Social enterprise can develop stronger ties between management and employees


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In today's competitive marketplace, organisations are competing fiercely to retain and nurture their top talent pool to power their business growth.

Best-in-Class organisations know that getting the best out of your talent calls for strong employee engagement, which transcends beyond mere employee satisfaction, when it comes to the execution of the organisations core strategy and values. The goal for modern HR organisations goes way beyond creating a satisfied talent pool who just deliver business outcomes, but to nurture and create leaders who can shape the company's destiny.

Finding the right talent and more importantly, retaining talent, is the top agenda of HR organisations. But the average employee turnover rate was 15.9% in 2010 and the numbers are rising gradually. Research has revealed that the single most critical reason why employees leave organisations is because they are not engaged effectively by their organisations when it comes to helping them understand expectations from them and enabling them with the right skills and work environment to deliver to these expectations.

Organisations today are spread across multiple geographies and time zones, which leads to challenges in engaging with employees and fostering a cohesive culture. Social Enterprise has emerged as an innovative way of promoting stronger employee engagement between the management and employees, and has the unique ability to be viral in its influence and reach.

The modern employee lives in the age of social media and smart phones. It is critical for organisations to evolve into a social enterprise. Organisations need to align their goals and strategy to meet the current mindset of employees. Social media and Web 2.0 tools offer tremendous value in terms of engaging employees as they allow ideas to get showcased and employees are open, free and credible in knowing that knowledge sharing happens in such forums. For example, LinkedIn offers credibility to an individual's profile when the individual or his/her ideas are recommended by peers and superiors. Social enterprise offers a socially engaging environment wherein the management gets to discuss its policies, goals and opinion in an informal manner with the employee and the employee in turn offers suggestions and feedback. This goes a long way in making the employee feel engaged and empowered. The employee feels that there is an instant socially engaging environment for him to express his opinion and feel counted. This environment also serves as a means for promoting blogging, chats, social and informal learning.

Social collaboration capabilities such as blogs and communities enable employees to share expertise and collaborate, and creates an informal network that helps propel the organization's innovation agenda, and can far more effectively leverage the collective skills of the entire organization. In fact, social enterprise can be used to engage with prospective employees even before they are part of the organisation, through social networking sites. For candidates, social media provides a unique opportunity to gather intelligence about employers through interaction with potential peers. People they might otherwise never meet until after an exhaustive interview process are instantly available online. For employers, this is a ubiquitous channel to reach out to prospective employees, build mindshare and promote their employer brand, while offering a more reliable mechanism of identifying the right candidates for their organization.

A critical part of employee engagement is the ability to provide transparent and open listening channels for employees to air their views and be heard. Social enterprise capabilities and Web 2.0 tools provide a transparent mechanism to enable this. For example before an HR policy impacting the entire organisation is rolled out, HR can sense the pulse of employees regarding this HR policy, perform complex sentiment analysis of the feedback received, and take appropriate corrective actions to ensure that the HR policy meets the desired objectives, while at the same time addresses employees' concerns and expectations.

Social enterprise has pervaded many HR functional areas with innovative models such as Social Learning, Recruitment and Collaboration, and has proven it's mettle in delivering business value to organisations across the entire spectrum of integrated talent management. Organizations who invest in Social strategies and solutions around employee engagement and integrated talent management will stand to gain, with measurable ROI benefits, in this war for talent and performance that will enable them to clearly differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

Hariprasad B.K, head of TalentEdge at Infosys



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