How the Power of Employee Engagement Will Boost Your Business

A meaningful workplace translates to better performance

What if you could attract, retain and engage the world's best talent with purpose-driven employee engagement? And what if you could increase employee productivity while inspiring your workforce to become brand evangelists reaching millions of people with just one­ click?

CJ Follini

Purpose­-driven employee engagement that utilizes advanced VR, AR & 360-degree video and presents a holistic strategy for an employee's emotional, spiritual, physical and professional growth needs could be the disruption that makes a difference. has defined employee engagement as "the emotional connection an employee feels toward his or her employment organization, which tends to influence his or her behaviors and level of effort in work related activities." To create such an emotional connection, a company has to treat its employees as its first customer. Employee engagement can make the difference between success and failure, as disengaged employees are estimated to cost the U.S. economy billions in lost productivity, accidents, theft and turnover.

In contrast, organizations with highly engaged employees had an average 3-year revenue growth 2.3 times greater than those whose employees showed average engagement. And 79 percent of today's graduates consider a company's corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments when deciding where to work, according to a recent Cone Communications study. Purpose­-driven content and sponsored volunteer activities have proven to be the most effective means of increasing emotional investment for employees, making the workplace more meaningful, productive and just plain irresistible.

Unfortunately, today's employee engagement landscape consists mostly of uber­ specialized technology platforms that while highly functional, usually don't address all of their employees' needs especially when it comes to content­ creation, social sharing and wellness. Thus quickest path to a successful program would be an easy­ to­ use, singular platform presenting a 360­-degree offering for emotional, spiritual, physical and professional growth with meaningful content distribution and sharing, particularly immersive video. This places technology in the service of companies and society in an organic way that engages and champions the individual as they build a socially ­conscious, positive self­ esteem.

With this in mind, here are eight elements critical to really tapping into the power of employee engagement.

Content Centric 

A company that provides entertaining and inspiring, yet deliberately transparent content can increase employee engagement and inclination to share positive stories about its company and its fellow employees.
 Activating employees as co-creators of the corporate message in this way fortifies internal reputation and enables another way to externally represent the brand. As such, an employee engagement portal should provide one-stop content distribution from across all company channels, as well as allow for employee content creation and management within the platform. 

Video in particular is the most easily consumable and shareable form of media—it represents an increasing share of digital/mobile ad spending, with growth driven by a substantial increase in mobile video allocations. The latest VR, AR, and Google 360° advanced video techniques should be implemented for any truly holistic employee engagement campaign due to its potential to dramatically improve participation rates as well as enhance goal communication and content sharing both internally and externally.

Cause Driven

If CSR causes are the core of optimizing employee engagement, then cause-driven content is more effective toward engaging employees than any other. With a singular purpose-driven portal, brands and corporations could integrate all their CSR & cause initiatives into a database that provides employees with a searchable source of causes and ideas.

Nonprofits benefit from exposure on the platform so that brands and their employees can become familiar with causes and support them if they match the brand's mission. Employees wouldn't have to worry about where to have their donations matched, or what causes their company supports, and could track their individual, group and company social impact all in one place.

Authentic storytelling through social sharing 

The reach of online sharing by employees is growing as social media algorithms evolve. For example, Facebook's News Feed algorithm challenges companies to be smarter marketers and better storytellers to provide fans with content that matters to them. An individual employee sharing personally-created content deepens engagement for employees and, importantly, their social networks.

This "Inside-Out" approach starts from within—a company's talent, resources, customer relationships and distribution networks—and leverages these to reach company cause marketing goals through organic, authentic employee stories. With one-click social sharing on the platform, employees don't have to jump through hoops to get their stories out there, resulting in benefits for the business, associated nonprofits or causes and stakeholders (employees and customers).

Secure bi-directional communication capabilities 

To best take advantage of employee ideas in cause-driven content, an atmosphere of open, clear communication must be encouraged. Through a safe, built-in communication system on a singular portal, companies can open up discussion to springboard ideas and coordinate efforts. When we say "bi-directional," we mean horizontally and vertically—horizontally to encourage peer-to-peer messaging and recognition, and vertically to support communications from management to reporting employees.

Access to wellness resources & experts 

When employees feel physically and mentally well, and also feel valued by their companies, they are more likely to be engaged in all aspects of work. While some employee engagement programs include wellness tracking, this method is mostly do-it-yourself. To encourage holistic wellness and keep employees at their best, companies need to provide resources for workers to find quality information, as well as experts and leaders in physical and mental health.

Game mechanics

If employees can attribute earned value to causes, they'll be more likely to participate in them. Game Mechanics systems "add[s] value to product, to increase employee engagement and to drive crowdsourced innovation." Upon signing up, employees can track their efforts and share their involvement socially so that the cause they love gets more support, as well as earn them points toward leaderboard status and rewards.

Single entry point 

Ease of use is crucial to participation on any platform. Whereas multiple portals each with their own logins can be confusing and lead to employee opt-out, single sign-up and login can seamlessly integrate multiple corporate departments, improving coordination.

Administrative dashboard and reporting

In contrast to fragmented solutions that track either one campaign or another, the portal could track multiple campaigns in real-time, allowing companies to systematically measure engagement and social impact. This makes it possible to glean actionable data and thereby optimize performance on all fronts, from hours volunteered, to miles run, to posts shared. It could also create comprehensive, segmentable reports to determine which employees deserve rewards fulfillment, which areas need improvement, which causes deserve more attention, and so on.

By merging CSR, content storytelling, and wellness with the latest technology, a singular employee engagement platform has the potential to help companies turn holistic employee wellness into action and action into impact.

Real change—and real engagement—happen inside-out, showing that when employees are happy and feel valued, they share that happiness with the world. And that can never be bad for business.

CJ Follini (@cjfollini) is founder and chief evangelist at Imminent Digital, an employee engagement firm. Kate Orgera contributed to this column.