Friday, July 18, 2008

Connectivity Powers Talent: Leveraging Employee Social Networks

According to a recent survey, 83% of workers rate relationships with co-workers as a critical reason for joining and staying with their employer, and alternatively, one in four people quit a job due to feelings of isolation. Organizations that provide talent with tools to connect, build and manage their personal and professional networks, bond people to each other and to the organization. Moreover, organizations that offer employee social networking have an edge in attracting talent who thrives on these tools to exchange knowledge and ideas.

Mike Gotta, Principal Analyst at the Burton Group, presented this webinar, sponsored by SelectMinds.  The webinar was a production of the Human Capital Institute.

Social structures are influenced by team location:
  1. Co-located teams interact primarily as face-to-face
  2. Virtual teams interact primarily through electronic means with occasional face-to-face
  3. Far flung teams rarely interaction face-to-face
In this world of electronic communication, is "where you are" still important?

Mike proposed that people are less likely to contribute to a centralized storage system without the personal positive recognition. Workers may feel they are giving away their value and may feel alienated due to physical location and lack of reciprocity.

You should humanize people.  A sparse photobook makes you look like a mere phone number.

How does technology affect the social interaction:
  • Email - inbox is overloaded and conversations are fragmented
  • Instant messaging is promising but the interruption issues need to be resolved
  • Portals can work, but they suffer from poor navigation, there is a lack if interaction and there was little personalization
  • Content management systems are difficult to use and poor user experience
  • Discussion forums suffer from overload and clutter
  • Virtual workspaces get cluttered but turn into a file dumping ground
Can Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 help?
  • Blogs can help you to communicate
  • Tagging and social bookmarking enable user-centric discovery and findability
  • Micro-blogging (twitter) is the is the next-generation water cooler
  • RSS feeds offer an opt-in information delivery to employees
  • Wikis enable co-creation and co-ownership of information. You can build communities around shared interests
  • Social networks allow for flows of communication, information and collaboration
A corporate "facebook" can act as a destination and social hub.  The enterprise should look to taking down artificial barriers to communication and collaboration.  By opening the lines of communication and collaboration you can tap into a bigger pool of talent and knowledge.

Points for the Business Case:
  • Aging workplace pressures to transfer knowledge
  • Establish better learning environments
  • Better brainstorming
  • Informal feedback can improve situational awareness and decision-making
  • Employees as brand ambassadors
Use Case Scenarios:
  • Professional support for returning employees
  • Referral programs for alumni and employee referrals
  • Retiree programs to continue contribution
  • Improved travel information
  • Expertise location


  1. As an employee out in the workforce I can say that I have stayed with a company for several years because I loved the people I worked with. Even though the management was lousy the companionship was important enough for me to stay. I have recently been reading a customer service book that has showed me a real importance of getting feedback. Not just from the customer, but the employee as well. There are some great ideas on your sight as to how to make those connections among employees.

  2. I definitely think feeling connected can improve the function of a workplace - virtual or face to face. Working alone from a home office I used to worry would leave me feeling isolated, as I enjoy the sociability of the office. But facebook, twitter and social forums have given me the interaction without some of the negativity inherent in face to face offices.

  3. Can you tell me were I could find more about the survey you are mentioning ?



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