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Employee Engagement News & Analysis

Want Happy Employees? You Gotta Work at It

Thumbnail image for 2014-30-september-dream-more-work-less.jpg

Your workforce is changing. But most businesses still don't understand how to motivate, satisfy and retain this increasingly global, diverse and, yes, demanding employee base.

That's one of the findings from a new study by SAP SE, a German software company that has invested in a number human resources-related companies over the last few years. Conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of SAP, the study shows too many companies are still stuck in the stone age when it comes to everything fro salaries, flexibility and overall abilities to keep top talent.

Verint Marketing Exec Calls Kana Acquisition a Game Changer

Acquisitions in the customer experience arena are reshaping marketing communications as consumers grow more powerful, more demanding.

Consistency in communication across all channels is now a key factor in satisfying individual customers. Today, companies realize their employees must be in sync on the latest promotions when they connect with customers through mobile, email, contact centers, websites, in-store or other media.

Verint, a big player in employee optimization and contact center technologies, made news earlier this year when it paid $514 million for Kana, a customer engagement company with about one-fifth its revenue. The first fruit of that merger came this week at Kana's Connect2014 conference, where the companies released their first jointly developed product -- Engagement Analytics.

Transform Your Workplace for Millennials

2014-11-September-Transform.jpgThe millennial generation cannot be ignored: they are your employees, your customers and may even be your future employers. When you couple this generational evolution with the unfolding digital transformation, you see the heady mix that is transforming business models and activities.

For the millennial generation, work is what they do, not where they go. Rigid corporate structures are limiting factors that stifle creativity and innovation. Organizations have plenty of opportunities to learn from this digitally savvy generation.

Customer Experience Is Everyone's Job

Customer Experience, 2014-13-August-Pitching-In.jpg“That’s not my job.”

You’ve seen or heard these words before, probably more than you’d care to remember. When a project is kicked off or a favor is asked, many people blurt out this phrase without hesitation. For those of us who work in the trade of customer and user experience, these words open the door to a much larger issue. They are a crack in the foundational values of good customer experience.

IBM Focuses on 'Talent and Change'

Tools or no tools, we've been talking about people and talent being a hot commodity. IBM believes it has tools that can lead to the right people -- and keep those people happy

The Armonk, N.Y.-based software giant just released cloud-based software and a new "talent and change" consulting practice. IBM's goal is to help organizations use analytics and behavioral science to identify top talent.  

Part of the IBM Kenexa software offering, it is delivered through the IBM Smarter Workforce initiative.

"The offering bundles bring together new and existing software and services from across IBM's Smarter Workforce portfolio including our social collaboration, analytics, workforce science, digital experience, consulting and of course Kenexa's talent assessment and recruitment capabilities," said Zahir Ladhani, ‎IBM's vice president of its Smarter Workforce. "Delivered through the cloud and supported by the new Talent and Change consulting practice, they're designed to make it faster and easier for clients to implement and scale workforce solutions across the organization."

How to Build Company Culture - and Keep Great Employees

2014-4-August-crowd-of-people.jpgRazor Suleman knew he had a problem when he lost 40 percent of his employees in rapid succession. "I dramatically threw my keys on the desk of my second in command and tried to quit," he recalled. 

That was back in 2006, before Suleman transformed what he describes as "one of the worst places to work" to one of the best.

Nothing like a mass exodus of talent to force senior leadership to confront the obvious: You can't buy cool, you can't fake happy and a company can't survive without great employees. Just ask Suleman, founder of Achievers, a Toronto, Ontario- based employee success platform.

Achievers boasts that its cloud-based software helps companies "engage, align and recognize their employees, resulting in higher retention and improved business results." Engaged employees lead to happy customers, which are the key to continued revenue growth and profits, Suleman said.

5 Technical Keys for Employee Engagement

Social business, 2014-01-August-apathetic-worker.jpg

By now, we understand that employee engagement is one of the keys to corporate success. It allows us to reduce our employee acquisition and replacement costs. It provides additional discretionary effort from our best employees. It helps create a culture where companies are able to focus employee efforts on key strategic goals.

Everybody loves the idea of having better employee engagement within their own organizations. But are companies truly willing to make the investments necessary to actually improve?

The employee engagement problem is readily apparent. Gallup shows that the vast majority of employees are disinterested drudges simply working for a paycheck or for another hour of overtime rather than truly inspired employees who are creative, helpful, and true advocates for the company.

Want Engaged Employees? Show Them the Big Picture

2014-23-July-Big-Picture.jpgWhether they're building rockets, smartphones, microprocessors or cars, large organizations are under extreme pressure in today’s competitive environment. They are struggling to get the most from their people, generate more innovative ideas than their competitors, become more efficient and effective and -- of course -- bring their products to market faster than anyone else.

Within this landscape, the recent social business technologies have been recognized for their ability to drive productivity. McKinsey estimates employee productivity can be increased 25 percent through adoption of social technologies and establishing a "networked enterprise."

But little has been said about the unintended, long-term benefit of adopting an innovative social platform -- the ability to connect employee's work to the bigger business strategy. 

Discussion Point: Where Does HR Go From Here?

Thumbnail image for discussion-pointAnother day, another disruption. 

Or at least that's how it must feel for most every department in organizations today. The repercussions of the combined digital, social, mobile trifecta radiate throughout the organization. But if you mix in economic factors, shifting skill requirements, distributed workforces and new expectations of those entering the workplace, then I think you know which department specifically we're talking about: Human Resources.

Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends 2014 (pdf) report identified the most urgent trends that HR professionals face today. Number one? Leadership development. Number two? Seventy-nine percent answered retention and engagement. Yet only 16 percent felt ready to tackle these and the challenges they face. 

A fundamental rethinking of the HR department is required to meet these demands.

Go Big or Go Home with Customer Experience

2014-02-July-Firm-Handshake.jpgThe good news: Businesses understand that taking care of the customer experience is just one of the requirements of doing business today and surviving to see tomorrow. 

The bad news: Businesses continue to treat customer experience as a standalone concern, rather than as a holistic approach. 

When you think customer experience, do you think "obesity epidemic"? Didn't think so. But Forrester analyst Rick Parrish made the argument last week at the Forrester Customer Experience Forum in New York City that just as the obesity epidemic is a product of its ecosystem, so too is customer experience a result of every interaction a person has with a brand.

Guess Where Workers Have New Rights to Work from Home?

It's time for CEOs Marissa Mayer and Meg Whitman to eat their words — or at least rethink their strong stances on workplace inflexibility at Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard, respectively.

Telecommuting took a giant leap forward today — at least in the United Kingdom.

Just 16 months after Mayer sent shockwaves down the spines of telecommuters everywhere with her mandate to Yahoo workers to get back to the office and just eight months after Whitman followed with a slightly less strident request, it appears workplace flexibility is making a comeback. And that includes the right to work from home.

5 Ways to Keep Employees Focused and Productive

2014-13-June-Trying-to-escape-by-Asa-Aarons.jpgWhether it's the World Cup soccer tournament or just beautiful weather, there's a world of distractions for employees struggling with work-life balance. And if you add "time to play" in with those increasingly co-mingled concepts of work and life, it really makes you wonder how any business gets work done. 

How do you maintain morale and productivity in The Era of Constant Distractions — and real or imagined ADHD?

"We used to ask employees to leave their mobile phones in a basket by the door to the conference room. But that just seemed to make them more anxious and distracted. So now they can bring their phones into the meetings. The only rules: They need to be on silent and they can't stare at their phones," explained one team leader at a digital marketing agency.

We have some other advice for keeping meetings on track, too. But first things first. There's a major sporting event in play, so let's figure out how managers can get the best out of their workforce in spite of it.

How the Client Experience Defines the New ROI of Social Business

I remember when things were just getting started with Enterprise 2.0, then Social Business, how we were all trying to prove the business value of social technologies and even our very existence as 2.0 practitioners in the workplace. Do you remember how tough it was to justify yours to senior management? How things have changed since then ....

Fast forward to 2014, and while the conversation around measuring the business value of Social Business persists and is perhaps more relevant, the focus and intent of the questions have shifted. There is no longer a need to justify it, but rather an opportunity to evaluate the maturity of different initiatives as you progress on the Social Business journey. No one can deny the impact of social technologies at the workplace anymore -- and that’s a good thing. We have finally moved on.

Need Your Employee Engagement to Shift Gears?

Need Your Employee Engagement to Shift Gears?An employee outlook study in the UK last year found that sixty percent of employees are "neutral" – they’re neither engaged nor disengaged at work.

While this isn’t as damaging as having an army of actively disengaged employees, it’s still a big concern. Or maybe it’s better seen as a big opportunity. With the right strategy, you can release this untapped well of employee potential.

The Learning Organization Goes Mobile

Many organizations overlook one of the most significant ways to improve competitiveness, ramp up performance and sustain growth: continuous, varied and dynamic learning programs for their employees and leadership teams. As mobile has become an important channel for many business activities, it is emerging as a preferred platform for just-in-time learning and knowledge sharing. Mobile platforms are disrupting all kinds of activities and processes, and putting a whole new twist on employee productivity, customer interactions and partner collaborations.

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