Gifts in the Cloud: Salesforce and Amazon Deliver on Employee Rewards

sfdc amazon

Salesforce.com is rolling out its new Work.com platform this week at Dreamforce 2012  (#DF12) in San Francisco.  As discussed earlier this month, Workday features prominently as a critical partnership in the Work.com offering, although it was nowhere to be seen in the “Work.com” product area of the Salesforce Campground on Tuesday evening (“Day 1 at the Dreamforce Expo).

However, what was visible on Tuesday was the new rewards platform in Work.com, where employees and managers are able to earn and award not just badges and points but  now also gift cards as part of the fulfillment component of an employee rewards program.  Here at Dreamforce, Salesforce will be announcing their partnership with Amazon to enable gift cards as a new component of their rewards platform.

Tech-enabled social recognition and performance solutions are on the rise, incorporating peer-to-peer recognition delivered in a social environment integrated with a rewards platform that increasingly includes  gift cards and other merchandise.  The latest strategies take traditional recognition programs focused on event-driven milestones and pre-determined rewards and merchandise levels and transform them into a real-time, contextual social and performance-based solution that taps into the unique motivators of individuals.

In a market that is estimated in size at 2% of company payroll, it is not surprising that Salesforce is expanding its social performance platform to play where companies like Achievers, Globoforce, O.C. Tanner, Rideau and many others have already staked their claim.  Utilizing a cloud provider like Amazon is a natural step for Salesforce, and I expect many similarly situated partners will be brought together into a comprehensive rewards network where companies can plug into and tailor solutions for the unique needs of their organizations and individual employees.

Oracle Unveils New Social Relationship Management (SRM) Platform

 

Today Oracle announced its new Social Relationship Management (SRM) Platform, an integrated software platform that helps organizations listen, engage, market and monitor their social interactions with all of its constituents across the enterprise (prospects, customers, influencers, partners, candidates and employees.)  

Oracle has been engaged in social-enabled business for a while, delivering Oracle Social Network and bringing social collaboration into processes like Fusion HCM via Fusion Network at Work.  Today’s announcement takes Oracle well beyond social conversations into a comprehensive platform play.  It is leveraging several of its acquisitions from earlier this year (Vitrue, Collective Intellect and Involver) to round out its initial offering in the SRM suite, but the vision for the SRM platform spans the many diverse business processes of the enterprise.

Today, the Oracle SRM suite is comprised of the following:

image

The two newest additions to the suite are:

Social Engagement and Monitoring, comprised of Oracle’s recent acquisitions of Collective Intellect and Involver, provide a best of breed solution aimed at listening to and engaging in customer in conversations.

Social Marketing, coming from the Vitrue acquisition, marries social channels, content and data with traditional CRM systems to make better decisions around social customer engagement and marketing initiatives. 

Beyond Social CRM – Oracle SRM aims for a holistic view of the individual (employees included)

During the launch, Oracle explained its philosophy of  “building the lifetime customer experience”.  That experience includes concepts such as combining the social understanding of an individual (as a social networker) with the enterprise understanding of that individual (as a customer) to deliver better insights and predictions – for example, not just measuring a customer’s value based on the revenue they bring into the organization, but also on the influence that customer has on revenue through social media.

Oracle envisions extending this holistic insight to the workforce as well. 

Within talent acquisition,  the new SRM platform will enrich the Taleo recruiting offering to bring monitoring, engagement and even social marketing together with Taleo to bolster talent acquisition and retention endeavors. By helping organizations leverage their internal and external social tools to create seamless environments, Oracle looks to help companies turn their employees into  “brand ambassadors” (where they are positively engaged and communicative through social channels to promote the company as a good place to work and/or to do business with). 

Beyond recruiting, the profile of the individual – their combined employee profile as well as social profiles – will be leveraged for greater insight and decision support across the enterprise.  I believe this holistic employee view is at least 12-18 months away from reality (with Oracle focusing most of its initial efforts on the ‘lifetime customer’ side), but I am nonetheless encouraged to hear Oracle presenting this future vision.

My POV:

The social landscape is highly fragmented, with hundreds of technology vendors servicing the many different aspects of social relationship management. While this fragmentation is providing innovation on all fronts, it is also resulting in a fragmented relationship and incomplete insights with customers, partners, and employees. Oracle’s SRM platform, through acquisition and native development, looks to unify that experience and provide a complete platform for end to end support for any enterprise relationship. With more than 380K clients across the world, and with the market for social technologies growing at close to 60%, the opportunity for Oracle is substantial.

Oracle speaks of close to 1000 clients on its new SRM platform, but almost all of these clients come from the recent Vitrue, Collective Intellect and Involver solutions.  Yet the platform presents  a good vision for supporting social-enabled business: one fueled by the opportunities externally and internally to drive new insights and results through effective application of emerging disruptive technologies. 

The technologies used to address people processes – or HCM considerations – are increasingly coming from non-traditional HCM vendors.  A CRM leader, Salesforce.com, is suddenly messaging and delivering in the area of employee engagement and performance.  Social task and project management tools are encroaching upon performance and goal management solution providers.  Even pure enterprise social networking technologies deliver on the fundamentals of social learning and knowledge management.  HR and HR technology leaders will find their areas influenced by these and other emerging tools; staying abreast of the advances in areas like CRM will help these HR leaders envision and plan for their new futures of work.

The Answer is Talent Mobility. Now, What’s Your Question?

If there were a secret sauce to organizational success, then you would find “Effective Talent Mobility Program” as one of its first ingredients.

From addressing the top concerns of CEOs to the daily challenges of line of business leaders and the concerns of individual employees – an effective talent mobility strategy can have significant positive results at all levels, and on the business as a whole.

What is Talent Mobility?

Fundamentally, talent mobility is about the movement of talent across the organization (across projects, roles, teams, divisions, locations, etc.).  Based on the driving party, these workforce initiatives are typically called succession planning (employer-initiated) or career planning (employee initiated), but at the end of the day it all comes down to the readiness for and actual movement of talent in the enterprise.

When I refer to talent mobility as part of the “secret sauce”, I’m not talking about  yesterday’s strategies – where succession plans are based on senior job titles;  where “internal recruiting” means a job is posted internally for five days and then routed to the external job sites; or an employee seeking career growth is handed a listing of the next three job titles up the ladder and the associated required training and tenure for each role.

Instead, I’m talking about talent mobility for the future of work  – what works in an environment where five generations are converging on the enterprise but bringing divergent perspectives on work, rewards and motivation; where hierarchies give way to networks, and influence is the new social currency; where virtual teams and mobile devices drive expectations for an always-on, always-connected, always-informed experience.

What’s The Risk?

You can hardly view a blog, tweet or magazine article without hearing the extent to which employees are disengaged, mistrustful of leadership, and open to being poached by competitors. Consider the following stats:

  • At any given time, more than 2/3rds of a company’s workforce is disengaged1 – workers are essentially sleepwalking on the job.
  • 65% of employees are looking – either actively or passively – to leave their organization.2
  • Only 18% of Millennials expect to remain in their current job for the long term;3 37% say they do not trust “big business” (read this one as “we’re recruiting challenges for big firms!”)

Improving employee engagement is paramount, as study after study correlates improved engagement with improved retention, productivity and business outcomes such as customer satisfaction, profitability and brand.  According to the Corporate Leadership Board4,

Employees most committed to their organizations put forth 57 percent more effort and are 87 percent less likely to leave their company than employees who consider themselves disengaged.

By incorporating a few key design tenets into their talent mobility strategies, organizations can propel engagement and bottom line results across the organization.

Five Tenets for Effective Talent Mobility

  1. Focus on people, not titles.  Succession plans focused on replacements for certain titles and roles fail to account for the valuable hidden talent of the organization.  Such an  approach also fails to plan for the departure of critical employees who, despite being in individual contributor roles or holding nominal titles, nonetheless serve pivotal roles in greasing the wheels of success in the organization.  Uncovering your hidden talent is possible when social tools are part of the enabling technology of your mobility programs:  expanded profiles allow for greater talent insight, while social network analysis can uncover critical connections and impacts previously undetected.
  2. Eschew the corporate ladder; embrace the corporate lattice.  The latest generation of worker is less motivated by factors such as pay and job titles, and more by recognition, engagement at senior levels, and the ability to work on projects of high interest. However, lateral or even downward moves in the organization may be required to access these opportunities.  If your company culture only values upward mobility, then your development, retention and mobility strategies can have limited results at best.  Embracing and celebrating moves anywhere along the corporate lattice will foster corporate agility while engendering improved trust and motivation from individuals. (Note: embracing the lattice also means embracing the actual movement of talent…an increased volume in transfers and cross-team assignments, or some level of ambiguity around corporate hierarchies, will be standard in such a culture.)
  3. Broaden the focus beyond “jobs” to include “opportunities”.  Expanding one’s skills and experiences should not always require an official job change.  Temporary project assignments, virtual teams assembled for a defined period of time, dynamic org structures that constantly reform around strategic initiatives: these are the emerging realities of workplace structures in the future of work.  Beyond support for managing job openings, tools are emerging that enable users to share these more project-based initiatives across the enterprise social network.  Instead of staffing ad-hoc or short-term projects with the same resources again and again, extend visibility of the opportunities across the enterprise, creating new options for employees and improving communication, transparency, trust and engagement.
  4. Incorporate mentorship and coaching. Process-wise this is a no-brainer, but many organizations still do not officially support mentor/coaching programs as part of talent mobility programs.   Today’s technologies support mentor and coaching relationships that range from highly informal and unstructured conversations to richly choreographed relationships with milestones, tracking, reviews and more.  The use of social technologies makes finding and connecting to mentors or coaches easier than ever before, and matching algorithms in the technology can further automate the mentor/mentee connection process, refining its calculations over time.
  5. Give employees the tools they need to drive their own success. With today’s technologies, talent mobility does not have to remain a top-down process managed in complex systems.  Today’s social-infused tools foster employee engagement throughout the mobility program; recommendations of potential job or opportunity matches (for “passive” internal candidates) are delivered to employees’ devices of choice; individuals can scan or search across opportunities, engaging in conversations with opportunity owners and others; employees are able to promote their ‘brand’ by communicating successes, soliciting feedback and engaging visibility across the enterprise.  Intelligence in the form of recommendation engines, analytics and visualizations are part of the experience to drive employee self-sufficiency.

Internal mobility programs that continuously engage the workforce will also have beneficial effects on external recruiting initiatives, as members of your engaged workforce become positive brand ambassadors for your organization.

Want to hear firsthand how one Silicon Valley leader is doing it?

Join us for an exclusive luncheon in Palo Alto on Wednesday Sept 12. 

If you’re going to be in the Silicon Valley on Wednesday, September 12, please join me as I talk with Michael McNeal, Intuit’s VP Talent Strategy & Acquisition, and senior executives from UpMo, innovators in social talent management, on this topic of talent retention and mobility.  You’ll hear about Intuit’s path to creating a talent mobility culture and engage in an interactive session with peers from across the Valley on the cultural, technological and business implications of these initiatives.  This is a complimentary event, being held at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley in Palo Alto.  Register here

Exclusive Luncheon sponsored by UpMo.

Data sources:

1 US Employment Engagement Survey, Gallup Management Journal 2012
2 Deloitte “Talent Edge 2020, Building the Recovery Together” 2011
3 PWC “Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace” 2012
4 Corporate Leadership Council “The Role of Employee Engagement in the Return to Growth” 2010

Getting Work Done with Work.com?

Salesforce.com will be unveiling its HCM platform, Work.com, at Dreamforce in San Francisco later this month. What can we expect?

  • Work.com is a rebranding and redevelopment of Rypple. This comes directly from CEO Marc Benioff, who adds that the new version and future directions will be demonstrated at Dreamforce.
     
  • Rewards and recognition feature prominently in next-gen workforce applications. Following its December 2011 acquisition of Rypple, Salesforce acquired corporate perks management platform ChoicePass in June 2012. With messaging that Work.com will “let managers set organizational goals and recognize employees,” we can expect a broader approach to rewards and recognition in this next iteration. In fact, the new Work.com platform will highlight a trend that we at Constellation Research have been seeing in our research: the convergence of goal/task management, rewards and recognition, performance support and analytics. Combining these elements delivers contextual social engagement in the context of Getting Work Done  – the next evolution of talent management through systems of engagement
     
  • Work.com is a platform play – at least for now. Benioff recently had this to say with regard to the human resources space: “We’re working hard to integrate with [Workday] to deliver a full HR suite to our customers between Salesforce.com’s Work.com, and Workday….And you’ll also see Workday’s integration with Chatter as well. We’re very excited about our initial focus here into HR.”

    Delivering a comprehensive HCM suite is time consuming, to say the least. The delivery of a social framework in support of  goals, feedback, recognition, collaboration and other core networking concepts is one thing; support of complex regulations that vary by locality/state/province/country, core employee recordkeeping, payroll, benefits and time keeping processes…these are something else entirely.  So it is no surprise to learn that Salesforce will focus on “rewards and recognition” in this first iteration and partner with Workday to bring its Work.com platform to market.

    Whether this will be a long term play or an interim step along each vendors’ development path (Salesforce’s development of the broader suite; Workday’s social enablement) has yet to be revealed. In the meantime, the combined offering will deliver end-to-end cloud based HCM with social enablement, and another blow to rivals Oracle and SAP.

With its years of experience in customer relationship management (CRM), coupled with its recent acquisitions of Buddy Media and Radian6 (forming the Salesforce Marketing Cloud),  I wonder if Salesforce will take the bold step and apply its expertise and lessons learned in CRM to future directions in “ERM” (employee relationship management).   The current positioning of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud is to be the “platform of choice for brands to listen, engage, gain insight, publish, advertise and measure” social marketing programs.  Imagine the possibilities if Salesforce applied these concepts to their talent technologies.

%d bloggers like this: