I was recently engaged in a conversation on how IBM keeps its employees engaged, although spread across so many countries and geographies and as always I thought I would share my opinions with the wider world. I would not dwell on the details, obviously.
According to a report from Gallup 70% of American workers are either not-engaged or actively disengaged, which means they’re disruptive and undermining workplace productivity. And here’s a related stat: “Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost the US $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year.” So imagine 7 out of 10 employees do not care, literally, what you do to engage employees.
A lot of leaders and program managers turned to Social Media, thinking this would be the solution and voila! They failed again. Gartner research estimates that 80% of social business initiatives would deliver disappointing results over the next three years.
So where are you heading?
#socialmedia is not a solution; It is a tool for the solution. But wait – do you know what is the problem you are finding a solution for?
— Khalid Raza (@khalidraza9) October 15, 2013
A recent article by Gerald C. Kane highlights three reasons why our social business initiatives are failing:
1. Managers go into social business with unclear goals.
2. Initiatives start as pilots, and then fizzle out due to modest participation.
3. Companies expect social initiatives, even pilots, to deliver a financial return on investment.
So the question boils down to – how do we engage our workforce? Let’s watch this video which highlights what could be the solution:
I would also share three tips to create an engaging workforce, with examples of what we are doing in IBM.
- Break the visible walls: Last week I was at IBM’s Design Lab at 590, Madison Avenue, NY to meet Ethan McCarty, Director, Enterprise Social Strategy and Programs and it was clear to me why the IBM Design Lab is able to churn out top-drawer stuff frequently. The seating culture there is ‘open’ without any cubicles and hidden corners. Everyone on the team, work together on one table and that is the reason people are so creative at all times. I could sense a positive vibe in everyone I met!
- Break the invisible walls: A study by Oracle (2013) found that whilst 86% of companies have a Facebook site, closely followed by 82% with a LinkedIn account, just 18% having a specific Enterprise Social Network (ESN) platform. This highlights the gap between companies adopting Social Media externally (Recruitment, Marketing etc) and an internal ESN. Once again, IBM is leading this space, by a huge margin. IBMers, all of them, have access to and use IBM Connections, our ESN for our daily work. A lot of IBM’s internal communication has moved from emails to Connections – it is open now!
Check out, how Silvia Mihailescu, our guest blogger, and yours truly, are engaged in an open conversation, which is visible to all IBMers and will help anyone who is reading the conversation. And this is just the beginning of what we do at IBM. We use activities, forums, files, blogs and all the capabilities IBM Connections provide to transform the work and become more productive each day. Click here to know more about IBM Connections.
- Build the culture of recognition: IBM has always been an organization which relies heavily on its culture of being inclusive. Will Runyon, Director, Brand System & IBMer Enablement, Sales Incentives and Global Recognition, is leading this work and last week shared with me the renewed focus around the same. I am excited about it. IBM is using recognition as a way to engage employees.
What are you doing in your organization to be engaged? Or are you waiting for a miracle? Share your thoughts.
Edited by: Vanitha Poojary