Engaging Employees in the 21st Century?

Jul 23, 2015 10:20:00 AMlauramorrissey

Facebook ... it’s now approaching one billion users and almost half the population of the UK are addicted and are all attracted by its ease of use and people centred philosophy. However when the same people come to the world of work they find a very different environment.

Facebook … it’s now approaching one billion users and almost half the population of the UK are addicted and are all attracted by its ease of use and people centred philosophy. However when the same people come to the world of work they find a very different environment.

Here they normally find that all the softer, people centred programmes i.e. performance, appraisals, and personal development are driven by complex spreadsheets and frustrating paper chases. Even worse, and certainly for the employer, these same spreadsheets and paper bases, all hold vital but dispersed largely “non-get-at-able” information. I fear that some of it might never see the light of day stuck as it is in the manager’s desk drawer.

Have we learned nothing from the likes of Facebook?

Is it any wonder that some staff are dis-engaged when they have to lead such a schizophrenic existence? For those under thirty-five, the future for all our organisations, it must be a truly odd and not very fruitful dual existence.

  • The “Bill Gates” mentality – Outside of work most of us are now fully
  • convinced, even seduced, by products such as the iphone or ipad, and
  • constantly admire the smoothness of Google and Skype and are tickled by
  • web based deliveries such as Spotify
  • The “Factory Gates” mentality – Inside work people are often subjected to
  • the antiquated factory gates mentality, hierarcharchical bureaucracies with
  • command and ‘paper control’ management that turn people off big time. It’s
  • actually quite incredible……..and sad…….. and hugely unproductive for the
  • organisation as a whole.

If we’re talking about engagement and maximising staff potential, I would go even further. 
Many staff are not dis-engaged at all. In order to get to the stage of being dis-engaged you need to at least know what you’re not engaging with! I know I don’t eat Marmite, and therefore don’t engage with buying Marmite, however that’s because someone at Marmite took some time and care to create, package and deliver it to me so I could taste it [engage] and make my buying decision!

So, I’m genuinely not sure staff and the workforce at large are dis-engaged as they have never really tasted the things the organisations wants from them so don’t understand what to actually engage with, let alone how!

…… Until now, that is……….

At Thirsty Horses Ltd we have applied social networking ideas/principles and, learning from them, we have merged – for the first time – all the people centric tasks that staff need to deal with the added bonus of a constant stream of information flowing up and down and across the organisation.

Our product, INSPIRE, delivers a ‘home page’ for every individual in any sized organisation that contains all they need to ensure their contribution to the organisation is bespoke, meaningful, measured and monitored.

The individual embraces their page – and in doing so, their performance & development – as, often for the first time, they are clear about expectations.

The individual engages regularly with their page – in very short bursts – as it’s highly intuitive and therefore very easy to use. It contains all the objectives, behaviours and competences required for them to deliver their role effectively, as well as internal networking & coaching options to help others be better, as well as be helped.

Using INSPIRE makes the experience unique to them, their job family, their performance level and their position in the hierarchy: Clinical and Non-Clinical. It also has an integrated suite that deals with Medical Appraisal & Revalidation in a way that satisfies GMC standards and also measures the impact on their host organisation’s strategy.

Most importantly, because of the advanced “Business Social Networking” principles underpinning the system, staff simply own their page.

The system is light touch so as not to become an industry in itself, and continually prompts business focused conversation between staff and line manager (and peers & customers if the organisation is mature enough to take that on) which results in significantly improved performance and personal development – both of which are cornerstones to creating a high performance culture.

This is why we are called Thirsty Horses. We all know you can lead a horse to water – in a 
performance sense – however cannot make them drink. INSPIRE delivers the platform for all horses to quench their own thirst and in doing so enables organisations to perform better than they ever did before. It is the living definition of engagement.

So, before we talk about engagement and the potential a truly engaged workforce can have, we must first address the product we want staff to engage with and how well organisations have positioned that product with their most expensive resource, their staff.

Given the time it has taken me to write this article, I’m guessing Facebook in the UK is nearly at 36 million users! Culturally significant to note is that all Facebook users continue to use the page without prompts, none of whom were trained to use the system and it spreads because it is designed to.

I wonder what impact a purely business focussed product, with similar design principles, could have in your or your client’s organisation if it were introduced.

Get in touch if you want to know more….

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