Employee incentives for Social Business participation

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The position of social business as a business driver is gaining momentum throughout the boardrooms of some of the largest organisations in the world, such as PWC, EMC and IBM. All of these companies now think and act like social businesses and their respective CEO’s drive the adoption and use of social business tools to improve the way the company does business.

Why? Because they fundamentally believe it will mean they deliver a better result for their customers and a benefit of that is that revenue will be positively affected.

A large global consulting group was commissioned to survey customers of Jive Software and the results were both surprising and outstanding, for instance:

  • enterprise productivity increased by 3%
  • sales revenue increased by 2-4%
  • call centre call handling times were reduced by 15% and overall calls by 8%

Why are these facts relevant to the topic “Employee incentives for Social Business participation”? For incentives to be paid to employees there must be a quid pro quo. Essentially stating that the organisation must benefit in some way, over and above the value that the regular salary compensates an employee for.

For as long as I can remember monetary incentives have been offered to sales people for quota achievement. The equation being that the achievement of quota budget and beyond will materially enhance the profitability of the organisation.

A blog post of approximately 2 years ago attempted to answer the question of incentives for social technology participation amongst employees but I think the scenario’s raised by the blog author at the time may not be good enough reason to consider the issue of potentially associating incentives to social technology use. The premise at the time was that social technologies were largely an opportunity to collaborate on things like wiki’s, documents, blogs, etc. The issue with this rather constrained view of social technologies is that it misses the key reason that organisations are now finally embracing social technology, ie to improve the way they do business.

If there was an opportunity to implement a new process, together with a ready made software platform to gain a competitive edge or to improve customer service or to reduce R&D times or to actually improve product fit for market or to increase sales and improve profitability, why wouldn’t you want to get as many employees on board as quickly and as actively as possible.

They key differentiator with incentives for social technology, as distinct from incentives for other business areas, such as Sales, is that everyone has an ability to be involved. Social business is Inclusive and non-discriminatory. The use of social business has now moved into the realm of supporting business imperatives, meaning that it’s use will be measured and quantified in order to determine the ROI. Analytical tools are now available and all social business interactions can be analysed and used to determine efficacy.

Social business is revolutionising the way we interact at a business level.

According to PwC partner and national digital change leader John Riccio, setting clear objectives and measuring efficacy were critical and potentially ”the key to surviving in the digital age”.

”However, the tools are less important than the business model and culture change organisation’s need to embrace if they are going to remain relevant in the industry.”

For me the bottom line is that it is right to begin providing incentives to employees for participation in social technologies, where that involvement clearly demonstrates a link to the stated business imperative.

2 Responses to "Employee incentives for Social Business participation"
  1. Yer right. It is about ‘business’ … so at least we have crossed that chasm two years after I wrote the original piece. I also reference the issue in my book, Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization.

    Thanks for the link-back.


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