Ensuring Success of Internal Social Media–Business Alignment

The allure of deploying internal social media tools for employees is inescapable.  Certainly in this changing workforce it is almost a necessity to provide networking and collaborative tools for our workforce; as the Gen X and Millenial crowd join the ranks of our colleagues they expect these tools to be part of the toolkit.  96% of these employees are connected on the social web in their personal lives, and many of them used social media tools to find the very jobs they hold in our companies today.

Certainly it is incumbent upon the business, in order to attract and retain the best and brightest, to enable Social Media tools internally.  However, rather than simply deploying the technology in a “hold our nose and jump off the diving board” approach, we need to make sure that it is aligned with the overall business strategy and department initiatives.  In addition, the deployment of Social Media tools needs to be driven by the business in conjunction with technology partners rather than being driven solely by  IT.  In a recent Gartner study, it was determined that 70% of technology platform initiatives driven solely from the perspective of IT fail.

Here are some questions that may help in the deployment of internal social media tools at your company:

  • What are the company’s overall goals and key department initiatives and how can social media collaboration help drive business success?
  • What is the current strategy for communication and collaboration and how do these new tools enhance or detract from that strategy?
  • Are your social media strategies aligned with those of the Public Affiars/ Communications department?
  • Does your company have an external social media presence and how can the internal platform help engage employees as brand ambassadors to drive consistency?
  • Does your company have effective policies in place regarding electronic information systems and online behavior to ensure alignment with HR strategy and employment laws?

Taking the time to align the internal social media strategy with business drivers and establishing effective policies may slow the time to full platform deployment, but taking these steps will ensure that the tools support the future success of the company and help attract the people who will drive that success.

In future posts I will discuss establishing effective change management and cultural readiness, and how to align metrics to key performance indicators.

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The Changing Face of Learning?

It seems that everything in the field of corporate learning is a pendulum swing; we moved from the era of heavy performance support in the 1980’s to the era of e-Learning or web-based training in the late 1990’s and the early “aughts”. Over the past 30 years, learners switched from sitting in the classroom for 40 hours per week, once per year, to sitting in front of their computers for 40 separate hours over the course of a year. These days we hear terms such as “traditional e Learning”; traditional now represents something that is less than 15 years old.

In this era of tight profit management, corporate training budgets are flat or slashed while the need to train employees in the fast paced competitive market place has increased exponentially. This need for reduced time to effectiveness and greater efficiency is changing the face of learning once again.

With the proliferation of interactive, virtual learning technologies and social media we are moving back to the era of just-in-time, micro performance learning. But how do we continue to engage our learners and ensure the acquisition and application of knowledge on the job?

Certainly video learning and pod-casting are effective new methods. Deployed from the corporate learning departments and shared learner to learner, I believe this new paradigm of “casual knowledge transfer” will be the preferred methods of the teens and twenties.

In this atmosphere, another question comes to mind…what happens to the need to track this type of learning and what happens to our “legacy” learning technologies like the LMS? I predict that over the next 10 years, the LMS will either have to morph into a new type of technology or die a slow IT death.

Because of the needs of the business world now, and the rising sea tide of social media and social learning, the mega LMS deployment will become a thing of the past. Certainly regulatory and compliance-type training will still need to be tracked and reported upon. However unless the LMS vendors incorporate social media and knowledge management in an easy-to-use (and administrate) internet-style format, the business will need to find other ways to support their learners and customers effectively.


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