Without a doubt, the adoption of using social technologies inside the organization is rampant. So many companies are hearing the loud beat of the “employee engagement” drum, but the task of effectively assessing your needs, implementing technologies correctly, and measuring for success and sustainability is a daunting project. So, it’s okay to slow down, take a deep breath and work from a well-crafted roadmap. Few things make employees more cynical than a social media platform that no one uses. And if your company quickly deployed a [“insert social tool here”] only to find that it fell flat because no one saw the value in using it then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Therefore, it’s refreshing to see firms such as Gagen MacDonald and APCO Worldwide working together to help shape internal social media programs. Recently, they analyzed research among U.S. adults working for companies with more than 500 employees that revealed 21 discrete attributes which in turn combine to form three major factors (see image below) that employees look for when deciding whether their company has effective social media internally.
As a result of their research, Gagen MacDonald and APCO Worldwide created a five-step process to build social media from within, ensuring sustainable change through shared goal-setting, leadership alignment, employee training and measurement of key metrics. Some highlights are below but the full whitepaper is available: Harness the Power of Internal Social Media.
A Five Step Roadmap for Internal Social Media
- Prioritize your business objectives by determining what it is you are trying to achieve: employee retention, boost collaboration, enhance executive visibility, increase speed to innovation or turn your employees into powerful brand ambassadors.
- Map your communication by analyzing your current information flow and determining how employees engage your intranet or social media tools.
- Determine what your ideal social media ecosystem would look like. What cultural differentiators are you hoping to foster?
2. Align for Design
- Assess your perceived issues and actual limitations by balancing potential risks against projected gains in productivity, collaboration and innovation.
- Develop solid company guidelines for social media use and use metrics to measure how well your engagement
tools are working.
- Align and train your leadership and get senior management buy-in to create a social networking mindset across business functions.
- Identify the most effective tools for your needs—from wikis and microblogs to robust knowledge-sharing and innovation platforms.
- Work closely with your IT teams to ensure your efforts are compliant with all internal rules, standards and architectures.
4. Ensure Sustainability
- To harness the power of social media and ensure your networking investments are sustainable, it is essential that you implement replicable, enterprise-wide training so that you overcome capability gaps (e.g., generational, geographical) that are present within your company.
5. Measure and Adjust
- Let’s face it, judging social media ROI is difficult. But by establishing a benchmark and then conducting employee engagement focus groups and surveys, linkage analyses, social media diagnostics and business analytics, it is possible to see how you deliver against expectations.
- Keep what works, tweak what doesn’t. Troubleshoot your challenges and identify cost-effective ways to reactivate your underutilized social media channels.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: it’s innovative and encouraging to see so many companies tackling collaboration and productivity through the use of social technologies. But a connected enterprise doesn’t automatically create an engaged workforce.
It’s easy to create a collaboration portal, but it’s much more difficult to make engagement a way of life in your organization.
I’m interested in hearing what you think about this five step roadmap and whether it differs from one that you might have created. If so, please share. I’d love to hear from you.