What can a company do when social networking comes knocking to its own backyard? When employees start demanding similar services of interaction that they are used to access in the world outside office. Companies generally comply with by opening the outside social networking websites in their offices and then repent later.
The most important resources of an organisation are people and this is true from the time firms came into existence. If this valuable resource doesn’t use the power of networking and utilize each other’s potential, the organisation as a whole suffers.
IDC estimates that any firm which has more than 1000 employees, on an average, wastes more than $ 6 million atleast in searching for information that does not exist, failing to find information that does exist or recreating information that could have been found but was not found due to lack of proper mechanism.
It’s the human nature to seek out for help when faced with a problem. The same as we have seen in KaunBanegaCrorepati. You get stuck and you seek out help either from your audience, the quiz master or your friend. Similarly in any organisation, when you get stuck, the first impulse is to seek help from someone who might know the solution. In most cases the solution exists with someone in the organisation. But is it so easy to find and spot?
The above circle represents the entire gamut of services present in the social networking sphere. These range from proper networking sites like Facebook, Orkut to photo sharing like flickr ,picasa,etc to document sharing like slideshare, scribd, etc. Which of these to be implemented inside the organisation is a question that depends on the level of interaction and sharing the company wants to inculcate within the employees.
When implementing a Social media strategy inside the organisation there are some rules that need to be followed. Following these rules make the sharing strategy effective and powerful. First of all, it has to be an open platform. The forum should be democratic in nature, with anyone who wishes to participate and has the werewithall to participate should be allowed to participate on an equal footing.
The success of the Social networking platform depends on the ease of use of the application that the organisation builds for this purpose. Thus an intuitive interface like that of twitter, spawns creativity and is instantly understood by the users.
Knowledge sharing happens when people understand the others language and can further disseminate the information received. Thus the platform that is created should allow historical data to be kept, updated and modified and freely available for commenting and discussion.
The basic driver for information sharing by an individual is the psychological need for getting recognised and appreciated. This basic premise of a social networking platform has to be kept in mind and employees should be duly rewarded for their contributions.
The benefits of a social networking platform are many :Knowledge repository: If maintained properly, a sharing platform acts as an aggregator of knowledge. Thus, proper care should be taken in archiving and retrieval. We have seen this well implemented in the famous PD Nets setup by McKinsey and Co.Solves Problems: An employee who faces a complex problem, could reach out for help and get his queries answered from experts in his organisation who work in other depts.Removes Duplication: An effort that has already been done in the organisation can be captured and put top reuse using social media sharingChannelises energy: Employees need a vent. To let out their emotions, sharing achievements, networking with others in the organisation. Also they find a way to post their reviews, comments about the company policies etc inside the organisation and not going out and putting it up for the world to notice.
But what happens often is that the rules are flouted and the social media platforms inside the organisation tend to be cumbersome and thus remain ineffective. The same was found in a study.
Brainpark is a sample application that we have studied which enterprises can use to create a platform of sharing within the organisation. It provides features like :Rich profiles – Detailed description about the work a person has been involved in and the kind f experience he has. Enables a person to search for the right person who can have answers to specific problems.Bookmarks: Tagging and bookmarking of topics and important discussionsSocial Networking: SocialiseRecommendations: praise and recommend employees. An informal way of rewarding the employees for their contributions Dash Board: One stop view of the activities going on a specific part of the network.Groups: Special Interest groups who focus on specific areas be it technical, operational or entertainment activities.Other features like discussions, hot topics etc which enable constant dialogue and exchange of ideas.
The era of social media, organizations have transitioned themselves to web 2.0 state. Intra & inter organizational communications have reached on social platforms such as twitter, blogs, webinars & online campaigns.Head hunters such as recruiting agencies, business owners are increasingly relying on social media for recruitments & trend is picking up gradually among corporate HR teams.
The red colored bars shows that increase in intended usage of social media & linkedIn is in par with the corporate website & internal recruitment database.
Top 4 reasons why corporate intends to use social media:Employment brand buildingPosting open positionsFinding potential candidatesGaining referrals
LinkedIN, YahooPipes, TwitJobSearch, Corporatepage on Facebook are some of ways to bring employers & job seekers on one collaborative platform.http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipeswww.twitjobsearch.comwww.linkedin.comwww.recruitingblogs.comRedMonk company was in news for making recruitment job offer on twitter. (source: http://www.employeefactor.com/?p=273)
Online social platforms for the HR executives to collaborate with other HR experts & to the specific interest group.hrmtoday.comwww.ning.com www.linkme.com
How interactive social web platforms can help HR in idea generation, important announcements, feedback:Corporate webpage on facebook: Internal/external facing blogs & RSS feeds
Training & development of employees is an ongoing process within organizations. HR can use some of readily available content on social platforms such as:www.slideshare.netwww.youtube.comwww.wikipedia.orgLot of mentoring from experts can happen through internal blogging systems:https://www.yammer.comInduction programs or any other informal training programs can be made available on udutuTeach in collaboration with facebookPeer learning & issue resolution can take place faster through messenger systems such as MSN
Orange HRM: An open source platform for employee managementwww.orangehrm.comOrangeHRM offers a flexible and easy to use solution for small and medium sized companies free of charge. By providing modules for personnel information management, employee self service, leave, time & attendance‚ benefits and recruitment companies are able to manage the crucial organization asset – people. The combination of these modules into one application assures the perfect platform for re-engineering and aligning your HR processes along with the organizational goals.Features:http://www.orangehrm.com/open-source-product-features.shtmlProduct Tour:http://www.orangehrmlive.com/feature-tour.shtml
Employers, Emplyees & Job seekers collaborate on social platforms to understand industry remuneration standards across various various industries, skill set, hierarchical position.www.glassdoor.comwww.salaryscout.com
Corporates are increasingly reaching out social platforms to create target communities & involve them as an extended part of organization.
Social media apart from being used within the organization, has a lot of scope to be used by an organization in its interaction with other organizations and end consumers. Social media can help a particular organization in creating a general awareness about its products amongst the people as well as in building the brand value, as there are always industry experts (whom people look upon) to provide useful comments about the products of the organization.With the help of Social Media, companies can collaborate with each other by carrying out R&D activities together as well as take the feedback and ideas from end consumers, and hence improve the product.Social media can also help the organizations in making public announcements about the new offerings/launches that the company plans in the near future, hence helps in its public relations. Some of the companies that are extensively using the power of social media are American Express, Archer, HSBC, Microsoft, CREE etc.
The essence of the saying is that organizations may have been successful in the past by their policies and strategies but the key to the success in future is to forget the past success and use the new technologies/strategies in an effective way. Power of social media is a new trend that is coming up in a big way and the organizations which want to stay ahead of competition will have to incorporate that in their strategy.
In the future organizations, the hierarchal structure that is prevalent in today’s organizations will lose its value and the structure will be flatter with employees being empowered to innovate and take decisions.
The future organizations using power of social media or Enterprise 2.0 as they are called will be different from the older organizations (Enterprise 1.0) in a number of ways. The structure of the organizations will be more flatter with people empowered to take decisions and innovate. There will be more flexible global teams and people will be interacting more socially. The concept of closed standards and proprietary technology will be thing of past and companies will adopt open standards. The time to deliver new products will also reduce rapidly with collaborative working.
In the future organizations, the social web will span across all the departments ranging from HR, Sales and Marketing to Legal and IT.
The future organizations will have 4 components :Business and Collective Intelligence : There will be improved business knowledge for faster and more informed business decisions and actions which will lead to : Business data intelligence, Business content intelligence, Business collaboration. Some of the business examples are Pricing optimization, web store personalization and optimization.Collaboration : This component consists of Workgroup computing : This essentially means that there will be better information authoring and sharing by information producers (employees and inter and intra enterprise teams)Role based workspaces : which means that there will be tailored and self-service access to business data, information and knowledge for information consumers including employees, partners, clients, consumers and suppliers.Web 2.0 : The web 2.0 component will consist of :Social softwareThis results in easier sharing of expertise, best practices and knowledge e.g. in blogs, online communitiesEnhanced web developmentIt includes lower-cost application deployment models such as SAASFaster and reusable application development e.g. SOA, web frameworksInformation access and management : Information Access : It includes faster and easier access to corporate information such as enterprise search, web syndication using RSS.Information ManagementIt includes better quality and more accurate corporate information management e.g. Business content integration and management, business data integration and management, Business content and data governance.
The return of investment from social media, though may not be visible directly in terms of numbers and is hence difficult to measure, is bound to be huge for the organizations that adopt it. It is said that the organizations that fail to catch this trend and remain laggards will eventually lose their market share and dominance and hence a lot of toppling of positions is expected in near future.Also, while adopting the social media in the organizations, managers will have to be prepared to give up some of their powers to the employees and keep them informed. The boundaries are going to reduce when social media is adopted and there are bound to be aware employees and hence managers need to be prepared for this cultural change.HR, Sales and Marketing will be the initial functional areas which will predominantly use the power of social media
Social Media in Inter-organizational coordination
Social Media in Inter-organizational coordination Brand Building Thought leadership Awareness Collaboration Ideas Feedback PR/News Global Communication Pioneers: American Express, Archer 27
American Express open Social media for targeting SMEs Open forum to provide business advice & insights Idea hub: members can connect with industry experts, customize topics Unique visitors – 1 mn in 2009 28 Source: http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/02/b2b-social-media-winners/
Archer exchange Archer Community –an online social network for customers to interact, share best practices and provide feedback to drive product development. Archer Exchange - An online marketplace that enables clients to download applications 29 Source: http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/02/b2b-social-media-winners/
cree Build awareness and promote the benefits of LED technology Cree also leverages Facebook and Twitter in a push/pull approach for the website. 30 Source: http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/02/b2b-social-media-winners/
Our perspective.. 1. Emphasize less on ROI 2. Use Social Media or Lose significance 3. Cultural Impact of Enterprise 2.0 4. HR, Sales and Mktg. – Heavy Use 5. Inversion of the managerial Pyramid 39