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12 Days of Digital – Day 2: Bringing the outside in

Social technologies seem most closely associated with outward facing communications, principally consumer engagement. There are great opportunities, however, to take the outside, in.

I’m sure we can all see the logic behind improving internal communication for better productivity. Former Director of Internal Communications at Virgin Media, Abi Signorelli, calls IBM the rockstars of internal comms and it’s easy to see why. With sites like internal facing ‘Bluepedia’ and ‘BlueTwit’ IBM has estimated saving a whopping $80.6 million on productivity since adopting a social approach. Click here for the case study of how IBM uses social media to spur employee innovation or for more recent links see Social Bridge Builder Andy Piper’s blog.

Peer engagement and collaborative working are only two advantages to going social. 70% of effective learning in the work place is on the job experience, as opposed to 10% formal training. 67% of employees believe colleagues can help them do their job better and yet only 25% go outside their departments to seek help. Stat blast over, in a world devolving to more freelancers how can you ensure knowledge is retained in your organisations? Can you afford to let it go? Another IBMer Luis Suarez claims ‘email is where knowledge goes to die’ and it seems he’s not alone. A recent survey of 1400 CIOs across the United States found that 54% are predicting real-time collaboration technologies will surpass email as the chief form of internal communications in the next 5 years.

Of course not all of us can afford to rebuild favourite network sites for internal use but there are a myriad of off the shelf products to hold onto the knowledge that gives an organisation its competitive edge. If wikis aren’t your thing why not try something like The Help Engine to bring your team together? (Connect Member The Eden Project is already using the Help Engine so speak with them to find out more).

To put social tools in place, to a certain extent, is academic. There is a bigger question to making it work. Are you a Social Leader? Are you a custodian of a collaborative culture, harnessing its collective intelligence to make ‘stuff’ happen? To do this is first to listen not just broadcast in the boardroom or across social networks. Connect Member, Garvis Snook, introduced internal forum “Ask Garvis” when he first joined Rok as CEO. It gave employees the opportunity to anonymously quiz him over the immense changes that were happening in the organisation. It is one of the simplest but still one of my favourite examples of Social Leadership, and a strong foundation for everything else to fall into place. Former BBC producer Kate Pickering has worked in broadcast, innovation and digital media for 14 years. She is Director ofmedia140 delivering events and workshops in the UK, mainland Europe and Australia on the transformation of business using social technologies. A collaborative innovation enthusiast and a firm believer the web is for good as well as play Kate is focused on what’s new and what’s next to better business. She has recently become Innovation Programme Leader at Co-operatives UK. Connect with Kate here.

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