Some organizations engage their employees beyond the standard annual satisfaction survey, because they understand the role their employees can play in driving business success. Having an exceptional team means having an engaged team, one that truly cares about the company’s success.
Engagement is not as simple as being "happy".
Engagement is defined as how strongly the employee feels that his/her needs and goals are aligned with the company.
Engaged employees will tend to:
- Know what is expected of them, and what they need to do to succeed
- Feel the success of the organization is related to their personal success
- Have a sense of where the company is going
- Have a positive working relationship with their immediate manager
- Feel that they can give suggestions/feedback and be heard
An employee insight community is a primary resource to build employee engagement. Learn more below...
What can we use an Employee Community for?
- Human Resources: Dig deeper into results from annual employee satisfaction studies, learn about culture, corporate social responsibility, career path, training and professional development, employee awards and recognition, celebrating work anniversaries.
- Innovation and Collaboration: product development, Ideation framework, concept testing, marketing and communications feedback, website development and usability.
- Business planning: Board, executive, departmental, and office level.
- Work Environment: Teamwork, productivity and tools to do your job.
- Customer Service: Tracking feedback from the front lines, merchandising, etc.
- Personal Context: Lifestyle, technology use, vacation preferences, fun facts
Benefits of Employee Insight Communities
- Getting input from people who know best what the company can do: No one knows your products or services like your team, and they often know your customers best as well. Why miss out on leveraging vital insights from people on the front lines? Your employees have great ideas about what customers will buy, what they will view with skepticism, and what they are missing from your offer.
- People gain a clear understanding of company’s goals and objectives. People row in same direction and can execute daily work on a straighter path.
- Builds competitive advantage. Increased innovation pipeline, improved product and service experience, smarter and faster business decisions.
- Innovation security. Working with employees means greater control over what gets shared outside the business. If employees are also customers, then you may already have your target market sitting in house.
- Builds employer brand. Builds trust, shows respect. reduces churn, improves corporate culture.
- Happier and more engaged employees mean better customer service and higher productivity.
- Employee engagement is directly linked to customer satisfaction, therefore, indirectly linked to financial performance.
- Building an engaged work force requires regular and ongoing feedback, and two-way dialogue.
Two possible scenarios exist for employee community recruitment:
1) Company has master corporate email address list
- Employees have corporate email addresses and employee IDs
- Can be recruited via integration with a Human Resource software program that houses data about all of the company's employees. As all employees have a contractual relationship with their employer, they are "double opted in" automatically. Sending an employee an activity invitation via Insight Community is no different than if their manager would contact them via email. Different technology, but same permissions apply.
- The Integration could also automatically execute purging, when an employee leaves the company
- Members information such as title/location/department can be automatically synced with internal system updates
- No issues with staff needing to use their personal email address for communication.
2) Company does NOT have corporate email: Standard invitation led recruitment process applies. Learn more here.
Are Incentives Necessary?
Offering a small thank you for participating is an option, just as it is with a customer facing community. Offering special corporate or community branded swag, and having winners share photos of themselves enjoying their prize could be a way to foster a sense of community and build bragging rights.
- Time to Launch Activities: Determine when is the best time to deploy activities (for example, a healthcare client knew that their doctors and nurses generally don't have access to phone or computer while on shift, so deploying outside of shift hours was best for them)
- Turnover: Ensure you have a practice in place for regularly purging employees who have left the company.
- Work vs. Personal Email Address: Some clients want to ensure that employee emails are used only, in other situations some verticals have employees that may not have a corporate email and a personal address would be used.
- Sensitive Data: For sensitive topics, using anonymous links might be helpful, in addition to reminding employees that their responses cannot be linked back to them and they have complete privacy.
- SMUD is a thought-leader in its space for engaging customers, B2B audience and its own employees. You can read the full post here. Specifically, please read section titled Getting a 360-degree view to launch a successful new product. It provides a fantastic journey in how they used three of their communities throughout a product development process.
- Forbes: “Great Customer Experiences Start With Your Employees”. What really stands out in this article is how “Brands that focus their time, attention and resources on improving the employee experience know that a better customer experience is inevitable”.
- How insurance provider Westfield keeps its employee and agent communities engaged