This SMinOrgs News Digest focuses on the application of social media as part of internal communication networks in the “social workplace.” Key questions include: How would my company create a social media oriented communication network? How would I use it? How do I retain valuable information? The items provide examples of the types of communications these networks can support, how the networks might be structured, and organizational success in deployment.
Many thanks to Jerry Carducci for being the guest editor for this News Digest. His focus on this topic reflects an argument I make in Part 2 of the Social Media Primer (updated here) that external applications (e.g., marketing) are just the tip of the iceberg, and that the same technologies and concepts can be applied inside organizations to enhance their effectiveness. Among other things, I appreciate his providing more concrete examples to illustrate the points I have made there and elsewhere. –Courtney Hunt
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Social media is transforming the way and speed by which we communicate, the way business is conducted, and is fostering an atmosphere of fear among leaders; possibly due to loss of control or lack of understanding. The following articles convey how some are using, or view, social media in supporting workplace communications.
- Interview with Jennifer Benz provides perspectives on uses for social media to communicate employee benefits.
- Nate Riggs describes an “outcomes based” approach to internal use of social media in fostering two-way communications, transparency and employee engagement.
- Paula Berg discusses her experience at Southwest Airlines using social media as a vehicle for organizational change.
- Connecting with investors via social media applications suggests firms not comfortable with the term social media should look to re-name the tools.
- How Best Buy, the world’s largest home electronics retailer tailored its social media program to engage its 17,000 employees.
Many of today’s leaders and managers were schooled in the outdated hierarchical, industrial command-and-control model that focused on the individual, operates within organizational silos and top-down communications. New organizational models encourage collaboration, sharing and working within and across business units/groups and transparency; which comes down to one fundamental – communications.
In a perfect world, the new “social workplace” combines the social tools to create the organizational framework. Typical structure includes dashboards, communities and profiles through which ideas and information are exchanged and people or groups can be found that possess specific knowledge, experience and skills. Information is then shared through discussion and documents.
In simple terms, if one uses the basic LinkedIn structure as an example, the following emerge:
- Dashboard represents the entire LinkedIn network. Organizationally, it represents the entity as a whole.
- Communities represent LinkedIn groups and subgroups, each providing a profile of what it represents and the type of exchanges that occur. In the business environment, the type and nature of the communities are only limited by imagination and could represent areas like teams, departments, product/customer categories, market trends, employee benefits, corporate communications, job roles… and the list goes on.
- Profiles: Each user creates his/her profile including their role within the organization, projects they have worked on, background and areas of expertise.
- Searchability: Individuals can search across and within communities to meet specific information needs or find individuals with specific areas of expertise.
With top level buy-in and a guiding social media policy, etiquette is defined and communications can occur to all in real time, through any mobile or desktop device, 24/7.
Categories: applications, best practices, human resources, internal communication, knowledge management, leadership, opportunities, strategy
For additional articles that address related issues, click on terms of interest in the category cloud on our website.
Source: SmartBlog on Workforce
Author: Mary Ellen Slayter
Lead Paragraph: In the past two years, Jennifer Benz has added 10 employees at her benefits communications firm Benz Communications, where the client roster includes such household names such as Intuit and Brooks Brothers. In a recent conversation with Robert Jones, contributing editor of SmartBrief on Entrepreneurs, Benz shared her views on using social media for communicating about health care and other employee benefits.
Brief Commentary from Jerry Carducci: Employee benefits are complex and print communications are time consuming and expensive. Regardless of how well prepared, there are always questions, generally directed to multiple sources, creating exposure to a lack of consistency and clarity in responses. Social media provides a way to provide a consistent message and create dialogue in this complex arena.
Source: Nate Riggs blog
Author: Nate Riggs
Lead Paragraph: We seem to have been trained to lump all social media into the bucket of marketing and external communication. Why is that? I believe that our gravitation towards looking at social media as only a new set of marketing tools has been largely driven by advertising and marketing agency’s quick adoption of them. Their interest, largely driven by potential revenue streams to replace what is no longer working as well as before (like television, for instance), has shifted our paradigm accordingly. For this conversation, let’s shift the paradigm in a new direction. Will you stand with me while we look at things from the inside out?
Brief Commentary from Jerry Carducci: The lack of constructive exchanges and communication breakdowns are all too common in corporate life. The ability to visualize and see the culture in action in one part of the organization is often invisible across departmental lines. What this article brings forth is a structure to informal discussion focused on building relationships, informing employees and reducing rumor causing “noise.”
Source: Huffington Post
Author: Paula Berg
Lead Paragraph: When I began doing social media for Southwest Airlines in 2006, it was just me and my buddy Brian Lusk trying to find time to manage a corporate blog in addition to our full time jobs. When I left, nearly five years later, we had a seven-person emerging media team with a simply but lofty mission: World Domination! Or, more subtly put, complete integration of social media into every internal and external communication effort in a way that made sense for our company and met customer expectations.
Brief Commentary from Jerry Carducci: Organizational change requires frequent, consistent communication. And it is impossible for corporate leaders and managers to be in all places at all times. If Social Media is embraced top-down, and drives communication throughout the organization it can represent a valuable tool in the organizational change toolkit…as was the case with Southwest Airlines.
Source: Sign on San Diego
Author: Abe Wischnia
Lead Paragraph: Publicly-traded companies, especially those with little or no analyst following, can benefit from enhanced shareholder engagement that can result from thoughtful application of some social media tools.
Brief Commentary from Jerry Carducci: While this article discusses use of social media for investor and industry analyst relations, increasingly employees seek transparency from their employers. If you are a true believer that employees are your organization’s greatest asset, then replace the term investors with the term employees and bring them to that level. They get the same information communicated to industry analysts and investors in real time.
Source: TopRank blog
Author: Lee Odden
Lead Paragraph: Whether you think “social media” is an overused term (yes, it is) or it’s a fad, or the evolution and revolution of the web, you don’t have to look far anymore for abundant examples of how companies, organizations and the U.S. Government are going social.
Brief Commentary from Jerry Carducci: Best Buy, the world’s largest multi-channel home electronics retailer, is another example of how a large organization, uses social media as a way to engage 17,000 employees and project the company’s culture, both internally and externally. Through BestBuyConnect, it aggregates employee blogs, YouTube, Twitter to form a comprehensive source for employees to share, exchange and connect with each other, as well as customers, and create an engaging culture and environment of transparency. For more information, a brief 4 minute look at Best Buy’s internal use of social media followed by a 20 minute interview with Best Buy’s CEO Brad Anderson talking about the issues in detail, can be viewed through this additional link: Best Buy: A social media case study.
Brief Commentary from SMinOrgs: This blog post and the case study are both about two years old, which will make some of the information shared out of date. That said, Best Buy Connect is still going strong. See for yourself here.
It’s also worth mentioning that Best Buy has a small(?) branding problem. When they launched their mobile broadband service, they gave it the same name. It seems to me that could have been avoided…