Sunday, 27 December 2015

The art of sharing in the human economy

“Our biggest need as humans is connection,” Bryan Kramer, social business strategist and CEO of PureMatter says. Following this statement, he has written two popular books that bring readers deep into the meaning of sharing in today’s “human economy”. “Human to Human #H2H”, about bringing the people side of communication to the digital business world, became a bestselling book in its first week in 2004. Shareology”, his latest work, follows a now-familiar formula, further exploring the Human to Human (H2H) theme: “Every company and person should operate from an H2H foundation. After all, everything has to be done in collaboration with somebody to make something work. Whether it’s developing products, coming up with a business solution, or communicating in general, H2H is the foundation.”
So, what can readers expect from Kramer? While taking a closer look at the society basic need to connect, the author dives into the fundamentals of social business. In “Shareology“, Kramer offers plenty of research, concrete examples drawn from corporate life as well as interviews with professionals in the field of social media, leadership, communication and technology. The result is an absorbing reading on the art of creating and sharing in the digital age.
The power of the crowd
honeyThe crowd is an image that recurs throughout “Shareology”: “Social and digital technologies allows us to use the power of crowds in ways never before possible for co-creating content, for crowd-sharing, and even crowdfunding. But the common denominator in the power of a crowd is shared emotion – something that connect us.”
The book mentions the prolific work of Jeremiah Owyang, founder of Crowd Companies and a leader in the Collaborative Economy movement, which is all about the convergence of the physical and digital worlds powered by the crowd.
Co-creation at work
Looking at internal communications specifically, I found the author’s thoughts on empowering the collective voice of employees completely accurate: “Organisational models have to change to allow internal collaboration and idea flow from employees and partners. We’ve seen too many businesses grab at the technology (or platform) piece first, totally ignoring the people that are involved in processes like creating social policies, integrating technology, and providing customer support.”
There are many ways an employee can take part in co-creation – from creating shared experiences, to sharing or re-sharing them. Yet, many companies still have problems with it. Kramer suggests involving staff in the process of generating content as opposed to producing it and then handling it to them to share. “When two or more people collaborate to create an experience, sharing becomes exponential. When an employee helps to create something, they’re proud of that work and are more likely to share it once it’s published.”
newqIn fact, another aspect of giving colleagues a voice is enabling employee advocacy.  The author likes to remind us that influencers can come from any place inside the company. To make his point he cites the CMO of CBIZ Mark Waxman, who holds a similar position and says:
“Yes, they [employees advocates] are out there. They may not be the ones you first think  of. They are often not your managers, perhaps not your leaders. They may not be the first ones that come to mind. But buried in the cubicles and backrooms of every company are the young, socially aware and active employees looking for an opportunity to grow their career…using a path that they are uniquely qualified to follow!”
The message is clear. Find passionate people from anywhere across the organisation, offer them the tools they need, and empower them to lead so that they “can help you build an enthusiastic internal army of advocates.”
Knowing when not to share
Sharing has become indeed the way progressive organisations are approaching business and communication. But more isn’t always better. It is important, Kramer warns, to also recognise when and what not to share. For example, “even if you have good news to share every day about your company, that doesn’t mean you should. Good news (as well as bad news) should be well timed. Jumping all over something the minute you find out about it may have negative consequences or reduce the impact of what you’re sharing down the road.”
Organisations can solve this problem by investing in active social listening.
Social listening and analytics
quotewOf all aspects of digital communication, social listening is perhaps one of the most important. It is also “one thing we should all practice more,” Kramer emphasises. It increasingly
relies on powerful contextual technologies that “parse the river of conversation on any network.”. Here the opportunity is to engage effectively with people in real-time; find and offer solutions to problems; and reap big dividends in loyalty, trust and advocacy.
Leading edge companies are building and nurturing their own social listening teams. For example, American Airlines has done a remarkable job creating a Social Command Center. The Social Command Center, explains the author, provides employees with deep analytics. It helps them to “zero in on content that matters to them and powerful data visualisation tools like tag clouds and heat maps to help social media members make sense of the data. They can monitor regions across the globe, spot breaking trends, track mentions and images.”
Reading the story, there is really no telling how effective and essential social listening ultimately is.
Being a leader in the human economy
If leaders want to succeed in the human economy they need to understand the value of emotional intelligence too, writes Kramer. As our society progresses with sophisticated technology, high-performing teams will capitalise on what people can do uniquely. Author Dov Seidman, also cited in the book, contends the same:
“In the human economy, the most valuable workers will be hired hearts. The know-how and analytics skills that made them indispensable in the knowledge economy no longer give them an advantage over increasingly intelligent machines. But they will still bring to their work essential traits that cant’s be and won’t be programmed into software, like creativity, passion, character, and collaborative spirit.”
The sharing future
What’s next?
“The future is sharing, but we’ve become unused to it. We’re always running for the goal as individuals, even as we’ve been trying to get our teams to collaborate more. The future will be about opening up and sharing because the more we can get people to share, the faster we can grow as a society.”
Certainly, I find much to applaud in Kramer’s work. The author doesn’t fail to bring the meaning of humanity back into the world of digital communications. If you want to find out how leading social businesses have been concretely turned technology into an opportunity to effectively engage with people, then Shareology is the book for you.
This article originally appeared on StaffConnect  

Sunday, 20 December 2015

IBM Watson Health – how this technology is revolutionising healthcare

The idea that cognitive technology can transform the healthcare system in radical ways holds a special place in Matthew Howard‘s head. The UK Lead at IBM Watson Health  has no doubts: “I consider it to be the most important development in healthcare analytics globally.” And, using cognitive applications such IBM Watson to help augment the ability of the clinical scientific community, he says, is critical for meeting future life science demands.

In fact, healthcare is a key strategic imperative to IBM. If you just look at some of the quotes by the company, they say very openly that Watson Health is their moon shot.

I wanted to explore with Howard what the impact of this promising technology is going to look like. In this interview, he shares his views on the potential of IBM Watson to the wider society, the democratisation of data, the role of machine learning, its strengths and the challenges, and the element of ‘trust’ around digital healthcare.

Gloria Lombardi: Let’s introduce the cognitive IBM Watson Health. What’s so special about this technology?  

ibm tMatthew Howard: Watson is able to understand unstructured information such as normal human language and written words. The technology can combine the best of the machine’s ability to understand vast volumes of information simultaneously with a new ability to interact with people in a much more natural way.

This type of capability allows us to use IBM Watson as an augmented intelligence – it helps those working in healthcare to understand the information out there faster.

GL: Could you give me some examples of its concrete application?  

MH: A good example is using IBM Watson as a treatment adviser. If you train Watson using the very best medical literature, guidelines and expertise, for example in cancer care, you can develop a ‘trusted adviser’ that is able to make recommendations on how to treat the patients – the Watson adviser will provide doctors with potential cancer treatment recommendations based on some of the world’s leading cancer experts who train the application. Based on that knowledge and expertise, clinicians can consider different treatment options for any particular individual. Watson is not there to make the decision; it is there to help inform the decision and provide supported, evidence-based suggestions.

Going beyond the adviser solution, there is an enormous wealth of other opportunities – from building wellness technology coaches to genomics innovation.

GL: What does it all mean for the future of work of clinicians and the medical community?  

ibm watsonMH: What the technology will do is to improve the doctors’ ability to have at their fingertips the very best scientific literature – something like having an adviser at your side who can instantaneously provide information from the literature that is relevant, updated and contextually accurate to the patient in front of them, it’s going to be transformational.

We have very high expectations of our clinicians – we expect them to know all of the journals, all the clinical trials, every treatment, changes to drugs’ availability, and more. These are incredibly high expectations. So, what we are trying to do here, is to provide technology that enables our doctors to meet those expectations by combining their own expertise with the expertise of Watson.

GL: Will the clinicians of the future require familiarity with technological innovation? I am thinking about not just having medical knowledge and expertise but also confidence in using new technology such as IBM Watson.

MH: To some extent. One of the important parts of how cognitive technology works is that it will always tell you why it has reached a given set of recommendations. IBM Watson is designed to provide you with all the evidence, and uses it to explain the suggestions it is making.

So, it is not strictly necessary for the clinician, the scientist or the nurse to fully understand how every part of how the technology works. But, it is important for them to be able to see what was the particular scientific literature, for example, that made Watson go in a certain direction.

GL: Let’s explore the IBM Watson Health ecosystem. How do you select your partners? For example, recently I read about your deal with the Tel-Aviv-based startup Nutrino, which I found interesting. The aim here is to develop a nutrition application that enables smarter eating decisions.

dfMH:  We work with ecosystem partners like Nutrino that we think have a great potential opportunity, exciting ideas and novel technologies. We provide them with access to Watson Developer Cloud to accelerate development. Nutrino actually participated in the IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator Program in Israel, the first and only IBM Accelerator worldwide.

We are already working with a broad range of healthcare and life science organisations, for example our recently announced partnership with Novo Nordisk to build diabetes care solutions on the Watson Health Cloud.

GL: Which geographical locations have the potential to be influenced by the technology in a radical way? Any unexpected regions? Perhaps countries that, until now, we would haven’t thought could be reached and benefit from it.

MH: One of the biggest challenges for us today is to work out how to get highly innovative, leading technologies into emerging markets. Longer term, we will need to find effective ways to provide cognitive technology in those areas at scale. The potential impact of this type of expert advice on locations where there are not enough medical staff is huge.

GL: Looking at the technology itself, what are the main challenges of IBM Watson at present? 
doctor bellaMH: Cognitive technology is very new and developing. We need to build awareness quickly. It also can take time to train.

It will take time to find everything that works best. We are just at the beginning of the augmented intelligence journey.

But, this technology will evolve fast. It will move into the mainstream and become used daily by a much wider group of people. We should see a real step change in the amount of impact that has over the coming few years.

GL: Can we clarify the role of machine learning with respect to the IBM Watson Health cognitive technology?  

MH: In this context machine learning  means that, by training IBM Watson, the technology gets better at what it does. For example, when we train Watson as an adviser type of solution, we tell it when it gets things right and when it gets things wrong. By going through this iterative process several times, IBM Watson becomes smarter – the algorithm enables it to understand the data it is presented. Ultimately, the application learns how to change what it recommends and provide better advice.

GL: I’d like to conclude by discussing the element of ‘trust’, which seems to be one of the key challenges of digital healthcare today. What do you think should be done more, or less, or differently, to encourage individuals and organisations to be open with the opportunity brought by new technology? 

MH: We (the healthcare industry) need to provide real world evidence of how technology can be huge force for good. Big data will only achieve scale and impact in healthcare if people use it and trust it – that means stakeholders across the whole system have to be able to trust each other in a transparent, controlled way to use data for the benefit of patients and healthcare systems, while always managing risk and ensuring privacy.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Transforming healthcare through digital technology

Imagine if, as a patient, you could access your GP and all your health records online giving you more control over your own care; or if you had to do fewer phone calls or trips to the hospital but just communicate with professional teams digitally at any time; or if you hadn’t had to repeat yourself when your information is shared between healthcare professionals. Until recently, this was not what you would normally expect.
But over the past years things have started to change. Quite remarkably. Healthcare services around the globe are now investing in ground-breaking technology to benefit both patients and clinicians. In the process, it is accelerating the spread of health apps, wearable devices, connected care systems, and the use of advanced analytics to maximise the use of routinely collected data. The 2015 Digital Health World Forum this week delved into all these topics and provided the optimum platform to learn more about the latest innovations in healthcare.  

The personalisation of health

statsListening to the Director General for Innovation, Growth and Technology at The Department of Health Will Cavendish, the transformation of care in the UK is well under way. The Country’s digital health market is set to grow by nearly £1bn in the next three years – potentially reaching £3.5bn by 2020. “Digital health systems make up the vast majority of the market at present. But other areas, such as health apps and health analytics, are set to grow rapidly,” claimed Cavendish.
At the heart of this transformation is the personalisation of health  – from the delivery of remote monitoring and tele-consultations, to e-medicine supply chains, social care digitisation, mobile and agile working, and the removal of paper based processes across all care settings. Plans also include the deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in real clinical settings such as in the ward, in the GP surgery or in the waiting room. Ultimately, it’s about improving productivity and empowering people to make the right choices.

Mobile health 

“Everyone now has the power to innovate in a digital world thanks to the marriage between the two great innovation platforms of the 21st century: internet and mobile.”
 Dr. Mike Short is VP at Telefonica. He entertained the audience with a lively talk on mobile devices, the way they are transforming people’s behaviours and the interactions they have with organisations. “Mobile technology has shifted people’s expectation to a state of extensive levels of personalisation, consistent and relevant information wherever they are.”
telephoneTo make his point, Short took the audience through a chart on the mobile phone services over the past 30 years: “Do you remember your first mobile phone? April 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the first mobile phone call in a public setting. In March 2014 the web celebrated its 25th birthday. It’s proof of what a well established platform it is and it’s become a central part of people’s lives. Expected that by end of this year there’ll be more mobile phones than people!”
Even more stimulating was the discussion around the opportunity for mobile health, that, as he Short said, “it is all about people power.” There are apps that help you to track diets, to exercise, to sleep better, or to manage healthier lifestyles through gamification activities such as giving you something to aim for, or a way to share and celebrate their achievements amongst a community. At the end of 2014, there were 33.000 Health and Fitness and 25.000 Medical apps in the Apple store, and  44.000 Health & Fitness apps and 23.000 Medical apps in the Google Play store. And, in the UK, the NHS has also launched its own app store – the NHS Choices Healthy App Store.
Going further, Short cited a study by PWC - Socio-economic impact of mHealth: An assessment report for the European Union’  indicates that by 2017 6.9 million people may be able to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases thanks to lifestyle improvement made through mHealth.
Looking forward, he was confident that people will become more familiar with wearable technology – from smart bands and watches, to clothing, jewellery, glasses and headsets.
Perhaps, the most inspiring takeaway here, is that digital is enabling individuals’ awareness of health issues, empowering people to take more responsibility for themselves. As Short put it, “this is vitally important – we must do as much as we can to help ourselves.”

Digital health at work 

KPMobile technology is impacting on clinical workflow too, transforming the way medical professionals perform tasks and communicate daily.
For example, we heard from Tigerspike’s MD Cameron Franks, that Kaiser Permanente uses a mobile app to provide video consultations as well as a clinical reference library that enables doctors to search for drugs in real-time.
It was also interesting to know that Stanford University and the University of Oxford have partnered to create MyHeart Counts – this app uses surveys to help researchers more accurately evaluate how people’s lifestyle and activity relate to their risk of cardiovascular disease. “By identifying those correlations, researcher can begin to better understand how to keep hearts healthier.”
Mobile is truly ubiquitous. For the majority of people having a mobile phone is now just a part of our lives. Building on this opportunity The George Institute for Global Health is supporting aboriginal communities to better access to healthcare through the One Deadly Step app.

The mobile moment – overcoming the obstacles 

Indeed, as TotalMobile’s Clinical Consultant Simon Wallace said, we are living the ‘mobile moment’. The phrase was originally coined by Forrest’s VP and Principal Analyst Ted Schadler, describing it as ‘a point in time and space when a person uses a mobile device to meet an immediate need, whatever that may be and wherever that person may be.’
Again, Wallace emphasised that mobile is creating new ways of working, toward flexibility and efficiency. “Community health and social care workers are not shackled to the office to update notes on systems and trawl databases. They have access to the data they need on the move, leaving more time to spend on patient care.”
But, while it’s seems clear that this is a game-changing opportunity to influence healthcare, there are a few challenges along the way. Security concerns, technology integration and resource constraints were often cited as obstacles.
Director of OurMobile Health Julie Brentland, helped to clarify some more barriers. First is transparency. Letting users know that an app is collecting and sharing their data, is extremely important. That is also true of accurate and correct content. To make her point, Brentland cited the 2013 study by The University of Pittsburgh on melanomas. Four apps were used to evaluate photographs and provide users with the likelihood of malignancy. Three of the four apps incorrectly classified 30% or more of melanomas as un-concerning. The researchers concluded: “Reliance on these applications, which are not subject to regulatory oversights, in lie of medical consultation can delay the diagnosis of melanoma and harm users.”
And, sometimes the more popular apps are the lower the quality. This conclusion was supported by a survey of smoking cessation apps.
Brentland, argued therefore, that’s time to “invest in building confidence and trust.”

Looking at the future

This is an evolutionary, yet transformative journey. Beyond the challenges, that of course it’s crucial to continue to explore and fully understand, the 2015 Digital Health World Forum was a confirmation that the mobile and digital health world is rising fast, as are the drivers and advantages of investing on it.  When all is said and done, the greatest opportunity here is to really enhance critical care provision around the globe – a win-win for patients and clinicians.
teaser image 
This article originally appeared on The App Garden 

Sunday, 6 December 2015

#EmployeeConf - Exploring the employee engagement journey

screenteaser Boosting performance, productivity and retention. These themes were discussed at ‘The Engaging Employees’ conference in London this week. With over 20 speakers and 13 in-depth sessions, the event was a vibrant exploration of the employee engagement journey – from managing change, to driving digital communications, creating innovation and interpreting data.
While the choice of which presentations to review is not the easiest to make, here are a few personal takeaways.
Change with SCARF
Why? Who? When? What? How? Our brain deals with uncomfortable feelings every time there is a change at work. But, all too often we push emotional signals out of the way or discount them as being less important than ‘doing business’. Yet, feelings have an important role to play, often ruling how we make decisions in turbulent times.
ec 10 (2)It’s perhaps not surprising if James Dalton’s quote is something to go by: “We are still hard wired for survival.” The Group Head of Employee Engagement and Health at the transport operator FirstGroup, explored the topic of change from the frontiers of neuroscience. Dalton reminded the audience of a series of pre-programmed natural responses that drive how people react to change – from the neural network that looks for danger to the fight or flight reflex, the friend or foe instinct, and predictions.
If we are going to nurture brain-based research, what tools are we going to focus on? The short answer is that there are plenty of frameworks out there. After all, change is one of the most written about topics in employee engagement literature. If you Google the term, over three billion results are displayed. A more nuanced answer is that despite of all knowledge at our disposal, change consistently appears as one of the biggest challenges still facing internal communicators. Indeed, models have evolved so differently that they are difficult to compare.
SCARF_ModelHowever, Dalton suggested adopting the SCARF model by Dr. David Rock. This framework analyses and acts upon the social triggers that generate either a sense of threat or a sense of reward. The aim is to help increase positive states of mind while looking at five interlinked domains:
Status – How will the change effect me? Not just my work self but my whole self.
Certainty – We are wired to predict. The brain craves certainty; if not we speculate and fill in the gaps. Hence, the communication of what is changing, why and when is critical.
Autonomy – Lack of control during change has a huge detrimental effect. How can you involve your people at all levels? how do you encourage ownership?
Relationships – How might teams and relationships be affected by the change? How can you make the most of your teams to help the process?
Fairness – Everyone needs to be involved at all stages. Set key milestones and plan how you will include people in the change. Ultimately, it is about implementing a continuous loop of asking, listening and feeding back.
Innovation – between engagement and technology
pic 2“Innovation can’t be viewed in isolation.”
For Simon Hill, CEO of the collaborative idea management software company Wazoku, it’s time for a radical rethink of everyday innovation, which links to employee engagement and productivity. It is about “engaging a broader set of voices in discussions to gain new perspectives and valuable insights, faster.” It also includes considering the wider network of employees, partners and customers as the largest resource for business success.
But to ensure that innovations happen efficiently, effectively and gracefully, it’s essential that the workforce is brought along for the ride. Finding and retaining skilled talent is critical too. In fact, the latter is often one of the biggest issues affecting growth. According to a recent study by the Intelligence Group, 72% of Millennials would like to be their own boss. If they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would like that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor. Moreover, 88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one, and they “will not hesitate to move to an employer who can offer them either of these, amongst other motivational assets.”
pigoodThanks to new collaborative technology and communication processes companies today can facilitate “an environment that captures, evaluates and allows for the implementation of ideas,” while building engagement and increasing retention. A good example comes from Waitrose. Hall described how 60,000 employees from more than 330 stores were involved in the generation of over 1000 innovative ideas. The ideas that were shared on the internal digital platform went from improving temporary ticket processes to transforming the format and management of till receipts. While the level of participation and motivation from partners skyrocketed, the business also managed to achieve significant productivity with £2.2m financial savings in the first nine months.
All things considered, the success of the Waitrose’s collaborative initiative demonstrates the importance of giving people the voice that they demand and expect. Plus, it shows that sometimes the truly great innovations can be as simple as making small changes to the task that people do everyday, rather than the big ideas that are supposed to transform everything.
Internal digital communications
pic1While the uniqueness of face-to-face cannot be disputed, in many other aspects digital channels look remarkably like the way to communicate inside corporates today. For example, Virgin Trains cultivates a culture of openness and aligns employees with the brand’s value of ‘Screwing average, creating amazing’. Head of Internal Communications and Engagement Drew McMillan, described how the company encourages “conversational leadership” through the development of what he called “5 super skills”: presence, hyper-awareness, decoding, voicing and flow control. Within the larger scheme, and mainly due to the idea of creating “amazing communication for all,” the company set up a Yammer-based enterprise social network (ESN) – this collaborative platform enabled 43,000 cross-company conversations in only 6 months.
Another company that is successfully benefiting from digital tools is Roche. Head of Internal Communication Joanna Hall, spoke enthusiastically about their Jive-based ESN – the internal network is enabling knowledge sharing, creating smarter ways of working, reducing costs and improving the engagement of staff around the globe. There were a number of factors that contributed to this positive achievement. But for Hall, working with the task force and having a clear business case were the two key imperatives. Plus, the awareness that “the basics of being human must always be there.” Indeed, a gentle reminder that digital transformation is about both the technology and the people behind it.
Mike Copinger from Kaltura brought attention to the impact of videos on empowerment and collaboration. Today, technology is accessible to the end user as never before. This is particularly due to the rise of mobile apps. Similarly to Hill, Copinger mentioned the opportunity for any business to create “connected experiences” that drive innovation. He spoke about the power of employee-generated content – by allowing the individual to capture and share their own videos from everywhere with the rest of the organisation, a company can spot faults in products, crowd-source potential solutions to problems and generate new ideas.
Overcoming barriers to digital measurement 
However, organisations have barriers to overcome too. For example, how do they evaluate all their internal communications and get the whole picture when using many different channels?
Newsweaver’s Mossy O’Mahony pointed out that “often there is a lack of resources such as time, budget and appropriate technology as well as a lack of the right skills including having a proper digital measurement expertise.”
news2Perhaps, the biggest challenge of all is the “data being siloed.” Acting on fragmented pieces of information can only result in creating ineffective communications, which often put the function in a difficult position inside the company. Indeed, “better measurement would provide communicators with the chance to prove their value far more effectively.”  With this in mind, Newsweaver set out to build a cross-channel analytics tool that measures all the digital internal communications in one place – email, intranet, social, mobile and more. The goal if to inform organisations on how they are doing at any given moment across the whole business – from which employees are engaged and not engaged, to which content is performing and which content is not performing. In the end, using those insights to take the right action.
Indeed, as new innovative tools and research develop, I envision a bright future for the world of digital measurement. No trend says that the use of measurement technology is slowing down in any way – in fact it is accelerating rather quickly. We are moving from descriptive to predictive and prescriptive analytics. If used correctly those resources can provide practitioners and employees alike with a ladder to meaningful decision-making.
Nonetheless, it still remains important to keep any question open including the security and privacy dilemma of our digital age – How are our data managed?  That may be another topic to delve into at the next #EmployeeConf event.

This article originally appeared on StaffConnect and on The App Garden

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Digital Health - How 24 Care uses technology to connect with patients

Healthcare is undergoing a major transformation led by digital technology. Patients are increasingly using tele-monitoring tools to collect vital data on their conditions in the comfort of their homes. Rather than pay a visit to the hospital once every few months, their results can be automatically transmitted to the care team who can keep track of those conditions 24 hours per day seven days per week.
In order to embrace these changes however, healthcare organisations need to offer a system to enable real-time communications and interactions between caregivers and patients.
That is what 24 Care Group, an international mHealth company based in Netherlands, wanted to provide through their Jive-based social collaboration platform. Called Empower, the tool was launched three years ago to "self-empower chronic heart failure patients to take the lead in their treatment," says Joop Wallenburg, Advisor to the Board at 24 Care Group.
Together with Cardiologist Dr. Asselbergs from the University Medical Hospital in Utrecht, he tested Jive initially with a small number of users from three different hospitals. "The platform met all our requirements. Plus, it was very flexible. We could easily integrate it with our healthcare system, with sensor-enabled medical devices and with other tools such as Vidyo to allow video-consultancy."
In fact, it didn't take time for the network to grow. "More and more patients were connecting everyday to interact with caregivers such as dieticians and sports therapists."
Empower allows people to have tele-consultancy on a one-to-one basis about the results that they are measuring at home. They have online conversations and make appointments with their doctors at anytime from anywhere. This level of activity makes it possible for them to stay compliant to a balanced and healthy lifestyle "preventing them getting that much ill."
"In the past, chronic heart failure patients used to visit the hospital every three months. In between there was no contact unless they got very ill. Having an interactive platform enables self-empowerment. It creates a partnership between patients and caregivers, for which patients are in control over their health," says Wallenburg.
The impact on doctor's work
But, not only is the social tool transforming patients' life, it is also improving doctors' efficiency. "They now have a platform to work much more effectively. They have 24/7 insights into their patients’ data, see the escalation of people's health, receive real-time messages, and know earlier if something is going wrong," says IN12's Henni Bakel, a Jive partner who has been supporting the project from the beginning.
A research conducted by Dr. Asselbergs during the implementation of the tool confirms this. Thanks to Empower doctors were able to treat more patients in a shorter period of time that it would normally take. The same applied to costs, which were largely reduced.
This is a big achievement; in the Netherlands, 30% of the population has this type of disease and healthcare costs are increasing every year. "Self-empowerment becomes a necessity to ensure that solutions can be provided to everyone in an effective way," points out Bakel. "If people are well enough informed to comply with their treatments, then financial resources can be saved. Individuals will need less care from hospitals while living a healthier life."
Reach a large group of patients
The additional benefit of having a social network is the ability to share important medical advice with the larger community of patients. "Communicating easily with everyone rather than reaching out to each person individually was not possible in the past," says Bakel.
Doctors are busy people. Empower allows them to save a lot of time while ensuring medical advice is properly given. For example, "patients are often told not to drink too much in the summer. This can be a challenge with the hot weather of the season. When conditions allow it, doctors can now post a message on the wider feed to inform all the people concerned that they can have a few more drinks at certain times."
The power of communities
Another important goal of the community is to have patients sharing their experiences and motivating each other as much as possible.
"Patients with such chronic diseases can have a big motivational issue. They can lose enthusiasm and interest," explains Bakel. "Sometimes they would not take their medicines at all. But, compliance to their treatments is crucial for them to live a better quality of life.”
The community lets them communicate and support one another with their health treatments. "For example, if I speak with someone who is suffering the same illness as mine, and who is following a particular cure, I may feel more encouraged to do the same."
"However", adds Wallenburg "we cannot have patients providing each other with medical advice. As soon as that happens, we alarm a caregiver to look at it and correct whatever has been shared."
Community management
Managing a community of this kind is no easy task. "It is more than a communication platform: it is a core part of the entire treatment," says Bakel.
Once a patient connects to Empower the company installs self-monitoring devices in their homes, giving them plenty of training on how to use them in conjunction with the platform. People get certified to adopt the system. After this initial process, further interactive education is provided through instructional videos.
Information stored on Empower is meant to promote well-being. Patients can access plenty of personal and social contextual resources on how to conduct a healthy lifestyle. And, to facilitate the achievement of their health goals, the company provides coaching through gamification activities.
Planning the future of social healthcare
Empower has been around for three years and its benefits to chronic heart failure patients proved. Wallenburg is now looking at rolling it out to other communities of patients.
He is also undergoing some major developments with pharmacies. The idea is to create a more efficient system for giving people with multiple diseases, such as heart failure and diabetes, a full picture of all the medicines they have to use. "At present we cannot feed that information."
Future plans also include making Empower available in multiple languages and enhancing gamification programs.
Who would have foreseen in the early days of digital communications the collaborative effects of such social tools? Self-empowerment through connected devices seems to have become the way to go if we want to realise the full benefits of social enterprise. The result in the case of 24Care: a much healthier organisation both operationally and in terms of the personal wellbeing of their patients.
This article originally appeared on simply-communicate

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The benefits of video interviewing in the digital age

New research from job site Foosle explores our attitudes towards searching for jobs: "Majority of Brits claim to be tech-savvy but cling to old-fashioned job hunting habits." Yet, digital practices such as video interviewing are making their way.
Three in four (78%) Brits describe themselves as ‘tech-savvy’– adopters and users of all things digital.[i] However, this tech-enthusiasm has not crossed into the world of job-seeking, with just 15% in the UK claiming to have used digital tools to apply for a new role[ii].
To bridge this technology-adoption gap, Foosle has launched a fresh approach to encouraging candidates to use video interviewing. The guide uses behavioural science principles like social norms, reciprocity, messenger and more to help employers and recruiters support candidates to embrace video interviewing as a new part of the job application process. The guide will be sent to employers using video interviewing tools and is freely available for anyone to download from the company website. 
Foosle’s research revealed that younger generations are not as tech-forward as expected when it comes to applying for jobs, even in comparison to older generations. Nine in ten (89%) millennials[iii] describe themselves as tech-savvy. However, a very small proportion of these jobseekers have used digital-video methods to apply for jobs.
Fewer than one in ten (8%) millennials have recorded a video interview or participated in a live job interview via Skype.
Meanwhile, 7% of an older generation (45-55 year olds) can claim the same, dispelling myths that millennials are more digitally resourceful on the job hunt.
A higher proportion of these jobseekers are still using more traditional means to apply for jobs. CVs and covering letters are used by three in four (74%) millennials and 40% use networking to seek out job opportunities.
Yet, despite the slow adoption of digital job applications, millennial candidates are keen to reap the benefits they offer. Two in five (43%) think that an opportunity to show off their personality or demonstrate the ability to think on the spot (44%) would help them land the job. Both of these benefits can be achieved with video interviewing, a tool just 2% of millennials have used.
Alistair Rennie, Managing Director of Foosle, says:
“Employers and recruiters have told us that while they value the time and money saving benefits of video interviews, often candidates drop out of the job application process when it comes to the phase of recording a video interview. So while employers are ready to capitalise on this innovation, one of their key challenges is getting jobseekers to do the same.
"Video interviewing is a new and different experience for jobseekers, so naturally there is some hesitation. Despite being a self-confessed digital nation, people do take time to adopt and embrace new technology. This explains why the majority (64%) of jobseekers are sticking to what they know when applying for jobs – CVs and covering letters."
Foosle is supporting the tech savvy employers who already recognise the value of video in recruitment, by giving them the tools they need to support jobseekers and help shake-up old habits.
Here is a summary of their approach with the full Guide to Candidate Behaviour Change available here:
Social Norms

We tend to be influenced by what others do – this behaviour is known as ‘social norms’. It means we often take cues from the way other people act without necessarily realising it.  Video interviewing is a relatively new technology which, for many, wouldn’t be considered as a social norm. So employers and recruiters need to position it as a burgeoning, trend to make sure it fits in with people’s existing social norms about technology.

When it comes to receiving information or finding out new things, the messenger can sometimes be more influential than the message. If you’ve used video interviewing before with success, make use of this principle by delivering your message and call to-action, using successful candidate case studies, which will embody the principle of ‘someone like me.’



When it comes to presenting ourselves to other people, we tend to act in ways that make us feel the most positive and is consistent with how we already behave and think of ourselves. Look at the language you’re using to communicate with candidates prior to their job interview and seize the opportunity make video interviewing line-up with their existing beliefs and behaviours.
Risks and incentives
Naturally, we respond to risks and incentives but the way these are framed influence the nature of our response. In most situations, we feel more compelled to do something if it means we will be losing out or if we can easily realise the rewards. Communicate with candidates in a way that clearly conveys these gains and losses. Whether a candidate will get the job they have applied for is uncertain, yet there is only one viable outcome from not attempting the application at all.
We are hardwired to over respond to both positive and negative actions of others and feel obliged to give back to others the type of behaviour we have received from them. The most effective way to use reciprocity is to be the first to give and do so in a personalised way. Try inviting candidates to take a video interview by sending them one of you having that same experience.

What's your experience with video interviewing? Does Foosle's study resonate with your own practice? Feel free to share your thoughts and contribute to the conversation.
[i] Foosle commissioned Tech-Savvy research with OnePoll who surveyed a GB representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ between 14th a- 16th October 2015.
[ii] Digital tools for job application refers to social media (7%), video CV (2%), skype interviews (4%) and video interviews (2%)
[iii] Generation Y or Millennials refers to as anyone who took this survey ages 25-43 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Communicating employees benefits in the digital age

Capita's Employee Insight Report 2015 shows that the way an organisation communicates affects employees' appreciation of workplace benefits.

"Relevance - the desire to be treated as an individual, with all the stresses and strains that are personal to me, is moving from the world of Facebook and Twitter (instant gratification and appreciation of who I am and what I think) to people's perceptions of their needs in the workplace."

Alex Tullett, Head of Benefits Strategy, emphasises one of the key findings from Capita's Employee Insight Report 2015: the search for individuality. The survey, which was conducted among over 3,000 UK employees between February and March, explores the complex nature of benefits programmes in the workplace.

From the study a consistent trend turns out: people have less appreciation of the benefits being offered by their employers.

It turns out that communication, whether in terms of content, media and timing, has a strong impact on the overall benefits strategy. "Symptomatic perhaps of the immense velocity of technology and how it shapes the way employees expect their employers to communicate with them. We're seeing the employee/employer relationship taking on the shape and characteristics more associated with that of a consumer relationship when it comes to benefits," says Louise Harris, Head of Client Communications at Capita.

Employees as consumers

Today's revolution in technology is fundamentally changing all areas of our lives. The expectation of flexibility and choice that people have in their home life when making purchases and decisions, is becoming the case with being able to choose benefits.

We are used to online retailers such as Amazon or Ebay, which can be accessed via a number of channels, whether it is from the laptop, smartphone or tablet, all day, every day. The same should apply at work. As the report puts it: "Different people want different ways of accessing information; people want to do things at different times."

Needless to say, benefits themselves should not remain static or based solely on previous demand. An employee who becomes a parent, for example, may shift their priorities accordingly.

Mixing online, offline and in-person

The research found that all employees of all age groups, gender and salary bands like all of the following communication approaches: online (such as email, intranet and benefits portal), offline (such as leaflets, posters and guides) and in-person (one-to-one meetings and group presentations).

Indeed, a diverse range of employees with a diverse range of preferences put pressure on the internal communicator who needs to consider a variety of channels. However, with the challenge comes the opportunity to really differentiate themselves.

Asking people what they want is the first crucial step. This is also the essence of Capita's study: "it is about listening to what people are saying, to look at their current attitudes and consider what this means." Today, organisations have also the opportunity to combine data analytics to measure the actual decisions with the preferences that employees indicate they would value.

By the same token, the act of asking alone can send a positive message to staff - it shows the organisation's interest in harnessing people's views. But by doing so, action on the given feedback needs to follow.

The 'benefits' of social media?

Generally speaking, while the technology may be ready, people are not. Only 11% of employees would be happy to access benefits via social media. Interestingly, this is a fall from the previous year where 20.8% of people said they wanted to be communicated that way. 

The research shows that 30% of employees want to keep their social life and work life completely separate; 28.5% feel that this type of information should be kept private; 23.3% don't want their employer "snooping into their private lives." Privacy is a concern for 22.6% of respondents.

And, if you think that it is a generational thing, think again - the study found that just 18.5% of 16-24 year olds and 15.5% of 25-34 year olds would like to access employee benefits through social media.

A non-invasive solution

However, "a non-invasive social media platform can work," notices the report. Instead of adopting a social platform that staff would associate with their personal life such as Facebook, the alternative would be a new purpose-built tool: "An additional channel for employers to recognise and reward employees on a regular basis could be the way forward."

A good example of such an implementation comes from Capita's itself. The Employee Benefits division have their own benefits portal called 'Orbit' where staff can select benefits from a range. According to the report, individuals are very active when they access to the online benefits platform - over the last year they saw around 1 million log-ins.

"We saw 57,370 employees going online to either review their benefits or make active changes to their benefits via Orbit. Each decision translated to an individual benefit decision - that is 57,370 people making 57,370 benefit choices online," reads the paper. "We also saw 33,445 employees sign-up to regular fund updates on their pension fund; this can be via emails or SMS texts. Although these employees may not be able to keep up-to-date with how their pension is doing, in a format that suits them."


The language that is used to describe benefits can also cause problems. 50% of employees find pension-related terminology to be complicated and confusing, and 39% don't understand the 'jargon'. "It's no surprise, therefore, that many people felt disconnected and unengaged with the pension and benefits their employer provided," claims the paper.

In short, unclear guidelines and explanations put employees off. It would be natural to respond to this finding by providing staff with simple information, focusing less on the scheme itself and more on who the organisation is talking to.

Audience of one

Another interesting highlight is around the notion of the 'audience of one.' Online retailers such us Amazon recommend products to users based on previous purchases, as well as items that people rate and put into their virtual shopping cart.

Capita notes that the same technology exists in the world of employee benefits. Their own Orbit benefits portal has been customised for the 'audience of one' experience. "Behind-the-scenes intelligence ensures the user experience is relevant, based on who the person is and how they are accessing the site. The technology enables employees to get a more relevant experience to them. This in turn can help the overall perception and increase understanding."

So, each employee is presented with information and choices that are personal, which is more likely to make their benefit's journey relevant, simpler, and engaging.

The health of business

Capita's work is able to make workplace benefits an interesting subject to explore. The study is a reminder that we live in a complex yet fascinating world, where social, economic and technological factors constantly shape how we live and work. "Be aware that something new is just under the corner."

Wearable technology like Fitbit, wellbeing apps for mobile, or developments such as Babylon can already provide people with novel means of tracking their health at work. As Alex Tullett puts it: "It is time to think differently about the health of business."

The paper hits the nail on the head when it reports that "technology is part of our lives, in almost everything we do. And technology will continue to be part of our lives, in ways we have yet to dream of.

"People will always have ideas. Perhaps the things that really hold technology back are the public's perception (do we really want this?) and economics (is this affordable?) and, of course, our own imaginations."

So, as long as we care to think about people first and their practical purposes, so does come the opportunity to bring about meaningful change and benefits to employees.


This article originally appeared on simply-communicate

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Driving dynamic employee advocacy

If you want employees to actively become advocates of your company, asking them to do so is not enough. The best way to do it is to inform and engage them with the right content - branded and approved material that people can share through their social media accounts. That is the perspective Dynamic Signal shares. For the past three years, this leading social platform has dedicated itself to providing the best technology for employee advocacy. Today, they are working with large global enterprises such as IBM, Cisco, and SAP helping their staff members promote their organisation in a more authentic way.

But they recognise they have to go beyond the technology. Dynamic Signal understands the need to focus on organisational culture, people, processes and cross-functional activities.
"The organisations that have a clear digital vision and are socially forward-thinking do not see employee advocacy as an option. Rather they see it as an imperative and something that is mission critical," says Chief Marketing Officer Pavey Purewal (pictured right).

I spoke with Purewal to explore how Dynamic Signal works and what an organisation can do to improve their employee advocacy efforts.

Gloria Lombardi: What are the key elements of the Dynamic Signal platform? 

Pavey Purewal: Our platform is designed for the employee. First of all, we are a mobile application – we have this philosophy that if you cannot make it easy for staff members to share and receive content, then they will not do it. Through the Dynamic Signal mobile app, people receive notifications whenever there is anything important that is coming from the company. In two clicks people can read and digest all the content and, if they want to, share it straightway.

Most importantly, they can add their personal comments - the authenticity that comes with sharing is really important. But the actual content being shared has already been approved at the back end by a social media manager or typically someone from Marketing.

Dynamic Signal is also very strong on analytics. You can measure almost everything on the platform – all the content you sent, how it performs, all the social media channels used by your employees, and all the gamification activities that an organisation may like to create.

Also, we provide integrations with many other tools - companies can not only share out but also track all the way down to their websites and see the overall business impact. In fact, it is not just about having your employees sharing a lot of content. Ultimately, you want to understand what all of that activity means to your business.

GL: Based on your experience with large corporations, who is typically responsible for employee advocacy inside the organisation?

PP: It depends on what the company is trying to achieve. If they are looking to grow brand awareness, it might be a CMO; if they want to get their best content into the hands of all employees, it might be a Director of Comms or Internal Comms, etc. Employee advocacy is something that anybody who is in Marketing should do. They should look at it as part of their portfolio.
That is because the internal and external silos do not exist anymore. In fact, they are blurring. So, the best approach to employee advocacy is cross-functional.

Moreover, it is becoming a C-level issue. It is not just Marketing, it is not just Communications, it is not just HR; it is the entire leadership that start asking themselves, ‘What’s the role of our employees? What’s the culture in our digital transformation? Who is responsible for that?’

Worth mentioning is that usually with large deployments there is a global hub and someone centrally responsible for the initiatives. But then there are local managers at a country level who look at what is coming from the global hub and supplement that content with more local, relevant, real language pieces.

GL: You mentioned the C-suite. Could you give me a concrete example of leadership being actively involved in employee advocacy? 

PP: Agood example comes from the CEO of Lenovo, Yang Yuanqing. The way we started working with them was through a memo he sent to all the leadership team. He said that the next chapter of the company was going to be more social and if they wanted to be more social as a business the leaders themselves would become more social. When he implemented Dynamic Signal in 60+ offices around the world, he said he wanted everybody – from the top to the bottom no matter which country – to be able to share socially.

GL: What are the main challenges to employee advocacy?

PP: The main challenge is not the technology but the people and processes - from the way you are going to navigate through the organisation, to having leaders come together, figuring out the right social media policy and create the right training. All of those things can often become an issue.

Often, a big barrier is trusting employees, which is still difficult for many large organisations – sometimes they immediately worry about getting legal and compliance engaged, rather than focus on the benefit of the initiative.

But, the organisations that have a clear vision and are socially forward thinking do not see employee advocacy as an option. Rather they see it as an opportunity to build their brands, conduct social selling, more effectively communicate with current employees and find new ones.

GL: Do you see any trend in the type of content that employees are more likely to share?

PP: Mobile has given rise to visuals. Every single post that is put onto our platform has to have an image that accompanies the text. If you have a picture when you share on social media, people are more likely to look at it and engage.

In terms of the kind of content itself, user-generated material is becoming very important. For example, the Asian airline Cathay Pacific have created a hashtag called #lifewelltraveled where their staff share their experiences and joy of travelling. They also encourage people to submit pieces on the platform; the marketing team will read it, approve it and download it on Dynamic Signal.

IBM have the hashtag #newwaytowork to promote everything around social business. When their employees participated in the campaign last year they trended on Twitter and won an award at the 13th Annual American Business Awards for this effort.

The whole idea of user-generated content is part of authenticity and integrity as well.
Another good example is Humana. We are working with one of their most visionary leaders Jeff Ross, who is also very involved with the company enterprise social network. Humana is a healthcare insurance company. They work in a highly regulated industry and employees cannot actually talk about their product on social media; they cannot do social selling. So, they decided to use Dynamic Signal by going back to their brand values – wellness and healthy living lifestyle In fact, only 20% of the content on the platform is Humana branded content; people like to share more industry-based content. Currently, 500 Humana employees use the Dynamic Signal platform. The program is 5 months old and they are adding 100 employees per month.

GL: What final advice could we give to companies that want to maximise employee advocacy? 

PP: Our recent research conducted with Mindshare NA found that two main things are preventing employees to advocate more. First, internal communication is failing - it is still done mainly through email or through the intranet. But, employees want mobile and social media.

So, if you want your people to be advocates, first focus on making the information going to your employees, rather than asking your employees to go to the information. Secondly, have them actually read the content, which means make it very easy for them to consume it. And make it relevant.

This article originally appeared on simply-communicate