We’re all in

Six months ago many folks in our organization were disengaged. Don’t get me wrong – we weren’t bad seeds defaulting on our commitments. But we’d lost our creativity and emotional connection to our work and some of us were seriously contemplating leaving a company we loved. Over these last few months, a series of significant strategic shifts culminated in the formation of a new team focused on improving participation and engagement within our clients’ social workplaces. And with this and other moves, we’re not only changing the world of work to be more human centric for our clients, we’re leading by example to make work suck less at NewsGator – a phrase our CEO has coined. It is possible to be at the edge and find your way back – and other disengaged teams can too. For everyone out there experiencing disengagement, there is hope. Here the NewsGator team sits today more passionate and energized than we thought possible. We’re engaged.

Recent Bersin & Associates research found that turnover rates are 40% lower for organizations with high engagement. And although 71% of organizations with executive scorecards measure it, only 35% felt they were “moving the needle” on engagement and achieving positive business outcomes from their efforts. This gap represents an opportunity for organizations. We’re forging a path now with our clients to close that gap.

Drinking our own champagne

At NewsGator, we live and breathe the social workplace. I like to call it drinking our own champagne (the dog food analogy never did much for me). We’re putting in the effort to make engagement a living, breathing part of our company culture. We’re thinking about it, talking about it, and acting upon it regularly. I just finished Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly.” She espouses that leaders must rehumanize work in order to reignite creativity, innovation, and learning. This spoke to me as we are working hard to make work more humanistic.

We’re focused on drivers that promote and sustain employee passion in the workplace. We don’t just say we’re culturally open – we’re making it happen. We’re working out loud and encouraging individuals to join the conversation. We’re encouraging breaks and life balance that blur the boundaries of work and play. We’re creating opportunities to contribute to the company mission and vision with challenging work that leverages individuals’ talents, abilities, and ambitions. We’re forging close work relationships around the globe with frequent conversations, clear goals, and candid feedback – all of which are dramatically improving engagement. I just caught a thread in our internal activity stream from a rock star developer prototyping some new reports and he shared that 91% of our employees are actively engaged in our social workplace. That’s engagement.

We’re defining the future of work one step at a time for our clients and ourselves. Our approach is bringing a required focus on business alignment, people engagement, and technology enablement in order to make our customers successful. We’re coming from a place of experience working with hundreds of clients – having a unique understanding of their successes and challenges. And we’re seeing shifts in our customer projects every day too. Their successes are partially because of great products, but to a larger extent due to engaged people going the extra mile.

Making social real

Typically the brain reacts to personal interactions differently than it does to traditional digital interactions; however, social technologies enable us to bring the human aspects back to digital connections. Emerging bodies of research outline the connection of social technologies to achieving employee engagement. Engaging in a social network allows us to experience the human side of life again – resulting in greater empathy, trust, bonding, and ultimately, productivity.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of a social network is that it promotes your true identity with rich personal profiles and conversation turn-taking - allowing everyone to be equally heard, not just the loudest or the ones in the highest positions of power. Even shy introverts can safely express their ideas and feelings without being judged. This is very different from how people may engage face-to-face, where disengagement is often very costly.

They say people are more creative when they are driven by interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and a sense of personal challenge in the work they are doing. And when motivated by work you love, you don’t seek the easy, old, or comfortable path – you search and search for more interesting and likely more creative solutions. And that’s exactly what our team is doing. We’re here to make our clients successful on their journeys and we aren’t taking the easy route, but the right one no matter how challenging. Come drink some of our champagne with us.

Ping me @mristeff if you’d like to chat.

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