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 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.

System Thinking in the Enterprise

Why do things in business happen so much faster or slower than everybody thinks it will? And why you can be doing something that has always worked and then suddenly discover, to your great disappointment, that these actions no longer work?

Systems thinking offers a different perspective… allow me to elaborate: ever since the industrial revolution, Western society has benefited from science, logic, and reductionism over intuition and holism. Psychologically and politically we would much rather assume that the cause of a problem is ‘out there’ rather than ‘in here.’ It’s almost irresistible to blame something or someone else, to shift responsibility away from ourselves, and to look for the control knob, the product, the pill, the technical fix that will make the problem go away.

As businesses many will study and execute business rules and create incentives that help of hinder new technologies (the adoption of Social Business Software). Or we see ‘policy resistance’ as we combine decision-making power and the nature of relationships in your business community. In systems thinking we call these characteristics and behaviors ‘archetypes.’ In business these archetypes are responsible for some of the most intransigent and potentially dangerous business problems… but with understanding systems thinking you can transform to produce desirable behaviors in culture within your business over time.

If what I have written makes sense to you then consider what Social Business Software (SBS) can deliver to your organisation, your ecosystem. Imagine if you believe that your people are all different, and different in a good way, that allows them through the platform to ‘ask different kinds of questions?’ Your people, your teams, see things that you don’t see. You can create an environment where you come at the world in a different way…You need to believe that your people have different views and ‘lenses’ on things and this can be complimentary to your processes or innovations and therefore revealing.

The world is more messy, more crowded, more interconnected, more interdependent and more rapidly changing than ever before, the more ways of seeing, the better. The successful deployment of SBS will allow your organisation to see more things, in real time. This combined with systems thinking will allow your ecosystem to reclaim your abilities to understand the parts, their interconnectedness, asking the ‘what if’ questions about possible and future behaviors and finally to be courageous about system redesign.

Then and only then can we use these insights as leaders to use these insights to make a difference to your organizations, to yourselves and to our world.

Gys Kappers is the co-founder and CEO of WyseTalk Africa’s leading Social Business Platform