Many organizations are not ready for internal social media but are aware that social networking may play a future role on the intranet. Starting with no social, some social, or full-use of social tools (aka a social intranet) needs some up-front thought and planning.
In the “pro” column for having a social intranet:
- People Helping People
- Leadership / Mentoring
- Empowers and Engages
- Drives culture
A social intranet can introduce an employee platform that facilitates the collaboration of thoughts and knowledge to benefit the business.
Two quotes to share with you from an excellent article on Social Media Today by Shel Holtz
The Payoff: “Most leaders understand the connection between the number of highly engaged employees and market share growth”
The Problem: “Internal social media strategy needs to be built from within – informed by the company culture, driven by distinct business needs and embraced by early adopters. Executives and leaders should not only align around strategy but embody the change they envision”
We wrote a blog post on how an Executive Intranet can facilitate executive leadership.
Create a business goal around social concepts and tools on the intranet. It will help focus the efforts toward a payoff. It can be just one initiative but it will make a huge difference to employee buy-in, value through education, and supporting the company culture.
Here are a few ideas to leverage your social intranet for business and engagement
- Create a focus group of executives and ask that they regularly (and preferably on a routine schedule) post to their message walls or blogs, sharing company insights, customer wins, and future goals. Run a feed of these wall or blog posts on the intranet home page for maximum visibility. Encourage employees to respond and add to the conversation
- Use the social tools on your intranet to support current business initiatives and programs. Create a survey with Form Builder to get feedback from employees on initiatives or new products. Place opinion polls on the intranet home page, team sites, or various landing pages to gauge the effect of customer service satisfaction scores
- Use an ideas application or discussion forum to tap employees for new ways to generate revenue, how to improve customer programs, ideas on recycle initiatives, how to move towards a paper-less office. Allow employees to freely contribute ideas and comments, adding to the conversation and value. Moderate through alerts, subscriptions, content feeds or an approval process prior to publication. Create secured areas for confidential or sensitive topics of discussion
- Offer professional growth and career advancement seminars, internal software training, new product training. Encourage feedback through course comments from students who registered and attended
- Enable comments and thumbs-up “like” ratings on news articles and employee feature stories, showing how engaged employees make a difference to the company and the customers
- Ask managers and supervisors to nominate their staff and give a very public pat on the back for a job well done
- Create surveys or e-forms for mandatory questions or tests that employees need to answer quarterly or annually. Move job performance indicators online by building e-forms and routing annual goals and deliverables through workflow and automated notifications
- Build a “Job Shadow” e-form where employees can register to shadow someone from another department
- Assign an executive each month to be a “mentor” for employees through the intranet, engaging them with wall conversations and posting advice and thought-leadership
Social tools really should be called engagement tools. It boils down to wide spread participation and contributions versus a static intranet where a handful of publishers do all of the work. The marriage of business tools with social engagement and collaboration creates a high level of user adoption, stakeholder satisfaction, return on investment and a more informed and engaged workforce. Not to mention a successful intranet.
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