So what's their story? First things first. What stops people from implementing social media?
- You build it, but people don't use it - 13%
- Execs don't buy -25%
- Unable to track
- Losing control -10%
- Don't know where to begin - 30%
The beginning of their journeyThey took the right first step -- they didn't call it 'social networking'. They called it enterprise collaboration. Good job! Social always throws up the wrong connotations. They were aiming to:
- cultivate informal learning environment
- drive new levels of innovation
- allow collaboration
- create organisational memory
- supports accelerated pace of knowledge change
How they pilotedThey piloted social media using ACES (Accelerated career excellence in sales) their career management program for sales staff - generally college graduates. Some stats:
- 12 recent college graduates
- 12 mentors - 5 month mentor role
- 25 Program support associates
- 100 peer trainers
The tools they usedThey used Sharepoint at ACES but they took it beyond being just a document repository. They seem to have pulled Sharepoint to it's limits and made it work properly like a social networking application. The positioning was easy since it was only limited to the use of the program -- so that way they got over the 'get exec buyoff' hurdle.
How they took it to the next stepThey took this concept to their org-wide career management tool called enCompass - built on Cornerstone LMS. Things seemed to fall into place because their talent management vendor was coming up with a proper enterprise social media tool. It however didn't feel very useful to integrate one more tool into their entire app infrastructure. So they thought hard and nailed down the obvious benefits:
- Associate Profiles
- Discussion Forums
- Search - without this I think any social platform is dead
What next?They went ahead and combined the formal and informal elements of the course in one place using the Cornerstone LMS. To do this, they brought in their ACES program into Encompass - this way they were able to make the formal and informal learning elements operate and exist in the same context.
How did they measure success?They didn't have a clear definition of success, but they definitely knew that it could be valuable. But as they started to run reports they saw the levels of participation. In two weeks they had about 807 page views and a huge number of ratings -- so obviously there was a high level of participation to start with. So they asked themselves:
- Did they need to play a more active role in the community? Community Management, listen, listen!
- How could they build additional informal learning activities?
- They started a blog asking people what they were learning. People started to respond and that set the snowball rolling.
- They started guiding activities such as putting up a video and then generating an activity from it.
- How could they leverage communication outside the platform to increase usage? They leveraged email to keep people connected into the informal learning platform. People are still bound to email -- you need to wean them off. No need to fight it.
- How would they define success? Their biggest parameter for success was usage and they started to restructure their platform to tune it to maximise usage. e.g. moving recent posts to the top of the page. The idea for them was to give people an ability to express themselves and as long as people could express themselves enough, they were happy.
- It's ok to lose control - be flexible
- Understand your audience - each community is unique (as long as you don't create walled gardens IMO)
- They feel that program and project based communities can be a good place to start. Yes, as long as they're open and accessible from one single entry point.
- Don't try to conquer the whole company -- small successes may actually create a bigger snowball. (makes sense -- again, I'll argue the openness)
I like the stuff these ladies are doing. Somethings I have a different take on, but in general, they're on the right track. Good stuff. I'm very sleepy and I know some of my writing may be disjointed - so pardon me for that. I guess late night gives me a bit of an excuse to be off colour.