Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Enterprise 2.0 Frameworks

My prior post defined Enterprise 2.0 and provided examples of different definitions. However, always underlying these perspectives are usually some key frameworks that help organizations to make sense of Enterprise 2.0 (web 2.0 approaches in the enterprise).


Harvard Professor Andrew McAffee says that Web 2.0 technologies are likely to have their biggest impact inside companies. He developed a framework called SLATES which stands for S(Search), L (Links), A (Authorship), T (Tags) E (Extensions), S (Signals).

The combined use of SLATES allows an enterprise to have an effective collaboration for generating effective Search and discovery outcomes.

Organizations use Links to connect information together into a meaningful information ecosystem using the model of the Web;

Proving low barrier social tools for public Authorship of enterprise content;

Tags are used to let users create emergent organizational structure;

Extensions allows users to spontaneously provide intelligenct content suggestions similar to Amazon's recommendation system, and:

Signals let users know when enterprise information they care about has been published or updates, such as when a Corporate RSS Feed or interest changes.


Another well known framework which expands upon SLATES dubbed by Dion Hinchcliffe used FLATNESSES as a fraemwork for F: Freeform, L: Links, A Authorship, T: Tagging, N: Network Oriented, S: Search, S: Social, E: Emergence, and S: Signals.

The basic premises of this framework is that to be considered a relevant 2.0 tool, a blog, or a wiki or a webcast, etc., must directly or partially intersect with one of more the FLATNESSES. For more information see: http://blogs.zdnet.com/Hinchcliffe/?p=143.


A 2007 Burton Group report identified four elements of ensuring successful implementation of E2.0 into the enterprise. The following are very short summaries of the four key points.

Personal Value: The system must support and encourage use by individuals for their own personal reasons
Emergent: Must be informal and allow for serendipity.
Communal: Must avoid individual ownership and foster sharing and relationship building.
Platform Centric: open platforms that encourage the aggregation of data.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Enterprise 2.0 Perspectives on Innovation

Organizations world-wide are striving to evolve their workplaces, and take advantage of new social networking tools dubbed Web 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 (if applied internally in an organization). Different organizations define E2.0 differently.

A sample of definitions are summarized below:

1.) AIIM - "Enterprise 2.0 is a system of web based technologies that provide rapid, and agile collaboration, information sharing, emergence and integrative capabilities in the extended enterprise."

2.)Andrew McAfee - defines Enterprise 2.0 as the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.

Social software enables people to rendezvous, connect or collaborate through computer-mediated communication and to form online communities. (Wikipedia’s definition).

Platforms are digital environments in which contributions and interactions are globally visible and persistent over time.

Emergent means that the software is freeform, and that it contains mechanisms to let the patterns and structure inherent in people’s interactions become visible over time.

Freeform means that the software is most or all of the following:

*Free of up-front workflow
*Egalitarian, or indifferent to formal organizational identities
*Accepting of many types of data

3.) Wiki Encyclopedia defines Enterprise 2.0 as Enterprise social software (also known as or regarded as a major component of Enterprise 2.0), comprises social software as used in "enterprise" (business/commercial) contexts. It includes social and networked modifications to corporate intranets and other classic software platforms used by large companies to organize their communication. In contrast to traditional enterprise software, which imposes structure prior to use, enterprise social software tends to encourage use prior to providing structure.

4.)My definition (aka Dr. Cindy Gordon) is very simple. Enterprise 2.0 is simply bringing Web 2.0 ideas into the enterprise. The Web 2.0 premises are: user feedback and architecture supporting collaboration, harnessing collective intelligence, and enabling rapid agility (flexibility to change dynamically). Underlying these premises there needs to be trust making, reciprocity and knowledge sharing with a clear sense of purpose/value to ensure sustainability of the knowledge flows.


Enterprise 2.0 perspectives on some of the behaviors one can expect are summarized below and are taken from a variety of sources:

1.All ideas compete on equal footing
2.Contribution counts for more than credentials
3.Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed
4.Leaders serve rather than preside
5.Tasks are chosen, not assigned
6.Groups are self-defining and -organizing
7.Resources get attracted, not allocated
8.Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it
9.Opinions compound and decisions are peer-reviewed
10.Users can veto most policy decisions
11.Intrinsic rewards matter most
12.Hackers are heroes

Some of the other key aspects of Enterprise 2.0 needs to be understanding the shift in Software delivery models which are characterized as: flexible, simple and lightweight. E2.0 will be created using an infinite combination of the latest - and possibly, some old-fashioned - ingredients, including the following:

Technologies - Open source, SOA/Web services (AJAX, RSS, blogs, wikis, tagging, social networking, and so on) Web 2.0, legacy and proprietary - or some combination
Development Models - Relying on in-house, outsourced or offshore resources - or any combination; pursuing a global development strategy; and/or pursuing co-creation with users, partners or both
Delivery Methods -Downloading individually; paying for a license; and/or, using on-demand/SaaS or via a service provider.

The next post will describe some of the more interesting Enterprise or Web 2.0 Frameworks used to communicate these constructs.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Organizational Agility and Collaboration

Digital Social Computing (Web 2.0) including toolkits like: blogs, podcasts, RSS, wikis, booking marking, tagging, microblogs (Twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn etc. are increasingly finding their way into the enterprise. Looming in the horizon virtual worlds solutions like Second Life are also being experimented upon increasingly. We see so much potential in this area we launched a new business line in this area http://www.helixvirtualworlds.com

The promise is that these social computing tools will help knowledge workers collaborate more and get their work done more effectively and efficiently.

The strategic goals often programs are funded under are increasing and improving these areas:
*workforce productivity,
*employee engagement,
*talent attraction, development and retention,
*organizational agility,
*knowledge and intellectual asset/risk management.

Process Efficiencies can also be realized if there are fundamental shifts in how work is being processed.

We don't always see the careful process redesign (as is to be) underway across the enterprises in deploying these solutions. Often the ECM /Collaboration platforms are deployed, with the planning assumption that organizations will undertake in their functional areas process redesign shifts- however the most significant improvements will lie in horizontal improvements and redesigning organizational design/work flow constructs....even getting the behaviors working differently is critical so then process improvements can be mobilized.

A recent Economist Intelligent Unit global survey of over 350 exectutives examined recently the beneftis and challenges, and risks associated with creating a more agile organization.

The resulting paper, called "Organizational Agility: How Business can survive, and Thrive in Turbulent Times" had several key findings:

1.) 90% of the executives surveyed stated that organizational agility is critical for business success;
2.) 27% said that their organization is not agile enough to antiticpate fundamental marketplace shifts;
3.) 80% have taken steps to improve agility over the past 3 years, but 34% have not produced the intended results due to internal barriers.

The survey also found that companies are not pulling back on initiatives but see strategic investments in technology. Specifically the survey asked:

"In light of the economic downturn, what do you believe are your organization's priorities in terms of improving agility?" The top three reasons were:

1.) Improving process efficiency (38 percent)
2.) Improving knowledge management and information sharing processes (33 percent)
3.) Encouraging and extending collaboration across the business and beyond (30 percent).

Next generation enterprise content management (ECM) and digital social media (web 2.0) and collaboration solutions (IBM Lotus Connections, Microsoft SharePoint, Igloo) are all solutions that our firm works with in helping our clients advance their capabilities in increasing organizational agility and collaboration success outcomes.

Next generation ECM and collaboration platform solutions offer more intuitive search and discovery, document management, centralized retention management capabilities, collaboration support systems for project /working teams. If deployed effectively IT can centrally manage the lifecycle of content objects and move content off of desktops into the security, accessibility and scalability needs of the organization.

One of the most critical success factors we believe for sourcing and improving access to knowledge management is ensuring that organizational search capabilities are robust and strong, so users (like in Google) can easily find the most relevant results (whether it is a word file, or information about a subject matter expert.

To extend collaboration outcomes across the business and also enable numerous ecosystem knowledge flow capabilities will require quick, easy internal and external collaboration strategies that can be rapidly be deployed without heavy IT involvement.

The most important requirement will be open constructs enabling internal and external facing community workspaces to easily let contributors share and exchange ideas and activities.

This will required breaking down typically organizational and informational barriers to foster cross project visibility, and awareness for easy program management of projects.

The tone for this thinking can easily be set by a set of core collaboration operating principles that unify all aspects of the program so all executives have the same aligned vision and their words, names are clearly imprinted on the program so their is no ambiquity on the messaging.

One of the most frequently asked questions by our clients is how can we ensure agility with security? First it is important to understand that by unifying platform infrastructure and managing content as a lifecycle irrespective of platform or repository - then you can ensure that all content that is created is archived and management by a lifecyle to mitigate risk.

The good news is that next generation ECM platforms delivery security, retention and improved governance practices behind the scenes. They can enable anytime, anywhere access to content, while still securing content outside the enterprise via information rights.

Collaborate or Die is often used in the industry as the underlying message for speed to change in these areas.

However, when I dig into the organizational design and core values of the organizations and look for a deep systemic understanding of collaboration with linkages to agility, trust, knowledge sharing, reciprocity, team work, holistic thinking, etc....there are usually major gaps in thoughtful holistic thinking in the majority of these programs.

If you would like to contact us drop us a line as we are always workign on solving some of the most complex problems in these areas with international clients.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Effective Communication Generates ROI and Happier People

Some say the recession is behind us. Whether in good or bad times - what is important is effective communication in good or bad times.

Dr. Gary Latham, an organizational psychologist at the University of Rotman School of management views a lack of clear communication one of the key reasons for our current economic failures.

Bad news according to Gary needs to be relayed in a way that is factual, frank and avoid hype. If communication is based on fluff - people see through it. Avoiding terminology or softening the language often adds more pain to the process vs. short, to the point and clear.

Recently Starbucks came under blogging scrutiny with their message in an employee memo " As part of our commitment to transparency throughout this process, we wanted to inform you that approximately 100 non-store partners are being notified today that their positions have been eliminated."

The bloggers went to town on the memo mocking its ridiculous use of the term "non store partners" when referring to employee layoffs.

Effective communication is the lifeblood of a successful organization. It reinforces the organization’s vision, connects employees to the business, fosters process improvement, facilitates change and drives business results by changing employee behavior. No matter how you look at it, communication is an important part of the business landscape and cannot be taken for granted.

A study that is not too old that I like to promote is the 2003/2004 Watson Wyatt Communication ROI Study™ which clearly demonstrated the correlation between communication effectiveness, organizational turnover and financial performance.
The more recent 2005/2006 study confirmed their earlier study findings and went a step further, by showing that effective communication is a leading indicator of an organization’s financial performance.

Key Findings

1.) Companies that communicate effectively have a 19.4 percent higher market premium than companies that do not.

2.) Shareholder returns for organizations with the most effective communication were over 57 percent higher over the last five years (2000-2004) than were returns for firms with less effective communication.

3.) The 2005/2006 study found evidence that communication effectiveness is a leading indicator of financial performance.

4.) Firms that communicate effectively are 4.5 times more likely to report high levels of employee engagement versus firms that communicate less effectively.

5.) Companies that are highly effective communicators are 20 percent more likely to report lower turnover rates than their peers.

Other Survey Findings

* Two-thirds of the firms with high levels of communication effectiveness are asking their managers to take on a greater share of the communication responsibility, but few are giving them the tools and training to be successful.

*Global firms are not customizing their messages to meet local needs or cultural sensitivities.

*On average, firms within the financial and retail trade sectors rank among the most effective communicators. Health care, basic materials, telecommunications and other service companies rank among the least effective communicators.

In summary, organizations that develop strong employee engagement and communication practices generate higher ROI, develop strong employee and partner relationships, and fuels customer loyalty.

So how many MBA, CA, etc classes teach employee communications as a mandatory course? How many CEO's and C level executives when they are writing their board of director training programs take an employee communications mandatory module?

We know HR executives often don't get it right - is this because they too have not had sufficient training.

Increasing shareholder value is linked to Effective Employee Communication and Engagement Practices - time for reflection as this weakness impacts our Innovation and growth capabilities.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Perspectives on Trust Making for Leadership Growth

Charles Darwin had a good perspective on life when he wrote " It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

However, what he failed to put in perspective that to adapt to change and build this type of resilence capability requires organizations to face new and unexpected challenges by developing skills in the art of trustmaking.

In today's market, the economic realities to many of our clients, friends, and colleagues seems daunting. What we do know is that organizations will always have a choice.

They can either respond proactively and efficiently or choose to remain in the status quo mode which is often characterized by a down ward spiral. Doing the same with less is usually a pathway that leads to mediocrity and certainly does not lead to innovation success.

What motivates people to change? What motivates leaders to lead and mentor? Why is trust making often so elusive? Why are business graduates not trained in trust and creating a culture of openness, transparency and candor?

We cannot expect people to follow in difficult times, unless leaders learn how to communicate authentically and honestly, and create organizations where this is the norm. I recently had an experience in my own firm, where a trusted partnering relationship was brought into our core operation, leveraged our credentials, and good will and relationships to secure business independently. The stress that dishonest people can drive into a business's operations was very evident, as the disappointment created such a sense of disillusionmnet as we experienced what dishonesty and lack of integrity emits into the human psyche - especially when core values are impacted.

What do you do in a situation like this? In our case, it was simple, the core values have to take precedence when ethical behaviors are in question and rapidly discontinue the relationship.

Unfortunately the yardstick that too often measures the performance of CEO's is their ability to create wealth and shareholder value for their investors.

However, the realities of short-term thinking in the latest rounds of busts have many business strategists and thought leaders - advising there is a better way.

Our belief at Helix and our research in creating stronger collaboration centric cultures is that to develop stronger corporate cultures where trust is a core value, means that leaders need to start practicing authentically trust making and trust sensing behaviors.

Rule One - Simply always tell the truth. Don't develop the weak behaviors by falling into the trap of telling people what they want to hear. Treat your colleagues as adults. Speaking straight talk is a key leadership foundation for developing trust in an organization's culture. Soon other's will follow. People appreciate knowing they can trust their superiors and know that they have their interests genuinely at heart.

Rule Two - Encourage others to speak honestly, and openly, irrespective of how difficult it is to speak the truth. It is often very difficult for others lower in the heirarchy to share bad news when they know their superiors want to hear good news. It is important as a leader to create the conditions for people to know they are respected for having for courage and know that taking risks are encouraged and supported.

Rule Three - Reward the change agents that are contrarians or challenge the status quo. Organizations do not innovate successfully if they fail to seed change agents that are catalysts for new ways of working and thinking. Ensure they are positioned so they can enable change vs spin their wheels and not be listened to - and leave disillusioned. Remember to recognize them in small ways - the simple thank-you's one can never say enough of especially in difficult times.

Rule Four - Diversify knowledge sources. It is important to reach into the organizational structure at all levels to hear first hand what is on the minds of employees, customers, suppliers and competitors so your own leadership understanding has the rich context. It is also important that people believe they are being listened to and heard, these footprints will be shared and also enhance your leadership credibility. Creating a culture of trust requires developing a strong listening culture and appreciated diversity in its richest context: gender, culture, thoughts, etc.

Rule Four - Acknowledge mistakes and move on. Don't bury mistakes, use them as learning opportunities. This gives everyone permission to do the same, and sends out signals that risk taking is really accepted. Clearly if mistakes are risks to the business and impact core values the actions taken need to be carefully thought through and advisors and peers /superiors/mentors can play an important reflection opportunity to ensure a culture fostering learning is sustainable.

Rule Five - Develop a culture where collaboration and knowledge sharing is free flowing. Most organizations like to hoard information as information and knowledge means power. Work hard to develop open environments to source rich knowledge, at the same time protecting the knowledge that requires more risk management. Financial reporting requires a stricter risk management process than for example access to project plans from diverse projects to develop stronger project management skills.

Rule Six - Develop clear value statements for transparency, trust, collaboration, and authenticity. Many executives use freely these words, but few have explicit leadership behaviors and learning programs to support employees. Hire people because they create a culture of trust making behaviors and are known for their honesty, integrity and candor.

Rule Seven - Weed out the behaviors irrespective of level that are not aligned to the core values. People do not suffer fools gladly - they can easily spot inconsistent leadership behaviors and when business judgements are clearly at risk, having a truthful conversation and making tough decisions that demonstrate you are serious about respecting and living your organization's core values will go a long way to building a stronger culture of trust making strength.

In my experience in business, it takes time to build trust and develop consistent leadership behaviors that support the continual flow of intelligence that enables true collaboration.

Perhaps the only messenger one should ever shoot is the one that arrived too late to tell the truth.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Employee Engagement Drives Innovation and Customer Loyalty

Engaged employees care about the future of the company and are willing to invest the discretionary effort Engaged employees feel a strong emotional bond to the organization that employs them.

Employee Engagement – Business Imperative to Innovation Results

A quick ‘Google’ search on Employee Engagement on the internet will reveal endless statistics, but here are just three from ISR, a Chicago based HR research firm which studied the engagement of 664,000 employees from 71 companies around the world.

ISR found that: operating income was up 19.2 percent in high engaged companies versus a decline of 32.7 percent in low engaged companies, 13.2 percent improvement in net income growth over a one-year period for companies with high employee engagement, and a 27.8 percent improvement in EPS growth in companies with high engagement.

Clearly though, not every employee or manager in an organization is engaged. In fact, the most commonly cited statistic (by Gallup) states that only 29% of employees are engaged, and have a feeling of passion and pride in their work and a desire to go the extra mile for their customers and company.

Gallup’s extensive research suggests that close to 60% of employees are not-engaged.

They are the middlemen and women who neither over perform nor under perform, but turn up each day to work. They do a job which is OK, but not at a level of excellence which is needed to make the organization world class, or have a dramatic positive impact on its bottom- line profits. The real opportunity for profit growth in any company comes from helping not-engaged employees become engaged.

More shockingly, Gallup suggests that as many as 17% of employees are actively disengaged, undoing the good work of engaged employees, sapping morale and spreading toxic energy throughout the organization.In a football team of 11 players, that is nearly 2 players who are damaging the team’s performance. What team could ever win with two toxic employees on board hampering its performance? In your own organization, you may be able to divide your staff into the same three categories. The percentages may differ a little, but it is likely that you will have employees who are engaged, not-engaged and actively disengaged.

Emotional Attachment to Jobs is Important

Employees engaged work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. People that are actively engaged help move the organization forward. 84% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact quality of their organization's products, compared with only 31% of the disengaged 72% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively affect customer service versus 27% of the disengaged. 68%of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact costs in their job or unit, compared with just 19% of the disengaged

Engaged employees feel a strong emotional bond to the organization that employs them. This is associated with people demonstrating a willingness to recommend the organization to others and commit time and effort to help the organization succeed
It suggests that people are motivated by intrinsic factors (e.g. personal growth working to a common purpose, being part of a larger process) rather than simply focusing on extrinsic factors (e.g.. pay and reward.

Employee Involvement in Critical to Job Performance

Eileen Appelbaum and her colleagues (2000) studied 15 steel mills, 17 apparel manufacturers, and 10 electronic instrument and imaging equipment producers. Their purpose was to compare traditional production systems with flexible high-performance production systems involving teams, training, and incentive pay systems. In all three industries, the plants utilizing high-involvement practices showed superior performance. In addition, workers in the high-involvement plants showed more positive attitudes, including trust organizational commitment and intrinsic enjoyment of the work. The concept has gained popularity as various studies have demonstrated links with productivity. It is often linked to the notion of employee voice and empowerment.

Employee Commitment

It has been routinely found that employee engagement scores account for as much as half of the variance in customer satisfaction scores. This translates into millions of dollars for companies if they can improve their scores. Studies have statistically demonstrated that engaged employees are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused, safer, and less likely to leave their employer.

Employees with the highest level of commitment perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave the organization, which indicates that engagement is linked to organizational performance

For example, at the beverage company of Molsons Coors it was found that engaged employees were five times less likely than non-engaged employees to have a safety incident and seven times less likely to have a lost-time safety incident. In fact, the average cost of a safety incident for an engaged employee was $63, compared with an average of $392 for a non-engaged employee. Consequently, through strengthening employee engagement, the company saved $1,721,760 in safety costs in 2002. In addition, savings were found in sales performance teams through engagement. In 2005, for example, low-engagement teams were seen falling behind engaged teams, with a difference in performance-related costs of low- versus high-engagement teams totaling $2,104,823.3 (Lockwood).

Life insurance industry

Two studies of employees in the life insurance industry examined the impact of employee perceptions that they had the power to make decisions, sufficient knowledge and information to do the job effectively, and rewards for high performance. Both studies included large samples of employees (3,570 employees in 49 organizations and 4,828 employees in 92 organizations). In both studies, high-involvement management practices were positively associated with employee morale, employee retention, and firm financial performance. Watson Wyatt found that high-commitment organizations (one with loyal and dedicated employees) out-performed those with low commitment by 47% in the 2000 study and by 200% in the 2002 study.


In a study of professional service firms, the Hay Group found that offices with engaged employees were up to 43% more productive. The most striking finding is the almost 52% gaps in operating incomes between companies with highly engaged employees and companies whose employees have low-engagement scores. High-engagement companies improved 19.2% while low-engagement companies declined 32.7% in operating income during the study period.

For example, New Century Financial Corporation, a U.S. specialty mortgage banking company, found that account executives in the wholesale division who were actively disengaged produced 28% less revenue than their colleagues who were engaged. Furthermore, those not engaged generated 23% less revenue than their engaged counterparts. Engaged employees also outperformed the not engaged and actively disengaged employees in other division. It comes as no surprise, then, that engaged employees have been statistically linked with innovation events and better problem solving.

Generating Engagement

Recent research has focused on developing a better understanding of how variables such as quality of work relationships and values of the organization interact and their link to important work outcome.84% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact the quality of their organization's products, compared with only 31 percent of the disengaged.

From the perspective of the employee, "outcomes" range from strong commitment to the isolation of oneself from the organization. The study done by the Gallup Management Journal has shown that only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. Those "engaged" employees work with passion and feel a strong connection to their company. About ⅔ of the business units scoring above the median on employee engagement also scored above the median on performance.

Moreover, 54% of employees are not engaged meaning that they go through each workday putting time but no passion into their work. Only about ⅓ of companies below the median on employee engagement scored above the median on performance.Access to a reliable model enables organizations to conduct valuidation tudies to establish the relationship of employee engagement to productivity/performance and other measures linked to effectiveness.

It is an important principle of industrial and organizational psychology (i.e. the application of psychological theories, research methods, and intervention strategies involving workplace issues) that validation studies should be anchored in reliable scales (i.e. organized and related groups of items) and not simply focus on individual elements in isolation. To understand how high levels of employee engagement affect organizational performance/productivity it is important to have an a priori model that demonstrates how the scales interact. There is also overlap between this concept and those relating to well being at work and the psychological contract.

As employee productivity is clearly connected with employee engagement, creating an environment that encourages employee engagement is considered to be essential in the effective management of human capital


* Employer engagement - A company's "commitment to improving the partnership between employees and...employer. Employers can stay engaged with their employees by actively seeking to understand and act on behalf of the expectations and preferences of their employees.

* Employee perceptions of job importance - According to a 2006 study by Gerard Seijts and Dan Crim, "...an employees attitude toward the job['s importance] and the company had the greatest impact on loyalty and customer service then all other employee factors combined.

* Employee clarity of job expectations - "If expectations are not clear and basic materials and equipment not provided, negative emotions such as boredom or resentment may result, and the employee may then become focused on surviving more than thinking about how he can help the organization succeed.”
* Career advancement/improvement opportunities - "Plant supervisors and managers indicated that many plant improvements were being made outside the suggestion system, where employees initiated changes in order to reap the bonuses generated by the subsequent cost savings."

* Regular feedback and dialogue with superiors - "Feedback is the key to giving employees a sense of where they’re going, but many organizations are remarkably bad at giving it." “What I really wanted to hear was 'Thanks. You did a good job.' But all my boss did was hand me a check.”

* Quality of working relationships with peers, superiors, and subordinates - "...if employees' relationship with their managers is fractured, then no amount of perks will persuade the employees to perform at top levels. Employee engagement is a direct reflection of how employees feel about their relationship with the boss.”

* Perceptions of the ethos and values of the organization - "'Inspiration and values' is the most important of the six drivers in our Engaged Performance model. Inspirational leadership is the ultimate perk. In its absence, [it] is unlikely to engage employees.”

* Effective Internal Employee Communications - which convey a clear description of "what's going on". "'If you accept that employees want to be involved in what they are doing then this trend is clear (from small businesses to large global organizations). The effect of poor internal communications is seen as its most destructive in global organisations which suffer from employee annexation- where the head office in one country is buoyant (since they are closest to the action, know what is going on, and are heavily engaged) but its annexes (who are furthest away from the action and know little about what is happening) are dis-engaged. In the worst case, employee annexation can be very destructive when the head office attributes the annex's low engagement to its poor performance... when its poor performance is really due to its poor communications.

* Reward to engage - Look at employee benefits and acknowledge the role of incentives. "An incentive to reward good work is a tried and test way of boosting staff morale and enhancing engagement." There are a range of tactics you can employ to ensure your incentive scheme hits the mark with your workforce such as: Setting realistic targets, selecting the right rewards for your incentive program communicating the scheme effectively and frequently, have lots of winners and reward all achievers, encouraging sustained effort, present awards publicly and evaluate the incentive scheme regularly.

The Importance of Managers on Employee Engagement

It's widely accepted that the greatest impact on whether an employee is engaged or not,comes from their relationship with their direct line-manager. The greatest impact on the line-manager’s level of engagement, comes from their own higher-level manager who sits above them. This manager/higher-level manager relationship carries on throughout the organization all the way up to the CEO’s office.

It goes without saying, you will forever struggle to have fully engaged employees unless you have fully engaged managers. According to Gallup, a disengaged manager is 3 times as likely to have disengaged employees working for them, than an engaged manager.

Research and one's own personal experience suggests that the impact managers have on the morale, performance and engagement of employees has a larger bearing on an employee’s attitude, commitment and drive than any other single influence in the organization. It is that linkage between line-manager.

The link between engaged employees, happy repeat and referral customers, and revenue and profit growth is conclusive. Statistics suggest that around 20% of employees are actively disengaged

For there to be engagement in your company, there has to be a two-way relationship, a bond and an understanding between managers and employees, at whatever level they are in your organization.

Unlike in personal relationships between friends and family where the connection evolves naturally, business relationships require a degree of framework, and a common language, so the employee has a better understanding of the company, and feels more involved in it.

Pathway to Results - Turn Your Managers into Mentors

The most effective way to create this relationship is for your managers to become mentors to their employees and proactively involve them in your business.This is something the ancient Chinese also understood, in the proverb, ‘Tell me and I willforget; Show me and I may remember; Involve me and I will understand.’
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