Expert Interview with Amanda Shore on Increasing Employee Engagement

By Cheryl Morgan

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Today, one of the keys to successful recruiting is strong company engagement. People want to work for great companies, and companies with engaged employees are great places to work, says Amanda L. Shore, Digital Marketing and Content Creator for Herd Wisdom.

"Everyone is clamoring to work for Unilever because they've developed a reputation for being a great place to work," Amanda says. "Unilever can have their pick of thousands of applicants."

And, of course, the more applicants a company receives, the more choices they have and the better their odds of finding a perfect hire, she adds. Increasing engagement not only builds loyalty with current employees, but also raises a brand's reputation in the world at large.

Herd Wisdom, a game-based app, was created to help companies solve problems related to communicating with and engaging individual employees. Here, Amanda talks about how it works, how companies should be measuring engagement and why it's so important in today's business world. Read on:
 

Tell us the story behind Herd Wisdom. How does it work?

Herd Wisdom is a fun, game-based employee engagement app that was developed to reduce employee turnover, absenteeism and inefficiency; while sparking innovation, boosting the company's bottom line and improving customer service.

Our belief is that employees need good incentives to participate in engagement strategies, which is why our app uses gamification and a trivia-based game to encourage participation and enthusiasm.

Our app contains a unique profiling system, which allows managers to learn what drives their employees. In knowing what individual employees find motivating, managers are able to better communicate with and engage individual employees.

The app has several components through which employees have the opportunity to earn points. At the end of the month, point leaders are rewarded with prizes.

One of the main components is the survey. Rather than an annual survey with a ton of questions and a ton of resulting data, our app offers employees survey questions in packs of six; there are between five and six packs per month. They have a month to answer the survey question packs at their leisure. Employees earn points for completing the survey answers and bonus points for doing more than one survey pack at a time.

At the end of the month, survey data is compiled by our analytics engine and presented to the manager so that they can see where the need for improvement lies. They have the option of sharing the survey results with senior management and employees.

However, our app is more than just a new way to do surveys; it's a new way for managers to interact and communicate with their employees, and for employees to be able to communicate with their managers and their colleagues.

Using our recognition program, managers are able to recognize the efforts of their employees, and employees are able to demonstrate that they recognize the work of their colleagues. The recognition program is set up so that a manager or employee can send out a badge recognizing an employee for something they did or achieved. Managers also have the option of including a monetary or non-monetary reward with the badge.

Team collaboration is another element that we believe to be essential to employee engagement. Therefore, our app includes a forum component that allows managers and employees to seek collaboration on solving problems and coming up with new ideas.

Last but definitely not least is our game component. Our app features a trivia game that everyone in the company can play. Individuals can play solo or challenge someone to a competition. Our app tracks the categories that individuals like to play and shares this information on the employee's profile. This promotes social discovery and company bonding.

Put it all together, and you have a program that incentivizes employees to participate in surveys, rewards and recognizes employees, encourages team collaboration and promotes social interaction - all while being fun and simple to use.

 

What is employee engagement? Why is it so important today?

Herd Wisdom defines employee engagement as an emotional commitment to positive action to further the organization's reputation and interest.

According to Gallup, disengaged employees cost U.S. organizations $500 billion a year. Lack of engagement generally equals a lack of productivity, high rates of absenteeism, turnover, safety incidents, theft, and poor customer service and product quality - which in turn leads to a decline in profitability.

 

What are the benefits of using an app like yours to boost engagement?

Most engagement programs fail because of a lack of participation. Furthermore, in order for a company's engagement strategy to be effective, it needs to be ongoing and a regular part of organizational culture. Therefore, Herd Wisdom has eliminated the once-a-year survey that so many find tedious and that also creates a burden on analysts and managers looking to pinpoint problem areas and develop strategies for improvement. Our app surveys employees on one topic at a time in a way that is not time consuming and which produces data in real time that is immediately actionable. We also encourage continued participation through our game-based points and competition system as well as our trivia game.

Our app is also available on iOS and Android, so employees aren't tied down to one place. They can answer survey questions whenever it's convenient for them.

 

What factors does Herd Wisdom consider when measuring engagement and employee happiness?

We measure engagement and employee happiness on seven different scales:

  • Employee behaviors that help create value for the organization
  • An employee's perceptions about their organization
  • An employee's perceptions about their job
  • An employee's perceptions about their manager
  • An employee's perceptions about their team
  • An employee's perceptions about their compensation
  • An employee's perceptions about their objectives

 

What do you think employers are looking for in their employees? What do you think employees want from their employers?

To quote a recent mashable.com article, employers want "performer" employees, not "paycheck" employees. What this means is employers need employees who are committed to their job for reasons other than money. Obviously, money is essential; no employer can or should deny that employees are there to get paid. But they want employees who are there because they like what they do, they want to do a good job and they are committed to the organization for more reasons than their ability to put money in the bank.

Employees need income to make a living; but in general, they want to like what it is they do for the scratch. Regardless of whether their position is their dream job, they desire respect from their managers, senior executives and colleagues. They want to be recognized when they do something well or accomplish something. Most of all, they want to know that what they think and feel is important to every level of management at the company.

 

What are some of the most effective ways you think employers engage their workforce? What doesn't work?

Communication is the key to engagement. When employers communicate with their employees, they engage their employees by keeping them informed, by demonstrating that they are important, by explaining expectations, by giving feedback and by providing opportunities for employees to ask questions and make suggestions. When there are clear avenues for communication, you can avoid many of the problems that lead to disengagement, such as not understanding how to complete a task or project, not knowing the expectations for task completion or office comportment, being unable to solve a problem, having interpersonal difficulties, feeling like management doesn't care or see employees as people and not having the opportunity to be heard.

Annual surveys do not work. Evaluating how your company is doing in the eyes of its employees only once a year is not an effective way to resolve issues, innovate and engage. Annual surveys are long, span many different topics and are both tedious to complete and to analyze. You cannot expect employees to give good feedback if they are bored with the survey or they feel that it's wasting their time. Furthermore, annual surveys take a long time to analyze, and it then takes time for management to find and implement solutions. As a result, many employees feel that management doesn't take any action with survey results; and this leads to a lack of trust and a lack of desire to participate.

 

How can companies leverage their engagement-focused culture to attract new talent?

Employer brand = Engaged employees.

Once again, communication is key. Companies that want to leverage their engagement-focused culture to attract new talent should take advantage of digital channels to promote their company culture. In other words, use the company social media platforms and blog to talk about and show people the culture. Write about what the company does to keep employees engaged on the blog, post pictures of company events, and get employees to write testimonials for the website.

The web and social media sites are the primary places that people go when they're looking for a new job. It's essential that your company have a strong presence here.

Furthermore, in the age of Glassdoor, you can't afford to have dissatisfied employees. The last thing you want is for a disengaged, frustrated employee giving you a bad rating.

 

What other workplace technology are you excited about these days?

We really like the Realtime Board, which allows teams to collaborate virtually and to store project notes and ideas in one place. Workforce trends are moving toward employing a larger number of remote employees. Remote employees have the disadvantage of being apart from company culture, but collaborative technology like Realtime Board allows remote employees to be actively involved in real time. We're likely going to see a lot more people working remotely in the coming years, and this kind of tech will become especially useful.

Connect with Herd Wisdom on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Book our social media crash course for recruiters.

 

 

 

About the company...

At Social Hire, we don't just do social.

Our specialists are a company that assists our customers further their presence online by giving online marketing on a regular basis.

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