Enterprise Social Network: combined showcase and monitoring centre
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
A few weeks ago I attended a forum organised by the Spanish People Management and Development Association (AEDIPE) at which a senior Telefónica executive brought up something which has not yet been given the attention it deserves: “We no longer find the most copious, reliable and up-to-date information about our employees in conventional sources and files, but rather on social networks.”
It would be an exaggeration to say that the information we find on social networks is the most substantial, but it is true that what you can get there is much better than has been available up to now.
Proper design and appropriate use of the social networks environment brings us two very important advantages:
- Information you do not usually get through traditional channels. For example, our competitors’ customer satisfaction, demand for and inclusion of specific professional profiles in certain projects, a customer’s executive staff mobility, etc.
- The prospect of directly influencing areas of interest to our company, spreading the right news stories with clear-cut messages, building corporate image or contributing knowledge to prominent open forums.
Every day there are nearly four hundred million tweets and Microsoft says that over 80% of Internet users regularly participate in social networks.
This two-fold opportunity – monitoring centre and showcase at the same time – cannot be handled superficially, especially when you consider that reports say that 35% of users use social networks to find a product, thus ousting traditional search engines.
Let’s go back to this two-fold opportunity afforded by social networks: monitoring centre and showcase. And let’s do it with reference to our own employees. From this standpoint we can agree that:
- If the best information we can get about them is on social networks, then the most appropriate vehicle for the best information we can give them is also social networks.
- If this is true for social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, how much truer would it be if we have an enterprise social network?
The answer is obvious. Social networks are the communication tool of choice for the near future which is already pretty much here.
Communication managers in large corporations have grasped that this tool is a qualitative shift which will change the way that other tools, such as intranet and email, are used and may even come to replace the latter in a relatively short while.
What could be missing? The direct and full engagement of companies’ senior management. This is not a technology trend where managers can “delegate use” or just “have nothing to do with it”. They cannot say “my office handles this” or “my secretary deals with it” as if it were a spreadsheet which certain managers prefer not to get involved in. Here even the CEO will have to get involved and run this communication channel – at least in part – themselves and leverage all the potential that it offers. And among other things, that means flexibility, immediacy, credibility, closeness, loyalty, corporate spirit… Everything to see and be seen.
Juan Ignacio Barenys de Lacha is Director at Odati and Eskpe Consulting. He is a member of AEDIPE, creator of Método Odati for director and manager training, Ex-President of Olivetti information Systems España and Sligos, and Chairman of World Forum Congress Washington in 1990.