Why Enterprise Engagement Works
It is almost a perfect storm. As the world changes both economically and socially, we’re seeing a paradigm form before our eyes – one that the companies who flow with it, will benefit the most from. The ones who fight it will still have to change, eventually. The shift begins with focus on process to focus on people. From focus on recognition to focus on engagement. When this is done in a way that effects and touches every single person involved with the company – it describes complete Enterprise Engagement.
With the onset of the Millennial Generation becoming the largest segment of the workforce (most companies are at about 34% Millennials currently) – which fuels a true and essential call for more focus on company cultures that value all the people connected to the organization (from employees to customers, vendors to partners and even out into communities) the push for engagement could not be clearer.
If you need more proof, examine the emergence of new job titles which reflect on company culture, engagement and experiences (instead of processes.) But also realize that in many companies these new titles are still being properly aligned with the right people and skill sets to succeed in such efforts. This, however, is much larger than just a few new job titles and positions. It is essential to look at this effort holistically and with an eye towards shifting company culture in total. Knowing the totality of the scope is important upfront and will be a stumbling block for many companies in getting started – but it is imperative to make the shift – and you might as well make it now, because you will have to eventually.
Unsurprisingly, most business books, leadership programs and HR seminars – all places we’d normally turn for information on how to do this – are still very light on the newly established idea of Enterprise Engagement. This means a path forward that is more art than science, but for companies like Whole Foods, SW Airlines and many others, the path has been a very fruitful and prosperous one, both monetarily and intangibly. There is one guide that is available – check out Eagle Alliance Partner Bruce Bolger’s essential read for more information.
It isn’t simple, but it is essential. You’ll either do it now, or you’ll have to do it later. This is where things are heading – and not all that gradually. Again, this is a shift being fueled by a perfect storm of many variables, all of which individually could have provided the tipping point for such change, but when placed together, are forcing a much more intense and urgent need to change your company’s position, culture and approach.
To quote Bruce Bolger in his explanation and analogy:
“Engagement is to the 21st century what advertising was to the 20th. It’s a new field based on a new set of skills that integrate an understanding of leadership; an organization’s different audiences; the tactics that can affect engagement (communication, learning, collaboration, rewards and recognition, etc.); and measuring the impact of these activities on the bottom line.
Enterprise Engagement involves many issues foreign to the typical marketing executive. Marketing focuses on selling; engagement requires a willingness to stop selling and instead focus on helping and enabling. This means marketing that informs instead of hypes. Marketers routinely distort; engagement requires total sincerity, a commitment to fulfilling marketing promises. Few people believe advertising and marketing messages, and yet the field continues to thrive; engagement cannot work unless it’s 100% sincere, because otherwise people see through it.
Engagement requires an understanding not just of customers, but of the link between all organizational audiences, external and internal. Engagement requires an understanding of the new definition of the brand, as well as the tactics and tools necessary for learning, collaboration, rewards and recognition, all alien to traditional advertising experts. Enterprise Engagement requires the ability to align strategies across organizational and tactical silos so all functions and constituencies mesh with an organization’s people and goals.
Implementing engagement at any level is a journey, not only because there are no textbooks (until now), but because traditional business consultants don’t provide all the answers. The typical consulting practice is broken up into different silos that reflect those of their clients – benefits, compensation, assessment, organizational design, organizational development, talent management, process management, recruitment, etc. But by focusing on the needs of customers and all of the people required to serve customers, Enterprise Engagement challenges organizations to break the old management style that focuses more on processes than people.”
This is where the rubber meets the road. Will your company be first in line to begin the shift? Or will you follow once your marketplace and vertical begin? Remember, this can not be an overnight shift – it is gradual, but it requires total, 100% commitment – and 110% sincerity and transparency. It is being fueled not by a fad, but by a shift in generational values and expectations – something that will not “go away” but instead will grow stronger.
Leadership is important; if all the company leaders and managers aren’t showing the employees, customers, vendors and others the way the company is committing to total Enterprise-wide Engagement, it won’t go anywhere. But there’s much more to creating a new culture than just leading. The reason this will work (or won’t) comes down to getting people to understand the mission, the role they play in contributing and what that contribution brings to them in benefits. It means delivering daily emotional connections for each person involved in that mission – ones strong enough to make them want to strive to succeed and contribute. It means providing the right tools and establishing the trust to allow each engaged employee the means to deliver both for themselves and for the overall effort. Are you up for the challenge of making your company a truly Engaged Enterprise and following in the success of those already on the ECSI?
We’re excited to help you make the essential steps towards Enterprise Engagement – and we look forward to discussing your company’s needs with you.