By RJ Bardsley
Yesterday morning I attended a panel event put on by the Churchill Club, Silicon Valley’s premier business and technology forum. Our team at the Racepoint Group partnered with the Churchill Club to help drive and shape the panel, entitled “The Fully Networked Social Enterprise.” Racepoint’s Chairman Larry Weber was the moderator and panelists included Simon Segars of ARM (client), Jeanette Gibson of Cisco and Michael Chui of McKinsey Global Institute. The focus of the panel was to examine how different companies are using social media (you know – the online tools we all use to stay connected to friends, family, gossip and news) to be more productive.
The discussion explored several aspects of social media and how companies are using new tools successfully to improve collaboration, innovation and productivity across their organizations. A couple of the highlights from the conversation include:
- While social media “experts” often reside inside a marketing department, companies should think of their entire workforce as social media practitioners. Consider a hub and spoke model where the marketing department provides support, education and coordination, encouraging personnel from around the organization – engineering, customer support, R&D – to contribute to a company’s online presence.
- Successful adoption of social media tools means that they need to be part of a workflow – it’s not enough to offer employees new tools like Yammer, Jabber or Skype. These tools need to somehow be an integral part of the day to day job.
- Measurement (and success) is real: According to Michael Chui of McKinsey, 90 percent of companies using social media are getting measureable results. Companies with externally focused social media programs were doing “ok;” those with internally-focused programs were doing better; but the few companies with a combined focus on internal and external audiences were deriving much higher value from social media.
- Carrots not Sticks: All three panelists discussed ideas about activating employees, partners and customers to participate in social media. All three agreed that rewards, such as prizes, badges and monetary incentives worked well for getting people to participate. Chui noted that McKinsey’s research indicates that forcing people to contribute through a threat of penalization doesn’t work.