Creating Participation, Excitement for Social Business Efforts
By Karen J. Bannan
There’s a statistic that’s been thrown around a lot recently by journalists – even me – who are writing about social business: Four out of five social business efforts will “not achieve the intended benefits due to inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology,” according to a recent Gartner study, Predicts 2013: Social and Collaboration Go Deeper and Wider.
One of the ways you can reduce emphasis on technology and boost leadership at the same time you’re starting your social business – or reinventing it – is by creating a simple kickoff program. This gives employees something to rally around, especially if you can offer rewards for participation. For example, you may want to create an online event designed to ask employees to weigh in on how they would like to see your social business platform used. Set a deadline for responses and integrate offline activities and promotion with what you’re doing online to create excitement for the event. Once the ideas portion of the event is complete you can provide a list for employees to vote on, with the authors of the winning ideas becoming social business champions within your organization.
By doing so, you’ll uncover potential leaders and social business champions that may not be obvious choices at first glance. And the exercise will undoubtedly unearth innovative ideas and suggestions that, once voted on, can be integrated into your social business plans. However, it’s not enough to simply create a program like this and let the masses get involved. As Carol Rozwell, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner points out in a press release, existing company leaders need to get involved, too – and do so from the very beginning.
“Successful social business initiatives require leadership and behavioral changes. Just sponsoring a social project is not enough — managers need to demonstrate their commitment to a more open, transparent work style by their actions,” explains Rozwell.
When everything comes together, it can create excitement, help with change management and ensure that more employees are on board and willing to learn a new work style for their benefit as well as the organization’s.