Business fabric has changed, believe me! Today, employees play an equal role, if not more, in deciding the future of the organization or product. Organizations can’t afford to ignore this reality because the costs are too high. After all who wants to go out of business!
Illustration by Khalid Raza
Welcome to a guest post by Khalid Raza, HR & Social Media expert!
Feedback plays a humongous role in becoming a social business – in the real sense of the word. Deploying an enterprise social network (ESN) and then expecting employees to connect is a fool’s paradise. Becoming social is a behavior change and not an action item list which can be tick marked. And this is where the real action starts. We all know changing individual behavior is not an easy job, let alone an entire organization. Achieving that desired behavior change is not easy, and is a major reason why 80% of social business projects fail to deliver the desired outcomes. So what’s the best path forward?
Let’s start simple. For the next few minutes, try and think about what drives an employee’s behavior from their perspective. What engages them? Who/what inspires them to bring a change? What levers will help you to help them?
Maureen Monte rightly stated in her guest blog on SocialGlamor that “Employee engagement is the outcome of a work experience. In aggregate, it is a two-way exchange of energy between an employer and their employees that benefits key business metrics and a great customer experience.”
Is the picture getting clearer? The base of becoming a successful social business enterprise is to first create engaged employees. Research shows that highly engaged organizations have emotional connections – often, those are not driven by freebies, technology, trips, or even money. They are driven by ongoing conversations focused on the talents, skills, and dreams of the employee. Where do they want to be in 5 years? What does success look like? How do we measure it? Finding a social business approach to capturing, celebrating, and sharing that content is more likely to drive engagement.
I can promise you, if I was talking to an audience right now, many hands would have gone up to ask the question, “Khalid, I give constructive feedback all the time but my employees are still not engaged!”
The connotation of the word feedback has transformed from a pristine and precise method of development to a conversation where a leader at the top tells a reportee to mend their ways or fix their weaknesses, which are failed strategies. And if you are a manager that thinks or behaves in this manner, then you are likely part of the majority of the leaders wondering why their employees are not engaged and are not social.
The basic tenet of being social is to be open, to be available, and to be confident enough to accept and give feedback with your team members on a consistent and friendly basis. An ESN will allow you to break the invisible walls only if you allow it to, by empowering employees to be open without any fear.
In IBM, we promote the culture of openness through a social business tool called Connections where employees engage, collaborate and learn from one another all the time. My manager, Tim Collins, Director, HR Talent, Development & Resources and I took it one step forward and blogged about our Annual Goals, which for some reasons were always hidden from everyone. How do you expect an employee to become social and open when they are not allowed to share what they are working on? Social is not a solution; It is a tool for the solution. And of course, a solution assumes you know what problem you are trying to solve.
Can you articulate the problems you are trying to solve with engaged employees and social business? I’d love to chat about it. Feel free to reach out to me @khalidraza9 on most social networks and I will be happy to engage with you.
Maureen’s Note: Khalid Raza is my dear colleague and friend. You can read about our social adventures at a guest blog I wrote on his very successful site called SocialGlamour. In a nutshell, we created a webinar series that had over 6,000 of our colleagues enrolled! My success as a presenter was largely a byproduct of his help in creating a grass roots movement. He is a strengths rock star, leveraging his top five strengths of Competition, Positivity, Woo, Achiever, and Activator. I welcome him to our collaboration space where we focus on building strong individuals and winning teams! Thanks Khalid!
Maureen (Ideation, Strategic, Achiever, Learner, Individualization, Maximizer)