Systems of Engagement — A new paradigm for HR

Most corporate organizations have been shifting far and beyond their base in record keeping and data management for quite some time now.

The term and the shift is widely credited to Geoffrey Moore.

In his paper Systems of Engagement and the Future of Enterprise IT, Moore stated that IT departments needed to shift from building systems of record to the new social, mobile systems of engagement, and that the next trillion dollars of IT spend would go into managing the needs of this new user-centric world.

The green shoots were probably the breakthrough corporate emails and the shift we are discussing here per se is that from System of Record to Systems of Engagement.

In enterprises, engagement essentially suggests taking shots at the intersection of commanding attention and taking action.

Well, let’s talk a bit more crude and simple! What is the most pervasive, effective and accepted engagement system in the world of technology? Mobile phones! You have work-related apps — Gmail, Calendar, Reminders, etc., diverse usage apps like — Maps, Evernote, etc., and also personal apps like — Facebook, Skype, etc. It is pretty much your window to the world, all the social, business and technology data are subsumed in the various facets of that single device. The engagement experience is enriched because it is linked with the User(engagement) experience of the phone and not with any record system.

The phone does keep records but it is well encapsulated in the functionality, hence a hassle free and efficient utility of the device and applications is possible.

Escalating such systems further into our workplaces and businesses seems discomforting and conflicting at first glance; simply because we have high inertias for the status quo. We have been used to going over and over records to get things sorted,but that doesn’t mean it is the best way to do it! If organizations wish to stand out (or what would be in future a blend-in), they need to start looking out for productive Systems of Engagement to gain a leverage in high standards of productivity and delightful user experience.

Additionally, Companies who have formalized employee engagement programs have 26% higher annual revenue growth than those who don’t have formalized engagement programs. Source: Aberdeen

A lot of collaboration and engagement platforms like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, etc. have set the right tones for this outset. For on demand financial and HR capital management we have Workday, Zoho, etc. All these platforms with their additional tools help in achieving outstanding milestones for organizations. So what can be your reasons for going ahead with Engagement systems as a new HR paradigm?

  • A friendlier user experience

Tony Fernandes, co-founder at AirAsia recently posted a note for his employees on Workplace -

“By the end of this month I will be closing my email account. Email is old fashioned. You can contact me on Workplace chat or post to my attention in Workplace.”

Even in my organization, I honestly don’t remember the last time I had to actually mail my CEO or CTO for work related conversations, let alone colleagues. We always reach out on Workplace chat. The reasons are quite palpable I suppose — It is convenient, avoids the scuttle around numerous mail protocols, faster responses and resolution, easy reporting, et al.

The platforms help in reaching out to multi channel networks (create target groups or workspaces, group chat/calls, multimedia attachments over chat, etc.), can be branded to the company culture, fosters communication within teams and allows to rely on smart intelligence (through Workplace/Slack bots).

The biggest takeaway here is that people like what they see. More and more engage better through these platforms because they like the interaction and believe in the deliverables.

  • Enhanced visibility and Streamlined Workflow

An interactive user interface assures a regular follow up on data, analytics on the collected information , discovering issues early and nipping them in the bud, assigning tasks through task, posting updates, etc.

It can be particularly useful for onboarding and training. All the learning and induction can be done through the platform with the help of a few other tools(bots) and save a lot of time and hustle for the HR staff.

Also, wishing employees on special occasions, creating polls, ideation, launching survey through chat (employee feedback or otherwise) are super convenient via such collaborative platforms.

It can be accessed across various devices like cell phones, tablets, laptops,etc. All employees can comment on the activity posts and thus it also helps capture real-time employee response on various events or work arounds in the teams.

  • Advanced Technologies and Easy upgrades

All the words who are building such engagements platforms had set out with

one principle — Simpler pages, Easier Navigation and more of a Consumer technology than a business technology. The increasing use of responsive web design also has enhanced how mobile users experience HR technologies. Responsive design adapts the layout of screen content to a user’s viewing environment.

Also, most interfaces have rolled out their native applications to illustrate a high end experience and ease of usage.

Updates, upgrades, security compliances — all check! No more investing your faculties in endless change management with frequent upgrades and also no more of procrastination — A lot of managers admitted to have been happy with fewer upgrades just to avoid the inconvenience of the drill.

“Everyone likes the idea of continuous improvement, but every new update that arrives requires HR to assign a resource team to it, test it, decide which of the new features to turn on and decide what level of support employees need,” Hanscome says.

The platforms provide the agility for any transition and ensures that all your employees have benefitted from it and are accessing the latest version of the applications.

  • Dynamic technology gaining influx

More and more organizations are moving towards Systems of Engagement, even though the shift is at a gentle pace it is well indeed steady. So what happens if you choose to keep out of this transition? It all gets back into the market space. More efficient organizations will have better work efficiencies and hence fare well eventually. So save yourself the Kodak moment and go ahead and bask in the change.

Enterprises are shifting from a top-down, HR-centric view of people management towards a base of agile management and agile business(Refer to IMPACT 2012 keynote for more details.). And, it is important to adhere to this shift swiftly.

Do you still post letters for interview applications?

Do you anticipate mail posts instead of just checking back on your mail for response?

Before iPhone, Blackberry was THE thing. We awed at its jumbo keyboard. We thought it was so easy as we had all keys right there! Apple shunned exactly that. And, today it feels so archaic to have ever used a keypad phone.

Systems of engagement are the great breakthrough we are looking forward to in HR! It is not just a fancy application built on top of your record system, it is a whole new frame to how we have been seeing HR since the dawn of it. It is our opportunity to make it easier and efficient, hence directly affecting our businesses for better. Think about your perspective on Systems of Engagement and how can you make it better for your company?

Got a great thought on how can one get the best of out of engagement systems? Tell us in comments :)

We, at ‘Kwench have been relishing the shift to engagement systems through Workplace and have further enhanced our collaboration and workplace productivity via our exclusive-to-Workplace bots! Check out how we make office better for employees all across the globe at Kwench Bots.