Building Relationships & Driving Results with Social
Michela Stribling 270006VAX7 firstname.lastname@example.org |
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Michela Stribling, Program Director, IBM Social Business
I’m a big fan of Nora Ephron’s. She wasn’t just funny, she often seemed to have her finger on the pulse of what was top of mind in our national consciousness. Take You’ve Got Mail, for example. Meg Ryan has a great line in that movie as she is debating the nature of business with Tom Hanks: “Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.”
The notion that business can not only take on but also benefit from personal connections has gained increasing favor among executives. Kenexa, an IBM Company and a leading provider of recruiting and talent management solutions, proudly boasts that “…to us, business is personal.”
I started thinking about the nature of our relationships at work and how we can use data and technology to improve them and in the process, become exceptional employees.
Is it possible to be a part of a high-performing organization without trusting your colleagues and leadership team? Sure, but it’s also likely unpleasant and stressful. A recent Kenexa High Performance Institute WorkTrends report found that employees who don’t trust their executives are seven times more likely to report they’re sick. Roughly 50 percent of those employees are seriously considering leaving their organizations. That’s where HR analytics and the science of talent management come into play. More chief human resources officers (CHROs) in outperforming organizations are relying on data analytics to build high-performing cultures of trust, with an emphasis on employee engagement, recruitment, and talent retention. Furthermore, they’re building cultures of mutual trust through transparent social governance policies that employees understand and respect.
A little bit of understanding can make a huge difference to the way we treat our colleagues and ultimately, to our business results. Our every interaction, from the emails we answer (or ignore) to our tweets to the networks we participate in, gives people a little bit of insight into ourselves. Companies are using this data to engage with their employees as individuals, personalizing every touch point. For example, if my manager knows that I don’t read emails, but am addicted to the enterprise social network, that’s good incentive to make sure that important announcements are posted to my personal wall. I’m more likely to see them and take action, plus I feel great knowing that the company understands how to speak my language.
Communication and its close cousin, collaboration are central to relationship building. An enterprise social network can help people, especially digital natives, reach out to colleagues in much the same way they do in their personal lives. The dividing line between employees and customers is blurring, after all and this trend is especially clear in marketing. New communications platforms, including serious games designed to drive business outcomes, mobile apps, and collaboration tools are changing the very nature of work, not to mention the speed at which we get things done.
In our knowledge economy, what we share is as important as what we know. Many of us are putting that principle to work through collaborative portals, knowledge management systems, and expertise locators. We’re living the wisdom of the crowd in our daily work with people-centric solutions that enable us to tap into our shared insights, collective knowledge, and expertise at the individual level.
Results matter. Interestingly, a study of 64 organizations by Kenexa revealed that companies with highly engaged employees achieve twice the annual net income of organizations whose employees lag behind on engagement. In addition to driving internal collaboration, engaged employees can be a powerful source of brand advocacy and therefore, help drive results. Organizations that create opportunities for employees to interact with the outside world at scale will create vocal brand advocates in their stakeholders.
I invite you to take a moment to think about your relationships at work and how you might use social tools to become an even better colleague.