Employee Social Networks

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  • 1. Connectivity Powers Talent: Leveraging Employee Social Networks Friday – 18 July, 2008 Mike Gotta Principal Analyst [email_address] www.burtongroup.com mikeg.typepad.com
  • 2. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Agenda
      • Understanding teams and communities
      • Challenges faced by virtual groups
      • Tools help – but solutions remain elusive
      • Connecting people through social networks
      • Building the business case for social networks
      • Closing thoughts on social dynamics
  • 3. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Understanding teams
      • Social structures are influenced by team location
        • Co-located team
          • Group predominantly interacts in a face-to-face manner as well as electronically, there are some virtual aspects but that is not the typical experience between team members.
        • Virtual team
          • Group interacts electronically as its primary means of communicating, sharing information and collaborating. Face-to-face interactions occur on a semi-regular basis; however, direct personal interaction is not the primary method of working together.
        • Far-flung team
          • The group rarely, if ever, interacts in a face-to-face manner.
  • 4. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • The times they are a-changin‘
      • People say “where you are is not important” … but is it?
    Co-located Team Far-Flung Team Virtual Team Virtual Team
  • 5. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Understanding communities
      • Community structures can also vary based on the nature of the relationships (e.g., its “social DNA”)
        • Online Community
          • A virtual group without the strong bonds associated with teams but identifies itself as standing body with sustained interaction regarding some collection of shared goals, objectives, activities, affinities or practices
        • Community of Interest (CoI)
          • Similar to “online community” except the members (diverse in terms of individual backgrounds) are more focused on a particular interest area
        • Community of Practice (CoP)
          • Similar to “online community” except the members (typically sharing a common background) are more focused on exchanging information, methods and expertise specific to that common “practice” area
  • 6. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • The more things change, the more they stay the same
      • Communities may come and go but “ties” remain
    Community of Practice (“Improve Customer Service”) Community of Interest (“Go Green”)
  • 7. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Agenda
      • Understanding teams and communities
      • Organizational challenges faced by groups
      • Tools help but solutions remain elusive
      • Connecting people through social networks
      • Building the business case
      • Closing thoughts on social dynamics
  • 8. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Challenge: Alleviating Fear Of Knowledge Harvesting
      • Higher reliance on information sharing and collaboration tools captures a higher level of worker “know how”
      • Workers feel that they are giving away their “value add”, often feel alienated due to physical isolation and can also perceive a lack of reciprocity when it comes to sharing with others.
      • Influencing factors include:
        • Insecurity related to job/role/responsibility
        • Lack of tools that enable acceptable levels of personal knowledge management
        • Lack of information that helps “humanize” people in the organization
        • Absence of management methods that acknowledge and reward participation and contributions at community, team and individual levels
        • Insufficient learning opportunities
  • 9. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Challenge: Overcoming Tribes & Secret Societies
      • People naturally evolve into formal and informal sub-groups (cliques), hierarchies and/or social circles based on title, role, expertise, personal relationships, etc.
      • Absence of face-to-face interaction related to work and social activities causes these problems to be more pronounced
      • Team boundaries can be unclear; even team membership can be a debated (formal assignment vs. informal participation / contribution)
      • Influencing factors include:
        • No connection between agreed-upon group objectives and goals that make participation and contribution relevant
        • Insufficient cross-dependencies between people that balances group and personal success
        • Misplaced “us” versus “them” internal competition; wrong mix of social types, social distance and cultural nuances
  • 10. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Agenda
      • Understanding teams and communities
      • Organizational challenges faced by groups
      • Tools help – but solutions remain elusive
      • Connecting people through social networks
      • Building the business case
      • Closing thoughts on social dynamics
  • 11. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Problems & Opportunities
      • Productivity
        • Reduce task and process latency
        • Better decision-making
      • Collaboration
        • Improve communication and information sharing
        • Enhance activity coordination, quality of deliverables…
      • Knowledge management
        • Build cross-organizational relationships
        • Share insights and experiences
        • Timely access to experts
        • Influence innovation programs
  • 12. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Problems & Opportunities
      • Human resources
        • Enhance professional development
        • Attract talented prospects
        • Retain valuable employees
        • Provide participation models for alumni and retirees
        • Improve employee engagement
        • Foster a sense of community
      • Corporate social responsibility
        • Sustain community outreach efforts
  • 13. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Technology is no panacea
      • Communication
        • E-mail: inbox overload, fragmented conversations…
        • Instant messaging and presence: promising if interruption issues can be resolved and presence better automated
      • Information
        • Enterprise portals: can suffice but often suffer from poor navigation, lack of free-form interaction; personalization capabilities are not often exploited
        • Content management systems: often difficult to use, poor user experience
      • Collaboration
        • Discussion forums: frequently suffer from information overload (clutter)
        • Virtual workspaces: can work well but also can be a file dumping ground
        • Web conferencing: promising if user experience is improved
  • 14. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Hopes rise with “Web 2.0” and “Enterprise 2.0”
      • Communication
        • Blogs: create channels for storytelling and “voice of employee”
        • Tagging and social bookmarks: enables user-centric discovery and personal “re-findability”
        • “ Microblogging” (e.g., Twitter): a next-generation water-cooler
      • Information
        • XML feeds (RSS and Atom): opt-in model for information delivery to employees across a variety of user experiences
      • Collaboration
        • Wikis: enable co-creation and co-ownership of information; fosters self-organization and help build community around shared interests or practices
      • Social networks
        • Ebbs and flows across communication, information sharing and collaboration – key lynchpin for healthy and robust communities
  • 15. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Agenda
      • Understanding teams and communities
      • Challenges faced by virtual groups
      • Tools help – but solutions remain elusive
      • Connecting people through social networks
      • Building the business case for social networks
      • Closing thoughts on social dynamics
  • 16. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Tying it all together with social networks
      • Social Networks
        • Leverages relationships and connections
        • Augments communication, information and collaboration needs
        • Catalyzes community-building
        • Augment formal, semi-formal and informal organizational structures and interactions within and/or across those structures
      • Social Network Sites
        • “ Corporate Facebook”: acts as a destination site and social hub
      • Social Networking Services
        • Analytical engine that examines interaction data and patterns to correlates such information in order to derive connections and infer relationships
        • “ Socializes” existing applications by contextually displaying relevant connections and relationships
  • 17. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Process & management structures can impede information flow
    Other Business Teams Engineering Team Participation Boundary “ Formal Channels” Account Mgr. Marketing Lead Service Rep Field Tech Lead Engineer Design Engineer Program Manager Engineering Manager
  • 18. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Relationships span far beyond “routes, roles and rules”
    Self-Organized Community Based On Social Network Relationships Borderless Participation Tags/Bookmarks Blogs & Wikis Contributes To Wiki Contributes To Wiki Subscribes To Blog Subscribes To Blog Subscribes To Tags Account Mgr. Marketing Lead Service Rep Field Tech Lead Engineer Design Engineer Program Manager Engineering Manager
  • 19. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • A destination site can also act as a social hub
    Borderless Participation
    • Social Network Site
    • Profiles
    • “ Social Graph”
    • “ Activity Feed”
    • Communication, Information Sharing & Collaboration Tools
    • Social Network Controls
    Self-Organized Community Based On Social Network Relationships Account Mgr. Marketing Lead Service Rep Field Tech Lead Engineer Design Engineer Program Manager Engineering Manager
  • 20. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Agenda
      • Understanding teams and communities
      • Organizational challenges faced by groups
      • Tools help – but solutions remain elusive
      • Connecting people through social networks
      • Building the business case
      • Closing thoughts on social dynamics
  • 21. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Anchor points for a business case
      • Workforce transformation
        • Augment strategic talent initiatives and ease aging workforce pressures through employee referral, alumni and retiree networks
        • Establish personal learning environments (and enhance professional development) through communities and social networks
      • Community-based processes
        • Improve situational awareness and decision-making within formal work activities by adding informal feedback loops and access to experts
      • Innovation programs
        • Apply community and social networks for brainstorming purposes
      • Employees as brand ambassadors
        • Look for local community outreach efforts or broader corporate social responsibility programs as candidates for communities and social networks
      • Address governance, security, identity and compliance concerns
  • 22. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Illustrate Solutions Via Use Case Scenarios
      • Communities and networks for:
        • Professional support
          • Example: employees returning from extended leave-of-absence
        • Referral programs
          • Example: employees/alumni recommending job candidates
        • Retiree programs
          • Example: alternative ways for ex-staff to contribute to ongoing work
        • Travel programs
          • Example: people sharing experiences (questions, recommendations)
        • Process augmentation
          • Example: expertise location and relationship contacts (e.g., “does anyone know someone who knows…”)
  • 23. Leveraging Employee Social Networks Using Wikis Within The Enterprise For Documentation, Project Specifications, Guidelines Deploying RSS Feeds As Part Of A World-Wide Shipping Management & Logistical Control System Leveraging Social Networking Tools To Improve Innovation Across Business Units Deploying A Tag & Social Bookmark System To Improve Community-Building And Global Knowledge Sharing Leveraging Social Networking Tools To Improve Speed To Market, Share Best Practices, & Drive Operational Efficiency Deploying A Unified Collaboration & Content Platform As A Strategic Productivity Lynchpin
  • 24. Leveraging Employee Social Networks Re-energing KM Efforts By Extending Its Collaboration Platform With Blogs, Wikis, Social Bookmarking, Discussion Groups, And Personal/Team Spaces. Leveraging Employee, Alumni And Retiree Networks As Part Of Strategic Human Capital & Talent Management Efforts Leveraging RSS feeds to reduce information overload and enable workers to better monitor, track and be notified of changes to critical business information. Deploying RSS Feeds To Improve Employee Communication
  • 25. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Agenda
      • Understanding teams and communities
      • Organizational challenges faced by groups
      • Tools help – but solutions remain elusive
      • Connecting people through social networks
      • Building the business case
      • Closing thoughts on social dynamics
  • 26. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Building and sustaining relationships is more art than science
      • Culture, time and distance factors (obvious)
      • Relationship longevity (“marriage vs. dating”)
        • Persistent groups, temporary groups…
        • Stability of group membership
        • Group needs and co-dependencies re: skills, competencies, experience…
      • Related activities (commitment, focus and attention)
        • Project, process, other (community-oriented)
        • Nature of work (research vs. transactional)
        • Level and nature of involvement
      • Alignment (where does the group “fit in”)
        • Standalone group
        • One group within a formal hierarchy or other group structure
        • A sub-group within a community of groups (perhaps with a loose affiliation)
  • 27. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Relationship dynamics influence group cohesiveness
      • Decision Rights (“what influence do I have over my own destiny”)
        • Roles and responsibilities
        • Internal and external structures (e.g., formal reporting)
        • Self-directing ownership
      • Solidarity (“who has my back”)
        • Diversity (points of view, experience)
        • Trust and reciprocity
        • Group size, relationship dynamics and “togetherness”
      • Growth Factors (“what’s in it for me”)
        • Mentoring and apprenticeship (bootstrapping)
        • Knowledge transfer (via story-telling, conversation, socializing)
        • Performance measures and succession planning
  • 28. Leveraging Employee Social Networks
    • Q&A
      • About Us
        • Burton Group provides in-depth, vendor-independent research and advisory services focused on enterprise IT infrastructure technologies. Known for our principle-based architectural approach and technical depth, our highly-focused research services provide practical insights and direction for enterprise technologists and executives.
          • http://www.burtongroup.com/
          • http://mikeg.typepad.com/
          • http://ccsblog.burtongroup.com/