Engagement 2.0: Beyond the Firewall
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Engagement 2.0: Beyond the Firewall

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Brian Baker discusses the new rules of engagement.

Brian Baker discusses the new rules of engagement.

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  • 1. EngagEmEnt 2.0: Beyond the Firewall Contributor: Brian Baker, Vice President, New Media and Creative Services Group, Aon Consulting
  • 2. Engagement 2.0: Beyond the Firewall What if we asked employers to “rethink” the concept of employee engagement? What if instead of asking them to think top down or bottom up, we asked them to look left and right? In today’s latticed (not laddered) organization, what they would see is a need to employ new modes of communication to increase engagement. We’re calling these new rules and modes of communication “Engagement 2.0.” The new rules of Engagement 2.0 are: 1) Help managers engage employees in meaningful dialogue that leads to increased collaboration and top performance and 2) Bolster the reputation of the firm and its leaders. The rules of employee engagement have changed, partly because of the economy and partly because employees just feel disenfranchised. A 2009 Gallup poll found that 56% of employees were not engaged, while 18% were actively disengaged. Employers are feeling it too. In Aon Consulting’s 2009 Benefits and Talent Survey, 75% of respondents ranked employee engagement as “very important” or “extremely important,” while only 37% said they were “very effective” or “extremely effective” at employee engagement. One of the biggest reasons for employee dissatisfaction is that employers have not kept pace with how employees communicate—the ways in which they interact, share information, and influence others. After all, employees live outside the firewalls and the brick and mortar spaces we create for them. They interact with their families and talk about work with their friends. They are increasingly less defined by their workplace. For leadership, this means we have to embrace how employees want to work and communicate how they communicate. We have to reach beyond the firewall and find new ways to engage employees and build their trust. It’s not just younger workers, either. Four generations of employees now comprise the workforce, each with different needs and preferences. We need to look beyond traditional, “catch all” forms of communication to more innovative and personalized forms, to reach everyone from the most tech- savvy Internet user to the reader who prefers a hard copy of the newsletter. Enter Social Media To embrace social media in helping us achieve our business goals, we must understand who and what we are enabling, then relinquish control. Think back to when the “World Wide Web” first came to the workplace. Employers responded by quickly issuing workplace policies on using the Internet for personal business. We feared the Internet would detract from productivity. Next, we moved to block popular websites and build firewalls. We soon learned that employees were using their iPhones and BlackBerries throughout the workday—not just to stay connected, but to do their jobs.
  • 3. In today’s 24/7 culture, there’s no longer a clear line between using the web for work and non-work. People are working—whether it looks like it or not—24/7. If we let them work how they want, and if we value their work based on results, we are more likely to engage them. In other words, if employees are using social media at work and for business purposes anyway, we should capitalize on that to expand their network, build and improve our firm’s reputation, and enhance our business. Social media in the workplace Use or Purpose Web 2.0 Media Comments • eer-to-peer and P • Instant messaging • et up instant messaging chat rooms for discussion S team member • Text messaging groups communications • roup text messaging also possible G • emote employee R • nstant messaging I • ith more employees expected to work remotely, W communications • et meetings N Web 2.0 media provides tools to help keep them engaged. • odcasts P • irtual training V • eadership- L • logs B • uccessful blogs are built on a foundation of S to-employee • icro-blogs (i.e., M trust and credibility and can be used to feed the communication Twitter) grapevine and monitor the results. When effective, they function as a two-way communication avenue. • he optimal blog becomes a forum for leadership T perceptions and decisions, enabling discussion and feedback from employees at all levels. • mployees can feel included in decision making and E business strategy implementation, a key element to successful engagement. • mployee E • vatars: Websites with A • he investment in gaming technology for employee T recruitment avatars provide recruits recruitment and orientation has a significant return • mployee E with a virtual experience depending on your costs to replace an employee. onboarding of the workplace For example, some have estimated the cost to • aming technology and G replace registered nurses to be $65,000 and the • mployee E cost to replace hourly hotel workers to range from orientation podcasts for employee orientation, education $2,500 to $14,100 per employee. • raining T and training • mployee bonding E • nternal social networks I • n estimated 85% of employees work on projects A (sharing the for employees — similar with colleagues from other offices, making social employment to Facebook networks a source for staffing and engagement. experience) • taffing global S projects • nowledge K exchange • roject P • ikis W • ikis help work teams manage projects, solve W management problems, and answer questions in a group setting. • orporate HR C interaction with field HR Source: Aon Consulting’s Web 2.0 and Employee Communications Survey, March 2009 aon consulting 2009 1
  • 4. Engagement 2.0: Beyond the Firewall Social media and the bY the nUmberS millennialS Facebook: The millennial generation, born between 1980 and 2000, helped • More than 300 million active users introduce the use of Web 2.0 media • 0% of active users log on to 5 in the workplace. In less than 10 Facebook on any given day years, this generation of 92 million people will comprise the largest • he fastest growing demographic T generation in the U.S. workforce. is users ages 35 years and older The millennials view themselves Twitter: as entrepreneurs who think for themselves and rely on their trusted • witter’s year-over-year growth T friends. They trust blogs more than was 1,448%, growing from 1.2 newspapers, and they want their million unique users in May 2008 friends’ reviews of products versus to 18.2 million unique users in May the “experts.” They use social 2009 networks to cope and make sense of the world. LinkedIn: • inkedIn has more than 50 million L users worldwide; approximately half are in the United States, with another 11 million users in Europe and 3 million users in India moSt USed web 2.0 media at home Web 2.0 Media Non-Millennials Millennials Internet 77% 87% Text messaging 21% 49%* Instant messaging 14% 72% Social networks 14% 49% Blogs 11% 20% *Respondents were asked for use of text messaging when looking for information, not for communicating with friends and families. moSt USed web 2.0 media at work for work Web 2.0 Media Non-Millennials Millennials Internet 65% 72% Text messaging 25% 38% Instant messaging 46% 48% Social networks 13% 20% Blogs 8% 13% Source: Aon Consulting’s Web 2.0 and Employee Communications Survey, March 2009 2 aon consulting 2009
  • 5. Social Media and Wellness, Then vs. Now In the past, to demonstrate their commitment to wellness, employers published an employee health newsletter, put it in everyone’s mail slot or inbox, and hoped they read it. Social media has created a whole new conversation on wellness that is based on two-way dialogue. Among the strategies we use today: • Upload and share podcasts on healthy living, common risks and conditions, and general wellness advice • Start a YouTube channel for company events to convey employee and manager messages on putting wellness into action • Survey LinkedIn users to compare wellness program ideas, create cross-company teams, or involve other professional groups or consortiums • Get daily health tips by email or text message (SMS) • Track daily, personal progress on an iPhone or BlackBerry • Blog about typical health and wellness challenges or post questions on the company’s wellness board • Check the company’s website for who is teaching today’s yoga class and connect with other colleagues who are participating • Allow spouses/partners and dependents to receive and send communications, take part in contests, or contribute to other dialogues traditionally only available to internal employees • Collaborate with coworkers on Facebook to unite the team and walk for cancer research. Upload video or multi-media of the team’s involvement, achievements, or other personal stories or testimonials Getting Started: Key Questions Embracing social media in your communications strategy requires some finessing. You need to start with some key questions, choose your social media channels, then look at both pre- and post-message management, how you will get instant feedback, monitor reactions, respond to questions and concerns, and reinforce your objectives. Social media can maximize the conversation, but recognize that employees also share in its power. It is a two-way dialogue. Their ability to alter the message is as fundamental as the firm’s ability to shape the message. Objectives + Interests + Touch Points = Strategy Save costs + Critics + LinkedIn = Interactive Drive behavior Joiners iPhone engagement Engage employees Spectators Twitter beyond traditional Business objectives Curators Facebook approaches and boundaries aon consulting 2009 3
  • 6. Engagement 2.0: Beyond the Firewall Some key questions to get you started: • Are your business objectives at the forefront of your communications strategy? • Do you know your employees’ communications and engagement preferences? If so, have you broken those preferences down by generation? • How is your organization embracing social media and Web 2.0 strategies for HR, communications and engagement? • Are you engaging your entire ecosystem (employees, spouses/partners, dependents, buyers, clients, and suppliers)? • Is your organization adapting well to change? • What about social media can help your firm rethink HR? Who is responsible for making it happen? The possibilities are virtually endless. Brian Baker is Vice President of Aon Consulting’s New Media and Creative Services Group. He can be reached at 212.441.2006 or brian_baker@aon.com. 4 aon consulting 2009
  • 7. A on Consulting is among the top global human capital consulting firms, with 2008 revenues of $1.358 billion and 6,300 professionals in 229 offices and 90 countries worldwide. Aon Consulting is shaping the workplace of the future through benefits, talent management and rewards strategies and solutions. Aon Consulting was named the best employee benefits consulting firm by the readers of Business Insurance magazine in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.