Monday, September 20, 2010

Engagement in the Enterprise

It is a very busy time at Open Text as we get ready to launch the ECM Suite 2010. My involvement in this launch is working on the Engagement products. I have had several conversations over the last few weeks on what engagement and an engaged work force means and I was quite surprised to read the statistics that speak to the current level of engagement in the workforce.
According to the Gallup Management Journal’s Employee Engagement Index survey, in a typical workplace:
• 29% of employees are actively motivated and engaged in their jobs
• 71% are unmotivated and dis-engaged
• 54% are not engaged at all
• 17% are actively dis-engaged

In fact, The Towers-Perrin Global Workforce Study ( found that engagement has reached what many would call a crisis level encompassing over 70 percent of the workforce and over 50 percent of management.

Many of the factors that are contributing to the dis-engaged work force include economic downturn, downsizing, information overload and a global work force. A dis-engaged workforce does not just mean unhappy employees; it can have much larger ramifications.

According to a recent study by the Gallup group; “actively dis-engaged employees — the least productive — cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity.”

Helping employees to efficiently manage information overload is one vital step to building a more engaged workforce. Providing knowledge workers with a platform that allows for knowledge sharing and collaboration is not a new idea; corporate intranets have offered this premise for years. But the paradigm shift we are seeing on the web, in how we communicate and interact with each other in the consumer world, is quickly making its way into the enterprise. We need to consider this shift as we revisit our corporate intranet platforms and ask ourselves, how effective is this platform and how can I make it better? What lessons can I take away from social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook?

A few key things to ask of your intranet: Does my intranet give my knowledge workers the ability to;
Make their voices heard,
Share their expertise with others,
Gain recognition and build reputation,
Connect with each other in real time.

If you answered no to any of the above, maybe it is time to look at refreshing your intranet platform to help better unify your workforce. I would recommend that you learn more about how you can apply social media such as blogs, wikis, comments, ratings and microblogging to your current intranet to help encourage a more collaborative, productive and engaged workforce.

If you have any examples of success stories in building out a more engaging social intranet I would love to hear them!


  1. "Actively engaged" can be described as coming from a number of facets in the workplace. People used to work at a job for the security and retirement. Job Satisfaction was there and desirable, but sometimes bringing home the money was all important...and still is today in a depressed economy or a thriving one. I've worked where women never rose above supervisor, yet it was not uncommon for men and women to work there for over 30 years. I've worked where people took pride in what they did until the off-shore outsourcing went to the extreme it has gone to and squeezed the last ounce of life and effort out of a person(to save a buck)and as a result also took the pride and the engagement out from them. To find that happy medium where you smile when offered a job because "you want to work there" should not be an ideal, but it's also not always possible. The poor often do what they can. It gets better as the income rises. Seeing possibilities helps motivate someone to "engage"...possibilities where someone else would see effort not worth the reward. I've worked where people stayed in "unkind" situations because the people they worked with "worked". They worked well together and made life in the workplace bearable because of their cooperation and friendship...despite the abuse or neglect of management. I have been fortunate to always find engaging work or engaging work to find me. It should be that way with us all.

  2. Thanks for the comments Colin! Great points!