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Evolution of Engagement – Part II

Posted by Amy Wilson on January 21, 2008

Technology Enablement

At last the guilt of posting a part I and no part II has overwhelmed me.  And really, if you don’t count Christmas and New Year’s as holidays, then my goal of posting every major holiday still stands …

First, I want to point out that technology will never create engagement – no matter how fancy or fun the system.  Culture and process come first.  However, technology has evolved dramatically over the past few years to better support the natural needs of engagement as well as the changing expectations of engagement.

When meeting with organizations, I use the following chart to illustrate these concepts:


Humans have natural engagement needs.  They are things like gaining visibility to organizational motives and goals, learning & developing on a continuous basis, feeling part of a community, and so on.  These needs have not and will not change.  They’re basic.  However, the way we work has changed and will continue to evolve as the world continues to flatten, technologies evolve, and people (kids) adopt flatter approaches and new technologies earlier and quicker. 

The traditional methods of fulfilling engagement needs were focused on personal interactions – a company meeting, a team building event, classroom training, etc.  As organizations expanded globally and virtually (and transportation costs increased), such interactions became impractical. 

Meanwhile, we had the internet boom.  Internet tools quickly solved organizations’ needs to globalize, virtualize and save money.  Thus, the company meeting was moved to a webcast, the team building event became a distribution list, and learning went online.  The downside of such tools is that they are not truly meeting the needs of engagement.  They removed all of the good aspects of traditional tools, and kept only the bad – top-down, passive, and one size fits all.

That is changing.  Having recognized how individuals engage virtually and globally outside the workplace, along with the technologies available to them, organizations are equipping themselves with a new set of engagement tools.

Organizations that I speak with are leveraging interactive blogs as an open communication vehicle between executives and their staff.  They are also beginning to adopt corporate social networks to share strengths, interests, and goals for purposes of learning informally, finding opportunites, and completing projects.  Mark talks about the value of corporate social networks here.

Keep your fingers crossed for a part III … perhaps it will be a Valentine’s Day present to Meg. 🙂

2 Responses to “Evolution of Engagement – Part II”

  1. Meg Bear said

    Amy, I’ll be looking forward to your themed post on Valentines 😉

  2. […] I anxiously anticipate my Valentine posting from Amy (and my President’s day one, and my St. Patrick’s day one…) I thought […]

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