2 June 2016

Enterprise Social Networking – the lowdown from SMiLE Workshops

We headed to Simply Communicate’s SMiLE workshops to learn all the latest trends in Enterprise Social Networking (ESN).

We returned buzzing with ideas for our clients’ internal social media. Here, we share some of the key lessons learned from the event.


1). Get your leadership on board


We are Social is a social media agency that has grown from two people to a whopping 600 in just eight years. Looking to increase global team collaboration, the agency launched its own customised intranet and enterprise social network, The Ship. The senior management was very active on the site from the beginning, with the company founder being almost obsessive about success. The result? Global collaboration increased from just 19% to a massive 59%.


Lesson learned: Having your senior leadership on board isn’t a ‘nice to have’ it’s a ‘must have’ if you want results. Speak to them about how they will contribute to the platform, how they will respond to comments and get their thoughts and buy-in to take part in regular online chats. An ESN is a chance to make leadership accessible to the workforce.


2). Measurement matters


Everyone loves to talk measurement! And rightly so. We are Social used clear and concise measurement metrics to make sure they could justify the investment to stakeholders and show how collaboration and communication were improved. Metrics used included ‘How easy is it to access information? (before 47% said easy or very easy with this increasing to 87% after launch) and How easy is it to access client information? (before 32% said easy or very easy, with this increasing to 69% in a year after launch).


Lesson learned: It’s vital to ask measurement questions before and after launch and then at regular intervals after that. Too often measurement is an afterthought with click rates and user stats being the go-to metric. Speak to your stakeholders at the very start of your ESN process and see what success looks like for them. Integrate this into your strategy and planning from the start.


3). Launch with a bang…and don’t stop


Launching an ESN was a subject touched on throughout the day, with tactics shared including upward mentoring, finding champions within the business, creating buzz offline through business and social events, training sessions, communication materials and launch and special campaigns. Again, the importance of an active senior management team in this process was never too far from the table. It was talked about how a taskforce of passionate people from various divisions of a business could be a vital backbone for successful uptake from employees.


Lesson learned: Plan every stage of your ESN journey to the tee, from initial employee research and stakeholder engagement to launch, roll out and campaigns to keep momentum. Simply Succeed has a useful online ‘readiness’ tool, which is well worth a look http://simply-succeed.com/readiness/


4). Think of the future when setting objectives


Setting objectives is always important. Sounds simple, right? But too many companies jump on the bandwagon of the latest social media tools and platforms without actually stepping back and seeing if they address a real business need. State your vision, such as this one shared by Brightstarr: “An easy-to-use digital workplace for every employee to help them connect, be collaborative and be more productive in their job.” Then refer back to this at all stages of your journey to ensure that whatever direction you take, it’s for the right reasons.


Lesson learned: Assess all of the tools and platforms available to see which one truly meets your objectives. Think about flexibility and agility. Often, off-the-shelf products allow you more room to change and adapt than custom-made solutions. Your business and business needs will grow and you’ll need a platform that will grow with you.


5). Have a governance model


For speaker Luis Suarez, a wirearchy pioneer, governance is an integral part of getting an ESN right. But it’s not easy, and he suggested that lots of companies don’t bother because they find it difficult to get people to comply. But, all functions should share ownership of your ESN and that includes helping employees know what is acceptable use.


Lesson learned: Think of it as guidelines, not governance. An example was shared about how IBM used a group of employee bloggers to prepare its guidelines, which made them much more relatable to the workforce. It also helped to empower employees.


6). Enable early adopters (change agents)


Finding experts within your organisation who can take the reins of your ESN and help it grow organically is incredibly important. You need to identify the champions who can inspire change and help junior team members become leaders of tomorrow by enabling them to offer mentoring to others.


Lesson learned: Grab the people who are sharing the most and give them a sense of purpose in helping transform the organisation. Link them up across the global community and don’t forget to say thank you.


Launching your own ESN?


Are you launching your own ESN or looking to improve engagement?

We’d love to hear from you!

Get in touch on Gemma@mccannsynergy.com.uk or call 0117 962 1534.

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