While at Info360 [see Tips for Getting Started with Content Curation], I had the opportunity to listen to presentations describing social networks used internally for employee engagement within big businesses.
The notion caught my attention.
Ever since hearing IBM's Sandy Carter [see Sandy Carter Integrates Social Media Into The Marketing Mix - MProfs B2B Forum and Sandy Carter Gets Bold at MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2011] discuss social business and how social networks strengthen customer connections, I've been thinking about the possibilities. Imagine breaking down functional siloes to collaborate on value-creation ideas... and not just for big business.
At Info360, I heard Salesforce.com's Michael Peachey, Director of Social Enterprise Solutions Marketing, who presented “Social Revolution in the Enterprise,” during which he tackled "the need for social revolution within enterprises and examines how today’s most successful CEOs are transforming their companies and employees with a more socially integrated model."
Social networks deployed internally [Salesforce pitches its Chatter network, prominently highlighting CEOs on iPads] offer a powerful means for harnessing ideas, breaking down siloes and engaging employees - especially for big business, with multiple locations across countries and time zones. Granted, there has to be buy-in from the top for them to work effectively. Nonetheless, social networks not only keep track of conversations, but also draw others in regardless of organizational hierarchy.
Michael brought up interesting stats:
- 8 hours/day are spent on the social web
- Email is flat [Salesforce is experimenting with not using email]
- Mobile devices have become productivity tools
- We face a paradigm around being connected and being connected regardless of office walls.
- The social revolution creates a social divide between customers and companies [i.e., people vs. corporate walls]
The solution is the social entreprise which embraces social networks to unlock innovation within the organization through employee social networks which then engage with customers. The starting point is a social profile. Social interactions offer business the means to create a small company feel, connecting people with one another.
Given the high cost of an unmotivated workforce, figuring out how to engage employees is how big business [and small, see Remarkable Customer Experience, Pike Place Fish Market Style] can be successful
Here is a link to Salesforce.com's Little Blue Book of Social Entreprise Transformation for inspiration.
To put all of this into perspective, Social media is reinventing how business is done - an article from USA Today - refers to Red Robin Gourmet Burgers which uses an internal social network "to teach its managers everything from the recipes to the best, fastest way to make them. Instead of mailing out spiral-bound books, getting feedback during executives' sporadic store visits and taking six months to act on advice from the trenches, the network's freewheeling discussion and video produced results in days".
Furthermore, "companies are using social networks to build teams that solve problems faster, share information better among their employees and partners, bring customer ideas for new product designs to market earlier, and redesign all kinds of corporate software in Facebook's easy-to-learn style." The article goes on to explain how social networks connect people and foster innovation.
Are you using social networks internally to engage your employees? What about your customers?