Friday, November 16, 2012

6 Reasons for Sharing Company Objectives Through a Social Interface

Social networking is bursting in popularity and the one obvious indication that comes to surface is how individuals enjoying ‘sharing’ occurrences in both their personal and professional lives. Employee recognition and appreciation is magnified further when consistent social feedback is provided through awards, comments, likes and more. Positive comments and feedback on recognizable social platforms and even company intranets provide a huge boost to employee morale.

It has been discovered that just about 19% of organisational employees from various industries manage to align their goals with overall business objectives, whereas over 65% employees remain disengaged. A primary reason for this is the growing grudge employees increasingly feel these days when it comes to annual performance reviews. Performance appraisals conducted once a year are viewed as too late, not enough, and feel like a reprimanding annual report card. It is also a general feeling among organisational workforce that performance appraisals conducted only one time in a year are largely based on the manager’s discretion and rating is mostly based on events that are recent. Quality of feedback is not up to the mark either, as the work performed by employees in the process of working with their cross-functional teams is not completely captured and taken into consideration. As a result, focus is lost on the larger picture as far as overall long-term employee contribution is concerned.

Samuel Culbert has mentioned in the Wall Street Journal that Annual Performance Reviews discourage teamwork, result in morale lowering and destruction, and adversely affect the bottom line.

Social Performance Management (SPM) – an overview
The main issue in recent times is that today’s generation craves and appreciates constant praise for their efforts, and productive feedback to help them function better and boost their morale. This recognition is wanted in a notably visible format.

A pat on the back for significant achievements and fruitful contributions is what every person truly wants. Old school reward schemes and compensate-as-per-performance incentives are not satisfactory any longer. In light of this fact, an international group named “Recognition Council” has been created. This Council aims at raising awareness about how rewards and recognition in varied forms form a notable part of effective business strategies and thereby elevate business performance.

Social Performance Management (SPM) steps in as a solution to all these problems -
a social interface to transparently share objectives, goals and achievements. A fairly recent business dimension, however, SPM works wonders as it enables organisations to explore undiscovered talent; engage people in better and interesting ways; align social goals with those of the business with more speed and intelligence, and as a result produce excellent business outcomes.

Performance management using social networking outlets
Professional recognition made ‘socially’ visible is the new driving factor that augments employee engagement, motivation and subsequently retention. It is a clever approach to performance management through an additional social interface layer for employee appraisal. Praiseworthy efforts of the workforce are showcased openly on a public platform and top performers are awarded special badges for their specific achievements.

Social media tools and mobile applications have given a whole new dimension to employee recognition. The tools are immediate, interactive, informal and very frequent, and above all are visible to everyone. Offline praises are moved on to an online, public, and highly visible forum. They bring forth employee accomplishments, inputs, skills and knowledge for jubilation out in the open.

Earning overall social visibility has an inherent feel-good factor that is hard to ignore. Therefore, it only makes sense to align these motivational triggers with organisations' platforms so that employees are rewarded with ‘real time’ recognition at every relevant opportunity, all year round, even when on the move. In addition, requesting or sharing feedback ensures clarity and makes matching expectations of reporting managers easier.

Why  use Social Performance Management?
Jeffrey Mann – VP, Gartner Research - opines that Social software can have a positive business impact from overall company point of view, since it creates an open and collaborative work environment by altering organisational culture for the better. It is quick, easy, and secure even when used on internal networking sites. At just a nominal cost, the impact is massive and value extraordinary. This apart, the non-monetary recognition adds value of its own.
  • Synergy in conversations - SPM is a valuable tool that promotes valuable mentoring, timely and actionable training and above all a high degree of motivation to workforces.
  • Empower employees - Using SPM, managers clearly demonstrate deeper interests in elevating employee performance levels by providing coaching and also opening up avenues to connect with mentors and experts.
  • Share and request feedback - A 360 degree view of feedback from across departments and roles is captured every single day for each individual. This information can be used used for appraisals too - regularly capturing feedback makes yearly reviews seem fair and relevant. The result is a highly charged performance culture where each person’s feedback matters.
  • Highlight outstanding achievements - Visible inputs from all business networks and cross-functional teams enables managers to quickly notice worthwhile contributions and immediately put forth their appreciation. By awarding 'Badges' to top performers with associated reward points, managers can ensure their team is competitive and highly motivated. Also, people across the organization can view badges awarded for contributing towards team goals/ company objectives.
  • Clear visibility - Rapid alignment and continuous communication between employees and managers assists everyone to gain clarity in understanding how business outcomes are impacted by their work through a friendly interface. This creates further motivation and drives engagement.
  • Multi-department collaborations - Often, while engaging in talent reviews and succession planning, the concerned executives have visibility limited to those people in their own immediate Business Unit. However, leveraging social network visibility makes discovering talent from other BU’s quicker and easier. This creates a broader talent pool and important projects are better executed.
  • Optimal CRM - if the SPM is part of your organization's CRM solution, it can ensure quantitative and qualitative analysis of the achievements of teams related to customers. In addition, hyperlinking comments to records within the CRM software ensure better transparency and enhanced collaborations. 
Using SPM for impacting employee psyche and assisting in goal alignment
The Social Recognition and Employees’ Organisational Support conducted a research where almost 1,000 employees from various service organisations were studied. They concluded that recognition of efforts socially on public forums intensify self-respect as a result of which the workforce makes better efforts to align their goals with the best interests of the company. 
Visible validation: 
  • Social approval and appreciation make employees feel that their efforts do not go unnoticed.
  • This feeling is amplified further with approvals and congratulatory remarks from all over.
  • The validation enhances their self worth and self perception within the company.
  • The workforce feels naturally more loyal, inclined, supportive, and anxious to improve their performance even more, and thus a deeper connection with the organisation is established. 
Dual benefits:
When employee success stories are broadcast, there are dual benefits.
  • The concerned employees are encouraged to continue in their upward performance curve.
  • Other people in the organisation also feel motivated to act similarly and earn success and appreciation like their co-workers.
  • From the organisational point of view, an opportunity is directly created to epitomize the liked and valued behavior and activities, thus re-in forcing the corporate culture that the company truly desires. On the other hand, the euphoric recipients will use social networking sites as a medium to make public claims of how their company is a great place to be working in where good work never goes unappreciated.
Horizontal recognition: 
Apart from recognition across verticals, there is also the aspect of horizontal recognition where peers notice one another. The management benefits substantially because it not only helps to tap key talent, but also assists in performance reviews. Employees know what kind of performance should be projected on a regular basis while management can directly take note of the employees’ behavior and performance.

To summarize.. 
Many renowned companies are gradually turning social/public recognition into a company asset and reaping tangible as well as intangible rewards at all levels. KPMG, P & G, Symantec, DHL are some companies which have reported a considerable rise in employee engagement in less than one year using SPM.

However, even though social performance management offers a host of unmatched benefits, research shows that top corporate organisations which have earned rewards and recognition for best business practices use a healthy balance between monetary and non-monetary rewards in combination with social recognition. Also, SPM should not be perceived as the top management's policing tool to ensure employees are being carefully monitored to track their contributions and achievements.

In a nutshell, SPM helps engaging and mobilizing top performing teams, offers continuous training, guidance and mentoring using social feedback as the platform and thereby raises performance to topmost levels. Simultaneously, business is positively impacted since there is rapid goal alignment. In addition – unknown, hidden talent is brought to the surface, key information brokers are pin pointed and appropriate reward and retention plans can be created for all deserving workforce.

However, what truly sets SPM a class apart is its spontaneity and unexpectedness. With relatively minor monetary outputs from companies, a huge impact (largely intangible) is created. Employees are elated that their work, time and efforts have been acknowledged, appreciated and applauded.


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