“In the process of applying technology, we can’t forget that workforce engagement, the measure of whether an employee merely does the minimum required of them, versus proactively driving innovation and new value for the organization, is the ultimate objective here. Thus, engagement can only ever be partially accounted for by deploying the latest new collaborative technology, and probably significantly less than many of its proponents would have you believe.”
1) The level of worker engagement in large companies is dishearteningly low today by any measure, but 2) that means the good news is that there is considerable opportunity for improvement.
Given the parade of data on low worker engagement lately, commentators and analysts have come out of woodwork this year, claiming that the industrial era model of work is “broken”, that that even the latest new models (such as social business, better intranets, unified communication, or fill-in-the-blank) for fixing this are “dead”
The challenge is that most managers donâ€™t trust their employees and donâ€™t even want them speaking publicly about the company, lest they create litigation or a PR disaster. This state of affairs is a evidenced by the broken employer-employee relationship in many organizations that is in a downward spiral of distrust,
Ironically, worker engagement is actually declining in today’s ultra-connected, post-industrial, perma-mobile, always-on society. In short, by failing to address the entire engagement picture, it’s not likely that breakthrough new gains in collaboration are to be had.
At this point in the collaborative revolution, it’s become clear to many observers that culture change is one of the largest remaining obstacles to near-term advances in engagement, and therefore collaboration.
Digital natives don’t have to unlearn and then unwind process, culture, and behavior on a massive scale. Their legacy baggage is small enough to realize the changes required to reach the next-generation of workforce and customer engagement. While times are clearly changing quickly, unfortunately most large companies just aren’t adapting to the network model quickly enough, compared to their network-centric peers.
So some companies are clearly making the transition, often I’d note pointedly, by committing totally and experimenting with tolerance for learning from inevitable mistakes.
So to come full circle, technology certainly can greatly improve the engagement of employees and therefore the performance of organization, but only if they are ready to make the fundamental changes required to take inherent advantage of the unique power that a new technology makes possible.
it shouldn’t be surprising that acquiring a powerful new engagement technology, and then not focusing on using what makes it so powerful, results in poor outcomes.