According to a Forbes article by Jeanne Meister:
“The average worker today stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years, according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the expected tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is about half that. Ninety-one percent of Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years…”
This is obviously a concern for many companies around the world because they invest a lot of time and resources into making sure they can attract and then retain top talent. One of the many benefits of investing in enterprise collaboration is being able to do both of these things. Before I explore a few of the reasons why this is the case, ask yourself; would you rather work for a company that invested in collaborative tools and strategies or one that didn’t?
Giving employees a voice
Traditionally most employees never have their voices heard in their organization. The platforms and the culture to accomplish this are just not in place. Oftentimes this results in employees resenting their managers and their jobs because they feel like they have valuable ideas and feedback to contribute and nobody cares to hear it. Enterprise collaboration platforms change that by allowing employees to be heard and recognized in a public way by their peers and managers.
Becoming a leader
Leaders used to be associated with managers or executives. That is no longer the case. Any employee within an organization has the ability to become a leader regardless of their level of seniority. Collaborative platforms make this possible in much the same way that social media allows this to happen in our personal lives. Employees can share their ideas, build a following, and get recognized as subject matter experts in their areas of interest. This was not possible in the traditional construct of an organization.
Greater sense of purpose
Enterprise collaboration platforms allow employees to see how their contributions and feedback are affecting a broader part of the organization (whether it’s a specific team or the organization as a whole). They can see how their work is being used what happens to something that they create or contribute to. Again, in the past this wasn’t possible; the old model is you complete your portion of something, hand it over to your manager, and move onto the next task at hand.
Flexible work environments
One of the most attractive benefits to employees is the ability to work flexible hours and from various locations (such as from home). However, the concern for management has usually been around productivity, employees getting access to information and people, and work getting done in general. Most organizations today that investing in collaborative tools and strategies are more aggressively adopting flexible work environments. That is because new platforms allow employees to get access to the people and the information they need to get their jobs done anywhere, anytime, and on any device. In today’s organization you don’t have to go into an office to work, you simply need to “connect to work.”
Customized career paths
Unfortunately the traditional model of work has usually been such that if you get hired in a particular department you are typically going to stay in that department or at best can move to another related area. The problem with this is that our passions and interests can change and organizations are not flexible enough to cater to these changes. Enterprise collaboration platforms allow for the discoverability of passions and interests. Managers now have the ability to see and pay attention to what their employees care about and can offer suitable opportunities in those area. Business unit leaders can collaborate with each other to help fill roles for new openings which may be eyed by existing employees wanting to take on new challenges. This is exactly what happened in a client engagement where an employee wanted to switch departments to something she was more passionate about. Through their collaboration environment business unit leaders where able to find her a more suitable role and were thus able to keep her employed. As another example, you might be in the marketing department at your organization yet have extensive knowledge about IT related issues. After contributing to IT related discussions and groups in your collaborative environment you build thought leadership in that area and are recruited to work on the IT team. Employees are rarely interested in one specific thing and one of the reasons why employees switch jobs is because they want a career change. Organizations no longer need to lose these employees; they can offer career changes in the current company.
The list goes on with things such as:
- improved work-life balance
- reduced stress at work
- better relationships with managers and co-workers
- improved overall happiness
- and others
The point is the organizations who invest the time and money into building a collaborative organization will not only be able to retain current employees but will become more attractive to new employees.
What kind of a company would you rather work for? One that made these investments or one that didn’t?
(Cross-posted @ Social Business Advisor: Enterprise Collaboration Strategy)