Return on engagement #value #engagement


Martin Dugage
 
Edited

Dear sikm-ers

I am trying to set up a non-paying conference in Paris on the topic of KM and time management. I have often been sad to witness that our top managers understand only one side of KM, the one that has to do with efficiency: not reinventing the wheel, reusing what we know and blah blah. The other side of the coin, which is often far more relevant has to do with risk management and long term survival: avoiding mistakes already made in the past. You only build schools in places where you want to settle for a very long time.

The problem is that efficiency is easy to measure and manage. There are tons of KPIs for this. But measuring the errors you did NOT commit is impossible. So KM programs tend to become subsets of operational effectiveness programs, with a lot of processes, methods and tools, and few communities of practice. 

The way learning institutions go around this problem is examinations, when every student faces the same problem to solve and errors get measured by comparison. But we don’t have these kinds of “moments of truth” inside organizations, with the possible exception of winning or loosing a deal, if your client tels you the truth about the reasons why you won or lost. So you go around the issue with telling stories about how a given success of the organization can be partly attributed to KM, or statistics showing that since the KM program was implemented, sales have increased and clients are happy. But most of the time you just stick to KPIs measuring efficiency, as if the number of math book pages turned by minute was a good indicator of you chances of passing the math test.

My personal feeling is that employee engagement is a good indicator of the effectiveness of a KM policy, because engagement is based on a feeling of autonomy, personal mastery and confidence in the future, which is precisely what KM is supposed to deliver. However, I don’t see many organizations out there who are really inspired by the idea of measuring employee engagement - except maybe the armed forces - and use the somewhat fuzzy concept of “return on engagement”. And I do not know of any organization who makes a direct connection between KM deployment and employee engagement.

So here is my question to you: do you know any expert on the topic of “return on engagement” (RoE) who could talk about his/her real life experience on measuring engagement and RoE in relation with a KM policy for about 30 minutes max, questions included ? This would happen towards the end of November 2021 in Paris, France…

Sorry for the long message ;)

Rgds,

Martin


 

Hello Martin - interesting proposal. 
You wrote:
However, I don’t see many organizations out there who are really inspired by the idea of measuring employee engagement - except maybe the armed forces - and use the somewhat fuzzy concept of “return on engagement”

Regarding measuring employee engagement, I would guess that every company in the Fortune 500 has an employee engagement program in place, and spends a good deal of time and money measuring it on an annual basis if not more frequently. 

As for quantifying the value of return on engagement (RoE), the easiest way to think about how employee engagement relates to profitability is along two dimensions:

1. Discretionary effort - engaged employees go above and beyond what's asked of them, thereby improving productivity and increasing the quality of their efforts. 

2. Intention to stay - engaged employees are less likely to actively search for work outside their current employer, leading to a reduction in employee turnover and resulting reduced recruiting and onboarding costs, and lost productivity due to new-hire ramp-up. 

As for making a direct connection between KM and EE, perhaps the reason you don't know of any companies that have made this connection is because no one has identified EE as a stated objective for a KM initiative. Certainly KM initiatives aimed at increasing collaboration, for instance, could be easily connected with increased EE. 

Good luck with your conference. 

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-Tom
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Tom Short Consulting
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Barbara Fillip
 

Hi Martin,
From a KM perspective, we measure engagement in our Yammer platform as a key indicator for one of two key KM objectives:  nurturing healthy knowledge networks.  However, since the platform is both meant for technical knowledge sharing and more informal connections across the company through a mix of formal/structured and more informal communities, the employee engagement goes beyond that I am focused on from a KM perspective, which is technical knowledge flows.  The Yammer platform gives you some aggregate engagement data, which is a nice starting point but once you dig into the details of engagement in specific communities within the network and you do an analysis of conversations, that's where the analytical value really emerges.  We focused our analysis on the best performing communities, high-value conversations, and interviewed our Yammer champions (most actively engaged Yammer users).   This allowed us to provide very specific examples of engagement that clearly added value (saved time, connected projects across organizational boundaries, identified hard-to-find expertise, etc...).  The combination of anecdotal evidence of impact, data that shows aggregate growth of network engagement and some interesting benchmarking as well as exceptional support from our CEO have come together to allow us (KM team) to make a very strong case for employee and leadership engagement in our primary enterprise wide collaboration tool (Yammer) and a clear case that the specific kind of engagement we are encouraging is directly tied to organizational objectives (if not directly tied to financial goals).

Not sure this is an answer to your question but it was fresh on my mind.
Best,

On Thu, Jul 29, 2021 at 1:01 PM Martin Dugage <mrdugage@...> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

Dear sikm-ers

I am trying to set up a non-paying conference in Paris on the topic of KM and time management. I have often been sad to witness that our top managers understand only one side of KM, the one that has to do with efficiency: not reinventing the wheel, reusing what we know and blah blah. The other side of the coin, which is often far more relevant has to do with risk management and long term survival: avoiding mistakes already made in the past. You only build schools in places where you want to settle for a very long time.

The problem is that efficiency is easy to measure and manage. There are tons of KPIs for this. But measuring the errors you did NOT commit is impossible. So KM programs tend to become subsets of operational effectiveness programs, with a lot of processes, methods and tools, and few communities of practice. 

The way learning institutions go around this problem is examinations, when every student faces the same problem to solve and errors get measured by comparison. But we don’t have these kinds of “moments of truth” inside organizations, with the possible exception of winning or loosing a deal, if your client tels you the truth about the reasons why you won or lost. So you go around the issue with telling stories about how a given success of the organization can be partly attributed to KM, or statistics showing that since the KM program was implemented, sales have increased and clients are happy. But most of the time you just stick to KPIs measuring efficiency, as if the number of math book pages turned by minute was a good indicator of you chances of passing the math test.

My personal feeling is that employee engagement is a good indicator of the effectiveness of a KM policy, because engagement is based on a feeling of autonomy, mastery and confidence in the long term future of the organization, which is precisely what KM is supposed to deliver. However, I don’t see many organizations out there who are really inspired by the idea of measuring employee engagement - except maybe the armed forces - and use the somewhat fuzzy concept of “return on engagement”. And I do not know of any organization who makes a direct connection between KM deployment and employee engagement.

So here is my question to you: do you know any expert on the topic of “return on engagement” (RoE) who could talk about his/her real life experience on measuring engagement and RoE in relation with a KM policy for about 30 minutes max, questions included ? This would happen towards the end of November 2021 in Paris, France…

Sorry for the long message ;)

Rgds,

Martin


Stephen Bounds
 

Hi Martin,

Two points:

  1. There's decent evidence that measuring psychosocial safety would be a decent proxy measurement on what you're looking for. Check out this recent RealKM article discussing a nice study on the relationship.

  2. I don't really agree that it is impossible to measure errors avoided, as long as there's a definable, repeatable event and a way to determine whether outcomes were positive or negative. Even if the knowledge failure leading to an error happened some way upstream of the event itself, you can still assess the events and the results of various systemic interventions on them (I like the RROI approach but there are others).

If psychosocial safety resonates, I can point you to some people well-placed to talk about it...

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 30/07/2021 2:58 am, Martin Dugage wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

Dear sikm-ers

I am trying to set up a non-paying conference in Paris on the topic of KM and time management. I have often been sad to witness that our top managers understand only one side of KM, the one that has to do with efficiency: not reinventing the wheel, reusing what we know and blah blah. The other side of the coin, which is often far more relevant has to do with risk management and long term survival: avoiding mistakes already made in the past. You only build schools in places where you want to settle for a very long time.

The problem is that efficiency is easy to measure and manage. There are tons of KPIs for this. But measuring the errors you did NOT commit is impossible. So KM programs tend to become subsets of operational effectiveness programs, with a lot of processes, methods and tools, and few communities of practice. 

The way learning institutions go around this problem is examinations, when every student faces the same problem to solve and errors get measured by comparison. But we don’t have these kinds of “moments of truth” inside organizations, with the possible exception of winning or loosing a deal, if your client tels you the truth about the reasons why you won or lost. So you go around the issue with telling stories about how a given success of the organization can be partly attributed to KM, or statistics showing that since the KM program was implemented, sales have increased and clients are happy. But most of the time you just stick to KPIs measuring efficiency, as if the number of math book pages turned by minute was a good indicator of you chances of passing the math test.

My personal feeling is that employee engagement is a good indicator of the effectiveness of a KM policy, because engagement is based on a feeling of autonomy, personal mastery and confidence in the future, which is precisely what KM is supposed to deliver. However, I don’t see many organizations out there who are really inspired by the idea of measuring employee engagement - except maybe the armed forces - and use the somewhat fuzzy concept of “return on engagement”. And I do not know of any organization who makes a direct connection between KM deployment and employee engagement.

So here is my question to you: do you know any expert on the topic of “return on engagement” (RoE) who could talk about his/her real life experience on measuring engagement and RoE in relation with a KM policy for about 30 minutes max, questions included ? This would happen towards the end of November 2021 in Paris, France…

Sorry for the long message ;)

Rgds,

Martin