Now more than ever attracting, motivating and retaining top talent is vital to a success of a company and the key to it all is engagement


Today, engaged organizations have 3.9 times the earnings per share (EPS) growth rate when compared with organizations with lower employee engagement and highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their current position.

The issue is that employee engagement is becoming more of a challenge with people working in a variety of different and distributed settings. The good news is that there are new technologies that can help human resource professionals motivate and empower employees to be more engaged and successful.

Luis Suarez recently wrote that communities and social media will become channels for “talent management”. The article captures the confluence of three key elements: the need to attract and engage top talent, the opportunity for HR professionals to play a more critical and central in their organizations' competitive success and the potential for social intranets to be a catalyst in organizational change.

The question today is what characteristics does a successful intranet solution need to provide?

At the Connect 2013 conference, I spoke with several people who shared their successes in building employee intranets. Here are just a few of their stories that might provide the type of insights needed to demonstrated how organizations can better support a sense of common mission and engagement in our everyday work.

Show Me You Know Me - What's in it for Me?

A huge topic of discussion with companies was the need to match the external-facing brand promise with internal brand promise for the employees. In others words, can the intranet help organizations deliver the same authentic quality of relationship to employees that it strives to deliver to customers?

The answer is yes and the key is recognizing the individual employee and giving each the personalized view they need to work efficiently and then filtering the content and expertise they need at any point in time. At the same time, this personalization can provide a secure and segregated means of communicating with different teams using one system to maintain confidentiality, even in regulated industries.

Make it Simple and Time-Efficient for Me 

The next theme was that business processes and content integration can provide a quick pay off in fostering better engagement with an employee intranet. One example came from a mid-sized business that moved from relying on a hard copy notebook of furniture inventory and displays to publishing the same information on its corporate intranet using rich media tools.

Using this model it is able to provide fast updates to stores on any inventory changes and new ways to display the furniture. By moving from weekly, courier transported, print manuals to instant multimedia content integration on its employee intranet they are saving the business both time, frustration and money.

Help me Know my Colleagues and Use What They Know

The next point focused on sharing best innovations and practices among colleagues and then building on these to evolve the business. Seems logical but doing so is becoming harder when the amount of information is growing at an exponential rate.

One company talked about how it received feedback from stores reporting that the intranet search function wasn't providing helpful information. As a result, unnecessary emails were being sent daily because the store associates couldn't find the necessary information.

The answer was a redesigned website that improved the search capabilities and integrated the collaboration tools into a personalized experience for the stores. Now the company can now provide the right information to the right stores more quickly, and associates can share best practices and suggestions through the use of discussion forums rather than in email.

Now That You Have me Hooked, Let Me Take it With Me...

It is here that we take the next logical step in employee engagement. Today's employees are not always at their desk. With businesses encouraging employees to spend more time with customers, the question becomes -- why not use the growing number of smart devices to allow these professionals to have their network of associates, HQ and up to the minute information in hand on a tablet while they engage with customer?

“Your size not on the rack? Let us see if it is in the back or perhaps at another store ...” This is a great example of where the value of the engagement supports the employee in doing a better job staying connected with the customer and providing better service. The employee social intranet delivered to smart devices has supported the associate in more directly engaging with the customer in a positive and profitable way.

Supporting Cultural Change

I also heard many great tips that help support organizations through that change while driving quicker adoption of engagement practices.

In one case, the corporate communications team was one of the central change agents. That team met regularly and frequently with groups across the organization from the executive team sponsoring the intranet project to the associates using the system in the stores. The team took the input from these different groups and identified the biggest challenge facing the most people for phase one of the project. This insured that the reward would be immediate for the most people and so helped to drive broad and rapid adoption. Not only did the associates feel some investment in the system as it reflected their requests, they all began to positively anticipate using the system before it was available because of the frequent communications and briefings around the project.

In this age, it can be difficult to build and maintain a culture of engagement where all employees are focused on a common mission. On this new playing field, employee Intranets become more and more important, connecting each employee with teammates around the world, allowing them to engage and in the end become a true social business, the ultimate competitive advantage.

Image courtesy of Dusit (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: There are a lot of perspectives on how to encourage employee engagement. Read more here.