Learning and development in the social enterprise

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Written by Armin Hopp on 22 June 2018

In its annual Human Capital trend report, Deloitte predicts the rise of the social enterprise. A successful social enterprise is ethical and authentic, with a focus on diversity and fairness. Combining an emphasis on both individuals and the workforce as whole, social enterprises that have a positive impact on society are appealing to millennials and commonly outperform the competition.

Gender equality, for example, is currently high profile, and social enterprises that address gender bias and encourage diversity reap the rewards. In fact, gender diverse companies have been found to perform 53% better than less diverse ones, showing a 34% increase in total returns.

However, the rise of the social enterprise presents a fresh challenge to training professionals to adapt their role and provide the communications and soft skills development needed to drive this cultural change.

Addressing human factors

Technology, from mobile and collaborative technologies through to learning technologies, is playing a key part in the transition towards the social enterprise model. Learning and development professionals have an important part to play in balancing the benefits of new technology with the need to look after the human part of this equation.

It is vital to keep tabs on how digital transformation is working for individuals and the workforce as a whole.

In its 2018 report, Deloitte comments, “To be able to maximize the potential value of these technologies today and minimize the potential adverse impacts on the workforce tomorrow, organizations must put humans in the loop—reconstructing work, retraining people, and rearranging the organization”.

It is vital to keep tabs on how digital transformation is working for individuals and the workforce as a whole. Is new technology supporting employees’ learning and development and helping them become more flexible and agile to meet business goals? Or, in reality, is the company's latest technology implementation a barrier to productivity?

One way of finding out is to ask your employees.

Some companies are using net promoter scores (NPS) to assess employee satisfaction and evaluate the success or otherwise of their transformation. NPS are more commonly used to establish customer satisfaction scores.

Customers are asked, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this company, product or service to others?”. Customers who rate it highly, a nine or 10, are those who are likely to actively promote the company, product or service to other people.

Similarly, employees who rate the organisation highly will be those who promote the company to others as a great place to work or do business with.

It is a good idea to follow up requests for ratings with an opportunity for more detailed feedback. Ask, 'If you rated the company as a great place to work, a nine or 10, what in particular do you value about working within this organisation?'.


'If you gave the company a middle or low score, what were the particular reasons for this?' Of course, it is important to rinse and repeat. In other words, act on the feedback, make changes to address issues where possible, and measure again to see whether NPS scores have changed in response to the action you have taken.

Leadership for change

As an increasingly millennial workforce demands high standards of ethics and authenticity, it is imperative that business leaders respond to this. Millennials value regular communication with and feedback from all layers of the company hierarchy.

Leaders can no longer hide in their offices and issue communications from on high. Interpersonal communication skills at leadership level are more important than ever and good communicators are made not born.

Training professionals can support leaders with their verbal and non-verbal communications skills, as well as boosting language skills and enhancing leaders' understanding of the role culture plays in effective communications.

Ensuring that leaders come across as honest and authentic to everyone is key to enabling them to communicate effectively and inspire the workforce. If this communication skills development is then cascaded through the business, satisfaction levels will rise and the business will be in a great position to transform into a successful social enterprise.

To learn more about how increase your Net Promoter Score in order to reduce employee turnover and increase loyalty, visit this Speexx blog post.



About the author

Armin Hopp is the Founder and President of Speexx. Speexx helps large organisations everywhere to drive productivity by empowering employee communication skills across borders. For more information, visit www.speexx.com.




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