Why the Winners in Business Are Taking the Time to Build a Positive & Kind Social Culture

We have an employee engagement crisis in our work places today and it is global. Most people come home from work each day without experiencing what it is to find meaning in their work. These people are not engaged. According to Gallup’s 2013 world-wide survey of employee engagement; 87% of the workforce is not engaged with their jobs.

On the other hand, Engaged workers are in love with their jobs; they come knowing that they have made a meaningful contribution at work, a contribution which is making a real difference to a customer, a client, their colleagues, their manager and the business, organisation, community or ecosystem they care so passionately about. Only 13% of the workforce is engaged globally. We call these engaged people The Contributors.  http://www.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx

The Contributors are passionate, committed, creative, giving to colleagues and customers, open to new ideas, collaborative, co-creative, innovative, self-managed, responsible, kind and supportive. They are highly adaptive to change and innovation; in fact they engage with it. They voluntarily give their whole being to their work and the Enterprises; all of their hands or talents, their head and their heart. Gallup’s research shows that the Contributors are worth six times more to an Enterprise than those workers who are not engaged or what we call The Compliant.


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I call the engaged people, Contributors because they voluntarily give of all of who they are to their work, their colleagues and the Enterprise and they readily engage with and build social networks and social ecosystems and collaborate for social good.

The fortunate companies who have high numbers of Contributors in their workforces are set up to take advantage of the new social business and social network technologies because the Contributors are wired for collaboration. And it is not a Generation X or Millennial characteristic; it is a question of company culture. What culture is at the heart of a business determines the degree to which the employees will engage with the full potential of social media; as social business colleague Mike Green, CEO at the Kinship Group puts so well

The winning organisations in a hyper-connected world will be those that create many opportunities for their workforce to interact with “the outside world’ at scale (meaning frequently, meaningfully, and in ways that are recognised and (positively) rewarded.

Before the company brand was everything. Today, the individuals working in the company are the authentic face of the brand, not the reverse. Employee’s brands and their company’s brands are inextricably linked.

Successful leaders of the future know that when employees understand and apply their individual brands to the company mission they create differentiating value in the marketplace, build their constituent’s trust, impact the bottom line and win the game.



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What Mike is saying here is that successful social businesses will take the time to build an engaging culture which nurtures the majority of its people to Contribute. Gallup’s research shows that the Contributors are staff members who work in a culture which

  • Looks for and extends individual and group strengths,
  • Elevates and extends what is working well, not fixing problems,
  • Elevates and rewards virtuous or kind behaviours
  • Builds authentic, trusting relationships
  • Practices macro-leadership which involves engaging everyone to co-create meaningful futures as an living eco-system
  • Builds governance around the balance between the needs of the individual and the group.


For 300 years, the first generation of industrial, hierarchical management has focused on building and maintaining Cultures of Compliance and even Subversion.

An example; Compliance focuses on avoiding bullying by building elaborate rules, firewalls, installing security software and reporting into a business’s negative use of social-media. More time is spent by managers in preventing or mitigating bad than extending good. But in a Contribution Culture –  what we might call a Positive Social Business Culture – managers spend more time with their people looking for what is good e.g. when are we experiencing the best of contribution, meaning, collaboration, openness, sharing and kindness at work and how can we extend this to become the way we do things around here to become our social business culture?

Yes, of course attention is paid to governance but it about putting in the safety nets to support what is good, not stop good by shutting down openness and access to social media or authenticity to prevent bad. Leaders who build a Contributing workforce know that the opposite of non-compliance is not compliance but self-management.

For 300 years, managers have got away with running a compliance culture and getting by. But getting by isn’t going to cut it in the new social business game which is global, connected, collaborative, sharing, positive, kind and collaborating. And that is why we focus at the Emotional Economy at Work with our partners at Kinship and Abunderati on helping our clients and to build and sustain their own unique, Positive Social Business Culture as an essential element of doing future business in a networked world.