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Can social technology spur employee engagement?

As companies look for new ways to deploy employee rewards program, many are turning to social technologies.

As companies look for new ways to deploy employee rewards programs, many are turning to social technologies. These tools purportedly allow workers to more easily share ideas and collect feedback, especially when not working at the same location.

However, according to a recent report from Gartner only 10 percent of social technologies have been successful at promoting meaningful use or purposeful engagement, Wired reported. The factors contributing to such a low success rate are plentiful, including overly proscribed or restricted social policies and ineffective incentives.

Improving the conversation       
These issues shouldn't drive enterprises away from testing social technologies to support their employee incentives. Such tools can improve engagement by giving workers more flexibility and an increased sense of responsibility, all of which demonstrate a level of trust and value.

Prior to implementing social technologies, however, firms will want to perform their due diligence to determine the best strategies for motivating individuals to participate in a meaningful fashion.

"Identifying and tapping into intrinsic motivators is key, for example, for the professional development of an employee, the greater good, the socially responsible cause, etc.," Wired explained. "By enabling employees to connect and collaborate more effectively, you can boost idea development and accelerate innovation outcomes."

Individuals' ability to leverage these technologies in an efficient and efficacious manner shouldn't go ignored, though. For example, if social technologies are used to better communicate with a client or an employee is able to lead a dispersed team to successfully launch a program, workers deserve to be recognized. 

Furthermore, social technologies can be used to spur a sense of competition among employees moving toward a certain goal, the news source wrote. 

"Your employees are naturally competitive, and achievements and recognition are part of work life," Wired asserted. "Allow your employees to have fun, share feedback and keep track of their achievements via social software. This will foster a collaborative, emergent and results-oriented culture."

It's important for firms to remember that social technologies encompass much more than just PCs and laptops. Smartphones and tablets are being adopted rapidly by individuals, while more companies are putting in place bring-your-own-device policies. As a result, businesses hoping to fully leverage technologies to spur engagement will want to include these newer devices in their social rewards programs. 

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