I am pleased to be back for my sixth Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. Here is a link to a summary of last year’s notes - This is the first set of notes. There will be many more to follow. I attended workshop hosted by Mike Gotta - Organization Next: Bridging the Participation Gap – Networks, Learning, and "Play". Mike is now Senior Technical Solution Manager for Enterprise Social Software, Cisco. I attended another workshop he did in 2009 - Reality 2.0: Getting Started with Enterprise Social Networking - and found it very worthwhile. Here is the session description for this year’s workshop:
“Companies are becoming more reliant on their employee’s ability to thrive in a complex work environment where relationships, projects, processes, and business priorities are in a constant state of flux. Employees need to expect the unexpected – to “figure out” the best way to handle exceptions – to self-synchronize their work with the activities of their colleagues – to make decisions collectively rather than waiting on top-down direction from management. In this Organization Next environment, we are also operating in a economic period where the “social contract” between employer and “employee” is being transformed. Employees (whatever that term means in the future) must continually build and refine individual competencies, team work practices, and community relationships while becoming skillful at cultivating and mobilizing their professional and personal networks to meet the needs of their employer – as well as their own.”
Mike started by doing a overview of the conference and then introduced Josh Greenbaum, who said he is an industry analyst and his job is to be skeptical of new technology. Engagement is one of the fundamental issues facing enterprise today. It will always be hard but it is even more important today. People are more and more looking at people as strategic assets.
Talent management is a starting point for a discussion for how we work with people. Technology is not the answer and can be a barrier. However, we usually start with the latest technology and this approach does not work. So what do we do with people? Drew Rabin, Booz Allen and Phil Jackson, CIGNA came up next to join Josh. CIGNA is rebranding itself from a health insurance company to be a health services company and Phil is learning specialist. Drew is a Senior Learning Consultant at Deloitte.
Drew said that employee engagement is often referred to having employees do more than is required. But there are many different definitions. Phil mentioned the generational diversity issues in engagement. Josh said engagement is often either what is done to or for employees. The right question is how do we make it a win-win situation? Drew said what is the difference between engagement and satisfaction. How do you get employees to adopt a business owner mentality that leads more to engagement than satisfaction. To get it to work it has to be mutually beneficial so the company and employee both feel rewarded.
Drew said that engaged employees are 20% - 30% more productivity so that is a win for the company. So what is the win for the employee? He referred to Daniel Pink’s ideas on this and the new construct of motivation for the employee. Josh asked should the engaged employee be more rewarded? Phil said it is not magical. Phil said he is in learning and studied it but most people in learning just fell into on the job. He tries to look at things holistically and not in simple behavioristic ways of stimulus and reward. I would certainly agree with this.
Drew said he studied school systems on engagement. The keys are recruitment, recognition, and retention. In a gamification system you can give people status and incentives through rewards. In one IT company gamification increased engagement by ten fold but the engaged activity was done by one third of the people. Studies shown that about two thirds of employees are not engaged so the effort just got to the already engaged to be more engaged in through game stuff.
Phil said in most online communities 90% will be passive onlookers, 9% will be takers, and 1% will be actively engaged. So you need to work on the 1% to get them effective. Are the senior management involved is a key question here? Drew asked how to do create fans, people who are actively involved and who are fanatical in a positive way. Conflict creates engagement. You can get strangers involved in something they are passionate about. This is the goal in gamification but it is not the tool that drives success but finding these types of people.
Phil mentioned that peer learning has been around for a long time. The idea of competition is also an old one. What is different now is the relationship with your employer. People move around from company to company and have much looser relationships with their employer so engagement takes a different form. He liked it when they introduced people profiles at Deloitte. (see my series on their implementation when I interviewed Walton Smith who led the effort - Implementing Enterprise 2.0 at Booz Allen: The Series). Phil worked at home and got to know so many more people with similar issues and concerns. The technology made the connections but it only worked because it enabled what people wanted to do anyway.
Josh asked about the “big brother” issues in engagement. Drew said that first no one is anonymous. He gave an example of GPS enabled ads that make use of personal data for personalized marketing. Phil said sometimes data security concerns for the company gets in the way of doing things.
Drew said they are looking a BYOD policy but the Federal government is their main client where security is a big issue. Employees have to give up some privacy rights when they get involved with BYOD. How can you protect security breaches?
Mike Gotta said we are used to designing IT systems for business process. How do IT people design for games? This is a new area. How can you develop specs to build these games. Josh said you have to build ROI into the process. Phil said the idea of ROI is difficult in the world of learning. Drew talked about ROE – return on expectations (of senior leadership). The front line manager is the biggest driver of engagement. People often do not leave their companies, they leave their bosses. Josh said that in consumer marketing there is strong ROI data. This is the one area.
Julie LeMonie and Jim Kendall came up next. Julie has been involved in social computing and augmented realities for several decades. She said topics now trending are: more mobile, avatars getting more real, more interactive social, and co-location of teams going away. The majority of teams are now not co-located. There is now embedded video so you can be virtually co-located.
She has picked five uses cases: Using micro-blogging for ideation was the first. People tweet at conferences for idea sharing. You can use it within the enterprise also. Give people permission to type while you talk. Make sure people have access to their devices. Make sure you have micro-blogging available. Have trusted reviewers. Get the most senior speakers and let people comment on what they are saying. Have a screen with slides and one screen with the live feed. Understand the culture issues. Use the “correction trick” by having people planted to say things that are left out on purpose. Have people who already know the message reading the stream of comments on the message and picking out the good stuff. This seems to me like the old discussion treads.
The next two use cases were social gaming. Gaming with crowdsourcing applied to hard stuff to solve problems. Microsoft did this for Windows7 release. They took a snap shoot of the screen in every language of the testers for their game. They allowed people for whom English is a second language to see a screen and use their first language and see English also. It became a global team building and saved millions in the release.
The second use case was to improve search relevance, another hard issue. They gave people a task and watched people doing relevant search and made adjustments based on their observations. It had all the game issues with leader boards, etc but no money. People got very involved.
Issues to consider when creating game situations: address real problems, require no specialty training, have no overlap with real job, ask for limited effort to contribute, and elicit engagement through good citizenship In the Windows 7 case, pride of country.
Jim talked about another use case. Jim said he was a skeptic on gaming. His company performs clinical trials for biotech firms. They do a lot of partnering in this process including independent investigators that they have to motivate. They are in a very regulated industry. They need to make sure investigators follow the right processes and regulations. They also need to make sure there is informed consent by patients. The gaming had to contend with these issues.
They had clear goals. The first was to improve quality. The existing training does not work for most people. The game was to make compliance better. They wanted collaborative training for more engagement. They simplified the experience after experimenting with it. They put context into the game, as many investigators would skip training thinking they know the content but often they do not. So these issues were put into the game. The cost of a clinical trial is about $1miilion a day so making them more efficient can make for big cost savings and also get the benefits of the drug quicker to market.
Julie said that recreational gaming is different than enterprise gaming. You want the enterprise game to be simple and not addictive so they do not spend too much time away from work but solve a problem and get engagement in solving this problem. You need an issue that the employees care about. You also need to decide who should play and who should not involve. Some people are too busy or not relevant.
Another game was used to prune knowledge from a knowledge management system and the sunset issue in knowledge management can be a difficult one.
Next, Ben Brooks spoke. He runs the Human Care Performance group for Marsh. His company is a very conservative 140-year-old insurance firm. The last decade was difficult for Marsh. He joined two years ago after this dark period and they were very risk adverse, even more than in the past. They needed to change to conversation from survive to growth and success. The CEO declared the company was fixed so now let’s talk about growth. Focus on the best rather than the rotten apples.
They wanted to expand recognition. They did an inventory and found 56 recognition programs already in place but they were inconsistent. So another was not the answer but changing the culture was the requirement. The situation was that people only wanted to work with people they knew. In this case they were very collaborative but that they needed to expand this collaboration beyond known people.
They created March University. They found that only 10% of learning came from formal learning. Informal learning counts for 70% of learning. They wanted to focus on informal learning to burn off the organizational fog to make connections easier to find. They have a lot of deep knowledge but it is often not accessible. They also want it to be fun. They want people to get to know each other. They needed to deal with change management on tool use. Their motto was everyone Is a teacher. The question was what will you teach? They got a huge response. They wanted learning to be informal and atomized so your best performers will take the time to do it. They wanted learning to embedded in the work process. They also wanted learning to be social.
They wanted to source photos internally rather than paying a stock image firm. They got a huge response. It became a photo contest than got very high engagement.
They also launched a certified blogger program to teach people who to do it right and not simply develop policies and hope people will follow them. Good idea. They also found ways to get non-sales people involved in sales as experts by making to process more open. They focused on the 1% of active contributors, and also provide some focus on the 9% of passive contributors so they would give reinforcement to the 1%. They have raised the active contributors level from 1% to 4%. Visibility and recognition were the drivers. They found that people age 45 – 60 are most likely to be bloggers. They wanted to share their experiences.
Top ten takeaways:
Find a problem
Make learning covert
Go where there is energy
Create an engagement aligned with strategy.
Burn off organizational fog- create a hub for spokes
Cut the IT/HR/Social media crap – talk business
Make it easy and fun
Design a game and keep score – keep it simple
Treat colleagues like customers
Make everyone a teacher