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May 2008 | Volume 11/ Number 5
Inside Networking

The Hidden Value of Personal Unified Communications

What’s the business case for enhancing employee productivity through unified communications? After all, if you save a user 15 minutes a day, will this be applied to enhancing productivity, or for a longer coffee break? The answer lies in two words: ESAT (employee satisfaction) and Millennials.

The link between profitability and ESAT has been well established, led by research at the Harvard Business School. One of its alumni, Frederick Reichheld, wrote the following in his book, The Loyalty Effect and Loyalty Rules: “We found that there was a cause-and-effect relationship between the two; that it was impossible to maintain a loyal customer base without a base of loyal employees.” For example, in a study at Sears Roebuck & Co. a 5 percent improvement in employee satisfaction led to a 1.3 percent increase in customer satisfaction which, in turn, generated a 0.5 percent increase in company revenues. Significantly, ESAT can also result in faster, higher quality deliverables in whatever forms they take. Satisfied employees are motivated employees.

Providing employees with the unified communications tools to get the job done in an increasingly mobile and distributed environment is necessary, though not necessarily sufficient, to having a highly motivated loyal employee base. The job may be serving a customer or client in a government, financial, retail or healthcare environment, or developing a ‘product’ in a manufacturing or services industry environment.

Millennials are those entering the work force who have grown up with the Internet, and with social networking environments such as Facebook (News - Alert), Friendster, orkut, Meetup, wikis and blogs. They are hyperconnected, and in fact seldom think of the technology they have been using through their college days and in their social lives. They just use it! Millennials very much operate on a principle of collaborative trust. Watch them IMing and you’ll appreciate immediately that they are multi-taskers supreme. Mark Greenfield of University at Buffalo appropriately categorizes Millennials as having “hypertext minds”.

Millennials take their well-connected lives with them when they enter the work, and if a potential employer doesn’t match their expectations, then they may look elsewhere. If they don’t like their work environments and move on, they can send this message out thousands of their cohorts with one click of the mouse. Enterprise unified communications can help enterprises meet the expectations of Millennials.

The business case for personal productivity starts with ESAT and Millenials. But go beyond personal productivity as measured in minutes saved per day, to looking at the opportunity of leveraging unified communications to enhance employee satisfaction and attract and retain new employees. IT

Tony Rybczynski is Director of Strategic Enterprise Technologies at Nortel (News - Alert) (

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