Three steps to make your organization open/social

BrandingAll the leaders in Human Resources and Management are trying to tap into social as a means to get people engage better within the organization.

There are already big plans in place for engagement, a lot many are being hatched in Board (bored) room by leaders which are not really open or social. Well, that’s a topic for another day, let’s not focus on that as of now. So what is wrong in that?  It makes perfect sense to have ESN (Enterprise Social Network) and then get all your employees on it and voila! You have social happening. Beautiful decks, showing how ‘much’ is achieved – innumerable blogs by leaders, comments, likes… We nailed it! Just 18% of companies have an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) platform. Tweet this.

Wow! Everyone is engaged. Oh sorry, where are the employees? Don’t worry, employees should follow leaders. That has always been the norm – why should it change on social? But hey, there is a hitch. The communication watchdog team will not allow employees to blog or say something ‘honest’. Like the  watch dog, they will read each post and howl if someone says anything non-conforming to their agenda. We are nailing the coffin now.

But, obstacles not withstanding and to help solution problems that crop up while legal and social go head to head, I am sharing these three simple steps for any organization, team, and department to be open and social:

  • Transform the corporate culture: This is the key to any change – and this is definitely the place where leaders should lead. Show employees how to be open. IBM’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ginni Rometty, did that by deciding to skip that staple of corporate communications – the company-wide e-mail. Instead, she made a video, outlining her priorities as the leader, and posted it to Connections, the company’s Facebook-like internal social network. The video and the open culture went viral in IBM.
  • Empower your employees: An ESN will allow you to break the invisible walls only if you allow it to, by empowering employees to be open without any fear. In IBM, we promote the culture of openness through Connections where employees engage, collaborate and learn from one another all the time.

I am leading the social transformation in HR project with Tim Collins and Elyse Anchell and we are doing it all on Connections – no decks, no emails, no excel-sheets, no MS-Project. And guess what, we are the most talked about hashtag (#socialHRsuccess) in IBM since Feb 2014. All IBMers are now participating and that too voluntarily!

  • The idea is to focus on ‘why’ and not ‘what’: Allow social to make you productive and not bog you down and that will happen once you get the ‘why’ of it. That’s when you understand the value of it, marry it with your work and keep it simple. Employees would be better off if we can save time for them rather than mandating them to write a blog a week on top of what they already have to do, as their day-job. Make them understand, how using social will help them and then you will see the transformation.

BrandAnd we all know that once employees and customers too, are engaged, they will become the ambassadors out there for the organization. Their interactions outside the work environment will create the brand, which your corporate communication has been killing itself to do. Social makes it authentic, it makes it real. And this level of engagement in social will result in attracting the right people, like the one I connected with recently –  the super talented Yasha!

Please share your views on how your organization is using social to be open! Feel free to connect with me if you wish to know about #socialHRsuccess. Views are my own and not necessarily of my organization.

Edited by: Vanitha Poojary


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3 thoughts on “Three steps to make your organization open/social

  1. RamaKP March 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm Reply

    Done (Y)


  2. […] allows leaders to listen openly and engage employees on a regular basis. Who ever thought that every IBMer would have the capability to respond to our […]


  3. […] employees need to stay connected and when the organization’s ESN allows that, there will be a boost in productivity due to extended usage. I use Facebook chat to talk to my manager when I am not on IBM network – […]


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