Archive for category Employee Behavior
The buzz in the enterprise is Big Data. Pick up any publication covering technology or business these days and you will see articles about the proliferation of Big Data; how it happens and how it will impact our lives. Certainly, there is a ton of data flooding in, offering tremendous opportunity to predict new trends that can drive our business in exciting ways. But there are two important steps in the harnessing of Big Data to achieve its potential. First you have capture and store the data; second you need to analyze the data. Once you have visibility you can ‘listen’ to trends generated by your customers and marketplace.
But, while most companies are listening to what customers are saying, they’re often not listening to what their employees are saying.
The old adage “the CEO is the last to know” no longer has to hold true. Big Data can help you learn about your employees’ experiences as much as the customer experience. If we can leverage Big Data to create an experience for the customer that exceeds their expectations and results in higher satisfaction, can we not use Big Data to achieve the same with our employees?
With Big Data we can change how we engage our employees. We can understand the trending themes, the sentiment, who the key “connectors” and subject matter experts are, and even the high risk areas. We can safely project that this will result in:
- Higher job satisfaction
- A more engaged, enthusiastic workforce
- Longer employee retention
- Better productivity
Not unlike the customer experience we can create with insights from Big Data, we can create a better employee experience that results in a positive, transparent and more productive work environment. All of which gives us a competitive edge.
Isn’t that really the potential of Big Data for the enterprise?
In this week’s UK news, we’ve seen some outrageous Twitter revelations and the subsequent resignation of the Kent Youth Police and Crime Commissioner, Paris Brown. The scenario raises a number of issues regarding how employers vet new staff, not only based on traditional CVs and references, but also considering their social media profiles.
The reality is that when a member of staff becomes exposed in the light of historic tweets or other online activities in public networks, it does cast a shadow on the individual – but ultimately it is the employer that is at fault for failing to properly assess and support the candidate.
There are three fundamental methods of ensuring your organisation does not suffer a painful media disclosure such as the one recently experienced by the Police Service.
1. Introduce social media review policies
Ensure that you have internal HR processes and tools for identifying and vetting new candidates across social media networks. A candidate may have a number of different public profiles using a variation of social media channels – all of which will help paint a complementary image of the personality, attitudes and moral standpoints of the person. As part of your employment strategy, the organisation should have a set of clear definitions in place which outline behaviour or attitudes which are not acceptable; be they online or offline. We have published two papers that will help you create the right policies: The Legal Issues of Social Media, UK edition and The Six Essential Principles for Social Media Success.
2. Have a contingency plan
When faced with inconsistencies or questionable public online activities, you may still decide to proceed with the employment based on the core skills and experience of the candidate. However, any uncovered issues need to be openly discussed as part of the employment process. There should be a clear understanding of how the employee is expected to behave as a representative of the business and you should make decisions on whether any unsuitable tweets, blogs or profiles should be deleted. By critically reviewing content you can pre-empt a media backlash at a later stage.
3. Enable future compliance
Guidelines for online behaviour are no longer an agenda item just for public service institutions. All organisations need to be aware of the risks of employees being active on public online networks, but also embrace the power of the “social employee”. Today more than ever, we have access to the communication platforms and knowledge to truly influence the world around us. Just as the decision behind recruiting the youth PCC was very much based on her ability to represent and speak to her peers, businesses must recognise that employees can impact the business environment through their presence within their social media circles – so they should be encouraged and supported to do so in a compliant fashion.
Ultimately, whilst anyone’s behaviour on social platforms is their own responsibility, it is beholden to the organisation to warrant that the author is educated, supported and managed to ensure that the reputational risk is minimised. As the Romans would have said – Caveo Utor (Employer beware!)
The recent ban on remote working at Yahoo! is counter-productive to being successful in today’s connected-enterprise. Certainly their situation, as reported by the media, is different than most; a large remote workforce who is not productive, some of whom allegedly collect pay while working on outside projects. Marissa Mayer undoubtedly inherited this situation and the blame falls squarely on the backs of managers who have rewarded poor performance, whether in the office or at home. However, with the walls between work and home collapsing, the ability to leverage talent on a global basis and the knowledge worker’s expectation to be able to work anywhere, anytime it behooves us to embrace remote workers.
There is no denying the value of ‘water cooler’ discussions and face time with colleagues. Innovation trades on the serendipitous exchange of information. We have yet to find a substitute for bumping into a colleague in the hallway and discovering a new way of thinking about a project, or finding a unique way to look at a complex problem over a sandwich. At Actiance we put a premium on this type of engagement and often fly executives from around the globe to headquarters to create these opportunities. Conversely, productivity, which trades on process, is often best served by an environment that minimizes distractions. Who hasn’t welcomed flying at 30,000 feet just to be able to power through a backlog of emails, read documents or finalize a project summary uninterrupted? The bottom line is you need both: innovation and productivity.
Whether you have workers who use a home office or distributed teams across global offices you need to find a balance between innovation and productivity. One of the ways we engage our distributed workforce, and hopefully find the balance, is with technology. Video is used at staff meetings, weekly summaries are captured and shared on Connections, and our team engages on social networks via our Socialite product. Innovation with productivity is achieved through engagement made possible by technology, and wise management.
Here are some tips we’ve gained over the years to help you successfully engage with and manage your remote workforce. You’ll note they are not all that different than what a good manager does with non-remote workers in the office.
- Consistent: Hold regular conversations with your remote workers, either via chat, social networks or email.
- Engage: Don’t just talk about the projects you are working on. Find out what matters to the remote workers, discuss relevant industry news, what’s happening in HQ…make them feel like you are interested in them and they are part of the team.
- Expectations: Set and reinforce expectations via consistent engagement and dialogue.
- Policy: Make sure your remote work policy is well crafted and communicated across the work force. It needs to be fair for all.
- Reward: Let them, and others, know when they have been successful. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean sharing their triumphs with others isn’t important to them.
- Support: Discover, define and help them with the challenges that they face in performing their tasks regardless if they are working remotely or not. Just because they are out of the sight, doesn’t mean they don’t face challenges.
- Technology: Use it wisely. Perhaps you have team discussions on a collaboration platform, but more personal 1:1 discussions with individual team members on a different channel, such as video. So he/she knows they can contribute openly on the team collaboration platform and have deeper discussions on another.
There are many different ways to embrace a remote workforce and make it successful. We’d like to hear yours. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Todays’ post is from Joanna Belbey, Social Media and Compliance Specialist, Actiance. @Belbey
We all know that the continued success of any business depends on its reputation. That’s the primary purpose of all our advertising, marketing and public relations campaigns. But what happens when something goes wrong? All that hard work can vanish with one poorly handled crisis.
That’s why most larger firms have Crisis Communications Plans that describe the processes to follow for a number of scenarios. Some of the smarter firms have even created plans just for social media. They recognize that at some point, you can pretty much guarantee that your firm will attract some very public, very unwelcome negative attention. And that social media will just amplify it. In fact, as firms are discovering, social media can actually create the crisis.
Once the plans are approved, most firms cross their fingers and secretly hope that it never happens to them.
However, at a recent Business Development Institute event, I discovered that a few firms actually test their preparedness by conducting “war games”. I was curious how that would work, so after the event, I spoke with the media relations and social media team at a large financial services firm to learn how they did it.
They relayed that when their sales teams began to use social media, they became acutely aware of both the benefit and risk for the organization. So they enlisted their Public Relations Firm of Record to help them test both their traditional and social media crisis communications plans in real time.
- Respond appropriately to a crisis in real time, which would involve identifying an issue, making the decision to respond, crafting the response in the right tone, gaining approval of the response, and delivering the response publically across numerous outlets in a timely manner.
- Proactively communicate with various audiences that include: customers, employees, agents, news media, local community, company management, directors and investors, trade associations, government elected officials, regulators and other authorities and suppliers.
- Find the right balance between thoughtfulness and urgency.
- Consciously create anxiety to make the test as real and memorable as possible.
- Pick topic in advance.
- Simulation to be cross functional: identify and gather all key stakeholders such as legal, risk, compliance, public relations, marketing, customer service, corporate communications, investor relations, human relations, subject matter experts, senior execs, IT and Security.
- Inform senior management in advance.
- Guarantee no leaks. Create a safe, secure environment by conducting the test off site in controlled environment. In this case, no email was used, all communications among the team were paper-based. Personal electronics were not allowed in the war room during event.
- Test the plans over time. Every 1.5 hours represented a day, as an acute crisis can extend over several days.
- Monitor activities across traditional and social media.
- Respond in real time across multiple outlets to the crisis.
- Social media both creates traditional media and adds a level of urgency / responsiveness. Responding to thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of comments across social media is very different that handling incoming phone calls from traditional media.
- Having access to pre-identified subject matter experts with well defined approval processes, allows the ability to craft realistic responses quickly.
- Combining two crisis communications plans (traditional and social media) insures accountability.
And as planned, the test was stressful and memorable. “We’re glad it’s over!” said the participants of the war games for this financial services firm.
But they take comfort in being prepared for an upcoming crisis.
Is your firm ready?