At the heart of any organisation’s desire to improve what it does – either to save money, increase profits, obtain and retain new clients, recruit and keep top talent, is communication and collaboration.
I believe successful organisations start by making their staff happier. That’s not necessarily down to money or free sodas in the kitchen. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows us that these kind of things are actually quite far down the scale when it comes to providing a satisfying workplace:
Self-actualization is described in the wikipedia article as:
This level of need refers to what a person’s full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be.
To me this means that your responsibility as a leader (with the consequent benefits that people will do good work and thus make happy customers and good products or services) is to make sure that your employees are encouraged to reach their full potential. Yes, you need to pay them well, but no amount of money will keep someone in a job they hate.
I believe one way you can achieve this in an organisation is through employee engagement:
An “engaged employee” is defined as one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization‘s reputation and interests. An engaged employee has a positive attitude towards the organization and its values. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employee_engagement)
Employee engagement is clearly the process through which you can help your staff reach their self-actualisation goals, but how do you achieve this?
If you allow people to be recognised for their contributions, allow them to communicate freely and to enable them to free themselves of out-dated business practices which a lack of innovation in your organisation you will find that profits increase.
To do this there are eight core business solutions which you can implement in your organisation using collaborative tools. These are:
- Sharing and Managing Files
- Improving Communications
- Capturing and Sharing Knowledge
- Working Externally
- Improved Task and Issue Management
- Social Learning
- Driving Innovation
- Improving Quality
These can be applied in two dimensions in your organisation – by work scale (individual, team, department and enterprise) and by line of business. Over the coming weeks we’ll look at each of these.
Suffice to say however, that if you ever find your employees using the kind of phrases in the solution examples above, then we will have a solution for you.
To get us going however, we’ll get a better understanding of these fundamental business solutions as they can be applied anywhere and then we’ll get more specific.
IBM provides you with the ability to implement these solutions using its platform for cognitive collaboration, which includes products such as:
- IBM Connections
- IBM Notes & Domino
- IBM Watson Workspace
- IBM Watson Work Services
- Actiance Vantage
- IBM Talent Frameworks
- IBM Employee Voice
- Business Partner Applications
- 3rd Party Solutions
- Cisco WebEx
All of these are brought together in to one seamless, reduced-noise, customised and personalisable user interface using IBM Connections Engagement Center, which can provide the kind of “portal” user interface you’ve probably always wanted but were concerned about implementing due to the cost or size of the project. No more!