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Amping Up Remote Engagement

There is a predictable pattern with large technological disruption. You’ve experienced it anytime a new technology has quickly moved through a population. Some people pick new technology up right away; others struggle. Then there is a trailing effect, where people really figure out how to use it well. They come up with new, innovative – and sometimes unexpected – uses to optimize the new technology.

Each technological disruption is followed by a period of creativity and innovation to fully realize its potential. A couple of examples I can relate to:

  • In the 1980s, cheap PCs put computers in individual homes and on desks at work. Connecting them created the internet boom of the 1990s. Connectivity and processing power drove a slew of innovative tools and online technology.
  • In the 2000s, 67% of the U.S. population had a simple cell phone. A decade later, the mobile phone upped the ante, and we went from voice capabilities to having the internet in our pockets! 68% of the population had smartphones in 2015, and 81% by 2019. Mobile devices further solidified themselves in our lives thanks to new and creative uses and apps that have truly changed the way we travel, bank, shop and, oh yeah, connect with other humans!

This year we had another massive technological disruption. Yes, people had been using web conferencing and FaceTime to varying degrees to have meetings while out of the office. But in early 2020, “Zoom meetings” quickly became synonymous with videoconferencing, and the technology became mainstream for personal interaction, education, and business. Nearly overnight, the entire world found itself dependent on digital tools they had only occasionally been using as the primary (and only) way to connect with each other.

Today, my family has an eighth-grader and a 12th-grader jamming in public school from home. I walked into the eighth-grader’s room yesterday and got a stern response: “Excuse me, Dad, I’m on a meeting!” A robust class discussion was taking place on screen. That’s the dynamic that has taken shape since February and March when people were thrust into remote technology. We’ve rapidly gone from initial disruption to mass adoption. And with history as a guide, next comes innovation and optimization.

Virtual Engagement Is Ready – Are You?

While we are massively more connected using remote and digital tools, are we more engaged when working remotely and connecting digitally?

Zoom, Webex, and the like are effective. The challenge now is to innovate and improve how we use the remote and digital technology in ways that create engagement. And boy oh boy, do people need engagement now more than ever.

A key question for organizations is: How can leaders create engagement when in-person interactions are limited? Employee engagement has been stagnant for decades. It’s becoming increasingly common for folks to turn off their video during Webex and Zoom meetings to fold laundry or manage at-home schooling. How can leaders innovate to increase engagement?

At Root, we’ve used in-person and digital technology to create dialogue, discovery, and shared learning for decades. Empowering people to have honest discussions is still imperative for an organization to create and sustain change. People need to understand the whole picture and their roles in it. People need to decide for themselves if the “why,” “what,” and “how” will motivate them to go through the discomfort of change.

In 2020, in-person, small-group dialogue is severely disrupted, but organizations still need to create a high level of engagement and ownership whether their people are working in-person, remotely, or both. So, we designed a new way for this to happen. We created a virtual engagement platform for organizations to:

  • Create emotional and intellectual understanding of strategy and priorities
  • Enable remote, shared learning using visualization and dialogue
  • Put the control of the experience in participants’ hands using an immersive, digital environment
  • Deploy easily at scale to reach a broad base of people quickly and consistently

There’s no overhead and zero deployment learning curve time. Love Zoom? Great, use that. Webex? That works with our platform too. Even better – no one will be bored or check their text messages. Because this isn’t a one-way experience. Attendees create and drive the conversation in real time. And we’re not talking about screen sharing or participating in breakout rooms. We use rich visuals and dialogue to engage and create common understanding.

Five Reasons Why Root Virtual Engagement Works

1) We use proven techniques. Visuals, dialogue, and Socratic questions help people connect the dots and understand their organization’s big picture.

2) We’re applying all the best of Root Learning Maps® experiences but using a powerful new modality. Just like with paper-based Root Learning Maps® solutions, the virtual experience uses compelling visuals, metaphors, and storytelling to give people the “why,” “what,” and “how” of the change to create actionable results.

3) Participants run the show. People aren’t being spoken at or passively watching a presentation. They’re active learners who are engaging, collaborating, and interacting together. Everyone has a role – all participants manipulate the screen and move through the experience together.

4) No technology integrations. There is nothing to adopt, deploy, or learn. It’s all browser-based and simple to roll out and use.

5) We’re breaking down the silos. Change is scary. People typically want to avoid it. By creating a way for people to engage in small groups, we empower them to help each other connect the dots of this fast-moving change and build relationships they can rely on moving forward.

A New Root Learning Map® Experience Is Waiting for You 

If the thought of creating engagement via a virtual experience has you rolling your eyes, we get it. But this is where the world is. We can’t throw our hands up in the air and hope people engage with each other or cross our fingers in the hope that they understand the organization’s strategy.

The need for leaders to help their people build human connections has never been so important. But what we did before doesn’t apply anymore. Thankfully, there is a way to achieve change and ensure engagement doesn’t drop. Authentic, impactful, and meaningful engagement really is possible via a screen. Just give your people the content, along with the opportunity to immerse themselves in it. Sound exciting? We know it is. Drop us a note. Let’s see what will work for you.

December 10, 2020


I want to hear how you can help my organization align on and activate our strategy. Call me, today.

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