Employee social networks are no more the ‘the topic’ today! Many organizations have jumped onto this bandwagon. Earlier, there was skepticism and concerns that employees might crash the site due to the amount of networking done on popular social networking sites. But employees completely surprised their employers. After the initial check and a cursory ‘Hello’ nothing much happened.
So why was it that organizations expected better results from enterprise social networks? Aren’t people crazy about social networks?
The fundamental flaw lies in the social network analogy. Personal social networks are hangouts where one meets their friends; know what’s happening with them and in general with the world. Apart from the general networking pleasures, it’s a great place for a person to learn new things and validate his own ideas. There’s a rewarding personal incentive in such networks.
Sadly, enterprise social networks don’t provide these incentives. They just become one more channel for internal marketing, thus offering no new learning. Moreover, most enterprise social networks have such loosely defined purposes that to an employee it conveys a message that it need not be taken seriously.
On the contrary, enterprise social networks with well-defined purposes can work a great deal to improve employee productivity and workplace processes.
HR is a great function that can get you started on a fantastic note on your enterprise social network initiatives. Here are 3 areas where you could use your enterprise social network, and, for the incremental effort put in, reap big benefits:
- It is estimated that 80% of learning happens through informal means, whereas organizations spend 80% of their training budget on formal courses. Rethink your learning strategies. Apart from videos as learning materials, many courses can be converted into an experience-sharing format, a form of question and answer that makes them easier to consume. Your authors and trainers can come from within your talent pool. Provide incentives to applaud the good work.
- Use the social network to greatly complement your regular appraisal process. Allow employees to validate their coworkers’ skills and competencies, provide contextual references and testimonials of their work. As compared to the annual appraisal process, this is a much more natural way of understanding one’s performance and potential. Besides, it saves a lot of time in collating all information during the final appraisal. It is possible that this initiative might be used as a mutual admiration club, but in most cases, employees will not risk their own reputation by vouching for the wrong guy.
- Social networks are a great place to stay in touch. Why restrict it to your current employees? Build an alumni network, or a network of external talent. Together with your employee references, these networks could be the sources from where you’ll pick more than 50% of your next hires.
Blog by : Mr. Shankar Bharatan, Principal Consultant, Ramco Systems