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Social Media Goes to Work

Social Media Goes to Work

David Wentworth | i4cp

August 17, 2010

According to Elliott Masie, CEO of the Masie Center, “Companies still have some fear around social media, but employees know better. They know the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ will quickly correct any misinformation. The company-employee disconnect on adoption happens with every new technology, and social media is following this same predictable pattern.”

Others agree that the time has come to more fully exploit these new technologies. According to Tony Bingham, CEO of ASTD and co-author of the book The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media, “Historically, the learning community has stayed away from informal learning and social learning, and that is where the majority of learning is taking place. We now have the tools, and the catalyst, to engage them with that kind of learning.”

i4cp’s 4-Part Recommendation:

1. Implement a formal policy governing social media use. A well developed and executed social media policy can go a long way to mitigating many of the risks associated with social media technologies. Only 44% of Study participants have a formal policy in place. The policy should define the goals and purposes of using social media in the organization’s day-to-day business.

2. Market the concepts to employees to boost adoption. According to Justin Mass, senior learning technologist for Adobe Systems, an i4cp member company, “finding early adopters who can showcase the benefits of these tools to other in the organization helps immensely with adoption.” However, adoption cannot be achieved from the bottom up alone. There needs to be buy-in from senior leadership, as well as role modeling. Many executives are currently having success communicating with employees via blogs and podcasts.

3. Start from the beginning. Expose employees to social media tools from the get-go. Some companies use social networks as part of the on-boarding process. This way they are able to provide information about the company and give new employees a feel for the culture even before they set foot in the door on their first day. It also sets the expectation for the use of these tools throughout the employee life cycle.

4. Run pilot projects. Arguably the best way to foster use of social media technologies is to simply start using them. Find small targeted projects that can benefit from these tools, and use these experiences as success stories to gain both buy-in from leadership and adoption from employees.

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