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.

Innovation and the Importance of Culture

Why is it that 80% of business leaders feel that innovation is vital to survival yet only 4% feel that they are doing anything about it?

Organisations and their leadership teams typically view innovation at another level… something abstract. Imagine viewing it as a ‘what to do?’; how can we, as an organisation, behave differently?

Too often executives may think that they are coming up with really good and novel ideas – where in fact they are simply variations on an old theme. Whenever one comes to a make an important management decision it is imperative that considerable attention in given to defining the problem correctly.

The rapid change in the business environment brought about by technological innovation, socio-cultural development, economic fluctuations and other factors means that there needs to be an overall understanding of what is going on.

Decision-making and problem solving both rely on the supply of information in order to make logical choices. Oftentimes defining the problem itself and coming up with ideas that represent viable alternatives for consideration pose considerable difficulties. This leads me to suggest that leaders need to foster a culture of Divergent Thinking.

During our consultations and during our implementations of Social Business Software within organizations, we typically see a number of standout issues:

  • Organisations, on the whole, are terrible and communicating;
  • People compete rather than co-operate with each other;
  • People fail to work as cross-functional teams preferring to stay in organisational silos;
  • Meetings are unproductive and lack any formal innovation programmes and techniques;
  • Organisations, typically, are unwilling to consider external and fresh perspectives.

If you believe that there is a fresh way to look at things, that real change can and will lead to more innovations within your businesses through the implementation of Social Business Software then consider doing the following:

  • Institute an innovation programme that is framed as part of a marketing plan or a corporate strategy;
  • Implement a reward system for innovation;
  • Create a budget for innovation to build an ecosystem that drives creative problem solving;
  • Seek ideas from outside the organisation through the creation of external Social Business Communities that engages your customers and suppliers;
  • Getting the leadership teams to clarify the mission, vision, core purposes and core values to the enterprise on the Social Business Software Platform;
  • The leadership teams need to communicate frequently with the rest of the enterprise;
  • Share skills and knowledge within the Social Business community.
  • Make meetings more productive:
    • Meetings are necessary and if done properly can be productive and energetic. By having discussions through event creations on a social business software platform, one gets to be more prepared.
    • You get to set goals and make decisions
    • Start and finish on time
    • Introduce a disciplined approach and keep to it.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Organisational Trust and Performance

I have written about the concept of trust in one of my previous blogs but the necessity of it in order to fulfill and compliment an effective social business software deployment and adoption is essential.

I will start by saying that trust is a precious commodity. If you want real quality in your organization, you must have the trust of the people in that organization. This point is fundamental. No trust equals inadequate quality.

Times change, priorities shift, but trust remains a constant if you make the effort and the effort is definitely worthwhile. Without the effort, short-term and inadequate measures will become the order of the day.

True quality in a business can only arise from a system that promotes quality processes at all times in all corporate activities. Central to such a system is trust.

Building genuine trust in an organization is definitely possible. But it does take time and real commitment from the top. Further, it involves dealing with the organizational culture and probably changing it – no small task. When it comes to trust you can truly say that the devil is in the details.

Drucker estimates that building up trust will usually take a minimum of three years. Such a longer-term prospect can seem daunting to management. But it is a specific form of investment, with deep rewards at the end.

In his 1989 book on leadership, On Becoming a Leader, Bennis noted “ … trust is the underlying issue in not only getting people on your side, but having them stay there …”.

Trust is not something you can demand or order. It must be earned. You can have my trust only when I feel that you are worthy of my trust. If the slightest doubt creeps into the process or, worse, you betray my trust, an environment of distrust will ensue.

Trust has definite and bankable value. Without it, a true quality system within a  business just cannot work. The self-reinforcing causal loop diagram below provides an insight inside a trusted environment.

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In an era of global competition, continuing innovation, deregulation, and economic uncertainties, good enough results might not cut it. Almost inevitably, someone else, with better quality, will become your corporate nemesis. And chances are good that a better quality emerges from a situation of better trust for the employees. Quality and trust go together. If you want to have quality on a sustained basis, you must have trust. Without trust, you may simply be setting up an elaborate corporate system of quality self-deception.

Trust in your workplace is worth thinking about continually. And such continual Trust for quality thinking requires continual acting.

 

The Five Primary Culture Types in an Organisation

The Five Primary Culture Types in an Organisation

Culture is such an important factor with respect to a successful social business software deployment. As such, I have taken sections out of a great book called socialise by Mark Fidelman.  

Research has revealed five primary corporate culture types. Each are explained below. See if you can identify which one your business most resembles.

 

Profile 1: Innovative Culture

 

This culture type is an ideal candidate for Social Business Software. These organisations are innovative and encourage new idea generation and feedback and operate with a great deal of transparency.

 

Detail

Type

Score (1 = not so much – 5 very much so)

Leadership Attributes

Visionary, entrepreneurial, risk taking

 

Culture Style

Start-up type culture

 

Ten words or less mission statement

Eg. We create experiences that surprise and delight

 

 

 

Profile 2: Community Culture

 

This culture type is another ideal candidate for Social Business Software. This culture emphasizes the success of the people in the work environment, teamwork and compassion for the customer. Decisions are usually consensus driven and transparency is high. Individualism may not be encouraged or appreciated, which may cause minor issues during the transformation process.

 

Detail

Type

Score (1 = not so much – 5 very much so)

Leadership Attributes

Coaching, Consensus Driven

 

Culture Style

High EQ (Emotional intelligence) in the workplace

 

Ten words or less mission statement

Eg. We treat employees, customers and suppliers with respect and diginity

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profile 3: Execution Culture

 

This culture type may be less able to make the transition to a social business without the considerable effort from the leadership team and may even require outside consultants. The culture emphasizes results over collaboration and leaders like to be leading conversations and generally don’t take input from other people in the organisation. This competitive culture usually means people are accustomed to hoarding information rather than sharing it.

 

Detail

Type

Score (1 = not so much – 5 very much so)

Leadership Attributes

Demanding, competitive and challenging

 

Culture Style

Performance based

 

Ten words or less mission statement

Eg: we want to be the market leaders in our industry

 

 

Profile 4: Command and Control Culture

 

This culture type is very structured and process governs the way people work, therefore it is very unlikely that the company can transform into a Social Business without significant changes. A premium is placed on efficiency, coordination and following of procedures. The leadership governs the company like a military operation. This command and control culture typically means top-down information control with little or no tolerance for differing views or opinions from the front lines.

 

Detail

Type

Score (1 = not so much – 5 very much so)

Leadership Attributes

Hierarchical, expert at process and coordination

 

Culture Style

Efficiency and cost control

 

Ten words or less mission statement

Eg. We deliver quality products, on time and under budget

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profile 5: Adolescent Culture

 

This culture type thrives on delivering products that their customers think they are stylish. Leadership is known to be brash, immature and tactical. Information is usually force-fed to the masses while differing views are shouted down by management. At times, the culture will seem fun but there always seems to be some ulterior motive at work. This culture type is not an ideal candidate to become a social business.

 

Detail

Type

Score (1 = not so much – 5 very much so)

Leadership Attributes

Impetuous, short-sighted, self-centered.

 

Culture Style

If its cool, we’ll make it

 

Ten words or less mission statement

Eg. We make products that make our customers look popular

 

 

Culture is the primary factor in the success of a Social Business enterprise. Creating or having the right culture. Creating the right culture is essential to implementing and maintaining both internal and external social business. Companies today are being judged by their levels of trust and transparency. If your culture does not aim to become more trusting and transparent, if will, over time, become increasingly difficult to meet customer demand in these areas.

 

In summary, to transform your business into a social business culture means changing your very business culture, but culture change doesn’t happen overnight.