Last Friday I was a guest on Vancouver media celeb Christy Clark's popular call-in radio show talking about social media in the workplace and the sorry state of employee engagement. (Listen to the interview here.) After covering the ins and outs of social media in the first segment, Christy opened up the phone lines and the conversation turned to the quality of life at work, and the big gap between companies who treat their employees well and those who don't.
We got two great listener calls, which served as a microcosm of what's going on out there in the working world. The first caller works at a small business that's clearly doing things right, with a positive, supportive environment and employees who are great ambassadors for the company. The second caller was a bitter, still-disgruntled retiree who had spent his career in an industry with a long tradition of bad morale, low engagement and acrimonious labor disputes.
Over the past couple of years I've been talking with communicators all over the continent about what Towers Perrin has called the Engagement Gap - the huge disparity between those whose organizations are getting it right, and those who have essentially lost what used to be a meaningful, human connection with employees. And what I'm hearing is that, although many companies have not come to grips with this slow-burning crisis, we're entering a period of great opportunity - a rare time in which real change is possible. Organizations are realizing that the old ways of communicating are not working, and as they struggle to dig their way out of the recession there's an unprecedented willingness to try new strategies.
Whether it's being driven by desperation, or frustration with the status quo, or good old fashioned human ingenuity, the communication revolution is happening.