Top 3 Apps to Boost Employee Engagement and Communication
The way we communicate has come a long way since the ancient scratches and drawings on cave walls. The modern world of work is fluid and ever changing, with ‘agile’ solutions being required to solve contemporary problems. Work habits are changing as Millennials are demanding not only different working environments; with standing desks and cubicle-less, open planned work spaces; but also innovative technologies and solutions to keep them engaged, and to aid them in improving their overall employee experience. Consequently, this has made the work of internal and corporate communications professionals considerably more demanding. Yet despite this appreciation of the need for changing work circumstances, the ‘2016 Digital Workplace Communications Survey’ conducted on over 250 companies concluded that almost half of all employees (48%) advocated for a change in their company’s digital workplace communications. Here is a list of the top apps to implement to boost employee engagement and communication.
Slack is a cloud-based set of team collaboration tools and services. The name is an acronym for "Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge", which concisely indicates it’s primary functions. Slack has humble beginnings and initially was used as an internal tool by its founding company. Since its creation in 2013, Slack has become one of the darlings of the tech scene, becoming one of the fastest growing apps in history. Slack was recognized as the best start-up of the year at the 10th Crunchies Awards, organized by TechCrunch. By the end of 2016, Slack was valued at $2.7 billion. Features offered by Slack include organized chat rooms (channels) by topic, private groups, and direct messaging. All content inside Slack is fully searchable This enables workers to search for all kinds of data including files, conversations, and users. Conveniently Slack is integrated with many other available services such as Google Drive and Dropbox; thereby making it simple to implement, and even easier to share and save files.
Technology is here to make our lives easier. Having a conversation with someone on the other side of the world is now simple and instantaneous. There’s no delay. That’s precisely how good performance management software should work, and is the key to Impraise’s performance management software. Multi-award winning Impraise, is a web and mobile application, that was founded in 2013. Since then, the start-up has grown impressively with over 130 clients including booking.com, NRG, Fandango and Shopify all using Impraise to streamline their in-office communication. Ease of use and accessibility are at the heart of Impraise’s performance management tool. Impraise allows you to gather relevant and accurate feedback for your employees faster and easier than ever before. Collaborative feedback is set up in a matter of minutes, giving an excellent understanding of your team’s strengths and possible coaching needs. Prompt feedback results in faster learning and encourages social interaction amongst your team.
Asana is web based ‘software-as-a-service’ designed to improve team collaboration. It comes in both web and mobile app versions, and enables users to manage projects and tasks online without the use of email. This is a crucial part of Asana’s mantra, as its foundersDustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein launched “an audacious attempt to change the way people connect at work, where the incessant drumbeat of email has become an excruciating annoyance”. Asana works by giving each team its own unique workspace. These workspaces contain projects, and projects contain tasks which can be assigned (or owned) by a team member. Users can follow projects and tasks and, when the state of a project or task changes, get updates about the changes in their Asana inboxes. The app also contains a social network, instant messaging application and online calendar. These features enable teams of employees to share information and do most of their jobs without relying on tedious emails. This is a revolutionary idea as the ‘2016 Digital Workplace Communications Survey’ found that 97% of employees still use emails for both internal and external communication.
Without continuous and free flowing communication in the digital workplace, companies will fail to innovate and progress will be stunted. There are many applications that companies can adopt to improve communication however Slack, Impraise and Asana are our three favourites.
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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