How to Avoid the Traps of Hyperconnetivity

Our society demands connectivity. Through constant Facebook and Twitter updating, texting and the like the millennial generation has become all too adept at “staying in touch“. Technology has allowed us to maintain relationships. Now, not only are we able to keep in touch with old friends, but we can also work alongside people with whom we may never have the opportunity to shake hands. Within living memory, computers have moved from the environments of enterprises to devices in our pockets. Social media have trumped traditional media. Most recently, the cloud has appeared making massive amounts of data and applications available anywhere there is a connection to the internet.  The result of all of this is that today we are faced with the phenomenon of hyperconnectivity. The term refers not only to the myriad means of communication and interaction, but also to its impact on both personal and organizational behavior.

The effect of hyperconnectivity is that the limitations of time and space have largely been overcome. Experience is virtualized. You no longer need to be in the same room, or even the same country, as your colleague to accomplish what used to require face-to-face contact. Hyperconnectivity creates new business model opportunities and new ways of working: Web 2.0 social tools and the hyperconnected workforce are eroding many old work paradigms, from work locations to work hours. Workforces are becoming more virtual, and the 21st-century workforce will need to utilize various technologies to stay connected to one or several business networks. In addition, the workforce will need to utilise collaboration tools and techniques to increase productivity and engagement. In this manner, benefits such as enhanced productivity and improved decision making can be realized.

Hyperconnectivity will also impact the organization of the labor force. Major structural changes will include shifting patterns and proportions of workers who are part-time, share jobs, and telecommuting from any location. Plus, since these technologies and the related hyperconnected tools are here to stay, HR departments must learn how to deploy them effectively to their organization’s’ advantage. Policymakers and business leaders must surmount significant challenges if they are to ensure that the workforce is ready to be able to manage the increased pressure and stress levels of working in an ever-connected environment.

The best way to deal with hyperconnectivity is with its exact opposite, something that in last years is going missing: real human contact. In a corporate environment this means fostering internal networking opportunities for those employees that, otherwise, would never meet. To do so, large organisations have always relied on team building activities and enterprise social networks. These solutions, while being very effective for other purposes (corporate culture and document sharing), are not very useful to boost the creation of new links between colleagues.

Woobe provides an innovative solution: campaigns of micro-events. Rather than organising a big event with 1000 people you will be able to organise 200 micro-events with 5 attendees each. Woobe’s algorithm randomly selects the attendees with a matchmaking system between the profiles set by the HR manager (department, seniority, etc) and the employees’ corporate agenda availability (Outlook or Gmail).

The attendees are going to meet new colleagues in a friendly and informal environment, such as a lunch or a footing after work, where real human contact is genuine and new links will be created. In this way, employees are going to be engaged in their worklife and they will avoid the traps of hyperconnectivity: stress, anxiety, burnout and depression.

Source: How to avoid the traps of hyperconnetivity – Woobe

Three Steps to Effectively Measure Philanthropic Impact

Written by Burt Cummings, CEO at Versaic | Originally published at Versaic Blog

According to The Council on Foundations (COF) Report, Increasing Impact & Enhancing Value, corporate philanthropy is as vital as ever to business and society. And yet corporate leaders are under increasing pressure to connect the value of their programs with performance drivers that matter in the business. They must demonstrate that their philanthropic investment is both effective and aligned with business outcomes. Quantifying results is not always easy and many leaders struggle to measure the social impact of their programs. While they’ve often identified broad focus areas for their program, they can find it difficult to create clear social impact metrics that can bridge their philanthropic outcomes to their business strategy.

There are no universally accepted metrics for measuring either the social impact of philanthropy or the Return On Investment (ROI) of philanthropic initiatives. Each company is unique in both their social impact goals and in their requirements for how to demonstrate the ROI. It can be difficult to translate the large-scale vision of what they hope to achieve into tangible success measures.  They struggle to find effective ways to track changes in behavior or condition for the nonprofits and community members they serve.

Burt Cummings, CEO at Versaic for HRTW
Burt Cummings, CEO at Versaic

Versaic client Starwood Hotels & Resorts is an example of an organization committed to investing the time and resources necessary to put a corporate philanthropy program in place that delivers significant value to the community as well as to the company and its employees. Starwood worked with Versaic and The Rensselaerville Institute (TRI) to develop a results-focused approach and implementation plan for their corporate philanthropy initiatives. Starwood’s primary objective was to employ new tools that would automate the process and improve their ability to track, quantify and evaluate impact. Their system is now live, and as a result, their philanthropy team has freed up time and gathered better data so they can have more productive interactions with grantees and effectively measure the results of their programs .

Here are some of the key things we learned about how to design and implement a successful program from our journey with Starwood and TRI: 

1) Create a strategic focus area(s): To identify focus areas that would address the most pertinent needs of the community while capitalizing on Starwood’s strengths, the Social Responsibility team looked internally for guidance. After multiple stakeholder interviews, focus groups and strategy sessions evaluating different aspects of the business, the team identified five focus areas that align community development objectives with Starwood’s strategic goals:

  • Workplace Readiness
  • Community Vitality
  • Conservation
  • Disaster Relief
  • Human Rights

2) Formulate a Plan: With the focus areas in place, Starwood developed a framework to plan and assess the effectiveness of their giving. TRI helped Starwood shift its mindset from acting as a ‘funder’ to acting as an ‘investor’ in order to seek the highest human gain for the available dollars. With that perspective, the foundation staff created a strategic results framework to clarify goals for their signature program grants.

Here are some basic questions to ask when establishing a result framework:

  • What changes do we want to see for the people or places we want to support?
  • What are the predictive changes in behavior or condition that indicate those people and places are on their way to success?
  • What types of programs and services will we invest in to get the end result?
  • What type of investments will we make to affect the change we seek? Will our portfolio include programmatic, capacity building and systemic change grants?

Below is an example from Starwood showing its results framework for its Workplace Readiness program.

StarwoodWorkplaceReadiness.png

3) Design an Effective System: For Starwood it was essential to make their team and systems as streamlined and efficient as possible. They knew they needed to automate the process, and wanted an automation partner who could integrate their results framework throughout the system workflow. They needed a system flexible enough to track the specific outcome data points they required.

Starwood’s application process and communication system process addresses the following needs:

  • Educate grantees on the company’s philanthropic objectives
  • Clearly communicate their criteria for support
  • Help potential partners understand how they can engage with the organization.
  • Collect all relevant information required to make funding decisions
  • Collect necessary data to assess ROI and support impact reporting

By taking the time up front to design the right questions, Starwood now collects all the necessary information from charitable partners, from initial proposal through impact data collected post-grant. As a result, the team can demonstrate how their investments in local non-profits focused on building employments skills have resulted in a much better pool of potential employees. This is a clear win for Starwood and for the communities where they do business.

Conclusion:

If you’re daunted by the prospect of putting an impact-focused program in place, start by asking yourself, your team and your stakeholders questions about what you want to accomplish in your business and community. Use those answers and the three steps outlined above to develop a process that will deliver the results you want to accomplish. Be prepared to adapt as you go because even with the best plan in place your programs will continually evolve, just as the needs of your business and community change. Connecting and reporting social impact with ROI requires refinement as you learn from experience.

When you take this approach, you’ll respond more effectively to the needs of your community partners, your stakeholders and your social investing team while at the same time increase your impact. It certainly worked for Starwood. Read the full story of Starwood’s journey, Going From Strategy to Impact to learn more. 


Source: Three Steps to Effectively Measure Philanthropic Impact