Moving at the Speed of Social Business

As we look forward to the new year, we will see the emergence of social business budgets supporting social activation of personnel across small, mid-size and enterprise organizations.

Many early adopters of social business wrongly chose to invest in technology first. Other organizations coasted or sat on the sidelines to see what the leaders and early adopters experienced. In 2015, leading firms will step forward and take heed of current best practices and frameworks to create a coherent social program. Below is an overview of the first of four phases of social business.

Social Inception and Leadership: Define Leadership Team, Activate Employees & Increase Participation.

The first critical step for new entrants or firms engaged in social business that are not seeing reliable metrics is to establish an executive leader and advocate team. This team’s mission will be to influence social business adoption and activity by personnel across departments and the organization. The core team should come to agreement on the social business policy and objectives.

Next, focus on employee activation and anecdotal successes to accelerate proficiency and productivity should be undertaken. Training and an increase in activity are the core elements of a successful program in the crawl phase. The elimination of silos or departmental stove pipes will occur as social business requires collaboration and an enterprise team approach. The leadership by example demonstrated by the executive sponsor and the advocate team will influence others to participate. Training and communication of successes and challenges encountered will also foster interest and engagement across the enterprise.

As your organization begins its social business journey, work to internalize the attributes and behaviors of a healthy social business culture, including the following:

  1. Develop and regularly revisit your social business policy.

  2. Conduct a bi-annual executive and employee advocate workshop to revisit the vision, mission and plan.

  3. Vet the social savviness of prospective hires.

  4. Train new employees on social business practices as a matter of practice during on-boarding.

  5. Regularly train and provide forums for employees to share their experiences to enhance social judgment.

  6. Evaluate social business metrics monthly and quarterly, and make adjustments as needed.

  7. Encourage communication across departments and teams about social business experiences.

Social business maturity will not just happen within organizations. Process re-engineering is as much a part of social business as content creation, collaboration and creating incentives to influence employee behavior. Make sure to acknowledge the socially savvy in your organization, celebrate successes and communicate challenges. Transparency and being nimble in making changes are the cornerstones of a successful social business.

At the end of the day, we are all learning the right social business tactics and techniques, and many best practices are still emerging.