Value the Social CRM Employee

By Kyle Lacy, Stephanie Diamond, Jon Ferrara

Looking at ways to value Social CRM employees instead of treating them strictly as cost centers has become a hot topic in this fluctuating economy. Employers began to realize that there is only so much they can do to cut costs without harming the integrity of the company.

New ways to monetize employee performance were fostered when employees began to use their own technology to accomplish tasks in their private lives and brought that over into their work lives. It changed business’s ability to increase performance and changed the business’s expectations about how employees should be allowed to do their work.

In February 2012, Forbes published an article, “The Empowered Employee Is Coming; Is the World Ready?” In it, John Hagel, Suketu Gandhi, and Giovanni Rodriguez trace the shift from considering employees as cost centers to value centers. To understand how this shift is evolving, the article’s authors suggest that businesses consider these three factors in the following order:

  1. People

    Because of issues with the economy, organizations did everything they could to cut costs. They shrunk the workforce, sent jobs overseas, and eliminated any other costs they could find related to employees. When they couldn’t find any more ways to cut the budget, they were forced to turn to the idea of finding value by enhancing the role of employees.

    In your business, look at how you can empower the employee to serve the customer. Can you give him a smartphone or other tools to help him provide better customer service?

  2. Performance

    If employees could provide value by increasing performance, they could become valuable assets. They could be given opportunities to succeed, to create even more value. New technology facilitates this new way of thinking. Such things as training and focusing on employee development become a wise business decision.

    The Forrester Enterprise 2.0 User Profile supports the article’s argument. The Forrester research shows that 51 percent of employees feel more productive when they use social software.

    In your business, think about what employees really need to know to do their job. Develop training and make it convenient to attend. Supply the kind of information that makes employees better at what they do every day. This has a two-fold benefit. It shows employees that you’re investing in them and it adds to their skills, making it easier for them to do their jobs.

  3. Place

    The entrance of new technology that serves to empower the employee to work in a variety of environments causes employers to begin looking at their work environments as important links in the performance chain. By improving workplaces and allowing employees to use new gadgets like smartphones and tablets, businesses can help employees succeed in decreasing their workload and getting better results.

    In your business, consider looking at how your offices are laid out. Does it have rows and rows of cubicles? Consider opening the environment up to allow better collaboration.

The article’s authors are in no way implying that this shift to viewing employees as value centers is a done deal, but they do see how the tide is turning and wonder if corporations will seize the opportunity.

As many people already know, the author William Gibson famously quipped, “The future is here — it is not very evenly distributed.” As companies see the benefits in valuing employees, they will likely jump on board. Time will tell.