employee engagementFor years, we’ve all heard the studies that report that actively disengaged workers outnumber engaged employees at a rate of nearly two to one. Companies of all sizes, industries, and regions are working hard to determine why employees aren’t more engaged and the right measures to put in place to increase employee engagement. Unfortunately, though, executives do not see the improvements they want fast enough.

How can your business cope with a workforce that cannot be engaged – no matter what you do? The short answer: Find the small minority that is actually engaged and enable them to collaborate and connect with the rest of the workforce.

If you look around and identify engaged employees, you’ll see that they are genuinely happy and productive. But more important, you’ll see that key to employee engagement is people. People are engaged by people. And when people interact with productive and satisfied co-workers who like their work, who they work with, and who they work for, the feeling can be infectious.

This is why enterprise social collaboration can be a vital part of employee engagement. When you allow your workforce to leverage the wisdom of the crowd, preserve knowledge, share successes, and get fast answers, your employees will find it easier and faster to make good business decisions – unleashing everyone’s human potential.

6 steps to laying the foundation for collaboration-driven employee engagement

Collaboration is not as easy as it sounds. If you push too hard, you risk making your employees even more disengaged – or worse yet, you force them to leave. But if you let it happen organically, you’ll be amazed at what your workforce can do.

According to the white paper, 6 Ways Social Collaboration Can Boost Employee Engagement, SuccessFactors, an SAP company, identified the key steps to building a foundation for successful and productive collaboration that drives employee engagement.

  1. Engage employees directly and continuously. As the number of remote workers increases, as well as the need for authentic and transparent connection, it’s inevitable that organizational silos develop. With enterprise social collaboration, you can them break down by providing a secure foundation across the entire business for cascading messages, taking pulse checks, managing teams and projects, working with internal and external parties, finding experts, and innovating more effectively. Employees will also have the transparency they need and the freedom to ask questions and express opinions.
  1. Minimize time to contribution. New employees often find it difficult when learning how to work within an organization, which lengthens the time it takes to reach full productivity. Enterprise social collaboration can connect new hires with the people and content they need – shortening the learning curve, enabling them to contribute as soon as possible, and ultimately increasing retention.
  1. Facilitate agile learning. HR organizations face increasing pressure to reduce corporate learning costs, while employees are constantly requesting more comprehensive and flexible alternatives to learning. Enterprise social collaboration can help increase knowledge retention and productivity by helping employees tap into their personal social learning styles. From mentoring to communities to collaboration, employees can discover information, collaborate with peers, seek resources, and locate experts to find new and inventive ways to get answers and further their personal skill sets.
  1. Enable employee connection and collaboration. Most companies have workers dispersed across the globe and in multiple sites. Whether working on an impromptu team, a task force or special project, or regular departmental interactions, everyone needs to be connected wherever they are. Enterprise social collaboration provide a flexible approach to connecting employees to other employees, as well as to the applications and information they need to get their job done.
  1. Transform performance management. Although it’s critical for talent development, performance management is often viewed as burdensome and frustrating. Enterprise social collaboration puts people at the center of the process, which is open, collaborative, and results-driven. By streamlining and enhancing communication with videos, messages, and annotated documents that can be easily created and distributed, employees have a guide that can help them navigate the performance management process. In addition, all organizational levels can be linked together to keep managers updated on the latest information and best practices.
  1. Keep employees connected and productive. More than half of all U.S. companies allow employees to work remotely, according to a 2012 study by National Study of Employers. The most effective and efficient way to enable remote productivity is to ensure that the business applications employees use every day enable the ability to connect and collaborate no matter where they work. When enterprise social collaboration can be supported with mobile applications, employees are more likely to take advantage of collaboration capabilities and access the information and people they need – and never miss a beat.