This week kicked off our month-long focus on customer communities and brought in a few more perspectives on employee engagement. The common thread between the two? Get real. Genuine communications and actions will pay back your time with loyalty, advocacy and engagement.

Top Customer Experience Article

Rachel Happe (@rhappe) takes a macro look at where communities fit into the bigger question of engagement and the different levels of engagement that are out there in her The Holy Grail of Engagement and Why Communities Matter. For those looking for an easy fix, or measuring engagement through clicks, think again. Community building and engagement take real, complex communication over a course of time:

I’ve always preferred engagement approaches that have higher barriers to entry because when someone engages, you know that they are motivated and therefore more likely to participate in a more constructive and complex way. This thinking comes from my understanding of systems dynamics, which show how much more efficient it is to validate agent input into a system than to manage agents once inside a system. This roughly translates to 'do not allow crap into the system because it is expensive to manage.'"

Editor's Note: We'll be discussing customer communities in greater detail with Rachel and others during our Google Hangout next week, so be sure to stop by.

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Top Social Business Article

The employee engagement discussion continued this week and we're glad it did. In this piece, Getting Real About Employee Engagement, contributor Megan Murray (@meganmurray) reminds us that paying lip service to this question or throwing a few collaborative technologies into the mix is not going to cut it for companies to turn around the employee attrition rate:

The enterprise is dabbling with the simpler tasks at this stage, BYOD, offering social tools for the masses, work from home, etc. These and many others are good efforts, but they are not the be all and end all. We can’t buy a pill to make it all better. Hierarchical leaders must participate and engage in a meaningful way, with an eye on real business goals and outcomes as they relate to their people."

For more on the topic I'd strongly recommend Joyce Hostyn's piece below.

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Top Information Management Article

In this piece, contributor Deb Miller (@debsg360) takes a step back to see what we have learned from past information management initiatives to see where we might be headed in the future -- Data Visionary, Deja Vu - Creating Information Driven Innovation:

What we can now see quite clearly, perhaps because of what we have seen in the rearview mirror, is the increasing importance and evolving role of information management systems and practices that help industries put their unstructured data to work."

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