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.

The relevance of Social Business Software in the context of Soft Systems Methodology

Introduced to systems thinking during my EMBA, I have been a total convert for over three years now. In addition to creating a shift in my perceptions and the way in which I approach business and life in general, it was also the primary motivator behind the co-creation of a Social Business Software platform.

Social Business Software, SBS, creates an environment where systems thinking can be practiced and executed. Here’s what I mean.

The premise of Soft Systems Methodology, SSM, is that ‘whatever the nature of the organisation, assume that the individuals within it are pursuing purposeful activity.’

Now one would assume that all organisations today exist because they have a purposeful activity. Most, one would assume, are to keep stakeholders happy, to show growth and sustained profitability over time.

Why then, in so many organisations, are the alignments of the individuals within the organisation often conflicted with the purposeful activity of the enterprise as a whole?

The successful deployment of Social Business Software within an organisation seeks to align the organisations purposeful activity with that of the individuals within. It seeks, in a virtual setting, to merge the silo’s that exist within the enterprise and to some extent the hierarchy, by creating a virtual space for the enterprise. SBS requires trust and leaders who believe that the people in their companies really matter. That they have great ideas, seen and experienced through a different lens and perspective, and that by allowing them to share these ideas and impart their knowledge it will eventually lead to a richer more aligned and productive enterprise.

SBS creates the virtual space for executives to make announcements, to drive the company’s objectives through their teams. Idea generation and knowledge sharing happen across departments and hierarchies and the organisation really has the opportunity to align its purposeful activities with that of its people.

Successfully deployed SBS within enterprises has returned amazing results:

  • 15% increase in employee productivity;
  • 2-4% bottom line improvement,
  • reduced email load by 21%,
  • reduced meetings by 16%,
  • reduced the time to find knowledge, expertise and best practices by 34%,
  • 24% decrease in employee turnover,
  • 61% increase in employee connectedness,
  • 38% increase in employee satisfaction,
  • increase in deal size by 5%,
  • increase in win rate by 12%,
  • decrease in RFP response time by 25%,
  • increase in number of deals per year by 8%,
  • decrease in deal cycle time by 22%,
  • increase in sales per rep. 13%,
  • reduction in staff turnover by 12%
  • increase in sales per rep by 13% .

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.

How Social Business Software could revolutionise business.

Here’s something I read recently and it is probably something that resonates with you in your own work environment: “You run an organisation with many people, all working for common goals: your goals. You tell them what to do and what you want done and you give them money to do it. This sounds simple but rarely is… During their daily tasks, they struggle to find things, they struggle to find experts that can help them, they struggle to find information that can help them get their jobs done faster, more efficiently. This is frustrating to say the least and over time good employees leave, some of them are experts and you are left wondering how much knowledge just walked out of the door.”

This is not a new problem, and despite progression from paper file cabinets to intranets, it has still not been solved. Getting things done takes coordination, which incurs what we call high coordination costs. These costs include management, infrastructure, and meetings – many meetings. In fact in large organisations I am sure people ask “how do these guys manage to get stuff done?”

What I have described in the first two paragraphs underpins the goals of Social Business software (SBS). I think that it is a revolution much like the internet was a revolution to get people together in ways that were unimaginable 25 to 30 years ago.

In order for Social Business to succeed however, you need to understand what specific problems your organisation has. Typically communication is a major problem, next is collaboration, next is knowledge sharing, then developing corporate culture and finally building a solution which encompasses the mission and vision of the organisation which in turns satisfies the stakeholders.

Social Business Software as an organisational paradigm is fairly new. The technology exists but its not about the technology… its about the will to change how we do things as a business. This is both the challenge and the promise of SBS. Imagine for a moment your organisation one where your employees feel fulfilled and happy in their jobs, their stress reduced, they trust their managers and their peers and they feel as though they are part of something great.

So before you get started consider the following 3 points:

1)    What are the issues? What are the issues that your company is currently wrestling with?

2)    Are you able to measure and test what is going on in your company?  Your exploration into transforming and improving your company needs to start with facts. You need to explore and understand these restrainers before you introduce a new understanding.

3)    Get help… It is going to be very hard to fix these problems on your own. If companies were able to do it by themselves, they would have done it already.

To find help with this you need to engage with a great team. A knowledgeable SBS deployment team with great passion for what they do, with great case studies and great references.

Written by Gys Kappers. CEO and co-founder of WyseTalk, Africa’s leading Social Business Software business. Gys has an 18 year track record in running large enterprise businesses, has an Executive MBA degree and completed his Masters thesis on ‘the delay of social business software in the enterprise and its effects.’

Building your Social Business Mission and Vision

It has been a while since my last post, apologies.

I recently read an amazing quote by Jose Ortega Gasset, 1966:  “Man has been able to grow enthusiastic over his vision of … unconvincing enterprises. He has put himself to work for the sake of an idea, seeking by magnificent exertions to arrive at the incredible. And in the end, he has arrived there. Beyond all doubt it is one of the vital sources of man’s power, to be thus able to kindle enthusiasm from the mere glimmer of something improbable, difficult, remote.”

During the initial phases of a Social Business Software deployment phase you have to engage and construct your Social Business Software Mission. This mission has to guide you in delivering your enterprises overarching Mission and Vision over time.

In this post, I will share some of our ideas and our methodologies.

So when we start out we make it clear that the social business mission is not a “motherhood statement” filled with pious platitudes… as an example “to provide the best value for money” or “intelligent and disciplined application of proven principles of organisation and management.” This is common sense right? No business would exist with saying they provide the worst value for money or that they intend to make undisciplined or unintelligent applications of unproved principles of organisation and management!

So here are five guiding principles:

  1. A Social Business Software mission statement should contain a formulation of the organisations ideals and do so in a way that makes possible valuation of its progress possible;The statement mustn’t state what it must do survive; it should state what it chooses to do to thrive. 
  2. A Social Business Software mission statement should define the business that the organisation wants to be in, not necessarily what it is in; (I have written on the the Open  Innovation Paradigm)How can the social business mission statement identify the general means by which the organisation can achieve its ideals. How can the platform expand on the organisations concept of itself?
  3. A Social Business Software mission statement should be unique and not suitable for any other organisation.. what will define the enterprise to match its overarching mission and vision;It also needs to layout the uniqueness of the organisation wrapping into it and understanding its culture.
  4. A Social Business Software mission statement should be relevant to all of the organisations stakeholders by stating its function relative to each type;How can the foundations be constructed so as to serve the interests of its stakeholders over time, not just those of management, stockholders or both. It must appeal to everyone in the enterprise.
  5. A Social Business Software mission statement should be exciting, challenging and inspiringIf it fails here, it will fail to produce change no matter what its other properties are.

Brief insight which hopefully provides insight into your building blocks for a successful SBS deployment.

Have a great weekend