Investing in the development of your employees is essential. But what are the most effective ways to foster growth?
Along with the many responsibilities that come with running a business, integrating a solid plan for employee engagement and development is a top priority. Through internal support, community interaction and learning opportunities, your employees will thrive, and in turn, so will your business.
The right engagement plan produces benefits. First, you will attract and retain better talent, saving your organization thousands in turnover costs. You will also grow a dedicated workforce, achieving the ability to promote talent from within. As development is an ongoing process, you will be forced to keep a long-term view. That leads to a process of continuous innovation, which is the only sustainable competitive advantage. Finally, you will nurture a culture of intellectual evolution and become known as a company that develops thought leaders.
The Difficulties and Goals of Integration
Implementing an engagement system is easier said than done. We often see this within large organizations where employees work across different teams on a variety of projects. In situations like these, even seasoned HR managers and tested C-suites can be left feeling a bit, well, overwhelmed. And that's putting it nicely.
In multi-national organizations, the question arises all the time. How do you keep employees not only engaged but also learning and developing their skill set? Even more challenging is trying to accomplish this goal under a single, manageable structure. And in a perfect world, the benefits of such a program should be two-fold – inspire the evolution of internal talent and improve the companies' bottom line.
There are a variety of tools for empowerment in the workplace, and the best strategies all share a central focus -enabling employees through knowledge sharing and thought leadership.
Engagement Through Technology
Technology is paving the way for this new phase of internal connectivity. One major component is internal social media (ISM). With the hopes of developing more interaction within enterprises, many companies have chosen to build out ISM to support organizational needs. Although many factors determine the overall success and adoption of ISM projects, a few key variables are crucial.
The most important factor of successful ISM is the quality of content. Employees want programs that utilize a targeted approach to content distribution, preferring platforms that allow them to connect with existing social media directly. The second key factor is engagement and dialogue, with employees preferring open communication, access to learning opportunities and an active presence from senior leadership. The last requirement is an ISM program that offers quality optimization. Content provided must be reliable, easy to integrate with external platforms, relevant to individuals and user-friendly.
The rollout of such a system can be a daunting task. Although some large organizations have seen success developing internal social networks, others have not. The adoption of leadership plays a significant role in this equation. As a general rule, when leadership fails to show a presence on company social networks, their example has a damaging trickle down effect.
Leadership must carry the torch. With leaders engaging at scale, not only will employees jump onboard, but the real power of the system is unlocked, allowing companies to solve problems quicker than ever.
Supporting The Personal Brand
For better or worse, individuals at your company now represent you in two separate ways – as an internal employee, as well as externally through their personal brand. And the separation between these two personas may soon be nonexistent.
So instead of resisting this reality, embrace it. Show staff that you support their efforts to build an active social media presence. Realize the benefits of engaging employees by offering them access to relevant industry content and reward them for becoming more educated and vocal in your space. If done well, you can even create ways to track engagement and gamify the user experience.
Today, new technologies are making this an easy process. At Smarp we provide applications that offer all these features and more. Adopted by industry leaders such as Deloitte, Unilever and Nissan, separate platforms for community engagement and development have become useful tools for organizations wary of developing networks from scratch.
There are different paths to achieving engagement in your organization. However, one thing is clear – with proper deployment, both your employees and business will be better off.