Measure Engagement: Micro-Engagement with Macro-Impact

ROI of Engagement and the value of relationships is no new conversation. What is new is how we develop and maintain the relationships, especially as leaders. In developing leadership seminars for the new social paradigm, we came across the same challenge of measurement but looked at new solutions. “Quick and dirty” ROI measured from campaigns and their impact is not relevant or feasible when talking about social leadership. Unlike a short term campaign or solution it is a long term adjustment to culture and approach to communications.

 

Finding the tools that can help us measure more effectively are a start. Of course, looking at numbers of connections give us one view. Yet, they present several problems in themselves and only show us a small part of the greater picture. The greatest being that leaders are predominantly absent from these tools (Forrester Research), and resistant to entry for fear of exposure or distraction. Another being the need for measurement of network engagement that occurs outside these sites (intranets, industry specific networks, public following, etc.). Then of course there is long term and the secondary effects, the MacroImpact.

 

Klout.com does a great job aggregating the numbers of followers on Twitter, links on LinkedIn and friends on Facebook and their influence to see what kind of a role individuals play and their online influence. It may not be the MacroImpact we require to create the argument for investing in teaching social leadership, but it is a good place to start. Then we need to look at layering of other factors, after all, changing behavior and culture is no “quick and dirty” fix.

 

BUSINESS IMPACTS: To start with there are several areas from which we can measure shifts that are have MacroImpact from the Leader’s MicroEngagement (must be measured over time). Of course this assumes establishing a baseline and keeping in mind other externalities that can cause spikes:

 

* INCREASE/DECREASE in new applications for jobs under leader’s management or control
* ATTRITION of existing employees desire to stay/leave working with the leader
* TEAM COHESION project completions advance of schedule, faster to market cycles
* INNOVATION cycles decrease with open acceptance of new ideas within clear parameters
* IMPROVED HEALTH decreased stress from greater job satisfaction, less sick days
* PARTNER/CLIENT LOYALTY return clients and partners desire to continue relationship
* COLLABORATION new opportunities in-industry based on respect for knowledge and trust
* LEARNING community shortens time to response from internal subject matter experts,
saves need hire external consultants when knowledge available internally
* MEETING lengths and volume decrease due to better collaboration and clarity in
communication
* AGILE RESPONSE to opportunities and threats in PR through direct engagement savings in
“Fire fighting” and valuation dips

 

This is just a first “whack” at a list as we look into measuring tools to pull together for leaders to understand their own MacroImpact and for organizations to evaluate their social leader’s performance. I would love to hear your thoughts on what other factors could be included, and what tools can be used to measure this effectively. It is not simply performance review we are considering, but rather effective engagement.

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Why We Engage

In trying to understand better just why and how social media is better at engaging us as individual users, I have been looking into several different theories often applied to education technology. So here is a first shot and please feel free to put in your two cents, as this is just the start of what will be far more extensive research.

Engagement theory (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999) uses the base structure of Relate, Create Donate, assuming we are talking about engaging both the teacher and the student. As participants in user based media we are both the teacher (sender) and the student (receiver). We therefore all benefit and become more engaged based on participation as we contribute to of all the three areas (Relate, Create, Donate). Perhaps it is more cyclical in the open collaborative model version of how we interact online today. Instead of creating one final product of research, it is ongoing and dynamic. So we are engaged, but how do we stay there?

So, now let’s look at the psychoanalytical perspective to understand Social Representation (Serge Moscovici in 1961), a “system of values, ideas and practices with a twofold function; first, to establish an order which will enable individuals to orientate themselves in their material and social world and to master it; and secondly to enable communication to take place among the members of a community by providing them with a code for social exchange and a code for naming and classifying unambiguously the various aspects of their world and their individual and group history”. Here we must have rules established in order to engage as the interaction is based on TRUST. It is generally agreed that we must have this trust in order for user based tools to be successful.

Outside of the academic sphere and into the multifaceted global realm, we have new rules and codes that are being created. The rules are evolving and are being created collaboratively. With each new evolution of the tools we use the codes of interaction evolve. And yet, the sharing and learning continues. Are we engaging simply for the sake of curiosity, the need to learn and to share? Even Wikipedia struggles to find a general collaboration theory that explains it. What we do know is that it is happening and users are engaging. In the quest of understanding effectively interaction for maximum benefit for both the receiver and the sender, I put this out there as a seed for discussion. What are your experiences with engagement and how do you feel that the rules have changed to make it more effective?

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