Engagement of employees is a very individual thing, and various different factors can come into play which influence it. Age, gender, race, technological uptake, intelligence and motivation can all play a key part.
It is no wonder then, that there is a worldwide issue within the workplace of disengagement.
So how can companies address this? One concept is that of a ‘social mindset’. This is a strategic move by companies to improve and build upon employee engagement over a sustained period of time.
A ‘social mindset’ is a relatively new term. It relates to a higher social skillset than we might have possessed above that of a few years ago, and embraces the social change that has hit our society. It allows companies to reflect on their business from a real person perspective, looking at individuals and their input, as opposed to the overall results. It enables companies to develop individuals to become more than ‘just a number’ and to therefore drive their business results accordingly.
Really, it’s about respect and making the most of skills. It’s a mindset which embraces the views of all members of staff. It leans towards an inclusive culture, and allows the companies and the individuals to grow and engage. It allows individuals to grow and develop at their own pace and within their own comfort zones. It looks to engage them completely in their day to day activities by taking action, as opposed to imposing rules and regulations to drive engagement, which may seem to actually have the opposite effect.
It should be said at this point, that in no way is this a quick process. It’s a cultural change within a company, but the results speak for themselves, and can result in a longevity of staff, and a universal understanding of company goals and strategy, which in turn drives team spirit and camaraderie.
Here are just some ways that a social mindset can improve employee engagement:
Clarification and collaboration
It’s sometimes challenging for colleagues and employers to understand where each other’s strengths and weaknesses lie. A social mindset allows this to be an organic process. Through a social mindset, employees develop their roles and their purpose within the company through collaboration. For example, the company takes on a project – within a social mindset there would be no pre-determined roles, although there would be a certain number of tasks that needed to be completed. Collaborators within the company would have the freedom to volunteer for tasks which specifically matched their interest / skillset, without being constrained to their specific job title or job description. By working in this way, companies can develop and nurture passions within staff, and allow them to enjoy their roles in a much more holistic way. Employers are also given the opportunity to see where true leaders lie, and by giving staff autonomy, can develop the leaders of the future.
With today’s technology, a social mindset can thrive. Apps such as the newly launched http://soundbran.ch, a voice messaging app, offer the perfect platform for a social mindset’s implementation within a company in a clear and simple way which are not dissimilar to social platforms with which they may already be engaged.
The engagement with Apps such as Soundbranch is in itself an organic process, and allows employers to see how the workforce engage with each other. It also allows remote workers to be part of a team in a much more inclusive way than has historically been possible.
The Social Mindset allows not only communication within teams both publicly and privately, but also allows for real-time feedback on projects, and removes the risk of missed calls / emails / meetings having an impact on company success. In doing so, it builds trust, and ensures ongoing staff engagement.
Teach each other
A social mindset allows colleagues and collaborators to learn from each other, and therefore grow, sharing experience and learning in a social way. Gone are the days of day long training sessions to share expertise and promote best practice – this is far better done through example and illustration, things which a social mindset allow to thrive. A social mindset encourages sharing of the processes of specific tasks as opposed to their results, which allows all staff to learn and develop at their own pace by absorbing skills and asking questions. It also encourages feedback and allows the introduction of fresh thinking, removing the challenges associated with repetitive tasks, and ‘this is the way we’ve always done it’, which can stunt the growth of both companies and individuals.
One way in which the teaching can take place is to assign specific groups, which are led by a perceived ‘expert’ – the expert shares learning and experiences of a specific topic / skill, and allows those interested to engage in a social setting with a less formal atmosphere than might otherwise have been created by training. Leading by example boosts the confidence of the assigned experts, and creates further collaboration by reinforcing their strengths, and allowing others to take accountability for their weaknesses whilst addressing them accordingly.
Develop the individual
Whilst work takes up a significant amount of an individual’s time, it’s in an employer’s interest to harness their skills and passions outside of work as well. If staff are enabled to combine their work with their hobby, then their work becomes all the more enjoyable. They are confident of the company’s engagement in their life outside work, and the social mindset allows them to engage their colleagues in their outside pursuits. A voice notes app for example, can allow teams to form and initiatives to develop quickly and easily.
Many companies already implement this by organising team sporting challenges which may be sponsored by the company / other sources. Not only does this give staff a sense of team and personal pride, it also reinforces the Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) of the company, and gives them good news stories to spread to the outside world. These stories not only boost staff morale, but also reinforce the standing of the company as an excellent place to both work, and do business with.