographic: Is Flexible Mobility the New Workplace Currency ...

    Original Source: Cisco Connected World Technology Report, The New Workplace Currency To demonstrate the role of the network in our lives, Cisco commissioned an international workforce study of nearly 3000 people. The study revealed that one in three college students and young professionals consider the Internet to be as important as air, water, food, and shelter. The study also found that their desire to use social media, mobile devices, and the Internet more freely in the workplace is strong enough to influence their future job choice, sometimes more than salary. . This year, the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report examined two new groups of subjects:

    • College students
    • Recently employed college graduates, many working in their first full-time jobs
    The findings are telling. More than half of the study's respondents could not live without the Internet and cite it as an "integral part" of their lives. In some cases, they call it more essential than owning a car, dating, and going to parties. Also, one in three would prioritize social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility over salary in accepting a job offer.

  • You asked, I answered: A Social Workplace Starts with Cultur ...

    Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of appearing on Digital 411, an internet technology radio show. During the show, I discussed the impact that social technologies can have on HR transformation and employee engagement. There was so much interest in this topic that I didn't have time to respond to all of the questions asked. Here are the questions that sparked the conversation along with my responses. In your Social Knows: Employee Engagement statistics, you indicate that 52% of organizations using Web 2.0 achieved Best-in-class performance and an 18% increase in engagement. Help us contextualize and understand stats around achieving higher employee engagement using Web 2.0? What does that mean and what are some of the most significant tools being used? Using a social network won’t change anything unless it’s a part of a set of tools serving a more global approach aimed at improving culture, performance, communication and productivity.

    • Collaboration sites: Sharepoint
    • Internal twitter and threaded conversations: Yammer, Socialcast
    • Video sharing: YouTube
    • Mobility and Access: extranets, mobile access
    • Intranet enhancements: RSS feeds, social tagging, social sharing, employee profiles, content bookmarking
    In your experience, what does a fully engaged employee look like, feel and experience, in comparison what a disengaged employee looks and feels like? According to Gallup there are three types of employees: Actively Disengaged – employees who aren’t just unhappy but want everyone else to know that they are. These are the employees who are bored and frustrated, make sarcastic jokes and speak poorly about the company and its leaders. Not Engaged or Passively Engaged – employees who are checked out. Sleeping walking through their day and don’t actively contribute to new ideas or thoughts. These employees feel underutilized, spend work time taking care of personal needs, do just enough to get by or to not get in trouble, and are present for the "paycheck." Believe it or not, 72% of US workers are not engaged in their work. Defined as essentially sleep walking throughout their day. (Gallup) Actively disengaged and passively-engaged employees take more sick days, take more time than necessary to complete projects … bottom line… cost the company more money. Engaged - [Note: on the show, I teased that an engaged employee was about 5 feet tall, wore 5 inch heels... Sound like someone you know?!] employees who work with a passion, are involved. Drive innovation and move the organization forward.
    • Commit to company, work group, and role.
      • Are proud of their company and what the company does, are clear about the desired outcomes of their role,
      • speaks positively about the company when interacting with others.
      • Takes personal satisfaction in the quality of their work
    • Use their talents everyday:
      • demonstrate consistent levels of high performance,
      • Broaden what they do and build on it,
      • participates in training opportunities.
      • Stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone
    • Show natural innovation and drive for efficiency
      • suggests cost-saving measure to their manager or
      • seeks ways to streamline processes and introduces these ideas rather than waiting for someone else to do so
    • Intentionally build supportive relationships
      • offer to serve as a mentor to another employee or
      • volunteers to ease the workload of another employee
    • Other traits:
      • Emotionally commit to what they do and
      • Work with high energy and enthusiasm.
      • Find work can sometimes be stressful but also rewarding and fun
    What are the dangers of a disengaged workforce?
    1. Employee morale
    2. Broken culture
    3. Loss of productivity
    4. Performance objectives not met and business goals suffer overall
    What are the benefits for an employee and the enterprise to have an engaged or fully engaged workforce? In a word: Many. But here are just a few benefits:
    • Affiliation – When an employee feels connected to the organization and to each other they better understand their role and the impact they have within the company.
    • Collaboration and Productivity – More than 66% of those managers who reported that they were motivated at work also claimed high productivity levels
    • Company performance - Companies with high levels of employee engagement improved 19.2% in operating income while companies with low levels of employee engagement declined 32.7% (Towers Watson)
    In your opinion and work, is employee engagement the next hot topic on which people are hopping on the band wagon to discuss and address? Personally, I think employee engagement has always been a hot topic. The difference is that social technologies brings a much clearer and visual correlation between the level of employee engagement and organizational performance. From an HR standpoint, employee engagement also means enhancing employee satisfaction, increasing productivity, reducing redundancies, and driving unnecessary cost out of the business. It's also important to remember that you can't FORCE engagement. You can make tools available to employees so that they can choose to be more engaged, but ultimately, the decision is up to the employee. How can employers address issue of employee expectations in an effort to move towards developing or enhancing employee engagement? Organizations need to keep up with the times and with the emerging workforce. New hires fresh from college are individuals who have always had the immediacy that internet and even social tools brings to them. 64% of all employers recruit from social platforms and 81% of college seniors look for jobs on them. Because we use social tools externally and sell ourselves as innovative companies to candidates, we are setting an expectation that social and interactive platforms are available tools internally. As companies, we tend to fall short on providing the same services to our employees as we do our customers. So what can we do?
    • Identify what comprises the employee life cycle for your organization and apply a social layer around those base camps to create a social, yet task-based employee experience
    • Improve internal communications (frequency, transparency, cross-functionally and vertically down through functions)
    • Accelerate training programs across a variety of management and technical areas
    • Upgrade the performance management system with a sharper focus on developing objectives and improving documentation to support the evaluation process
    • Phase out managers who, simply put, had been there too long or were wrong for the job.
    The biggest challenge is to balance the demographics within your organization. Making new tools available to the emerging workforce while still maintaining (or gradually transitioning out) traditional tools that your existing workforce is using. From your perspective, what kind of social media activity indicates engaged employees, and what are some of the other ways in which employee engagement can be measured or evaluated? Social technology within an organization is all about informal interaction and engagement. Employees can communicate with each other throughout the day and at any time. Social technologies makes it easier to express ideas and knowledge, to make them visible and, ideally, viral. BUT You  have to keep in mind that it’s also a biased indicator of an engaged employee. Some employees will actively participate while there are others who won’t. There are lots of employees devoted to their company, who are conscientious and committed but whose personalities prevent them from being overt in what they say and do. Their engagement is more discreet. Don't use social media activity as your single metric for employee engagement. True engagement doesn’t focus on activity, it focuses on how the employee feels. Does the employee feel inspired when they get to work, do they feel connected to the rest of the organization and do they feel fulfilled with the work they are doing What are some of the ways we can measure employee engagement? Formal employee opinion surveys are a popular way to measure employee engagement. But some of the issues associated with EOS are:
    • They are event driven by a yearly initiative
    • Survey’s don’t really measure engagement, they only show outcome
    • Little or no followup
    • Results reported to executive team
    Some other ways you can measure employee engagement:
    • Read Benchmarking reports  to identify strengths and weaknesses relative to your peers and map employee engagement to business performance.
    • Perform pulse checks and develop a clear communication plan to prove efficacy of actions plans
    • LISTEN to the conversation – pay attention to online chatter and listen to what potential, present and past employees are saying about your company
    • Develop an Employee Engagement Score – Measure employee loyalty. Telus is a great example of a company that does this. They have something called the “likelihood to recommend” score which helps them understand how their employees feel about the company.
    What's next for 2012? If you think back, 2009 was all about Web 2.0, 2010 was about social media, 2011 was about social media in the workplace. Today, we need to focus on being social in the workplace. But in order to do this, we need to shift our focus from creating siloed social platforms (e.g., a collaboration site here, an internal Twitter there) to transforming how we lead our organizations and communicate with our employees from a holistic standpoint. That is, consider the overall experience and using social tools to enable employees to improve their work and personal lives. Effective integration of social tools means analyzing employee behavior and intersecting that with organizational needs, and revolutionizing traditional workplace programs such as:
    • talent acquisition (how we find and hire new employees),
    • talent management (how we maintain employees),
    • performance management (how we recognize employees) and
    • learning and development (how we grow our employees)
    In general, it’s innovative and encouraging to see so many companies tackling collaboration and productivity through the use of social technologies. But a connected enterprise doesn’t automatically create an engaged workforce. It’s easy to create a collaboration portal, but it’s much more difficult to make engagement a way of life in your organization. PS: You can listen to the archived podcast of my Digital411 appearance on

  • Social Knows: Employee Engagement Statistics (Nov 2011)

    In our “Social Knows” series, we sniff out and compile statistics and research regarding workplace / workforce management, human resources and employee engagement. The goal is to provide you with the background knowledge necessary to support your own recommendations, findings and strategies. Submissions always welcomed.

    Social Media in the Workplace

    SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Media in the Workplace
    • 20% of CEO surveyed use LinkedIn; 17% use Facebook; 9% use Twitter; 8% use YouTube; 7% use Photo-sharing applications; 5% use Video-sharing applications
    • 69% of respondents surveyed say their organization does NOT track employee use of social media on company-owned computers or handheld devices
    • 57% of respondents surveyed say their organization does NOT block access to social media on company-owned computers or handheld devices?
    • 68% of respondents surveyed say their organizations have groups or individuals who currently engage in social media activities to reach external audiences
      • Markting - 67%
      • Human Resources - 44%
      • Public Relations - 38%
      • Sales - 24%
      • Management (corporate / senior ) - 20%
      • Customer Service - 15%
      • Information Technology - 12%
      • Operation Logistics - 6%
      • Legal - 3%
      • Accounting / Finance - 2%
      • Other - 8%
    IABC Research Foundation and Buck Consultants Employee Engagement Survey
    • Percentage of organizations who encourage employees to participate in social media to share information and express opinions
      • 33% - Small number of employees have access to organizational social media and are encouraged to participate
      • 25% - All employees have access to organizational social media and are encouraged to participate
      • 18% - Some employees, but not all, have access to organizational social media
      • 23% - No employees have access to organizational social media
    • 49% of respondents say their organization have a social media policy in place whereas 28% have one in development or 22% do not have one at all
    • 54% of respondents say their top executives do NOT participate in social media; 35% say their CEOs occasionally do; and 11% say their CEOs participate regularly

    Mobile Workforce

    Cisco, Connected Technology World Report
    • Two of every three employees surveyed (66 percent) expect IT to allow them to use any device – personal or company-issued – to access corporate networks, applications, and information anywhere at any time, and they expect the types of devices to continue diversifying
    • IT respondents (45 percent) said they are not prepared policy- and technology-wise to support a more borderless, mobile workforce
    • Almost three of every five employees globally (58 percent) admitted that they have allowed non-employees to use their corporate devices unsupervised.
    • IT respondents felt security (57 percent), budget (34 percent), and staff expertise (17 percent) were the biggest barriers to enabling a more distributed workforce, employees often felt IT and corporate policies were the obstacles
    • 70% of employees with smartphones regularly check their emails outside the normal business hours.
    • 42% of employees log onto their business email accounts while home on sick leave.
    • 43% of employees connect to their emails on  their smartphones in order to get ahead and ease their workloads for the following business day.
    • 3 of 5 workers say they do not need to be in the office anymore to be productive
    • 32% of employees globally now rely on more than one mobile device during the typical work day
    • 46% of mobile workers feel most productive in the office while 38% most productive working from home
    • 87% of IT Managers say companies provide workers with mobile phones and cover costs, but more than half of employees with iPhones, Android phones and iPads report they purchased the devices themselves
    • Users accessing web-based email decreased by 6% while users accessing mobile email increased by 36%
    • Of 22-34 year olds, 70% use tablets while only 47& users between the ages of 55-64 use tables, and 65% of users between the ages of 35 - 54 use tablets
    iPass, Mobile Workforce Report
    • 61 percent of mobile workers sleep with their smartphone nearby, 43 percent within arm’s reach
    • During downtime, 91 percent of employees check their smartphone every six to 12 minutes
    • 38 percent of mobile workers wake up to check their mobile device during the night
    • 35 percent check email on their device first thing in the morning – even before getting dressed or eating breakfast
    • The average mobile worker works 240 hours a year longer than the general population
    • 94 percent of mobile workers have a smartphone
    • 41 percent of mobile workers have a tablet, and an additional 34 percent of mobile workers intend to purchase a tablet in the next six months
    • 87 percent of mobile workers that own tablets use their tablets for at least some work
    • Among tablet owners, 27 percent have a tablet provided by their workplace and 73 percent have a personally owned tablet
    IBM Allows Employees to Use Personal Smartphone Devices for Workplace Tasks
    • By the end of 2011, 100,000 employees of IBM can connect their handheld devices to internal networks of IBM and by 2012 another 100,000 employees will be connected to it.

    HR Transformation

    2011 Achievers Social HR Survey
    • 98% of HR respondents say they believe that social networking is an important tool for recruiting, retaining and managing employees
    • 82% of HR respondents believe that social networks will be used as an HR tool in their organizations within the next 12 months
    • 85% of HR respondents say their companies plan to increase investment in both time and money in social networks in 2012
    • 52% of HR respondents say that senior management is the biggest hurdle to getting social networks accepted as a legitimate HR tool
    • 90% of HR respondents believe that social networking should be used as an HR tool.
    • Percentage of HR people who believe that social networking tools can have those most impact in these areas:
      • 34% - Reduce cost of recruiting
      • 26% - Reduce costs of communication
      • 22% - Employee Engagement
      • 15% - Career Management
      • 12% - Employee Satisfaction
      • 9% - Employee Retention


    Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey
    • 41% of college seniors use some form of social media in their search for employment
    • 90% of HR managers use or plan to use social networking to find employees
    • 64% of employers have used social media to successfully recruit workers
    • Approximately 31% of college seniors have LinkedIn profiles, while nearly 23% have Twitter accounts
    • Almost 70% with accounts on both LinkedIn and Twitter report using them for their job search
    • 81% of college seniors use LinkedIn to distribute their profiles to their network contacts and prospective employers, while almost half use it to research employers
    Cisco, Gen-Y Study
    • 40 percent of college students and 45 percent of young employees would accept a lower-paying job if it had more flexibility on device choice, social media access, and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility.
    • 64 percent of college students would ask about social media usage policies during job interviews, and one in four overall (24 percent) said it will be a key factor in determining whether or not to accept an offer.
    • 41 percent of young professionals said their companies marketed a flexible device and social media policy to recruit and attract them.
    • More than half of college students globally (56 percent) replied that if they encountered a company that banned access to social media, they would either not accept the job offer or would join and find a way to get around it anyway.
    • 29 percent of college students believe that once they begin working, it will be their right –- not just a privilege –- to be able to work remotely with a flexible schedule.

    Talent Management

    Towers Watson, 2011/2012 Talent Management and Rewards Study, North America

    Integration of reward and talent management programs

    • Only 36% of organizations with a competency model have linked it to their reward programs.
    • Most organizations have been unable to effectively leverage their investment in HR technology.


    • Only 44% of organizations formally identify employees with critical skills.
    • Fully 68% identify high potentials, but only 28% inform those employees who have been identified.


    • Short-term incentive (STI) programs provide greater flexibility because payouts can rise or fall depending on business conditions. Funding for STI programs increased sharply last year, from 88% to 111% of target as profits increased, and employers expect to fully fund STI programs in 2011.

    Employee / Performance Management

    Cornerstone OnDemand Research Survey on Performance Management
    • 50% of employed U.S. adults who have experienced their employer’s review process feel more valued by the company when they receive a performance review that is focused on helping them succeed in their role
    • Only 37% said they’ve been given useful feedback from their manager/employer;
    • Only 34% indicated that they’ve received training and development to help them better perform their job;
    • Only 32% said that their performance goals are aligned with their company’s business objectives; and
    • Only 20% have established career goalswith their manager/employer
    IABC Research Foundation and Buck Consultants Employee Engagement Survey
    • 44% of respondents say that individual supervisors is the highest contributing factor to increasing employee engagement; 39% by amount of communication; 31% by change in leadership
    • Percentage of importance of organization's decisions to develop programs and strategies for engaging employees:
      • 33% - Create a new culture or work environment
      • 28% - Increase productivity
      • 26% - Retain top talent
      • 19% - Increase employee morale
      • 8% - Knowledge transfer to younger employees
    Towers Watson, 2010 Global Workforce Survey
    • Only 31% of employees their senior managers communicate openly and honestly
    • 3% thought their managers treated them as key parts of the organization and no fewer than 60% felt their senior managers treated them as just another organizational asset to be managed.
    • Only 39% of employees in the US feel senior management does not exhibit attitudes and behaviors that reflect they care about the well-being of their employees. (29% of employees for UK)
    • Only 47% think their leaders are trustworthy
    • Only 42% think their leaders inspire and engage them
    • 61% question whether their leaders deal effectively with poor performers
    • Only 42% think senior management encourages development of talent

  • Aligning Performance Management with Business Strategy (and ...

    In the October 2011 edition of HR Magazine UK, I was interviewed regarding my thoughts on integrating social technologies with performance management. Below is the article in its entirety. My contribution to this article is highlighted in red (note: I'm all the way down at the bottom!). Original source: Energised and Positive, HR Magazine UK, October 2011, Rob Gray performance In challenging economic times, amid market volatility, certainties are thin on the ground. But when the going is tough, one thing we can be sure of is that employers will need to maximise the return they get from their staff. Recent Hay Group research among 1,660 senior decision-makers in large organisations across more than 30 countries - including 100 in the UK - found on average employers were looking to achieve ambitious growth levels of 5.4%. As this outstrips GDP rises in most markets, it is clear leaders are seeking to boost employee productivity. However, given that many workers are already stretched, this is quite a tall order. "If people want more growth than the economy as a whole can provide, something has to give," says Hay Group director of public sector consulting, Peter Smith. All too often, Smith elaborates, there is a mismatch between what a CEO expects and what may actually be achieved. The majority of employers are missing a trick by failing to align performance management with strategy and culture. As a result, many employees are unaware of how they can contribute to their company's strategic goals. Rather than pushing people to work longer and harder, the answer may lie in equipping them to work smarter. The Hay Group report, Strategic Performance Management, was published in June, based on interviews in the period April-May 2011. If employers are to succeed in aligning performance management strategy with the business, they need the right tools. Today's performance management solutions provide a complete suite of competency measurement tools - ie more than just performance reviews and appraisals. They should help employees understand how they can develop skills and talents - even better, if they are linked to learning resources. Technology is a valuable enabler, but commitment and buy-in from the top down are essential for a high-performance culture. "All too often, employees in the challenging economic climate, see performance management as little more than a box-ticking activity," says Martin Belton, commercial director of e2train, a provider of performance, talent management and succession planning. "The problem is many employers can't see a personal incentive to achieve stretch goals with pay freezes and training budgets being squeezed to their limit. Line managers need to re-engage with their staff to regain their trust and commitment." There is a split among organisations - and indeed different groups within organisations. There are those managers who invest time and effort in regular, high-quality performance discussions, and those who just see it going through the motions. Frequently, the quality of the performance process is related to the culture of the organisation or the particular division within the organisation. "If performance management is taken seriously within the senior team and they lead by example, then this tends to cascade through the organisation," says Stuart Hearn, commercial director at HR software company Vaado Software and previously international HR director at Sony Music Publishing. "In organisations where the process is HR-driven and senior management is not committed to performance management, it tends to be more of a box-ticking exercise." Affordable housing provider Bromford Group, which has 26,000 homes in central England, introduced a performance management framework (PMF) after a review of its needs. The thinking behind the PMF is to help Bromford align all activity to achieve success for the business, and individually, while helping it identify its great or exceptional performers, as well as those that are not performing in line with expectations. The five key PMF elements are: setting SMART targets; monitoring and evaluating 'what' colleagues achieve and 'how' they achieve it; ensuring colleagues are supported to achieve; determining an overall rating annually on performance; and agreeing and supporting training and development needs. "We have called it a framework because it is designed to be flexible," says Bromford's director of organisational development and communi-cations, Helena Moore. "And we needed to do a lot of communications work around why we have brought it in - that was an important plank. We have a culture of trust and strong leadership and we are sharpening up what we expect from people." Shrewdly, the PMF instructs leaders to always have 'conversations that count' about a team's and/or a colleague's progress against targets, behaviours and how things are going, so discouraging meaningless box-ticking. There is flexibility for meetings to happen at both office and non-office venues. Operation and administration are kept as paper-free as possible - using existing Ciphr software. This, concedes Moore, has been a little "clunky", but the general feedback has been that staff like the system. The PMF has been structured to support other current and future people processes, including recruitment, identification of training needs, developing talent and succession planning, adds Moore. "If you can develop a performance management system where people come out of it feeling more energised and positive, that's a good thing because often people walk in feeling ready for battle," says Paul Brewerton, director at the Strengths Partnership, an HR assessment and coaching consultancy. "Layer upon layer of process can be overwhelming. It can become unwieldy and people may not be able to see the purpose of each conversation." In Brewerton's view, cracking the whip can be counterproductive. It is preferable, he feels, to identify what people have done well and focus on that. Paul Matthews, founder of management development company People Alchemy, agrees: "If you put people in a vice, they tend to object. A lot of businesses that are having problems are those that are squeezing people. It's all about keeping employees engaged with the process of the company rather than just using them as resources. If a team leader has a vision of what they want to do with a team and the team buys into it, they will get a lot more discretionary effort. Especially if they are able to plug the team purpose into the bigger corporate vision." Matthews uses the mutually beneficial relationship between sugar ants and aphids as an analogy. The ants protect the aphids and in return are able to feast on the honeydew they secrete. Some ants have even learnt to stroke the aphids to help them release the honeydew. The moral is clear - encouragement can be very effective. Yet there is obviously a balance to be struck. And there is also the matter of perception. Some employees may be labouring under the misapprehension that they are performing wonderfully well, when in fact they could achieve significantly more. Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting, author of How To Get Top Marks in… Managing poor work performance… Good practice and tactical tips from the HR headmistress (Gibbons Williams, 2010), says: "My experience tells me most people think they are giving good, or indeed excellent, performance. The truth is, in most cases it's OK, but not wonderful. I have been saying for some time that 'good enough is no longer good enough'. With employees in possession of more rights - and therefore costing more - than they ever have in history, it is entirely appropriate to coach and guide them - and ultimately discipline them if necessary, to ensure they meet all of your reasonable standards." There is a degree of confusion in some quarters as to the difference between performance management and talent management. The latter has become so broad that people may use it in reference to anything from recruitment through to succession planning. One view is talent management is about proactively managing the attraction, development, deployment and retention of the organisation's highest quality employees. This differs from performance management, which encompasses all employees within the organisation. The key is to identify the right high-calibre staff to participate in talent management initiatives, using objective rather than subjective data. "Usually this involves making sure relevant competencies are in place to assess staff against set criteria and then implement a structured career development assessment procedure to objectively measure potential," says Rachel Blackburn, director of management consultancy US2U Consulting. "This process involves psychometric assessment tools. Most clients have surprises when we complete this process and then we work with them to get the best from the talent they have, rather than over-promote employees, which usually results in stressful circumstances for all parties involved." It should be noted that recent legal developments have contributed to an increased focus on continuous assessment throughout employment. With the end of the default retirement age earlier this year, it is no longer possible to let under-performing employees simply 'drift' to retirement. Kevin McCavish, partner and national head of employment at law firm Shoosmiths, advises that older employees need to be performance-managed just like any other employee, because their employment can no longer be terminated simply when they reach a certain age. Where they cannot substantiate selection for redundancy with prior performance appraisals, an employer is likely to struggle to show they dismissed an employee fairly for redundancy, McCavish asserts. The pressure is on to heighten performance - but applying it with all the subtlety of a thumbscrew is not the way to get the best results. Case study: IG Group FTSE 250 member IG Group is a provider of financial spread betting and derivatives trading. It employs fewer than 1,000 people. Over the past 18 months, it has customised its SelectHR software, linking it to its financial systems, to provide a more performance-related approach to staff ratings and pay reviews. "We are funnelling the information down to individual sales and we can see if a new account has made a difference to profitability," says IG group head of HR, Jackie Bornor. "We do a lot of internal league tables of our sales teams. Also, at the monthly European office heads' meetings, the performance statistics are brought out to be reflected on by the whole team. "There is a lot of healthy competition, but people share ideas which impact on their draw. We have tried to engender in IG a sense that it is a group effort, as 95% of our employees are covered by the same bonus pot," she adds. While the traders and other front office staff are in the 'firing line' in terms of revenue generation, Bornor says her HR team ensures the vital contribution to corporate success of back office staff is appreciated. Around a third of IG's staff - 350 people - work in IT and the company invests heavily in the area, as it believes it is a competitive differentiator and long-term driver of profitable growth. Approximately 40 IT staff work on mobile platforms, such as the creation of an iPhone spread betting app. IG's figures speak for themselves. The year to 31 May 2011 saw a 7.3% rise in trading revenue to £320 million and 13.5% leap in active financial clients to 117,252. Staff shared a performance-related bonus and commission pot of £18 million. Can performance management be fun? HR software company Sonar6 was founded in New Zealand in 2006. The idea behind the company - that performance management should be simple and rewarding - has fuelled rapid international expansion. The company now has over 400 corporate customers around the world, including several in the UK, and more than 100,000 users of its software. An official UK launch and office opening are planned for January 2012. "Certainly the biggest challenge staff tend to have with performance reviews - and we see this in our research - is they don't think performance reviews are useful," says Sonar6 CEO, Mike Carden. Building on this insight, Sonar6 set about developing engaging performance management software that, as Carden disarmingly puts it, is "less like filling in forms, and more 'funner' [sic]". The colourful graphics and ease-of-use give the software the feel of a computer game, rather than a stifling exercise in HR compliance. No training is required before using the software and the program is structured to allow managers to review staff in the same way that they manage them: in teams. The way data is collected by the program means it can provide a helicopter view for senior managers. That, needless to say, is enormously valuable management information - serious stuff that almost paradoxically is delivered by a company with a quirky, unstuffy approach. To quote Sonar6's own quirky positioning, it is in the business of facilitating performance reviews that "don't suck"! Integrating social media into performance With so many companies establishing themselves in external social networking sites, it raises the question: can or should the comments and feedback received on these sites be integrated in performance reviews and recognition? As a company, what do you do when you receive comments or reviews that refer to an employee by name? Or where, with enough data mining, you can trace a situation back to a particular employee or team? Social feedback presents a whole new way of managing performance - and brings its own challenges. "Part of becoming a social workplace means adapting internal and external policies and processes to account for a growing social media presence," says Elizabeth Lupfer (pictured), senior manager, employee experience and HR technology, global HR at global telco Verizon. "And when it comes to performance management, it is important to weigh the value of using social feedback in your performance management process against the impact this could have on how employees view themselves and their performance within your company." Lupfer is an internationally recognised authority on applying social technologies to drive engagement, collaboration and productivity. In 2009, she founded The Social Workplace, a blog that has become a leading resource for insights, research and thought leadership on implementing social technologies within enterprises. "I love social media and I love my 5-inch heels," Lupfer says. "And I'm passionate about how they both figuratively and literally allow for a higher-level perspective on engagement and communication." Companies, Lupfer argues, should treat social feedback no differently to other feedback channels - and apply the same policies. Consistent use of social feedback means highlighting both negative and positive feedback. Moreover, if feedback is collected from one social networking platform, then it should be collected from all social networking platforms in which the organisation has a digital presence - or there should be clear justification why one is preferred to another. "There aren't too many organisations that have the technology or processes necessary to incorporate social media feedback into their performance management process," Lupfer says. "For organisations that have established themselves in social communities but aren't quite ready to change how performance is managed, the best approach is to collect the social feedback and use it as a recognition tool for positive feedback and as a learning opportunity for negative feedback. "Have we reached a place within social media adoption where a company can, or should, use solicited or unsolicited comments, remarks or feedback as a part of an employee's performance plan? Only you can decide, but recognise there are benefits and risks and be prepared to modify and enhance as this area continues to develop," adds Lupfer.

  • Seven Habits of a Highly Collaborative Social Organization # ...

    Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at and participating on a panel at the Social Workplace Conference in London, England. One of the last sessions of the day was where the panelists discussed and decided on the "Seven Habits of a Highly Collaborative Social Organization." Participating in this conversation with me was David Christopher, Social Media Business Leader, Oracle EMEA; Lee Bryant, Co-founder, Headshift; and Benjamin Ellis, Social Technologist & Founder, SocialOptic. I, unfortunately, was not able to personally take note of the seven habits that the panel discussion came up with; however, Jenni Wheller, Internal Communications Manager, SSP UK, wrote her observations and takeaways. Below is an excerpt from her blog post. Original source:

    1. Employee behaviour and organisation culture Changing the culture and behaviours was a big take away from the day. There were several comments made about using tools to engage people and change a culture and it became clear that the culture needed to be there in the first place before the tool – the tool simply facilitates the conversation. As the old saying goes, you can take a horse to water but you cannot make it drink. It is easy to go back to old habits when something is different and whilst forcing someone onto a social tool is wrong, you have to take the time to let people adapt to change. It is not going to happen in a few months – you can expect to wait 3 years for the change in culture and the business needs to understand this. Users of social media at work should not be seen as time wasters… they are working together to better the business
    2. Prepare to fail Organisations are never happy to admit they have failed, and likewise people don’t like to stand up and say they got something wrong. With social media, we have to accept some element of failure is likely. Most projects like this fail because people stop believing but you have to stick with it. The social tools are only part of the change in culture and changing something that has been the same for over 50 years is going to take time and you may fail along the way
    3. P.O.S.T A well used theory but one that needs to remain top of mind: People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology. So often a business will choose a tool before looking at the people and the reasons why first.
    4. Use social when it is appropriate Social technologies allow the break down of barriers like geography but it is not right for all companies. The fastest way to collaborate is to talk face to face in a room with flip chart, so if that is how you operate, don’t feel pressurised to change. There are some tools that are right for an organisation and the way we form relationships is key in understanding why Facebook is not the right tool for business.
    5. Make it human For so long technology has been about the tool, the system and the change it can bring. Now it is all about humanising the experience. Social software depends on the community. A team is not a community and most organisations have an audience which isn’t the same as a community
    6. Network for the greater good – break down the hierarchy Organisational design will play a great role in the use of social tools in the business. Our traditional models of business don’t fit with the way we operate today and having IT in the command and control centre that they are now is not sustainable. There was a great view that in the future we won’t have Microsoft installed on our computers, instead we will choose our computer and what enterprise applications we want to use. Social tools need to be integrated with the system tools inside a business.
    7. Understand what social is There was a nice test to see if your tool was social and I put this as the final habit as, after today, I’m convinced we confuse conversation with social. So check: Is it about people rather than data? Is it learnt rather than taught and is it going to make a difference? If so it’s a social tool.

  • Oct 2011
  • Social Business Part 3: The Business of Measuring Business ( ...

    It is my great pleasure to present the final post of my colleague Laurie Shook. Laurie brings her vast social media expertise and passion for enterprise 2.0 to introduce a new series on: How to Measure Enterprise Social Success. In Part three below, she analyses the Social Business Index recently launched by Dachis Group, which attempts to measure social engagement related to companies, their markets, partners, and their employees..

    Part 3: The Business of Measuring Business Times Square Stock Ticker It’s the dreaded question in every social media seminar: What’s the ROI of social media? Occasionally, we see specific case studies that prove the value of social media, but to date, the best proof of its importance is the corporate embarrassment when it is absent. The Social Business Index (SBI), announced recently by Dachis Group, could be a good start toward measuring the corporate social media effectiveness. It’s somewhat like Klout, in that it purports to calculate overall social media strength, albeit based on a company’s ecosystem rather than an individual. Perhaps the most interesting part of SBI is the social graph, which depicts the relative size of each element in the ecosystem, and the strength of the relationships between the parties, which include corporate, partners, employees, the market or customers, and influencers such as analysts and industry experts.

     Social Business Index From: Dachis Group

    Where the SBI differs from Klout is that it’s much more ambitious. In addition to measuring social ROI, it is designed to analyze the effectiveness of social strategies and tactics and to identify actionable insights. Presumably, the ability to provide company-specific actionable insights will serve as a marketing tool for Dachis as it seeks to attract Fortune 500 clients. The SBI can be compared to a stock market ticker. It’s an index that rolls across the top of the computer screen, updated every 15 minutes with the short-term results of corporate  social media efforts. Just like the stock market, much of social media is processed by a few major exchanges, namely Facebook, Google, and Twitter. However, since social media is initiated by millions of individuals in scattered properties including blogs and comments, the task of monitoring becomes evermore difficult. It’s as if the OTC element of the market is even more crucial. Like the stock market, the index shows gainers, losers, and top performers. So who does the SBI say is “winning?” Facebook and Google, natch! It’s questionable as to whether they should even be included in the index, since it’s a bit of “the medium is the message,” to paraphrase Marshall McLuhan. But Dachis says that they measured Facebook and Google from a conversation perspective and didn’t give any weight to their inherent platform advantages. A surprising top performer is Coinstar, the company with the grocery-store based automatic coin counters. Who knew? What are the benefits of the SBI? The stock market comparisons might actually get CEOs to pay attention to social media performance, since they are tuned in to the format, beating competitors, and delivering results. That would be a good thing. However, I would imagine corporate marketers might be sensitive about their CEOs reactions to the 15 minute ups and downs, especially since it’s hard to explain what algorithms drive the ratings changes. And constant social media chatter might be good for ratings, although it might be wearisome to your fans. Short term, Dachis might improve the SBI by focusing more on the accuracy of the daily measurements vs. trying to get 15 minute data polls, since the ticker crawls across the screen at a snail’s pace. Longer term, it will be interesting to watch the SBI to see how accurately it measures real world PR crises and the response to them. Will it measure negative sentiment appropriately, or will it misread volume increases as good?  If a company handles a negative event well in social media, will the index pick that up? And of particular interest, according to Dion Hinchcliffe of Dachis, “We are considering how to make this same process work within companies as well to handle the full spectrum that represents social business today.” The proof will be in the pudding. But the Social Business Index is definitely a step in right direction, by any measure.
    • Part 1: How Do We KNOW how We are Doing? A look at some of the metrics that companies bandy about, and an evaluation of which metrics are misleading and which ones are meaningful.
    • Part 2: How Do We THINK We are Doing? Enterprise self-appraisal as measured by the Blogtronix survey “The State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration”. Highlights from the study.

  • Sep 2011
  • Social Business Part 2: Enterprise Self-Appraisal (feat. @La ...

    It is my great pleasure to present my colleague,  Laurie Shook, as a guest blogger. Laurie brings her vast social media expertise and passion for enterprise 2.0 to introduce a new series on: How to Measure Enterprise Social Success. In Part two of three below, she takes a look at Enterprise self-appraisal as measured by the Blogtronix survey “The State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration” with some highlights from the study.

    Part 2: How do we THINK we are doing? Chess Media Group issued an interesting survey recently on the State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration. What I found most intriguing about the survey was what it had to say about the forces that combine to torpedo enterprise social business. The big surprise for me? It’s the LACK of opposition that’s most noteworthy. For example, when asked to identify the biggest source of enterprise social resistance, the predominant answer (30%) stated “there isn’t any resistance.”  This perspective held true across employees, managers, and even IT departments. If there is limited opposition to Enterprise 2.0 collaboration, then why haven’t we achieved that nirvana state of frictionless collaboration? In some cases, we’re getting there. According to the survey, the degree of adoption is a bit uneven From State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration, Chess Media Group, 2Q2011 Which departments are most engaged in emergent collaboration? This differs based on the size of the organization. For those with 1000 or fewer employees, it’s the business development/sales function that is most active. However in organizations of 100k plus, it’s the innovation/product development function, while in medium to large-sized businesses, it’s the IT/Operations groups. Chess Media says this indicates that smaller companies are focused on revenue generation, while medium businesses are focused on supporting and sustaining organizational infrastructure, and large-sized organizations focus on staying ahead of the competition. Which tools are most popular? There’s no surprise here. Blogs remain the business favorite, employed within 70% of the organization. Full-featured collaboration platforms, micro blogs, and videos and forums are all used by more than half the companies. Social tools less used include prediction markets, mashups, and ideation/innovation. From State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration, Chess Media Group, 2Q2011 So given the lack of resistance to Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration, what is delaying broader adoption? I think the answer can be teased out of survey, which indicates that respondents predominantly described the strategic approach to the collaboration initiative as this: “My enterprise played around and tested things out then it grew from there.” Furthermore, 60% of companies were reported NOT to have developed key performance indicators prior to the start of the collaboration initiative. Even among those enterprises that established KPIs, 48% didn’t know how they were tracking against the KPIs, and not surprisingly, 42% “don’t know” if there has been a financial benefit. So, even without significant opposition, it will still take strategizing, setting goals, and measuring against those goals to get enterprise 2.0 collaboration to become a reality. It’s hardly rocket science. You might say that failure to adhere to Business 101 is what’s preventing Enterprise 2.0. Read the entire report here: The State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration Report Other posts in the “How to Measure Enterprise Success” series:
    • Part 1: How Do We KNOW how We are Doing? A look at some of the metrics that companies bandy about, and an evaluation of which metrics are misleading and which ones are meaningful.
    • Part 2: How Do We THINK We are Doing? Enterprise self-appraisal as measured by the Blogtronix survey “The State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration”. Highlights from the study.
    • Part 3: How are We Doing EXTERNALLY? An analysis of the Social Business Index released last week by Dachis Group, which attempts to measure social engagement related to companies, their markets, partners, and their employees.

  • The Social Revolution of Rewards and Recognition

    Human Resource executives are seeing that many exciting shifts are happening today in the way employees are valued and managed within their organizations. This is in large part due to the revolution of social technologies and its impact on traditional Human Resource programs. With the rise of social media and its impact on the corporate workplace, we’ve seen significant strides in how social technologies have changed traditional HR functions such as recruiting and talent development, and it’s only natural that our eyes turn to other key Human Resource programs as well. Historically, the burden of executing a rewards and recognition program has fallen on the shoulders of Human Resources, as it is often seen as the steward of culture and has the overall responsibility for implementing policies and strategies related to employee management. But as we seek new ways to further strengthen corporate culture and engagement, companies are realizing that traditional reward and recognition programs are no longer sufficient in building a culture of performance and engaging employees. Companies who strive to create a culture of innovation must reward and recognize employees in innovative ways. It’s more important than ever to humanize the reward and recognition process and to revolutionize what was once an isolated experience by making it more social and interactive. Don’t assume your employees feel recognized and / or rewarded. I’ve seen many articles lately that touch on how organizations are lacking in even the most basic gestures of recognition and how the lack of them diminishes employee engagement. When indifference to basic courtesy and accountability is standard operating procedure within your organization, then how do you motivate employees to care about company goals and objectives – and going the extra mile when necessary? If you think your employees feel recognized and or rewarded without you actually extending an acknowledgement to them, then you might be interested in knowing that 49% of employees said they would leave their current job for a company that clearly recognized employees for their efforts and contributions. Employees may like the work they do, their company, and their colleagues, but unless they have a sense of the value of what they do within the big picture, they will leave. (Lumesse, “Global Workplace Survey,” June 2011.) Bottom line: Employees need to know that you care about them.

    Dominic Orr, president and CEO of Aruba Networks, reports this as one of the earliest and most important lessons he learned as a manager:

    The biggest feedback I had from my people is that I didn’t give them feedback. I was running along.  I had a pretty high standard for myself, and I assumed that everybody who joined my team was operating at the same level. Good work was assumed, so I let them know only when something didn’t go well.  People started telling me it would be nice if I gave them a pat on the back rather than only telling them when things were not good.”

    [ Source: Why Feedback Is So Important]

    Why Traditional Reward and Recognition Programs Don't Work

    It only happens once a year. Most Reward and recognition programs only recognize employees once a year on either of two occasions: service anniversaries and or appraisals. Recognition isn’t just about recognizing anniversaries. An effective program recognizes achievements… and ones that occur all throughout the year. It has no value or meaning to your employees. If your rewards program is like the majority of other companies’, then you most likely use traditional catalog merchandise or small incentives program to recognize employees not just for minor performance milestones, but for key service anniversaries as well. Be honest here: how rewarded or recognized do YOU feel when you’re placing an order for some item from your company’s reward program’s merchandise catalog? When a company chooses to recognize or acknowledge an employee’s service anniversary with merchandise that has no value to them, the message you are inadvertently delivering to that employee is that you really don’t care about THEM. Recognition Can and SHOULD Happen More than Once a Year A good Rewards and Recognition Program complements the annual review process, but should also happen continuously, throughout the year. Feedback isn’t just important because of these uncertain times, but to be honest, it’s simply is a courteous gesture to say “thank you” not just on a service anniversary or during the annual review process, but as much as earned by the employee. Imagine if, every time, you did something for a friend or a family member and they only said “thank you” to you once a year. How would that make you feel? Continuous feedback provides job security, improved performance overall and a more engaged workforce.

    Annual reviews have their place as formal, process oriented systems that provide a forum for a deep-dive into an employee’s performance over a 12-month period. But this is only half the performance story and must be balanced by and complemented with strategic recognition. Again, recognition doesn’t have to happen once a year. Recognition provides the key to social performance management by encouraging less formal, ad-hoc praise and acknowledgement of behaviors, contributions and achievements throughout the year.

    Source: It’s Time to Rethink Performance Management

    Most seem to agree that the current approach simply doesn’t work as employees want and need much more feedback than they typically receive through today’s annual process.

    Revolutionizing the Reward and Recognition Processes

    Make the reward something that is valuable to the employee. If your goal is to reward the employee for his or her achievements over many years and momentum in carrying that energy forward, then be sure you give them a reward choice that is truly meaningful and desired by the employee! In fact, Workforce Mood Tracker's recent survey showed that "an overwhelming majority (84 percent) of all respondents preferred a wide choice of gift cards as the primary reward mechanism. We were not surprised to learn that none of the respondents who are searching for a new job would prefer company-branded items as rewards." Paul Hebert wrote about another survey in which the most popular rewards were “non-cash rewards” including subsidized training, flex-time, mentoring programs, free lunches and the like. Digging a bit deeper, however, shows the research reflects the opinions of 1,400 CFOs. Make recognition more human through appreciative inquiry. Appreciative inquiry is a very pragmatic approach to organization development and employee recognition.

    Dina Medina, an internal communications manager at HP, recently addressed this topic from a different angle: Appreciative Inquiry (AI), explaining:

    “Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is an organizational development methodology that looks at finding what works well in an organization and how to make more of it. …

    “The implications for employee communication are tremendous. First, it’s about recognizing that organizations are human systems and that communication sits at the center. How we talk to each other and about what does matter. … Communication becomes the enabling force and an energized, committed and engaged organization is the outcome.”

    Strategic recognition is one methodology for AI in the workplace by using the positive power of employee recognition to focus employees on demonstrating your company values in contribution to achieving strategic objectives.

    Frequent recognition of every employee – by managers and peers alike – is the most effective way of making the values and objectives meaningful and real in the daily work of every employee. How better to encourage what you want to see more of than by saying “thank you?”

    Source: Get More of What You Want with Employee Recognition

    Leverage New Technologies There are a lot of conversations on what Human Resources should do, but not necessarily on HOW to do it. With the lack of direction on “what to do instead,” HR professional seem to be defaulting to current process – and the status quo continues.

    Big shifts require truly innovative technological solutions that inspire a new level of social collaboration, empower employees to take some of the burden off HR, and re-think the archaic HR processes that are widely used today.

    HR needs technological solutions that make their jobs easier while also helping employees feel valued as individuals with their own voice.  Ideally, these solutions should also positively influence the health of the organization’s culture, perhaps by increasing transparency or ease of collaboration.

    HRIT innovations are needed that will attract and engage workers across various geographies and across all generations. In order to do this, the innovations must not only be highly intuitive, but also provide an extremely personalized, progressively more social experience.

    Source: There’s a Human Resource Revolution Going On!

    Social technologies provide new, innovative ways to not only recognize employees but to also provide feedback to them. On top of that, emerging systems and mobile platforms extends the rewards and recognition program outside of the corporate firewall. Social Recognition Most recognition programs are a very siloed experience. The company sends an e-mail to the employee because either the manager has sent an out-of-cycle recognition ecard or as an email recognizing the service anniversary. In most instances, the employee is forwarded to a web site where they can either view the ecard or choose an item from a merchandise catalog. And that typically is the end to the recognition experience. Social technologies take recognition to a whole new level for companies by giving employees the tools to share the recognition among colleagues and peers. Imagine this:
    1. Your company has a social layer to your corporate intranet that leverages employee profiles and enables employees to join a network connecting them to the online activity of other colleagues. One of the employees within that network is celebrating a service anniversary and when they log in to the corporate network, they receive a message thanking them for their years of service. But, because the company has a social layer, not only can the employee see this message, but any colleague that is within that emplyees’ network can see that the employee has received a recognition message as well.
    2. A group of employees have worked together to meet an aggressive deadline. The executive leader wants to recognize all the employees for their efforts. The manager goes to the recognition site and creates a message for all the employees. The group of employees receive a notification that they have been recognized for stellar work and are directed to the online message. On the message page, the employees can not only provide comments or feedback, but can also socially share the message to other peers and colleagues.
    The impact? Your employees no longer feel they are being recognized in a vacuum. And more importantly, the recognition program becomes a public and interactive experience. Social Feedback In addition to social recognition, social feedback is another component of social technology that is becoming a growing trend in how we manage performance and recognize employees.  It’s questionable if it truly has a place within internal feedback ( think 360 Review with a social layer), but we definitely have seen some companies to include external feedback when it relates to a specific employee or group. For example, one of your employees is recognized on your Facebook Fan page wall because they went above and beyond the normal call of duty to help out a customer. This kind of stellar work is part of your core values to help customers. Do you recognize the employee via your Rewards and Recognition program ? Keep in mind there is a lot a grey in this area and companies might be tempted to approach with caution or to assess situations on a case-by-case basis. But if your company actively participates and analyzes feedback on social sites such as Twitter and Facebook, at some point your will have to take a definitive stand to better equip you and your employees for these situations. With this in mind, you should read these social feedback considerations and suggestions. Can Recognition go Mobile? In a word: YES! There are many companies who are making significant strides in mobile applications for rewards and recognition.

    It only makes sense to make recognizing employees fast and easy with an end-to-end mobile recognition and rewards program available whenever your employees need it, wherever they are.

    Globoforce Mobile™, the first native app for employee recognition, lets you take your entire recognition program on the road. Nominate, approve, receive and redeem awards, and share messages of appreciation through Social Recognition – anywhere, anytime. Keep your employees connected to your corporate values and culture even when they’re on the move – all while ensuring your corporate data is secure with the only mobile recognition application protected by enterprise-class security.

    Source: Take Your Entire Recognition Program Mobile

    Is it as Easy as Putting Pen to Paper?

    Absolutely not. As any HR technologist will tell you, the successful implementation of ANY social layer to traditional HR programs (and systems) requires that you have the infrastructure to support it. So please don’t go running to your IT team telling them that “Elizabeth of The Social Workplace said we need to do this RIGHT NOW.” I might be idealistic and passionate about how social technologies can breathe fresh life into Rewards and Recognition programs, but I also realize that effective implementation of the suggestions presented here also require a lot of coordination across multiple stakeholders. Change doesn’t happen overnight and requires coordination from senior leaders, program managers as well as IT administrators. But as you’re thinking of your overall HR strategies and and how you want to revolutionize your current Rewards and Recognition program, social technologies is definitely the direction you should be looking.

  • Social Business: Distinguishing the Misleading Metrics from ...

    It is my great pleasure to present my colleague,  Laurie Shook, as a guest blogger. Laurie brings her vast social media expertise and passion for enterprise 2.0 to introduce a new series on: How to Measure Enterprise Social Success. In Part one of three below, she takes a look at some of the metrics that companies bandy about, and an evaluation of which metrics are misleading and which ones are meaningful. Social Business: Distinguishing the Misleading Metrics from the Meaningful Part 1: How Do We KNOW how We are Doing? There’s an old adage, “That which gets measured gets done.” With that in mind, enterprise social champions have to measure their internal collaboration success if they expect to gain more corporate mindshare or funding for 2012. But how do you measure enterprise social success? And how can enterprise social advocates set realistic expectations for what’s achievable inside the firewall, given the runaway success of consumer-focused engagement platforms like Facebook? In the business space, there is no shortage of chest thumping from social enterprise collaboration vendors with a product to sell, such as IBM and SAP. IBM has some truly impressive statistics, according to an article from Mark Fidelman in the Business Insider. IBM boasts:

    • 17,000 individual blogs (WOW!)
    • 198,000 employees on Twitter
    • 1 million daily page views of internal wikis
    • 400,000 employee profiles on IBM connections, IBM’s social networking initiative platform
    Mark Yolton, Senior Vice President of SAP, indicates that their Jive-based Employee Network attracts 40,000 unique visits per month. How do you scale those numbers down to realistic goals for your organization? The most important thing is to get a realistic assessment of the current state of social employee collaboration, and to track it over time. Even if a readily available metric isn’t the best, progress over time still matters. Consider some possible measurements: Total Employee IDs or Profiles on the Platform. The validity of this measure is heavily dependent on how the platform was implemented. If the organization has single sign on, and all employees are automatically set up, it is hardly a valid measurement. Likewise, if the platform is intrinsically integrated into the employee directory or email, it may not be fair to count all users as social users, since they may simply be looking up phone numbers or answering email. Total Contributors. Although it’s great to measure the most ardent participants, it may under value results if that’s all that is tracked. As in consumer social media, the “lurker” factor is quite high. Potentially, total readers may exceed contributors by a factor of 5 to 10. Cumulative Statistics. Cumulative stats like cumulative posts, cumulative page views or cumulative visits are popular because they sound so HUGE. But a more meaningful measurement looks at usage over time, so that scale is understood and trending is clear. Average Time Per Session. Comscore tells us how much time we spend on Facebook every month. Shouldn’t we do the same with our employees? This type of measurement should be handled with care because potential for misunderstanding is high. Some will (erroneously) conclude that employees aren’t getting their work done because they off chatting. And, if enterprise collaboration systems live up to the conceptual vision, they become the employee dashboard and are always on. Based on these concepts, here are some of the statistics that make the most sense as key performance metrics for the enterprise social collaboration platform. Average Daily Platform Users or Unique Visitors. If masses access the platform on a daily basis, it’s an indicator it’s useful and integrated into daily workflow. The long term goal should approach 100%, or the organization’s comparable email usage rate. Active Monthly Groups. This is a good measurement for successful collaboration around identified business problems. It will help qualm the fears of those who think enterprise social is social and not work-related. Incremental Questions, and % of Questions Answered. An active community has lots of questions, and a vibrant community has lots of answers. A community with infrequent questions is moribund. Monthly Contributors as a Percent of Monthly Users. While average daily users measures breadth of engagement, this measurement helps to measure the depth of employee engagement. Incremental blog posts, wikis added, documents added. Measuring content creation tracks the underlying benefit of enterprise social. Moving institutional knowledge off the desktop and out of email into searchable, accessible space is the grand vision of enterprise collaboration. If we measure and track it, we’ll get it done! Next in the "How to Measure Enterprise Success" series:
    • Part 2: How Do We THINK We are Doing? Enterprise self-appraisal as measured by the Blogtronix survey “The State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration”. Highlights from the study.
    • Part 3: How are We Doing EXTERNALLY? An analysis of the Social Business Index released last week by Dachis Group, which attempts to measure social engagement related to companies, their markets, partners, and their employees.

  • Aug 2011
  • Social Knows: Employee Engagement Statistics (August 2011 Ed ...

    In our “Social Knows” series, we sniff out and compile statistics and research regarding workplace / workforce management, human resources and employee engagement. The goal is to provide you with the background knowledge necessary to support your own recommendations, findings and strategies. Submissions always welcomed. UPDATE: There is a new Employee Engagement Statistics post which includes mobile workforce stats (~Elizabeth, 11/20/2011) Capital and Corporate Culture

    • The lost productivity of actively disengaged employees costs the US economy $370 BILLION annually. (Gallup)
    • In February, June, and October of 2010, the number of employees voluntarily quitting surpassed the number fired or discharged. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
    • 70% of engaged employees indicate they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs; only 17% of non-engaged employees say the same. (Wright Management)
    • 78% would recommend their company’s products of services, against 13% of the disengaged. (Gallup)
    • Engaged employees advocate their company or organization – 67% against only 3% of the disengaged. (Gallup)
    • From a global sample of 60 corporations the Corporate Leadership Council found that over 80% of senior human resources (HR) professionals agreed that employee engagement was a high priority for 2009 and 40% claimed it had become more of a priority over the last year. Senior private sector HR managers believe that the top challenge they face now is maintaining employee engagement.
    • 86% of engaged employees say they very often feel happy at work, as against 11% of the disengaged. 45% of the engaged say they get a great deal of their life happiness from work, against 8% of the disengaged. (Gallup)
    • Less than 50% of chief financial officers appear to understand the return on their investments in human capital. (Accenture)
    • 75% of leaders have no engagement plan or strategy even though 90% say engagement impacts on business success. (ACCOR)

    Source: Human Resources Employee Engagement Statistics

    Employee Innovation and Management

    • Higher levels of engagement are strongly related to higher levels of innovation. 59% of engaged employees say that their job brings out their most creative ideas against only 3% of disengaged employees. (Gallup)
    • Based on survey findings from approximately 1,500 managers throughout the UK, where respondents identified the prevailing management style of their organization as innovative, 92% of managers felt proud to work there.
    • From 2008 – 2009 the numbers saying their manager supported new ways of doing things declined from 51% to 40 per cent; the numbers reporting that managers were encouraging them to develop their own ideas declined from 51% to 43%; and those reporting their manager encouraged them to try new ideas out declined from 48% to 38%. (CLC Research)
    • Only 29% of UK employees believed their senior managers were sincerely interested in their well‐being; only 31% thought their senior managers communicated openly and honestly; only 3% thought their managers treated them as key parts of the organization and no fewer than 60% felt their senior managers treated them as just another organizational asset to be managed. (Towers Watson)
    • Only 51% of staff felt they were involved or consulted on decisions that might affect their work area, team or department; only 27% thought senior managers involved staff in important decisions. (NHS Survey)
    • Only 40% of employees are satisfied with relations between managers and employees in their organization. (Kingston Business School)
    • 39% of employees feel senior management does not exhibit attitudes and behaviors that reflect they care about the wellbeing of their employees. (Towers Watson)
    • 75% of people voluntarily leaving jobs don't quit their jobs; they quit their bosses. (Roger Herman)

    Source: Human Resources Employee Engagement Statistics

    Workplace Satisfaction

    • Out of 10,914 workers surveyed by Blessing White, only 31% are engaged
    • Fewer than 1 in 3 employees worldwide (31%) are engaged. Nearly 1 in 5 (17%) are actually disengaged. Engagement levels vary by region from 37% in India to 17% in China.
    • Despite the economic recession, more employees are looking for opportunities outside of their organization than they were in 2008, suggesting that 2011 will be a challenging year for retention (and a hot market for firms to attract top talent).
    • Trust in executives can have more than twice the impact on engagement levels than trust in immediate managers does.
    • Employees worldwide who know their managers as "people" are more likely to be engaged
    • The higher up in the organization you go, the more likely you are to be engaged
    • Engagement levels are higher among older employees and people in positions of power and authority
    • Engagement increases with organizational tenure
    • Engagement surveys without visible follow-up action may decrease engagement levels, suggesting that organizations think twice before flipping the switch on measurement without 100% commitment for action planning based on the results.

    Source: Blessing White, 2011 Employee Engagement Report

    • Worker satisfaction. Research conducted by Time magazine in 2010 indicated that less than half of American workers (45%) are satisfied with their jobs. This is the lowest percentage since 1987 and is an indication that U.S. employers have a lot of work ahead of them to undo the effects of the economic downturn and deteriorating employee attitudes.
    • Turnover. According to a Gallup poll, companies with large numbers of dissatisfied workers experience greater absenteeism and lower productivity. The most telling figure was the amount of turnover these employers experience which was 51% higher than their peers. Effective engagement strategies should target on-the-job satisfaction as a way to reduce turnover and maintain smooth workflows.
    • Job security. More than half of U.S. workers feel their jobs are less secure now than they were a year ago. Approximately 70% of workers who feel their jobs are secure report happiness at work, but half of the workers who feel their jobs are in jeopardy are dissatisfied with their jobs. The takeaway from these statistics is that job security and employee satisfaction are connected, even though many workers are only hanging onto their jobs for a paycheck.

    Source: Employee Engagement statistics by

    • 72% of US workers are not engaged in their work. Defined as essentially sleep walking throughout their day. (Gallup)
    • 1 in 4 workers intend to jump ship within a year. (Telework Research Network)
    • 18% of dis-engaged employees actually undermine their co-workers' success. (Gallup)
    Source: "What makes a happy vs. sad (disengaged) worker", Citrix


    • Higher employee engagement resulted in a 50% reduction in reportable accidents from 18% to 9% over a two year period. (Babcock Marine Clyde)
    • More than 66% of those managers who reported that they were motivated at work also claimed high productivity levels (defined as more than 90%). Only 15% who were motivated experienced low levels of productivity (defined as less than 70%). (CMI)
    • Those companies with a highly engaged workforce improved operating income by 19.2% over a period of 12 months, whilst those companies with low engagement scores saw operating income decline by 32.7% over the same period. (Towers Watson)
    • Engaged employees in the UK take an average of 2.69 sick days per year; the disengaged take 6.19. (Gallup)

    Source: Human Resources Employee Engagement Statistics

    Change Management

    • Engagement and involvement are critical in managing change at work; nine out of ten of the key barriers to the success of change programs are people related. (PWC)
    • Only 24% of private sector employees believe change is well managed in their organizations (15% in the public sector). (Ipsos MORI)

    Source: Human Resources Employee Engagement Statistics

    Benefits and Compensation

    • Retirement worries loom large. Only 43 percent of employees say they’re doing enough to prepare for retirement. That’s down from 47 percent in 2005.
    • Benefits programs don’t get the raves they once did. Some 68 percent of employees say their benefits are good or very good, down from 76 percent in 2005.
    • Health care in particular is seen as less generous. Only 59 percent are satisfied with their health benefits, down from 66 percent.
    • Pay isn’t great either. Just 53 percent are satisfied with their base pay, down from 58 percent in 2005.

    Source: Survey: Half of Workers Just Don’t Care

    Rewards and Recognition

    • 69% of employees would work harder if they were better recognized
    • 78% of U.S. workers said being recognized motivates them in their job
    • 49% of employees said they would leave their current job for a company that clearly recognized employees for their efforts and contributions
    • Among respondents who stated they plan to search for a new job this year, only 24% are satisfied with the level of recognition they receive at work. Conversely, 63% of employees who have no plans of leaving are satisfied with their level of recognition.
    • An overwhelming majority (84 percent) of all 630 respondents preferred a wide choice of gift cards as the primary reward mechanism.
    • 65 percent of employees satisfied in their roles said they would also work harder if they were better recognized at work.
    • 78 percent said being recognized motivates them in their job

    Source: Workforce Mood Tracker survey (630 global corporate respondents)


    • Companies with high levels of employee engagement improved 19.2% in operating income while companies with low levels of employee engagement declined 32.7% (Towers Watson)
    • If organizations increased investment in a range of good workplace practices which relate to engagement by just 10%, they would increase profits by $2,400 per employee per year. (IES/Work Foundation Report)
    • Increased employee engagement was accompanied by a 12% increase in customer satisfaction and significant double‐digit revenue and margin growth over the past three years. (Serco Study)
    • Engaged organizations grew profits as much as three times faster than their competitors. They report that highly engaged organizations have the potential to reduce staff turnover by 87% and improve performance by 20%. (Corporate Leadership Council)
    • A 1% increase in employee commitment can lead to a monthly increase of 9% in sales. (IES)

    General Statistics for Human Resource Professionals

    • 24% of team members say they don’t see their managers enough
    • 58% of team are worried about their benefits
    • 84% of managers don’t know how to accurately measure their team members
    • 32% of team doesn’t know their next move in the company
    • 32% of adult US workers listen to music at work on an MP3 player or similar device; 79% say it improves their job satisfaction and/or productivity
    • 46% of new hires leave their jobs within the first year.
    • 63% of those who do not feel treated with respect intend to leave within two years
    • 56% of women feel that at one time or another they have been disadvantaged in the workplace because of their gender

    Source: Human Resources Employee Engagement Statistics


  • Mid-Year Evaluation of Your Social Intranet, technically it's past the mid-year point, but in the HR technology world... this is the time that mid year reviews are completed. And it got me to thinking about the social technology goals that I had outlined for this year and where I currently stand with them. And I invite you to do the same. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not as far as I'd like: shrinking budgets, reorganized resources and modified priorities have slowed down my progress of creating a social experience for employees. I imagine that I'm not the only one in this situation. So, to break the ice, I thought I would provide a little insight into the projects I've been working on, what I accomplished and where I hope to go in the second half of the year (and beyond). What I did accomplish was a lot of movement and growing appreciation from my matrixed organization on the importance of creating an overall experience rather than siloed ones, and an overall understanding that sometimes the quickest and easiest route isn't the most scalable by IT teams or adopted by the employee base. We have implemented what is considered to be "low hanging fruit" at the same time as taking our time and performing due diligence on more complex solutions.

    Exceeds Expectations

    The initial first half of this year has been heavily focused on the integration of our backend, transactional systems. As a social media consultant or community manager, you might wonder why I see this as a positive step towards moving towards a more social workplace. But in order to have an integrated social experience on the front end, your back-end infrastructure must be built to support it: the back end is just as important as the front end. Additionally, appropriate governance and training must be created to manage content creation and administration. To that end, the first half of this year saw the successful implementation of the following:
    • One global site - Historically, we had disparate intranet experiences. This year saw the integration of our separate intranets into one global portal -- creating a common look and feel. This was a tremendous effort considering that the intranet serves 130,000 employees (11,000 of whom are international). Because we permission content based on pay band, country, and role, content had to be thoroughly scrutinized to successfully transition to a new site.
    • One platform - The pre-existing intranet sites were on different versions of the same platform. But the differences between the two versions prevented us from easily blending one site into the other. So, the decision was made to move to a completely different platform all together.
    • Enterprise CMS and Workflow - Moving to a new platform meant that we also moved from one content management system to another. Content authors and subject matter experts (SMEs) had to be identified as stakeholders and when you consider that "the future of digital workplace makes work flow" then content workflow is essential to automate timely content updates.
    • Governance and training - a major step towards establishing a new infrastructure is to make sure that your stakeholders know who they are, what they are responsible for, and what they need to know in order to care for it. Establish governance so that stakeholders / content authors know how to manage their content and what steps are necessary for content updates.

    Meets Requirements

    Small steps to becoming a more social intranet were implemented in the first half of this year. These components  allow for more interactivity as well as mobility and accessibility.
    • Unified Help and Live Chat - to be honest, this is only half completed. Phase I was the implementation of an enterprise-wide help function for all employees. To be clear, Help was a function that existed previously but was different depending on the business unit. Now employees go through the same access point. Phase II is the implementation of real-time Live Chat.
    • Enterprise Search - we significantly scrubbed our existing search application for invalid search references and tags. We know have a more robust search that delivers results based on this corrected content and also displays suggested results on the search results page (think in terms of Google paid search results). We also implemented an auto-suggest feature for our search input box that displays content based on the keywords entered into the input box.
    • Extranet - An important aspect of our intranet is to not only make it social but to also make it accessible. With this in mind, we made certain intranet content available outside of our corporate firewall, calling this our "extranet." Additionally, we implemented a corporate version of the mobile browser to allow employees to access intranet content on company-issued mobile devices.
    • Static Footer Bar - We implemented our own version of the Facebook or Wibiya footer bar so that employees can easily receive important notifications and alerts. More importantly, these notifications / alerts are tied to the back office transactional systems so that once the employee has completed a certain task, the notification is automatically removed.

    Needs Improvement

    My social intranet "to do list" is still quite lengthy. In some respects this is due to the re-prioritization of business goals as well as technical dependencies, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. And my ultimate goal is to get to a social intranet that not only transforms the business but also where employees can learn, plan and do their work and personal lives. Here are just a few items that I am still working towards:
    • Search Tagging – employee-generated keyword tagging of intranet content
    • Social Learning – collaborative learning and development in virtual spaces
    • Universal Employee Profiles / You Connect – universal profiles that leverage current employee information and data from LDAP as well as PeopleSoft fields, but also allows employees to customize and personal not only what information is shared but where it is shared.
    • Alerts – desktop and mobile notifications
    • Gamification - Check-in Based Reward and Recognition

    Where Do You Stand?

    So that leaves me with you. Where do you stand and how would you rate your progress? Have you accomplished what you hoped to accomplish within the first half of this year? If no, why not? What are some of the roadblocks and / or successes you've had? I'd like to put together a mid-year report on where we all stand and what we're still working towards. If you'd like to contribute to this report feel free to share here as a comment or send an e-mail to

  • Jul 2011
  • Did You Miss It? IBM Livestream: Can Business Become Social?

    On Thursday, June 30th, it was a pleasure to be a panelist for a live online discussion for IBM's Global Business Services Livestream Channel with other social business luminaries to discuss the viability and challenges of businesses becoming socialized. The archived webcast is embedded below. I'll buy a drink for the person who can tell me how many times I say "uh" and "blink" ... because apparently I do that... A LOT. About the Livestream: A social business is collaborative, networked and non-hierarchical. Tools for achieving that are abound, but are organizational cultures ready? Company have already begun to employ social tools and techniques to their marketing and customer service efforts. But can they transform how they think and work to extend social innovations into other key areas of operations and management such as supply chain, talent management, product development and even business strategy?

    If the video does not work, you can view the archived webcast directly on the IBM Livestream site.

    Joining this discussion were:
    • John Jordan - professor of IT Strategy at Penn State and expert on global business model innovation and human-centric information fusion
    • Elizabeth Lupfer - Chief Blogger at The Social Workplace and HR Technology for Verizon
    • Sara M. Roberts - President & CEO, Roberts Golden Consulting and Author of Light Their Fire: Using Internal Marketing to Ignite Employee Performance and Wow Your Customers
    • Paul Beaulieu - Associate Partner IBM Global Business Service’s Interactive team where he designs, develops and implements social media, social computing and other customer experience strategies.

  • Jun 2011
  • Singled Out? The Risks of Using Social Feedback in Performan ...

    As we have adopted social media into our organizations, we've seen many instances where it has become necessary to discipline employees because of their behavior on social networking sites due to the negative light that behavior has shed on a company. It goes without saying that because of these behaviors, companies have scrambled to draft social media policies to minimize these occurrences and to manage employee performance overall. In many circumstances, actions and policies are put into place to protect the employee as much as the company. But aside from social behavior, social feedback is another component of social media that is becoming a growing trend in its impact on performance management --  using the comments and / or criticisms a company receives on social networking sites to manage performance. Have we reached a place within social media adoption where a company can  (or should) use solicited (or unsolicited) comments, remarks or feedback as a basis for disciplinary action or to affect a single employee's performance plan. And is social feedback any different from a comment card or if someone called in and complained? If you're a company who manages a Facebook page, you undoubtedly have received negative as much as positive feedback on your wall. As we all well know, Twitter is often the "911 button" for disgruntled consumers. As a company, what do you do when you receive social feedback that refers to a specific employee by name? Or perhaps not by name, but with enough data mining, you can trace the situation back to a particular employee? For example:

    You are in the restaurant industry and you receive negative feedback on Yelp or Foursquare, or even an application such as OpenTable. The review speaks to poor service and to poor food quality. Is it fair to discipline the employee who served that table?


    Your company receives a comment on your Facebook wall that identifies a customer service representative by first name and speaks to the bad experience they had with this employee. Is it fair to include this feedback in the employee's performance review?

    Part of becoming a social workplace means adapting your internal and external policies and processes to mitigate risk  in social environments. But culture is an important, and essential, component to an effective social workplace, and it's important to weigh the risks of using social feedback in your performance management process against the impact this could have on how employees view themselves and their performance within your company. There's a lot a grey in this area and companies might be tempted to approach with caution or to assess situations on a case-by-case basis. But at some point your company will have to take a definitive stand to better equip you and your employees for these situations. With this on mind, here are some considerations and suggestions. Considerations:
    • Why should one single employee be held accountable for a situation that could have potentially involved a collective of peers? Doesn't this detract from the essence of team collaboration and responsibility?
    • To hold an employee accountable for actions they themselves did is one thing, but is it fair to hold an employee accountable for someone's opinion or what could be the result of consumer angst against not a particular employee, but rather, the company?
    • A good social media policy protects both the employee and the company. So does integrating social feedback into your performance process truly protect both the company and the employee, or are you really just seeking to protect the company?
    • This kind of change in policy should also be covered in your code of conduct and other related policies, and doing so means that you're not only making changes in how you manage performance but that you are making changes that influence your corporate culture as well.
    • Determine whether actions regarding social feedback will be on a case-by-case basis or if it will be a general policy.
    • KEEP CONSISTENT. Social feedback isn't any different from a comment card or if someone called your company directly to complain. Look at how you treat those situations and apply the same policies.
    • If you're going to use social feedback as a performance management tool, then you need to make sure that you're collecting feedback from ALL social networking platforms where your company has a presence as opposed to one specific one.
    • APPLY CONSISTENTLY. If you discipline (or reward) one employee based on feedback, then you must apply this to all your employees.
    • If you use negative feedback as a means to discipline (or penalize) your employees then you should also recognize them when POSITIVE feedback is received.
    • Prepare yourself to respond to employee confusion or backlash should a particular situation arise and the employee feels that they were singled out and / or they feel that the situation involved more than just themselves. How will you handle this?
    • Use the negative social feedback as a learning opportunity on how to better improve your customer service or costumer management rather as an opportunity to discipline one single employee.
    • Modify your social media policy to include guidelines on why social feedback is considered a valuable component to employee performance.
    • If your company chooses to incorporate social feedback, make sure that you include this into your onboarding process where you review social media engagement guidelines.
    • Require that all existing employees acknowledge this modification to your social media policy and have them sign the agreement again.
    Has your organization considered using social feedback as part of your company's performance management process? Do you have any other considerations or suggestions? I'm by no means a performance management expert. These are high level thoughts that I have considered myself. If you are a performance management expert, by all means, please provide your thoughts on this topic.

  • May 2011
  • Is a Social Intranet Your Company's Holy Grail or Holy ... there is one thing that became pointedly clear during my attending and speaking at the J. Boye Intranet conference last week, it's that we are all experiencing different aspects of what it means to become a world-class corporate (social) intranet. The typical shelf life of an Intranet implementation averages about 18 months. This timeline can easily be extended when you add on the complexities of social layers. So if you feel that your company has been struggling for some time with not only the correct strategy, but also the implementation tactics of a social intranet... don't feel bad. You are not alone. And, if the attendees of the Intranet track are any indication, you are most certainly in good company. So what makes the social intranet your company's holy grail or holy mess? Is it because your company struggles with engaging multiple demographics? Is it because you're global, but focus too much on local? Do you lack the infrastructure to support a social intranet? Or do you simply not have the manpower or resources? These are all issues that I hear about quite frequently, and, to be honest, there is no tried and true answer. While you can listen and share with other peers who struggle with similar quandries, learning by example can only take you so far. At some point, the direction and actions you take must be tailored to your company's specific needs and goals.

    Avoid the Holy Mess

    This may seem like you've heard this many times before, but I cannot say it enough. To make your social intranet an attainable goal, start by asking yourself a very basic question: What is the purpose of your Intranet? Avoid the holy mess. Don't make your Intranet social because you want to join the social business bandwagon. Make sure you have the right people, content and tools in place FIRST. Do you want your Intranet to be content-based for communications and/ or HR transactions? Do you want it to be completely social? Or do you want something that is a hybrid of the two? The only wrong answer here is to make the wrong decision for your business needs. One of my most memorable conversations from the J. Boye conference was with someone who questioned the deployment of a completely social Intranet. The question was, how do you balance social technologies with key business objectives and messaging. Or put another way: how do you balance social apps like Yammer with important (static) content such as company policies and forms.
    • Content Intranet - don't confuse social with being sexy. Yes, your Intranet should evolve. But, no one ever said that an Intranet that focuses primarily on content while also having a slick interface isn't sexy. But a social Intranet that doesn't have the infrastructure or resources to support it is NOT sexy. Until your business is ready to jump into the social intranet pool, keep your site a value-driven destination for your employees by sticking with what works. Content is key. If your content works then follow this favorite saying of mine: if it doesn't suck, then don't muck.
    • Social Intranet - an Intranet that fully embraces social technologies truly is the essence of a virtual watercooler. I have not yet seen a company making its core Intranet 100% social, but I have heard rumbles of some companies considering this. A social intranet could be anywhere from entirely collaborative sharing to employee-generated content on wikis and / or microblogs. Admittedly, a lot of information managers would be hard-pressed to convince senior leadership to convert to a completely social Intranet without sharing some honest-to-goodness business advantages or ROI. On the flip side, if you're a company that is just now transitioning your Intranet from a static document repository, a completely social Intranet just might be the solution you need.
    • Hybrid Intranet - a hybrid Intranet is one that adds social layers to a pre-existing infrastructure. Personally, I think this makes for the most rewarding social experience for an employee. It combines all the communications and transactions that an employee needs to do in order to learn, plan and do their work and their life. While most organizations will see this as the "ultimate" vision, the road to a hybrid social intranet is not only long and complex, but it is also resource intensive as it impacts a multitude of systems and can be costly if an organization doesn't already have the appropriate infrastructure in place. However, the long term payoff is a more enriching and value-driven Intranet for not only the company but also the employee.  Think about a day in the life of the average employee: publishing and sharing content in real time, learning and executing on key business objectives, supporting and recognizing ideas from peers, instantly communicating with global colleagues -- a hybrid Intranet is the effective virtualization of all these things.

    Attain the Holy Grail

    So when it gets right down to the nuts and bolts... how do you do it? Again there is no simple answer. Finding and implementing a Holy Grail of an Intranet site is an attainable goal. But, there are four key cornerstones with which you must start.
    • People - Who is your Intranet for if not for the people? If your Intranet isn’t useful to the employees who are supposed to use it then you will most definitely find yourself in a holy mess. Design your Intranet based on the work and life of your employees -- assess how your employees use technology both in their lives and their jobs so that you can make both more productive, social and simplified. Calibrate your Intranet knowing that how your organization is viewed by your employees varies not only by global and technological needs, but also by demographic ones.
    • Content - Your content is the meat and potatoes of your site. It’s the stuff that really counts. But how do you nurture a healthy flow of content? You need to know what people want and make it available to them. That means encouraging people to cough up the content and ensuring the right information bubbles to the top.
    • Process - Your intranet has to support the things your employees do every day: a site that allows them to learn, plan and do. Human processes are often overlooked in favor of technical development. But the best Intranets help people achieve key business objectives while also enabling them to more efficiently get their jobs done, and introducing them to the global colleagues with whom they need to do it.
    • Technology - If your project kicks off with the purchase of software licenses expect to waste time adapting your problem to fit the solution. Any project team that puts the technology cart before the business horse is asking for trouble. Your intranet must solve a communication problem, and needs more than a platform. Ensure high tech does not replace high touch - tools are not the story; tools are a vehicle for delivering the story
    Reference: "Why Your Intranet Fails" by SmallWorlders <-- an excellent read Special note: if you would like to share the current state of your enterprise 2.0 and collaboration efforts, I encourage you to participate in the "State of Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration Survey" being conducted by Jacob Morgan of Jacob Morgan Marketing / Chess Media Group. This post intentionally published on May 10, because ... well... it is my birthday after all :)

  • Corporate Social Media is now on Alltop's Digital Magaz ...

    I believe one of the best skills for an effective blogger is someone who fervently researches and reads -- finding not only inspiration for content but also supporting facts and figures. A lot of people ask me what sites or blogs inspire my own content for The Social Workplace. After spending some time compiling this list, I realized that I was overlooking the very resource that I used when I was first started looking: As an enthusiast within the social media space, you will inevitably find Alltop's topics on collaboration, enterprise or general social media of significant use.  However, as my own research became more focused towards internal technologies and employee engagement, I found that these topics were either too broad or slightly off focus (e.g, the enterprise topic is more about infrastructure not strategy). What I found I needed was a topic that listed blog posts and articles related to social technologies that bring about the essence of the internal social workplace -- employee engagement, intranets, productivity, knowledge management, social learning. Therein lies, corporate social media. Imagine my delight, then, when L.P. "Neenz" Faleafine at accepted my proposal to create a new topic category that was specific to this area. In fact, the original intent for my "List of Social Intranet, Enterprise 2.0, Collaboration, Engagement, and HR Technology Experts" was created as my first steps towards compiling a list for Neenz to populate this category. I'm extremely excited to say that this list is now live: If you're as excited as I am about this new topic page, please do me the favor of the following:

    1. Check out the new topic page. Again, the link is:
    2. Evangelize it on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn
    3. Please, please thank Neenz for his hard work on getting this created for me (@Neenz)
    If you find that your own blog is not present on this topic page, please submit it via the Alltop submission form.

  • Apr 2011
  • Dear Company, My Parents Trust Me and So Should You

    Winding down from my presentation at The Conference Board's Social Media for Human Resources seminar, there is one important takeaway that resonates with me: the importance of employee engagement and trust. Engagement is employees' connection to their work, organization, leaders, managers, clients or customers, performance, and results. On the more human side, it's also the degree to which employees are willing to go the extra mile,  display loyalty to their company before, after and during core business hours; and display satisfaction with their work and workplace. "Organizations need engaged employees at all levels (leaders, managers, staff) to achieve results significant for the organization" (Business Exchange: Employee Engagement). During lunch, Erin Arcario (@earcario) and Nicole Maddox from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc, a couple of very enthusiastic conference attendees, and I actively discussed the benefits and risks of an organization's social media involvement; the consensus being that the benefits outweighed the risks. One of those key benefits being that social media offers an additional platform in which to engage employees -- internally and externally. Considering that upwards of 50% of companies block access to social networking sites from the office, it's clear that employee engagement requires a leap of faith... almost blind trust, if you will. And in a time where social media has made trust such an important element in successful business /employee relationships, an engaged employee is more essential than ever. In fact, as one conference hashtag follower noted, "@CincyRecruiter If companies do not trust what their employees will do online, why did they hire them in the first place? #tcbsm4hr." [MNHeadhunter Paul DeBettignie]. INDEED. Growing up as a child, one of my greatest angsts was how my parents believed that my behavior, good or bad, was a direct reflection on them. Now that I myself, am a parent,  this statement has a whole new, and more appreciative, meaning for me. The same goes for your company. Your actions, whether intentional or unintentional, absolutely reflect on your company. And like my parents, you eventually have to trust your employees to "do the right thing." Yes, sometimes there are blunders, but there are even more successes. Your goal, as a leader within your organization, is to make sure your employees are engaged enough to understand and manage risk. In doing that, you will find your greatest return. Consider this. Engaged employees:

    • stay with their employers longer, report higher levels of satisfaction and make significant contributions.
    • present less risk because they not only understand, but also care that their participation in social media can potentially reflect on their company.
    • understand how their day-to-day work directly contributes to overall company goals and priorities.
    According to the ISR Global Engagement Study of 664K employees, there is a 52% gap in operating income between high engagement and low engagement companies. So the question isn't really can you afford to engage your employees but rather can you afford not to? If you're not quite feeling this in your pocket yet or not yet appreciating how significant employee engagement is to your company’s bottom-line, you should try HR Solutions' Return on Engagement calculator. With their calculator, you can determine the financial impact engagement can have on your organization and see the savings that a focus on engagement can yield. As a final thought, I leave you with this... Employee engagement is not a competitive advantage anymore it is a basic organizational requirement to achieve results. Your employees are already active participants in social media, so why not leverage the very platforms your employees use in order to get them passionate about your company, your values and culture, and your products and services. Place trust in your employees and you will find  that your biggest return is an engaged employee who trusts you back.

  • Building an Employee-Enriched Culture With Social Media (Dan ...

    The growing passion for social technologies to drive engagement and productivity becomes more evident as I discover more and more articles on the topic. And there's nothing more gratifying than finding articles that have been inspired by my own or have been republished either in part or in their entirety on other blog sites. Imagine my delight when I came across this article written by Dana LaSalvia, Director of Marketing at Rymax Marketing (@Rymax_Marketing), on how social media can be to create enriching workplace experiences for employees. I'm doubly humbled by the fact that The Social Workplace was referenced. Kudos to you, Dana, on such a wonderful piece and keep up the excellent though leadership. It's a pleasure to make your article available here.

    Dana LaSalviaBuilding an Employee-Enriched Culture With Social Media, PIP Magazine, by Dana LaSalvia With the increase of Gen X's and Y's ruling the workforce, employers are continually searching for new and innovative ways to create an employee-centric workplace and retain valuable talent. The current workforce—which is heavily comprised of post-baby boomers—are tech-savvy, more educated and do not hold the same level of allegiance to employers as their predecessors once did. These individuals rely heavily on technology to stay connected in order to perform their jobs. From instant connections to the latest mobile applications to blogging on social media sites, this generation is plugged in and connected 24/7. What does this mean to the loyalty industry? It is clear that employers need to capitalize on this social movement and understand how to communicate with their employees. Organizations should think about integrating companywide marketing messages and upgrading their employee recognition programs to be more virtual. Corporate goals and engagement tactics should be reinforced using multiple touch points like blogging, tweeting, text messaging and instant messaging if they want to stay connected and keep their company and employee recognition program front of mind. A recent white paper by the Performance Improvement Council discusses the correlation of social networking and recognition to a "digital water cooler." Applying a virtual approach allows employees to share experiences and "news" while maintaining a greater sense of involvement ("Social Networking and Recognition: A Case for Virtual Story Telling and Real Results," 2010). Moreover, the concept of employee enrichment seems to be gaining momentum as companies are finding a greater need for employee engagement and driving behavior through social media that employees can relate to. Employee Enrichment—What's It All About As defined by the Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement, "employee enrichment provides superior opportunities to foster not just the quality of the work environment for better business performance, but for a richer life with personal well-being as the goal." This concept reaches beyond the work-life balance and attempts to improve people's lives with the expectation that "the better a person's well-being, the better that person performs." But this isn't a new concept—just a new term. Employee "perks" or added benefits have been around for a long time. On-site childcare and doctors, flex time, employee recognition and retention programs, and paid sabbaticals are some of the modern day "perks," now termed employee enrichment benefits. So, what's the best approach? Employers know that their team members want to be engaged and enriched, but how is this possible on a budget? The response is simple, the "perks" have not all changed—but the way to communicate them has. Companies like Rymax are maximizing the fact that these new generations prefer instant communication via Facebook and Twitter rather than face-to-face contact. When major companywide announcements are taking place, we direct our employees to check out the Rymax Insider, our company blog at Rather than printing out certificates of accomplishment for our spot recognition program, employees receive e-certificates—cost-effective methods that keep our program in motion. According to Elizabeth Lupfer from the Social Workplace, "employees need to identify with the mission of their company and see a clear line of sight from their work to the achievement of the company's mission." Today's employees want to feel that they are making an individual and direct contribution in helping to attain business goals.
    Electronic Tools to Choose From
    • Blogs provide a platform for a constant flow of communication. It is a low-cost, easy-to-use method to implement. Keep content rich and employee-centered.
    • RSS Feeds (a.k.a. Real Simple Syndication) provide a stream of information for employees and can act as an update alert for recognition program news.
    • Widgets are small applications that can be installed and executed by an end user. Create a recognition wizard or a tip-of-the-day widget to supplement any program type.
    • Podcasts (or non-streamed webcast) are a series of digital media files that can be downloaded through Web syndication for training modules, off-site seminars and integrated communications.
    Social Media as a Medium for Recognition Companies are continuously thinking of new ways to create a culture of appreciation and engagement through social media. Whether it's Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Daily Recognition Widgets or a custom social media platform, the communication flow is undeniable. Social media activity provides a stream of active information, enables continual dialogue and creates a sense of community. Whether employees are recognizing each other through public peer-to-peer recognition or blogging about a shared experience (e.g., praise from customer feedback), the exchange of instant information is vital to the employee enrichment process. Successful employers have a toolbox of ideas on how to enrich employees' lives at work, and they are using various social media outlets to reach them. Useful communication tools in today's workforce include: posting important human resource updates on a company blog, receiving on-the-spot recognition over instant messenger, hosting a message board as an open forum for communication between colleagues, and downloading videos or pictures from company events onto your company Facebook profile. Another way to engage your workforce is by starting an internal company portal where team members can set up online profiles, show their pictures and tag other employees. Or create a mobile application for a recognition program that can be downloaded directly to a phone—allowing employees to scroll through and redeem for their hard-earned rewards. Social Media and Employee Enrichment: A Perfect Match Thanks to the advance of technology, transforming traditional recognition methods into virtual forms of daily appreciation is now easier than ever. Keeping this in mind, employers can create a culture of appreciation and enrichment using everyday recognition methods that today's workforce is accustomed to and will value. Saying "thank you," nominating peers and sharing success stories virtually will not only improve communication but help strengthen an employees' commitment in their organization. There are tons of social media options out there—take your time in seeing what will work best for your company and start posting! Dana LaSalvia is Director of Marketing for Rymax Marketing Services Inc., the largest manufacturers' representative in the incentive industry. For more information, visit

  • Knowledge Management: Creating a Social Intranet Where Your ...

    This is Part II in the "Learn, Plan and Do" series  that explores the use of social technologies to take your intranet to the next level, to create a social intranet. But hopefully you will find that it goes even further.. to not only create a social intranet, but to also introduce your employees to an integrated social experience. Collaboration has become more than just a hot topic. It's now the primary focus for companies who are seeking to tap the power of social media technologies for their organizations. The movement of the social business is progressing so rapidly, that it leaves a lot of companies scratching their heads more often than coming up with real executable strategies. When companies approach me and say they are struggling with getting support for collaborative technologies, my question back is always: Define your goal without using social media buzzwords. Simplify your thoughts and return to focusing on the business goal you are ultimately trying to achieve. And what does collaboration bring us? Knowledge management. The ability for your employees to learn from each other. We are seeing that the best intranets are those that are integrating social technologies that not only drive community and collaboration, but also knowledge management. The winners of Jakob Nielsen "10 Best Intranets of 2011" included at least one of these important capabilities:

    • Knowledge sharing. Offering repositories for case studies, samples, and other existing information can help people with similar problems avoid having to start building their solutions from scratch. Examples range from Habitat for Humanity's fundraising templates to Bennett Jones' Share Your Work widget. Sometimes, knowledge sharing can be as simple as a Q&A tool to connect employees with questions to colleagues with answers.
    • Innovation management. Companies managed and encouraged innovation by offering users tools for taking ideas and improvements from conception to completion. Indeed, this is the sole purpose of Mota-Engil's winning InnovCenter. Verizon offers a mobile version to capture ideas as they occur, which is often on outside jobs, far from any old-fashioned suggestion box.
    • Comments. The simplest way to inspire user-contributed intranet content is to let employees comment on existing information, ranging from news stories to knowledge bank resources. Commenting features reduce the fear of the blank screen; systems that force people to create content from scratch every time inhibit user participation.
    • Ratings. Giving a grade requires even less work than writing a comment, and thus rating systems can further broaden user participation. Sites that use ratings can list top-rated resources first in menus or give them added weight in search listings. Mota-Engil and Verizon offered an even simpler approach by noting how many users had previously accessed a resource (even if they had not rated it). Sometimes, bad content gets substantial use simply because it addressees a key need; on average, however, better stuff gets used more, so a usage count is a reasonable proxy for quality — and has the huge benefit of requiring no extra effort from users.
    • Participation rewards. We know from research on social features that user participation increases when contributors are visibly rewarded, such as by adding points or badges to their profiles. Many winning intranets did exactly that. Because there's real business value to features like knowledge sharing and innovation management within an enterprise, some intranets went beyond the symbolic value of visible recognition and offered real prizes to employees who gathered sufficient participation points.
    • Customized collections. The default intranet information architecture (IA) must be based on the average employee's tasks and usage patterns, but can never predict any individual user's information needs with 100% accuracy. To contend with this fact, designers often allowed users to customize content collections.
    To the above, all I would also add the following:
    • Social tagging. What is the number one complaint of any enterprise search? You've got it: That is does not effectively produce the results for which employees are looking. We have seen that there is often a breakdown between business taxonomy and plain speak that employees use in their every day work lives. What the business sees as "wealth accumulation," the employee sees as "saving money." So, the best way to enhance your enterprise search is to put some of the power of search keyword tagging in the hands of your employees: allow them to tag your company's intranet content. After all, they are the ones who use it.
    • Social learning. We slowly see many talent management systems adopting a community platform to bring together people with similar interests and needs. The adoption of this into a learning management system doesn't seem too far off the horizon either. Give your employees the ability to learn from each other in a social context: to pose and answer questions, thoughts, and self edit each others' responses. An enterprise version of a social learning platform such as Quora not only gives employees the ability to learn from each other through observation, imitation, and modeling, but it's something that occurs naturally as human within an organization. If you or your organization has concerns over the benefits of social learning, please read this compelling post, Social Learning is What Managers Do Already, by Harold Jarche.
    What we're learning is that employees are your most important resource for knowledge, content curation and management. It's not surprising then, that the most used term of late is: social intranets. And the most common question? How to turn your current static intranet into a social experience that allows employees to become active participants and contributors. Embedded below is a great Whitepaper from EPiServer CMS that is a great "Social Intranet Workbook"* and provides excellent insight on harnessing the power of Enterprise 2.0 through community, user-generated content and knowledge management. The Social Intranet Workbook
    The Social Intranet is happening now. Over the past few years, pioneering organizations have been starting to integrate simple, standalone features that tap into the power of social media. But only now has it been possible to incorporate all the best of the social media world with the full capabilities of traditional document, content and knowledge management platforms – without the need to deploy serious IT resources. The transition from simple to static to social Intranet is almost complete. In the next few years, most companies will be drawing on the power of social media to enrich, enliven and empower their intranets.
    * The inclusion of this whitepaper does not imply endorsement of EPiServer CMS by The Social Workplace. Read other posts in the "Learn, Plan and Do" series:

  • Use This Social Media Message Map to Jump Start Your Approac ...

    Found this social media map from Aon Hewitt's Inside. Great visual to generate ideas and vision for creating your own social media approach. example from our recent social media workshop Not sure how to jump start your social media approach? Download [Aon Hewitt's] social media map to identify the best opportunities. As a really good example of how to take the social media map and use it for your needs, see the example to the right which is from their recent social media workshop. Download Now     Join Aon's LinkedIn group to share your map and ideas. Also follow @AonHewittInside for continued social media insights.

  • Elements of an Effective Social Media Policy

    I recently came across this article and thought I would repost it here. It provides unbelievable depth and expert advice on how to structure an effective social media policy, making it an excellent resource for individuals creating a social media policy within your own organization. Need a Social Networking Policy Now by Steve Bruce via HR Daily Advisor
    Creating a policy about blogging and social networking offers a chance to minimize the risks for employers, says attorney Thomas Deer. It makes employees aware of their employers' position on the use of social media, and it provides a reference point if it is necessary to take adverse action against someone for their online activity.
    Deer's tips on social networking came at BLR's National Employment Law Update held last week in Las Vegas. Deer is a shareholder in the Chicago office of law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC. When preparing policies to deal with blogging, employers should be cautious about not going "too far," Deer says. The NLRA can be a tripwire for the unwary.  For example, a policy prohibiting employees from saying "anything negative" about their employer would clearly run afoul of the NLRB since this type of discussion is at the core of the right to form unions or engage in concerted activity. It is much better to be specific in prohibitions against disclosing "trade secrets," and "business confidential information like customer list, business plans, formulas and pricing data" or "private confidential information about other employees like social security numbers, medical records and the like," Deer says. Elements of an Effective Social Media Policy: Here are Deer's tips for what to include in social media policies:
    • The employee must read and sign the policy at hire.
    • The employee must adhere to the company code of conduct/values.
    • The employee may not disclose company confidential information.
    • Remind employees of their own personal responsibility for posts.
    • Limit online activity during work to business-related purposes.
    • There is no expectation of privacy relating to the use of Company-issued equipment or systems, and employees understand that information and data transmitted through Company-issued equipment may be monitored.
    • Company-issued equipment and systems are for business use only.  (NOTE: Consider whether this approach is truly desirable or achievable).
    • Communications and transmissions on Company-issued equipment or systems are the property of the Company.
    • Employees may not access personal networking sites from Company-issued equipment or systems, including but not limited to MySpace, YouTube, or Facebook.  The absence of, or lack of explicit reference to a specific site does not limit the extent of the application of this policy.  (NOTE: With the increased use of smart phones, this policy might not reduce employee usage since employees will undoubtedly still attempt to access social networking sites during work hours from their smart phones.)
    • Official company blogs, wiki sites, or mashups should only be used in a way that adds value to the Company's business.
    • Company logos and trademarks may not be used without the Company's written consent.
    • Consistent with FTC Guidelines, if an employee writes personal blogs or posts to newsgroups, "listservs," wikis, social networking sites, other blogs, or the like on Company-related topics, including Company products or services, the employee should include a clear disclaimer stating that he or she is a Company employee and that the views and opinions expressed are the employee's alone and do not represent the official views of the Company.
    • If an employee write personal blogs or posts to newsgroups, "listservs," wikis, social networking sites, other blogs, or the like on Company-related topics, he or she must be respectful to the company, other employees, customers, partners, and competitors.  The employee must use good judgment and exercise personal responsibility.  The employee must comply with the company's confidentiality and disclosure of proprietary data policies.  For example, Company proprietary information may not be posted, and Company clients, partners, and suppliers may not be referenced without their approval.  The employee may not employ this medium for covert marketing or public relations.  The employee must be aware that his or her actions captured via images, posts, or comments can reflect that of the Company.
    • Social networking and blogging activities should not interfere with work commitments.
    • Where no policy or guidelines exist, employees must use their professional judgment, take the most prudent action possible, avoid postings that adversely impact the company's reputation or business, and consult with their manager or supervisor if they are uncertain about a situation.
    • Other employment policies apply to an employee's posts to newsgroups, "listservs," wikis, social networking sites, other blogs, or the like, including but not limited to the Company's policies concerning code of ethics and business conduct, electronic communication systems use, personal and company property and devices, dealing with the media, harassment, equal employment opportunity, discrimination, retaliation, violence-free workplace, diversity, information security, intellectual property, trade secrets, and any nondisclosure/confidentiality agreements.
    • An employee posting to newsgroups, "listservs," wikis, social networking sites, other blogs, or the like must be mindful not to engage in any unlawful conduct, such as invasion of privacy, violations of security laws, defamation, etc., and must avoid statements regarding the Company's future performance, worth, or share price.
    • If an employee views another employee's posting to a newsgroup, "listserv," wiki, social networking site, other blog, or the like that violates the Company's social media policy or other policies, the employee should report the matter to the employee's manager and/or Human Resources Department.
    • An employee who violates this policy may be subject to immediate discipline, including termination of employment.

  • Laugh at Work -- It Feels Good and Makes You More Productive

    Note from The Social Workplace: Below is a combination of excerpts from HR Communicator and And by the way... our personal source of daily laughter is to read posts from You should check it out (although it's not intended for the faint of heart!).

    A good laugh increases productivity, teamwork, employee retention, and job satisfaction, writes Karen McConnaughey in Today is April Fools' Day and the start of Celebrate National Laugh at Work Week. Need some suggestions to keep the positive humor coming? McConnaughey offers 19 tips for getting a good laugh. You can read the comics or incorporate a fun ritual into your daily routine. Laughter is good for your health and that’s no joke. — Maggie Glynn, HR Communicator National Laugh at Work Week – starts on April 1 (April 1-7, 2011) Have a giggle-fest By Karen McConnaughey, actually is some truth to the old saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California discovered that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones and boosts immune function. If you're an employer, why not take this week to run a multi-tiered humor-based campaign geared to your employees and clients? If you’re not at work, hand out toys to people you meet. Laughter stimulates the release of endorphins, which are your body’s natural relaxants. A good laugh increases productivity, teamwork, employee retention, and job satisfaction. Humor also increases communication throughout the workplace and decreases stress levels. Smile, Laugh Large and Fight ‘Terminal Seriousness’ - For some people laughing is a lost art, but it can be one of our most powerful ’life coping’ tools. It is one of the world’s most potent health supplements, not toxic, low-calorie and absolutely free. Did you know that studies show that those with a sense of humor are better communicators, team players and are more creative problem solvers? And contrary to popular belief, they are more productive and less distracted than their humorless counterparts. So why don’t we use our humor more? Being able to laugh about our situation and ourselves helps us to release the tension, regain our perspective, accept that which we cannot change and experience joy. The most important tip to remember if you need to regain your sense of humor, is NEVER TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY! We’re not perfect. I share silly stories about things I’ve done all the time…things that no one would know if I didn’t tell on myself. We all have a good laugh. I think I’m funny…thank goodness others think so too. I absolutely love laughing at myself!

    Laughter is one of life’s greatest pleasures!

    As Mark Twain once said, “Studying humor is like dissecting a frog — you may know a lot but you end up with a dead frog.” Nonetheless, we’re giving it a try. Here are 19 tips for getting — or growing — your sense of humor, based partly on the idea that you can’t be funny if you don’t understand what funny is. This is the “Reader’s Digest” version!: 1. First, regain your smile. A smile and a laugh aren’t the same thing, but they do live in the same neighborhood. Be sure to smile at simple pleasures — the sight of kids playing, a loved one or friend approaching, the successful completion of a task, the witnessing of something amazing or humorous. Smiles indicate that stress and the weight of the world haven’t overcome you. If your day isn’t marked by at least a few dozen, then you need to explore whether you are depressed or overly stressed. 2. Treat yourself to a comedy festival. Rent movies like Meet the Parents; Young Frankenstein; Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; This Is Spinal Tap; Animal House; Blazing Saddles; Trading Places; Finding Nemo. Reward yourself frequently with the gift of laughter, Hollywood style. Now some of these movies are lost on me, so we all have to find our sense of humor somewhere. I was embarrassed when I laughed out loud watching Porky’s with a friend. I can’t believe I put that in print! 3. Recall several of the most embarrassing moments in your life. Then find the humor in them. Now practice telling stories describing them in a humorous way. It might take a little exaggeration or dramatization, but that’s what good storytelling is all about. By revealing your vulnerable moments and being self-deprecating, you open yourself up much more to the humorous aspects of life. Would you believe that I made people cry with laughter when I told the story of crashing the Thunderbird I was allowed to test dirve for a week as a part of a special program? The guy I talked to on the phone at the Ford place was even laughing by the time we finished the 'report!' 4. Anytime something annoying and frustrating occurs, turn it on its head and find the humor. Sure, you can be angry at getting splashed with mud, stepping in dog poop, or inadvertently throwing a red towel in with the white laundry. In fact, that is probably the most normal response. But it doesn’t accomplish anything other than to put you in a sour mood. Better to find a way to laugh at life’s little annoyances. One way to do that: Think about it as if it happened to someone else, someone you like — or maybe someone you don’t. In fact, keep running through the Rolodex in your head until you find the best person you can think of to put in your current predicament. Laugh at him, then laugh at yourself! 5. Read the comics every day and cut out the ones that remind you of your life. Post them on a bulletin board or the refrigerator or anywhere else you can see them frequently. I do this quite often…in fact if there’s one thing I miss about living in Mexico, it’s the Sunday comics in my local newspaper. They would always start my day off perfectly! 6. Sort through family photographs and write funny captions or one-liners to go with your favorites. When you need a pick-me-up, pull out the album. Being acquainted with the software PhotoShop is one of my favorite things, because I can take normal photographs and make them funny…they make great gifts! 7. Every night at dinner, make family members share one funny or even embarrassing moment of their day. 8. When a person offends you or makes you angry, respond with humor rather than hostility. For instance, if someone is always late, say, “Well, I’m glad you’re not running an airline.” Life is too short to turn every personal affront into a battle. However, if you are constantly offended by someone in particular, yes, take it seriously and take appropriate action. But for occasional troubles, or if nothing you do can change the person or situation, take the humor response.

    A Daily Ritual

    9. Sign up to receive the Top 10 list from David Letterman every day via e-mail. 10. Spend 15 minutes a day having a giggling session. Here’s how you do it: You and another person (partner, kid, friend, etc.) lie on the floor with your head on her stomach, and her head on another person’s stomach and so on (the more people the better). The first person says, “Ha.” The next person says, “Ha-ha.” The third person says, “Ha-ha-ha.” And so on. We guarantee you’ll be laughing in no time. We tried it…they’re right! 11. Read the activity listings page in the newspaper and choose some laugh-inducing events to attend. It could be the circus, a movie, a stand-up comic, or a funny play. Sometimes it takes a professional to get you to regain your sense of humor. 12. Add an item to your daily to-do list: Find something humorous. Don’t mark it off until you do it, suggests Jeanne Robertson, a humor expert and author of several books on the topic. When you run into friends or coworkers, ask them to tell you one funny thing that has happened to them in the past couple of weeks. Become known as a person who wants to hear humorous true stories as opposed to an individual who prefers to hear gossip. 14. Find a humor buddy. This is someone you can call just to tell him something funny; someone who will also call you with funny stories of things he’s seen or experienced. Of all the things I love about Bill, his sense of humor has got to be number one. We started laughing the minute we met in April 2002 and haven't stopped since. We are so lucky! 15. Exaggerate and overstate problems. Making the situation bigger than life can help us to regain a humorous perspective, says Patty Wooten, R.N., an award-winning humorist and author of Compassionate Laughter: Jest for the Health of It. Cartoon caricatures, slapstick comedy, and clowning articles are all based on exaggeration, she notes. That’s why I’m known as the Drama Queen…I can make a story out of almost anything! 16. Develop a silly routine to break a dark mood. It could be something as silly as speaking with a Swedish accent (unless you are Swedish, of course). Now that’s funny! Bill does his ‘man walk’ when he wants to make me laugh…and you know, it ALWAYS does. I could have gotten tired of it by now, but I choose not to…I choose to appreciate the fact that my man likes to act silly...what an art! 17. Create a humor environment. Have a ha-ha bulletin board where you only post funny sayings or signs, suggests Allen Klein, an award-winning professional speaker and author of The Healing Power of Humor. His favorite funny sign: “Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.” 18. Experiment with jokes. Learn one simple joke each week and spread it around. One of Klein’s favorites relates to his baldness: “What do you call a line of rabbits walking backward? A receding hare line.” Next time you’re around Bill, ask to hear the ‘pig joke.’ It’s my favorite, I ask for it and he changes it every time. It cracks me up. Did I say how lucky I was? 19. Focus humor on yourself. “Because of my lack of hair,” Klein says, “I tell people that I’m a former expert on how to cure baldness.” When used appropriately, humor can give every situation a positive spin, even the stress of your workday. Let National Laugh at Work Week be your excuse to add some humor to your day. But don’t stop there; use these tips throughout the year. Sources:

  • Mar 2011
  • Managing the HR and Compliance Issues of Social Networking

    I'm researching for my upcoming presentation at the Conference Board's "Social Media and HR" conference, and I came across this great post. I thought I would share it here. If you plan on attending the Social Media and HR conference, please let me know! I'd love to connect in person.

    Managing the HR and compliance issues of social networking Ted Ritter, Nemertes Research — 15 February 2010
    Enterprise social networking tools heighten business collaboration, but they also introduce new risks and challenges. In the absence of an aggressive, risk-based approach to HR and compliance regulations, business social networking tools – whether private or public – could put your enterprise in jeopardy. You've just arrived in San Diego for a business trip. While heading to the hotel, you update your MyLinkedBook status page to announce your arrival. Pretty innocuous, right? Well, it turns out that one of your followers is a TechTarget reporter who suspects you're involved in M&A activity, and this seemingly innocent update has just fueled the rumor that your company is buying Spaceley Sprockets out of San Diego. Welcome to the world of social networking! It is the next wave of enterprise online collaboration, and the best way for HR and compliance to get out in front of the wave is with a risk-based approach. Enterprise social networking adoption Social networking has seen rapid adoption by the general public, with enterprise social networking following. Participants in Nemertes' research note a 26.32% adoption rate, with 45.79% indicating no intention to use. (Please see Figure 1: Use of Social Networking.) Figure 1: Use of Social Networking Figure 1: Use of Social Networking Businesses identify at least five major uses of enterprise social networking, including: creating brand awareness; online reputation management; recruitment; competitive analysis; and lead generation. The concern is that the use of business social networking is occurring ahead of best practices for human resources, compliance and legal functions. The opening example is just one case where an employee's use of social networking jeopardized the business without the employee's or management's knowledge. Guidance is just now starting to develop. Most recently, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued social networking guidance, raising social networking to the same level of sensitivity as email and instant messaging. Though not prescriptive, FINRA guidance characterizes a risk-based approach to social networking. FINRA doesn't differentiate between use of a public social networking site like Facebook and a business social networking application like Jive. Take note: Employees will continue to use public social networking sites even when a business-class social networking application is available. A risk-based approach to social networking So, what can HR and compliance do to best prepare for online social networking? Here are five areas of focus:
    1. Take ownership
    2. It's time for a reality check. Those responsible for IT, HR, legal and compliance must get out in front of social networking. Simply blocking access to social networking sites doesn't work because employees will find ways around the blocks. Establish an investigative committee to identify the potential benefits and risks of social networking for the corporation. The outcome of this analysis will determine the next steps.
    3. Engage compliance early
    4. Compliance juggles a range of legislative, industry regulations and e-discovery requests on a daily basis. Particularly challenging is e-discovery, since social networking interaction falls under the category of electronically stored information (ESI), meaning that it's discoverable and may be part of a legal action. There needs to be a way to record and monitor social networking interaction (see below). The compliance and legal personnel have the best insight into the reality of complying with these requirements for the corporation. Engage them early.
    5. Formal education program
    6. Education is probably the best means to prepare for judcious use of social networking. Per the example at the opening of this article, had there been proper education, the employee would not have updated his status. In fact, with proper understanding, he might have updated the status to indicate that he was in San Francisco rather than San Diego, thus throwing off the snooping journalist -- intentionally using social networking to competitive advantage.
    7. Strong password management
    8. All social networking applications (public and private) use a password as the primary authentication mechanism. A weak password opens the door to someone else gaining access to a user account, and compromising a user password on a social networking site can open the door to corporate assets. This is exactly how Twitter was hacked. A Twitter employee used the same weak password on a Gmail account as on the Twitter corporate account. The bottom line is that employees must use strong passwords and different passwords for their public and private social networking sites.
    9. Monitor social networking activity
    10. Social networking will go the way of instant messaging (IM). Initially, most organizations considered IM ephemeral and irrelevant to business functions. Changing attitudes have enterprises monitoring and archiving instant messaging just as they do email. Enterprises' social networking applications such as Jive and Socialtext offer tracking features. A third-party application like FaceTime tracks both enterprise and public social networking usage.
    By following a risk-based approach, those responsible for HR and compliance can get out in front of the enterprise social networking trend. It's far better to be ahead of the wave than to wait till employees misunderstand and misuse social networking and its potentially harmful effect on the corporation. About the author: Ted Ritter is a senior research analyst with Nemertes Research, where he conducts research, advises clients, and delivers strategic seminars. A Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Mr. Ritter leads Nemertes' research on information stewardship, which includes compliance and the management, access, storage and backup of data.

  • Social Knows: Employee Engagement Statistics

    In a new post series called "Social Knows," we will be sniffing out and compiling statistics and research regarding workplace / workforce management, human resources and employee engagement. The goal is to provide you with additional knowledge necessary to support your own research and strategies. Submissions always accepted as well.

    Employee Engagement and Intranet 2.0

    • 52% of organizations using Web 2.0 achieved Best-in-Class performance compared to only 5% that didn’t (Aberdeen Group)
    • Companies using Web 2.0 tools achieved 18% increase in engagement versus 1% among those that didn't
    • 27% of organizations have social networking on their corporate intranets
    • 75% of workforce in healthcare and education are knowledge workers
    • 41% of millenials say social media is important to them in the workplace
    • 94% of executives are using Web 2.0 to boost internal communications
    • Sabre has already attributed $500k in savings to their employee social networking tool (Sabre)
    • Cisco attributes $millions in savings to their wikis (Cisco)
    • Employees with the most extensive digital networks are 7% more productive than their colleagues (MIT)
    Employees as Expertise Resources
    • 67% believe there are colleagues who can help them do their job better
    • 39% say they have difficulty locating the right people
    • Only 25% frequently go outside their department to seek or share knowledge
    • 38% don't get asked for their help & information
    Employee Recruitment and Retention
    • 39% of 18 - 24 year olds would consider leaving if they were not allowed to access applications like Facebook and YouTube
    • A further 21% indicated that they would feel "annoyed" by such a ban
    • The problem is less acute with 25 - 65 year olds, of whom just 16% would consider leaving and 13% would be annoyed
    Source: Intranet 2.0 Tools and Taking Aim: Strategies For Selling Social Media To Target Audiences In Your Organization, Prescient Digital

    The Current State of Employee Engagement

    • 88% The percentage of fully engaged employees who believe they can positively impact the quality of their organization’s products and services.
    • 38%The percentage of disengaged employees who feel the same way.
    Source: Employee Engagement Surveys, Towers Watson
    • Gallup’s 2009 analysis of 199 surveys found that business units scoring in the top half on employee engagement double their odds of delivering high performance compared to those in the bottom half. Those at the 99th percentile are nearly five times more likely to deliver high performance than those at the 1st percentile.
    • Companies in the top 10 percent on employee engagement bested their competition by 72 percent in earnings per share during 2007-08. For companies that scored beneath the top quartile, earnings fell 9.4 percent below their competition.
    • Gallup researchers, who base the Employee Engagement Index on a survey of nearly 42,000 randomly selected adults, estimate that disengaged workers cost U.S. businesses as much as $350 billion a year.
    • 33 percent of workers are engaged in their jobs, 49 percent are not engaged, and 18 percent are actively disengaged. The Gallup Organization defines the categories as follows:
      • Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.
      • Non-engaged employees have essentially “checked out.” They sleepwalk through workdays. They put in time but don’t approach their work with energy or passion.
      • Actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what engaged co-workers accomplish.