Engaging employees has always been more difficult than it sounds.
Employers who are dedicated to creating a highly committed workforce often hit the wall when it comes to designing strategies that inspire the active participation of their employees.
One of the problems is that there simply aren't enough hours in the day for owners and executives to dedicate unlimited time and attention to individual employees. Although company leaders know that direct interactions and healthy conversations are vital for successful employee engagement (particularly in a small business environment), their schedules rarely allow for meaningful engagement activities.
Consequently, small business leaders are leveraging the power of the Internet for employee engagement. Using online engagement strategies, owners and employers are able to connect with their teams on a more consistent basis. Even better, online engagement strategies encourage collaborative conversations between employees and business units.
New Internet technologies are emerging everyday. But in today's online environment, a handful of resources and applications have proven their value as online engagement tools.
- Blogs. Blogs are great tools for creating daily (or almost daily) updates and learning opportunities for your workforce. Although it might not be practical to have daily staff meetings, a blog can serve the same function by inviting team members to engage in a running dialogue about the day's topic. From time to time, employers may even ask team members to write a blog post as a way of deepening the engagement model.
- Forums. Forums are similar to blogs except they tend to be organized around topics rather than daily updates. By encouraging your workers to participate in company forums, you can boost collaborative connections within the organization. But by participating in those forums yourself, you create interactions that make employees feel like they are an important part of the company's mission and strategic vision.
- YouTube. Online videos using YouTube or other video-based forums are effective vehicles for employee training, vision-casting and personal development. That alone makes Internet video a valuable engagement tool. But if you invite employees to participate in the production of online videos, your video assets will have an even greater impact on employee engagement.
- Networks. Social networking has big consequences for the business community. You can leverage your employees' social media tendencies to improve engagement through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites.