While most companies have standard surveys and some annual events that constitute employee engagement, it’s no longer enough. To be truly impactful, employee engagement needs to be incorporated into the everyday workplace culture. And a great way to do this is to adopt social engagement as a key part of your employee engagement strategy.
What we mean by social engagement is this – Enable your employees to engage with your company and each other at a social level, where they are able to form connections beyond professional relationships. It creates a sense of belonging to a community, being a part of something bigger than themselves. And that is an emotion that drives them to be invested in the growth of the company, and their personal growth with it.
Here’s a look at how exactly social engagement is crucial for your employee engagement strategy:
Better social interactions translate to better professional interactions
Social engagement is the first step to breaking down rigid hierarchies in the professional space. Anything from an impromptu game to the company retreat is an opportunity to engage on a social level. Everyone, from the CEO to the junior exec is sharing bits and pieces of their lives and personality, and that helps your employees discover commonalities with each other.
This could be with team members, or with people from the management. It builds a level of camaraderie and trust in the social sphere that gets carried over into the professional arena. And that translates into smoother interactions, better understanding, and hence improved teamwork and productivity.
Intra-organizational social platforms can be a good place for employees get to know each other better in a slightly informal environment. It gives them a space to take communications beyond the professional, and hence build better connections that translate to improved ability to work together in teams.
But it has to move past that, and become a sustained pattern across the organization, creating opportunities of employees interact in-person. Employee engagement platforms can help streamline this process and allow your HR team to ideate, organize, and manage social engagement campaigns.
Social engagement makes your employees more invested in the company’s vision
Interacting with each other outside the professional sphere transforms your teams from colleagues to friends. Your employees stop perceiving themselves as a cog in a machine as they share a social connection with people at work, both and up and down the hierarchy.
This sense of community brings with it a certain level of attachment, interest in each other’s lives, and investment in each others’ success and well-being. And that expands to being invested in the company’s success as well. Once this feeling is achieved, their motivation shifts from simply getting the next paycheck to truly contribute to the growth of the company and those they work with. With effective social engagement, you have employees how are more proactive and productive in driving your company’s growth.
Social interactions are self-sustainable
One of the primary reasons why employee engagement initiatives fail is because most companies adopt a top-down approach. Engagement mostly takes the form of some HR-mandated activity that people have to participate in – taking time out of their free hours. It’s perceived as uninteresting, forced, and something they would like to give a miss. And because of this perception, employee engagement remains as something that needs to be especially organized, rather than being a part of the organization’s culture.
But with social engagement, the scenario changes for the better. People are actually social beings and would appreciate the opportunity to interact with their colleagues informally. While initial engagement has to be driven from the top, people soon become genuinely interested in creating new social engagement opportunities.
Because it’s a part of their work-life they enjoy, social engagement becomes something that’s sustained by the employees themselves. All you need is to give them are the tools to create and drive their own campaigns, and intelligent employee engagement platforms are best placed to do this.
There are immense gains to be made by consciously focussing on social engagement. Employee engagement here is proactive and voluntary, and hence greater number of opportunities to leverage it for your organization.
Yes, it’s an idea that would definitely need some work on the part of the management to smooth out all the kinks in the execution of it. But once established, social engagement can be a key way to create an excited and highly engaged workforce.
Author bio: Deepa is the founder of Zinda.xyz. Zinda’s first product is called Journyz. It uses a gamified, social, AI and mobile-first approach to help corporations and employees bring their personal mission and company goals to life.
Deepa has also been involved in various technologies for over 25 years, ranging from legacy mainframes to public cloud.
Prior to starting Zinda.xyz, she enjoyed delivering transformational initiatives that help take the business vision forward for large financial organizations.