Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Social Media and Staff


I presented on Tuesday at an event organised by OurSocialTimes, Social Media for CEOs.  My session was on social media and staff.



Here are the points I made to this audience of senior execs and CEOs:

  • Introduction / my focus
    • My background in HR and human capital
    • My additional focus on social capital (rather than just social media) generated by an increasing recognition of the importance of teams rather than just individuals
    • Organisations still tend not to focus on social capital – why?  One reason is that they do actually need to develop human capital before they can effectively develop social capital.  People need to know themselves before they can understand others.  People need to respect each other as individuals.  If not, organisations get anchored in “what’s in it for me”, rather than" “what’s in it for us” which stops true social collaboration.
    • So the first reason CEOs need to pay attention to social media and staff is that they need to focus on HR first.
  • Importance of social capital
    • The second reason is that true social support for customers and marketing etc require effective social relationships between employees.  Yes, you can try to do it initially with one person in a room.  But at some stage you need all your employees collaborating to support customers.  Eg Best Buy’s Twelforce developed out of their initial Blue Shirt Nation which developed collaboration between managers and employees.
  • Integration of social business / HR
    • The third reason is that this all links.  At least at the highest levels of value.  Social recruiting, learning and other applications can be used for just reducing costs, or providing better quality people but the focus should really be on organisational social outcomes eg connections build during recruitment supporting effectiveness post joining (eg Goldman Sachs), the learning organisation etc.  So both social HR and social business are ultimately focused on the same thing – building social capital ie effective (or even competitive) collaboration, innovation, speed to delivery etc through social relationships.
    • Or just from an activity perspective, if you want your people to use social media with customers, it’s going to be useful to hire people who are already using social media.
  • Example – social recruiting
    • Opportunities to replace push based,, traditional recruitment, to pull candidates through sourcing etc, and to create social relationships and potentially communities.
  • Social media and the employee lifecycle
    • Opportunities exist throughout the employee lifecycle.  Even in areas like reward which is probably the least natural area given that the focus in most organisations is to keep reward secret, not transparent.  But there are still opportunities to eg use wikis to help engage employees in payroll changes.  Or more broadly, think about reducing pay differentials (I skipped over this fairly quickly given that I was talking to a CEO group), or probably more simply, but still not easily, work towards pay transparency.  (Also look at examples of radical reward management like Semco.)
  • Social media and HR risks


I also suggested the fourth reason CEOs need to focus on social media and staff is that they’re struggling to get HR people engaged in social collaboration (enterprise 2.0 etc), they can point out the opportunities inherent in social recruiting etc, and get their HR people engaged in social media through this.

What do you think – did I get the key benefits right?  And what conversations have you been having with your CEO on social media and staff?



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  • jon [dot] ingham [at] social [dash] advantage [dot] com



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