Wyzetalk is Workforce Engagement – it’s more than a software offering

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“….the attribute of trust is not pervasive in business. If an organisation has trust, it can create engagement. An engaged workforce provides happiness, profitability and longevity to business.”

For businesses to say they are about the ‘workforce’ is a huge statement to make. To elaborate on this,  ’employee engagement’ / ‘workforce engagement’ is a systemic and not a software solution offering.)

(Providers in the market place should be careful to advertise this unless they are capable of the complexity of the offering this unless you understand what you are saying. Its a systemic issue… it’s not about software.. it’s not a short term fix.

I have always been an entrepreneur, surrounding myself with people more capable than myself. I started a company when I was 24, it became a national operation, with 600 staff and over $ 50 million per annum turnover,  which I sold in 2008. It was predicated, in its structure, on command and control, hierarchical and siloed… by design…

At this juncture in my career I decided to take on a more personal journey by enrolling in an Executive MBA at UCT founded my Professor Tom Ryan. A challenging and positive, life-changing event. It opened the doors of systems thinking for me.

I wrote my dissertation on collaboration in the enterprise… the paper assumed that the attribute of trust existed in business. My partner and I started Wyzetalk in 2012. Wyzetalk, has grown into a unique, diverse international business, forming alliances with top national brands and consultancies – a world class product with world class partners.

We have realised that the attribute of trust is not pervasive in business. If an organisation has trust, it can create engagement. An engaged workforce provides happiness, profitability and longevity to business.

We have spent the last few years trying to understand how to build a connected workforce. How to build true engagement. How to build trust.

The Wyzetalk team understands that the enterprise is typically on the far right side of a room and the workforce, typically, is on the far left side of the room.

Our software builds the railway that links the two but its the content, the understanding and the authenticity that we curate that is built on that railway that builds trust over time.

Doing surveys to groups, giving them vouchers or rewards for their contribution creates possible short term gain but it’s  not a long term solution. Don’t be shallow, don’t be a fad.

We are not in the business of short term gain. We are here to create true workforce engagement. We want to bring the enterprise and its workforce together. Build a tribal culture that’s transparent, genuine and long-term, goal-oriented.

We love what we do and we want to evolve with our clients to make this a reality.

We recently held a breakfast for the mining industry. We were honoured to have Dr. James Motlatse and professor Tom Ryan present. This is the link: http://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/messy-wage-negotiations-are-avoidable/

It takes the view that businesses need to become empathetic. It’s about the hands that do the work, but it’s about the mind and the heart of the workforce that matter as much.

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Getting from Social Business to Open Innovation.

So you’re using your Social Business Software platform to generate new ideas, everyone’s generally engaged and you have a sense that the mood is improving and communication is up. But what about the ideas that are being generated? When an idea is posted within your community, is there a process to determine which ideas are good, bad, worth taking further, as far as perhaps being called innovative innovations. How do you take these ideas through the full cycle to the point of delivering them them back to the business. How does this delivery take place?

Here’s the three letter “I” challenge –

Ideation;

Invigoration; and

Implementation

Most organisations are not geared for innovation. So while you’re creating your Social Business Software strategy and implementation plan, you need to understand that you are actually changing it, changing your business, altering your future, shifting your paradigm and acknowledging the power in your people. It’s called open innovation.

Too much emphasis is being placed on generating ideas (ideation) and far too little time is spent on the actual translation into action and then the implementation and execution of these ideas.

So I propose a change from the conventional innovation equation of:

innovation = ideas

to:

innovation = ideas + planning + implementation + recognition

If you have invested in a social business strategy and platform with a view to improving innovation then this is how you need to go about ensuring you achieve your objectives:

  1. Create an environment where you can stimulate ideas. Let the SBS platform automatically trigger these conversations and put SBS champions in charge of driving this process;
  2. Create an open ideation group within your SBS Community. So that everyone is encouraged to participate and build on each other’s ideas;
  3. Get the champions to meet (virtually and in person), to discuss the ideas posted in the ideation and other groups. Empower them to take decisions on which ideas to take further and encourage them to give feedback. Be dynamic and be engaged. This is not intended to be another hierarchy;
  4. Great ideas need to get the green light. They need to have actions plans with timelines behind them to ensure they get successfully implemented. And the initiator needs to be acknowledged and encouraged to be part of the success team responsible for the implementation;
  5. The mandate given to the idea committee and the ideator gives them ownership of the success;  and
  6. Create an incentive scheme for great ideas. This can be done through senior management recognition, monetary rewards or both. These schemes can be done weekly, monthly or when projects are completed.

You have to work on a small win methodology… take small wins and let them become big wins over time.

It’s powerful stuff… this social business thing!

Gys is the Co-founder and CEO of WyseTalk (Pty) Ltd. Africa’s leading social business software platform. Gys’s Masters thesis entitled ‘The delay of Social business Software in the Enterprise and its effects’ has won him international acclaim.

The concept of purposeful Ideation and Open Innovation

To start with any plan for idea creation or planning for innovation, one needs to understand group dynamics and the differences in personalities of individuals and we need to know how to use this knowledge to manage groups to use this knowledge to guide the group in a productive way; establish an atmosphere in which the participants are willing to share their ideas and build on others’ ideas; maintain the energy level of the participants and enable them to stay focused on the task; and finally connect their previous knowledge and
experience to the current situation.

Remember that creativity is manifested by expressing unusual thoughts and that collaboration must be interesting and stimulating.

In the enterprise, we are looking for Interactivists.

Interactivists are not willing to return to a previous state, to settle for things
as they are, or to accept the future that appears to confront them. They believe
that the future can be created and is dependent upon what one does between
now and then. In planning, the process, not the plan, is the most important
product. Interactivists dissolve a problem by changing the nature of either the
entity that has it, or altering the environment in order to eliminate the problem
entirely. They idealize by designing a desirable future and inventing ways to bring
it about. Firstly it is important to give all stakeholders of an organization an opportunity to participate in the ideation process. Everyone needs to see and understand certain scenarios that the business is catering for. Social business software can help an organnisation with flexibility and responsiveness in real time and  enables it to withstand change rapidly. This gives the organization more control over what lies ahead. Second, you need to consider all the subsystems of the organization, as well as the systems surrounding it to be part of the problem and the solution. This makes 

you mindful of the impact of the future decisions on the organization in its
entirety. Involving all concerned parties in the decision-making process ensures
that all parties are heard and all issues are covered. This leads to better, more
informed decisions.
Third, Social Business Software promotes participation. A participative climate helps employees
believe that they are important assets in the organization and that they can make
a difference. Participants in the process may include
employees, top management, shareholders and clients. So the ability to both co-ordinate top-down and bottom-up decision making is made possible.
process is advantageous for their in-depth knowledge and expertise at the 

Fourth, SBS supports an environment that facilitates employee
empowerment. Employee empowerment involves an individual’s sense of self determination and autonomy in influencing work outcomes. Empowered employees see themselves as integrated into the
key political channels for getting work done in organizations.
This gives them a sense of personal and professional satisfaction, which leads to
increased productivity.
Fifth, SBS acknowledges creativity and appreciates out-of-the-box thinking.
Participants are encouraged to be as creative as possible in coming up with the
new best practices and innovations for the enterprise.
Teams are encouraged to be as imaginative and creative as possible. This can lead to breakthroughs for the organization and the
entire industry.
Sixth, it facilitates ease of implementation.

Important aspects of the IP
methodology are transparency and awareness are critical. Being transparent
addresses and manages the employees’ feelings of apprehension and fear of the
unknown. This lessens the resistance and facilitates buy-in. SBS can be

used for a specific project within a particular department, as well as for the
strategic goals of an entire organization. It can also be used for initiatives of
private organizations, non-profit organizations, government agencies and cities
all over the world.