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Thursday
Apr122012

« Enterprise Social Networks - The Heart of any Social Business »

Yammer are our guest hosts today on Social Workplace Twitter Chat (#SWChat) which gave me the perfect excuse to write this post.

Social Networks in our personal lives have become so embedded in our culture that signs like "Follow me on Twitter" or "Like my Facebook Page" are becoming the norm. I even saw one on the side of a local bus recently requesting to follow the bus company on Twitter.

So if we have embraced social networks in our personal lives so readily to be better connected to our friends, why is it taking so long to do the same inside a company to better connect our employees?

A company that is socially connected is not just going to be more effective and more efficient, but it's going to have a knowledge reach spanning the entire company that any employee can tap into and make use of. This is the Power of the Enterprise Social Network and the heart of any Social Business.

"It's not important for you to know all the answers, but it's key that you know someone in your employee network that does"

Many of the presentations I now give uses this tag line because it's time we put more focus and attention on building employee social relationships. By doing so we build up employee trust and an expansive knowledge network which we can then utilise.

Let's take the following scenario:

Your CEO is tired of the scatter gun like approach to internal communications and wants something done about it. As your companies Head of Communications your CEO assigns you to deal with it quickly.

However, you already have a PR nightmare on your hands which is taking up all of your time...

So what do you do...

  • bluff your CEO and drag out the project with high level strategy stuff that talks a good project but delivers nothing (oh yeah, you know what I'm talking about!) ?
  • put in a lot of over-time?
  • assign someone in your team to take on the project and re-prioritise their priorities?

None of these responses are ideal and are unlikely to deliver a good solution.

However, for a company that has embraced Enterprise Social Networks, there is another way....put a "Shout Out" to your employees asking for active participants (volunteers to be part of the project team) and passive contributors (volunteers to contribute from the sidelines).

This "Shout Out" approach provides some great business benefits:

  • avoids duplication of time, money and effort if someone is already working on something similar in your organisation (in large enterprises duplication is often a common occurrence)
  • delivers a better solution as the volunteers are interested in the subject matter
  • allows you access to a large knowledge network to minimise risks and issues
  • provides a better chance of adoption as the employees themselves have been involved in the delivery of the project

I call this Open Collaboration (yes, I avoided using the term social) and have been trialing it now for a while with some great success.

This is just one example of what you can do once your company's employees are better socially connected which couldn't be possible without first developing your Enterprise Social Network.

References (3)

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