Asking the question: GOOD; asking it over and over: BAD – where social engagement in the workplace fails.


Using social tools within the enterprise is a valuable thing. It lets people ask questions to a bigger audience than just those sitting within hearing distance of their desk.

I’ve discussed this in earlier posts (ESS (Enterprise Social Software) – user adoption, and Let’s share!). It’s incredibly valuable to be able to draw on the knowledge of others. That’s why it’s good to be able to ask questions. The answer given helps not just the asker, but can help others, and at the same time, others can add to the answer creating even more value.

Where I feel this all falls down though is that, often, there is no real way to capture that knowledge that came about from the questions asked. Continue reading

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Social Media in Business

Life is social.” …  “Business is social.  People buy from people they like and they like people who know them.  When we meet someone in their office we look at pictures on their wall so we can share something in common.  We want to build intimacy and trust.  Social media is just an electronic way to listen and engage…extending the old school way of going to someone’s office.

The above is a quote from a Forbes article (by Gene Marks) that I recently read. The article was discussing the adoption of social media in business.

While it seems that there is certainly a lot of interest in using social media in a business sense, there just hasn’t been that “compelling reason” to adopt it without question.

However there are still those that seem to see a real benefit (as seen in the quote above”, there are still a lot of people who don’t.

From what I’ve seen, business is still being run by a generation that hasn’t grown up with the web2.0 “idea”. And…there still isn’t a real business use that makes “C” level staff decide to implement it, without trying to work out first what they are going to use it for. (For some ideas on this, check out one of my earlier posts “ESS (Enterprise Social Software) – user adoption“)

Here’s the link to Gene’s post: Am I Wasting My Time On Social Media?

  • My Social Media posts
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ESS (Enterprise Social Software) – user adoption

In an earlier post (“Let’s Share“) I discussed the benefits of sharing information in the workplace.

One of the ways to do this is be using ESS (Enterprise Social Software). This includes employee’s blogs, wikis, and micro-blogging.

However, just providing the tools does not mean that will be used.

Murali Sitaram, (Vice President and General Manager for Cisco’s Enterprise Collaboration Platform Group), has written an excellent post in which he describes ESS, and the value it can have in the workplace.

I would like to borrow a few paragraphs from one particular section in his post in which he discusses strategies for User Adoption:

  • Make it personally valuable:Enabling employees to post, tag, bookmark and share information enables them to create their own personal learning environment and build relationships with peers based on similar interests. Adoption will not be driven directly by what processes they are involved in, or any other formal activity that directs their role. Instead, their use of ESS is influenced by their own goals – which might tie to career development, recognition of their expertise, or professional networking.
  • Make it a community effort:People often enjoy helping others and collectively co-creating something of value. Adoption can be facilitated by posing challenges for employees to overcome. For instance, inviting employees to participate in solving some of the more pressing issues facing the company (products, markets) or their department (customer service, data quality) can tap into the goodwill of employees to contribute.
  • Make it the new way of working:Over the years, companies have changed the means of production by deploying office productivity tools, or automating work activities by deploying various business applications such as CRM. Employees had to change the way they worked as the work itself changed in terms of its tooling. In some cases, we can change the work itself such that people blog instead of creating documents, or share information via wikis rather than email. As people become comfortable using tools for their daily routine, they can become more comfortable using the same tools to voluntarily participate in communities and professional networks.

These points describe excellent ways to not only encourage the use of social media tools in a company, but to also bring about a change in the culture of a company in a way that is not “thou shalt, or else!” way.

I really encourage you to read Murali’s post. You can find it here.

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