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Social Media @ eBay – Intranet Hub for employees


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eBay provided an internal social media styled intranet for their employees.

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Social Media @ eBay – Intranet Hub for employees

  1. 1. Analysis & OutlookSocial Media @ eBay – Intranet Hub for employeeseBay initially rejected its employees request for an enterprise social network andemployees were forced to set up their own network on Yammer, a private company thatprovides the platform for employees of a business to easily setup a free enterprise socialnetwork with limited features and functions for that business. The businesses have theoption of take over the Yammer network being used by their employees by paying thenecessary fees and upgrading their accounts. When eBay management realized thatthere are significant numbers of employees (around 3,000 employees) are activelyengaging on the Yammer network they too considered to take over the network andupgrade by paying the necessary fees but decided not to do so as the Yammer did nothave many features and functions that eBay wanted. eBay then decided to develop itsown official enterprise social network using NewsGator, an add-on to MicrosoftSharePoint and which will be a state of the art platform that will not only accelerate theplatform usage by employees but also helps in improving the productivity andperformance of the employees. Before finalizing the platform eBay also evaluated otherplatforms like Jive, Ning, and Chatter but finalized the NewsGator and SharePoint asSharePoint is easy to be integrated with other tools and platforms within theorganization IT infrastructure.With more than 16,000 employees across the globe, eBay created an intranet called theHub that not only helps employees to perform their jobs in better way but also engagesemployees with an simple, friendly design and consistent with company identity. Theintranet is also a hub for meetings and company wide events like corporate news,videos, messages, analyst presentations, executive presentations etc and also plays akey role in internal communications with employees that feature blogs, forums,video/photo sharing and discussion boards. Each employee in the company has theirown profile page which they can personalize with personal information, upload theirphotos, engage with other employees who share similar interests and create their ownblog and other media. The intranet platform also allows employees to post and receiveupdates from intranet to multiple internal or external networks like LinkedIn, Facebook,Twitter, etc at the push of a button. iChannel is You Tube styled video sharing platformthat runs on the eBay intranet and works as a discussion board and communicationchannel between the employees and management ( Ask a Leader) and recently thischannel is used by the CEO to clarify the employee concerns about Skype sale. eBayadopted a test and learn methodology which will help in refining and developing aneffective platform that will be easy to use for the employees.This intranet platform was initially tested with 1000 employees and in November 2011went live for all the eBay employees. But the intranet is of no use without employeeshaving their profiles uploaded and their active participation and with an aim toencourage the employee participation eBay started a contest called “Hubgrade” thatgave eBay employees a chance to win Starbucks gift cards or the grand prize an Xbox.This helped in increasing the employee profiles by more than six times and employeesstarted actively participating in the intranet and build communities, search forinformation, and even post status updates to the corporate network, LinkedIn, Twitter ,etc simultaneously. With rise in participation by the employees’ eBay also launched ainnovative mobile application through which the employees can access the intranet HubRajesh Prabhakar Analyst Bio @
  2. 2. Analysis & Outlookaway from office which allows to employee directory, meeting schedules, locations andother information access to the information. eBay is using various promotionalinitiatives like contests, virtual screen savers, training, etc to further increase theemployee engagement on the intranet Hub. More active employees with completeprofiles will help in the employee’s communication with one another for work,knowledge sharing, common interests/hobbies, collaborate for work and other projectsand also improve the overall organizational performance along with their individualperformance.eBay is world’s largest online market place that connects millions of buyers and sellersand company has more than 100million active users globally. Other businesses in theportfolio include PayPal, StubHub, and others where millions of peopleto buy, sell, and pay online. The company actively participates on various socialnetworking sites for engaging with their customers and also wanted to provide theiremployees the similar social networking styled platform internally for increasingemployee engagement, collaboration and effectiveness. eBay wanted a platform thatwill enhance employee performance and also help them in actively improving theorganizational performance. Even though the company initially had apprehensionsabout the effectiveness of the social media styled intranet but the employees convincedthe management and started working on the development of the intranet in September2010. eBay believes that this social intranet initiative will improve collaboration andcommunication and plays a crucial role in employee retention as the company has toinvest significant amounts of time, money and resources in training and inductingemployees into the company. The company is hoping to use the social media andnetworks more effectively for both the employee and organizational benefits.Rajesh Prabhakar Analyst Bio @