Why You Need to be Thinking about Employee Engagement

February 25, 2015 John Gorup

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Workers now expect a consumer-grade experience in all the apps they use. Forrester explains in their recent report, Mapping The Value Of Social Business And Collaboration:

“As Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and other social and collaborative technologies take increasingly dominant positions in workers’ personal lives, demand for the same type of communication efficiencies in the workplace has grown. In fact, lacking an enterprise option, users will provision solutions on their own.”

Your talent may be on your payroll, or they may be contracted, contingent, or crowdsourced. They may even be some of your valuable customers. But they all expect the same thing – to engage and be engaged. They use social and mobile technology to do their jobs, learn, and take part in global communities of practice. They also develop professional networks and get recognized for their contributions and skills. As Forrester observed, chances are they are using their technology, not yours, to do all this.

Workers don’t want an annual performance review from some distant manager. They want real time feedback from their peers. They want recognition from their community, sometimes even more than they want a paycheck from you. Traditional HR service delivery no longer meets the needs of the modern workforce – businesses need a mobile, social approach to be responsive to the next generation of workers.

In short, work is no longer what it used to be. Work is expected to be a place of rich, rewarding, and collaborative experiences. It is a place to engage with the world. Worker Experience is our word for the technology and processes that support this engagement.

How is Worker Experience Managed?

To engage and create a productive workforce, HR management needs to step back, not forward. It needs to affect the business indirectly, through good technology investments. This includes the establishment of globally consistent systems of record for talent and work, and a thriving organizational culture. Central shared services organizations need to emerge to service the workforce. Their aim should be to enable employees, peers, and managers themselves to drive a goal-setting and performance feedback process.  This process needs to be closer to real-time than the yearly performance review.

A key strategy in enhancing both worker and customer experiences is to get them on the same platform.

CRM systems are built for collaboration among revenue-producing employees, creating customer experiences and managing workflows. But the benefits are usually confined to the employees that are actually recording activity in the CRM system.

HCM technology provides the business a solid system of record. Yet it is seldom workers’ first destination for help once they have joined the organization and completed onboarding. Rather, they choose a space where they can perform in a socially-enabled collaboration environment, one that brings together key colleagues, business partners, content and major work tasks. The Worker Experience is about pulling these worlds together.

The key elements to Worker Experience are things like:

  • Simplify user licensing and provisioning. Using Workday to update your Salesforce User Record information, for example
  • Pushing shout-outs on Salesforce.com’s Chatter, to an employee’s performance record, and making them part of the evaluation process.
  • Making it easier to get help from HR via Service Cloud or a similar solution, and make it easier for HR to respond via the same system.
  • Getting information out of the employee portal, and into a collaboration platform.  Make it easy to ask, answer, and moderate questions.  This will provide users with a repository of possible answers, along with the content they are reading.

The goal of all of this is to improve employee engagement, and to increase use of HR services by making these services easier to access.  This is a process, technology, and integration effort that can yield amazing results by asking the questions of “How can we make this easier for our workers?” and “Where would they like to access and interact with this information?”

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