How Enterprise 2.0 nurtures employees engagement

Towers Perrin has published the results of a Global Workforce Survey they made about employees engagement. The survey has involved about 90,000 people over 18 countries. The objective was to rate the level of engagement of the people in their work.

People are split into 4 groups depending on their level of engagement :

  • Engaged: Those giving full discretionary effort, with high scores on all three dimensions.
  • Enrolled: The partly engaged, with higher scores on the rational and motivational dimensions, but less connected emotionally.
  • Disenchanted: The partly disengaged, with lower scores on all three components of engagement, especially the emotional connection.
  • Disengaged: Those who have disconnected rationally, emotionally and motivationally.

What Towers Perrin found out does not give much credit to management : only a fifth (21%) of the workforce is engaged, twice as much (41%) feels enrolled, a third (30%) feels disenchanted and almost a tenth (8%) feels disengaged.

Costs of lost engagement

This excellent study also shows the cost of lack of engagement. On a three-year study, companies with high employees engagement show a positive evolution of operating margin (+3.74%) while companies with low employee engagement show a 2% reduction of their operating margin.

In addition, it shows that this engagement strongly affects the belief people have regarding the impact they can have on the company innovation, productivity, costs, growth and customer satisfaction.

Three conclusions from this report :

  1. The global workforce is not engaged — at least not to the extent that employers need their employees to be in order to drive results.
  2. Engaged employees are not born, but made
  3. Employees worldwide want to give more, but they also want to see a clear and measurable return for their effort.

Now : let’s see how and where Enterprise 2.0 can help in nurturing engagement …

How to close the engagement gap ?

Tower Perrins provide three axis along which management can make a difference in creating a more engaged workforce.

1 – Engaged Leadership

2 – Shape the work environment.

3 – Puts employees under the microscope

In addition, the report provides the Top 10 engagement factors for employees. Based on real life Enterprise 2.0 stories, we’ll see how these collaborative platforms answer all these employees requirements along the 3 axis identified above.

1. Senior management sincerely interested in employee well-being.

Enterprise 2.0 platform helps leaders to communicate with the workforce. With blogs, leader can engage in a conversation with employee. And conversational communication is key for leadership.

Paul Otelinni from Intel or, more recently, Ben Verwaayen of Alcatel Lucent are examples of leaders who has fostered Enterprise 2.0 platforms to exchange directly with their employees (blog for Otelinni, Ask Ben for Verwaayen) and show leadership engagement (management axis #1).

2. Ability to improve skills and capabilities

Coming from an open source background, I can guarantee that there is no better place in the world than inter connected network between people with similar area of knowledge to learn, locate experts and support and develop new skills.

I am still surprised this does not happen behind the firewall apart from those companies that have implemented Enterprise 2.0. One has to be very persuasive to convince me this is not necessary for knowledge workers productivity.

These collaborative platforms are genuine tools to shape the work environment (management axis #2).

3. Organization’s reputation for social responsibility

By providing a mean for customers, communities and citizens to openly discuss with brands and corporations, Enterprise 2.0 Social Tools allows for more transparent and visible policy regarding the social responsibility.

The Nestle Vs Greenpeace story in social media shows how harmful it is in the 21st century for company to neglect their social responsibility.

4. Employees’ input into decision-making

Gary Hamel essay Future Of Management describes how Enterprise 2.0 Prediction Markets have made wonder in Best Buy, thanks to a manager fascinated by the theory of James Surowiecki book Wisdom of Crowds.

It has been quite a tough one for the bunch of internal experts/analysts from the company. But at the end of the day, people felt more engaged as their input was taken into account and the company made more profits.

5. Quick resolution of customer concerns

Again, in Future of Management Gary Hamel explains how adding organisational layers between the workers and the final customers made knowledge workers losing sense and responsibility about their contribution.

By reducing the feedback loop and offering the space of conversation between employees and customers,  Enterprise 2.0 provides the framework for quick resolution of customer’s concerns while helping knowledge workers to make more sense out of their contribution.

6. Setting of high personal standards

In his book, The 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness, author Greg Anderson wrote, “When we change our perception we gain control. The stress becomes a challenge, not a threat. When we commit to action, to actually doing something rather than feeling trapped by events, the stress in our life becomes manageable.” (Setting High Personal Standardsezine articles)

In the excellent series about Implementing Enterprise 2.0 at Booz Allen, Bill Ives reports that thanks to professional profiles in the implemented solution :

There is also a greater sense of individual responsibility as people are better empowered to manage their identity in the firm and their career development. The Hello tools provide both greater control and increased transparency. So the firm is now more global, and at the same time, more of a collection of empowered individuals rather than a collection of partially siloed teams

7. Excellent career advancement opportunities

Again, with the People Profile feature in Hello platform Booz Allen, Bill Ives notes that

A person is more likely to get staffed on a project that reflects the interests and experience noted in their profile. They are also more likely to find the right contacts and intellectual capital to allow them to succeed in their areas of interest contributing to their preference to stay with the firm.

This goes back to my definition of enterprise 2.0 : the empowerment of knowledge workers. Providing professional profiles to employees allow them to have a greater control on their career.

Last but not least, these professional profiles and open contributions to conversation provide the company with an opportunity to put the employees under the microscope (management axis #3).

8. Challenging work assignments that broaden skills

Enterprise 2.0 offers more comprehensive understanding of the company and the business as a whole via conversations. Besides it also provides networking possibility with weak-links people the employees wouldn’t hve been in contact with otherwise.

And these weak-links are instrumental in getting new opportunities : studies show most career opportunities occurs via weak links.

9. Good relationships with supervisors

As Susan Scrupski puts it, trust is the currency of anything social.

Enterprise 2.0 open and easy platforms are a bedrock for transparency and trust, hence a better relationships with supervisors.

10. Organization encourages innovative thinking

Professors from Harvard Business School, Insead and Brigham Young University have completed a six-year study of more than 3,000 executives and 500 innovative entrepreneurs, that included interviews with high-profile entrepreneurs. They have identified five keys that drive innovation : Associating, Questioning, Observing, Experimenting, Networking.

Enterprise 2.0 collaborative platforms are the obvious management toolkit for knowledge workers to

  • Associate with people from different background,
  • Observe internal processes and user experiences, `
  • social Network,
  • Question experts and whoever involved in the project,
  • Experiment and get an instant feedback from all expert on the domain on the business value of their proposal.

Refer to my Enterprise 2.0 presentation (How Collaborative platforms fosters knowledge, productivity and innovation) for a more detailed description on this subject.

Observed Results

Bill Ives, again, provides us with much insight and real life story. In the Part 4 (financial impacts) of his series Implementing Enterprise 2.0 at Booz Allen, he inssists on the role of the professional profile :

Booz Allen has also had increased staff retention since Hello was implemented.  This goal was one of the business drivers mentioned in the first post in this series. While the down economy may have an impact here as people do not have as many alternatives, there is again anecdotal evidence on the benefits of Hello for increased control over career development which leads to increased motivation and retention.


You have implemented Enterprise 2.0 solution and have witnessed impact on employees engagement ? Please feel free to share in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.

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