Help with My New Report: Employee Engagement & Advocacy

Businessman holding paper
Image by ImpaKPro

I’m passionate about Open Leadership, and the imperative to be open, authentic and transparent in the way we lead. This is all the more important when looking at how to engage employees, and tapping them for the bright shiny object de jour “employee advocacy.”

To that end, my colleague Jon Cifuentes and I are working on a new Altimeter report on how companies create holistic strategies that increase internal employee engagement and external employee advocacy. The report looks at the fundamental disconnect between organizations wanting active and engaged employees and the actual execution of employee collaboration, engagement, and advocacy efforts.

Three recent studies exemplify the problem.

  • Gallup found that only 13% of employees worldwide are actively engaged while 24% are actively disengaged.
  • A more optimistic report from Weber Shandwick, released just last week, found that while 47% of employees are ProActivists or PreActivists who are inclined to take positive action on behalf of their employers, 31% are HyperActivists, ReActivists, or outright Detractors who can hurt their employers with negative actions.
  • IBM just published their CHRO study and found that only 42% of CHROs interviewed felt that they were effective at fostering employee engagement and commitment, and only 20% thought they were effective at addressing collaboration and information sharing challenges.

Technology is also having an impact. The vast majority of employees all have personal access to social media — and frequently use it to talk about work. Collaboration platforms and enterprise social networks like Chatter, Jive, and SharePoint/Yammer often connect employees at work. A rising plethora of employee advocacy platforms all aim to make it easier to engage and amplify the voices of employees. The biggest challenge that all of this technology creates is the expectation of openness and transparency that many organizations are still struggling with — at a theoretical level, they would love to see more employees speaking positively about the brand, but also worry about slip-ups like the most recent US Airway’s accidental porn tweet or HMV’s live tweeted firing dustup last year.

Three Types of Engagement for One Employee

To address these issues, we’ll be looking at employee engagement in three distinct areas, which typically involve three different activities, three different owners in the organization, and three different technology platforms. The problem: There’s one employee.

Three types of employee engagement

This evolving view of employee engagement boils down to the evolving relationship between the employer and employee – all aspects of work are changing in the face of this new dynamic. Digital engagement becomes not the end goal but the forcing function, providing a new context for the entire employee engagement strategy.

Our research will seek to answer questions for business leaders at the core of this conundrum:

  • How do I develop a coherent and effective employee engagement and advocacy strategy, rather than a series of initiatives? What are the elements of a holistic strategy?
  • How do I select, deploy, and integrate technology to create a foundation that also leads to and facilitates employee engagement and advocacy?
  • What new leadership skills and organizational structures will be needed to create better coordination of employee engagement across the organization?
  • How do I know that what I’m doing is working and making a difference? (The age-old measurement conundrum.)

How You Can Help Altimeter’s Research

Altimeter is committed to what we call “Open Research.” Rather than keep our research behind locked doors, we’re sharing this early peek with the hopes of getting external input. We’d love to hear about the following:

  • Strategic approaches to overall employee engagement. Does your organization take a strategic approach to employee engagement? What other functions in the business are you integrating?
  • Leadership and organization. What role does leadership have in the strategy? How are you breaking down silos across organizations to connect internal engagement with external advocacy?
  • Use of technologies. How did you decide which tools to use to support your strategy? How are you planning to connect internal and external employee engagement platforms — if at all? How are you integrating with existing enterprise systems?
  • Measurement and results. How do you connect your employee engagement strategy to business results? How do you think about measuring the overall strength and evolution of the employee relationship?

If you think you have a contribution that could be made, please fill out this very short form (also embedded below) so that we can collect your input in an orderly fashion. Please also note if you would be willing to be interviewed for best practices and case studies. All information collected will be used only for background purposes. We will seek specific and explicit permission for any information we intent to publish or use publicly. And of course, you are very welcome to email me or my colleague Jon Cifuentes if you have any questions or suggestions.

3 thoughts on “Help with My New Report: Employee Engagement & Advocacy”

  1. Thanks for the post Charlene!

    That is striking that “only 13% of employees worldwide are actively engaged”.

    It would be interesting to see your suggestions on how we can increase employee engagement. Maybe the most important step is to scrutinize job fit first? If you hate your work – how can you be engaged?

  2. Highly interesting topic! A key element in reaching high levels of employee engagement is providing employees with development opportunities and enabling them to explore and realise their own potential. Around 74% of employees assume they do not use all of their capabilities while working, which shows that there is a lot more to give.

    What is the key reason behind this inability to draw out the employee’s full potential? There is a wealth of research to show that ineffective corporate training is one of the biggest contributing factors.

    Corporate training is an area of expenditure that generally managers do not have a great deal of faith in, with just 38% of managers believing that their training courses are suitable and convenient for employees. 62% of managers felt that the lack of good onboarding and learning programs was the key issue.

    This poor onboarding experience for new employees often leads to them leaving the company within the first year of employment, with figures as high as 1 in 3 leaving within 12 months, at a cost equating to three frontline employee salaries.

    UK companies lose approximately £11 million per 1,000 employees each year due to ineffective training, so this is clearly a huge problem that requires a resolution. Selecting the best way to improve the effectiveness of training is not straightforward, as there are so many factors that must be considered. For example, the culture within the organisation must align to the learning methods and approaches.

    Another key consideration is that the learning must be implemented in such a way that links clearly to the overall objectives of the business and can be measured as such. Some types of training are easier to measure the success of than others, for example, if you are training on process improvements, you can measure pre-training and post-training metrics like the length of time the process takes.

    If the training is on the use of software for example, there must be a way to measure the impact of that training on the business. The metric again might be improvements in process length but there is a need to relate this to financial value to the business when working out the real return on investment.

Leave a Comment

Get the Disruption Dispatch

Get on my mailing list for a monthly dive into the world of disruption.