A public servant & an accountant walked into a bar…

Public servants and accountants aren’t your archetypal social media fanatics.

Yet professional services firm Deloitte and the Department of Justice are thriving hubs of internal social media activity; both have vibrant Yammer communities, regular internal events to promote social media and strong policies to advocate employees use of it.

So how did social media catch on fire in such stereotypically techno-phobic organisations?

In short, it comes down to a social strategy that starts with people, supported by process and the right technology (not just jumping on because “it’s cool”).

Here’s a few ideas on how to educate, inspire and encourage your staff to use social media.

Deloitte’s digital natives & digital immigrants program pairs up younger, tech savvy employees to mentor senior leaders on the how & what of social media.  It’s also a great opportunity to increase connectivity between colleagues, recruit new talent and build employees personal brand within the company.

Brown bag sessions DOJ regularly host lunchtime forums on social media, from beginner sessions to more industry-specific topics like open government to get employees acquainted with the concept in an relaxed, informal environment.

Get your leaders involved. In a series of  videos, Deloitte’s partners share their views on social media and encourage other employees to get involved, uploaded to Deloitte’s intranet.

Tangible iconic projects like the Only@ Deloitte Film Festival and the Victorian Public Service Hack Day invite the whole organisation to be part of an exciting, short-term initiative.  Make it easy to participate and sharable so everyone can get involved.  Projects like this produces visible results quickly,  and these tangibles send a clear message to employees that you are serious about social media being a part of the organisation.

SUPPORT YOUR PEOPLE WITH PROCESS & TOOLS

These ‘people’ ideas need support with the right technology and process.

Process.

Both Deloitte & Department of Justice have their own social media policies which clearly outline acceptable use, and provide guidance on how and where to use online collaboration tools. DOJ’s policy is also supported by more informal guidelines, minus the policy jargon.  For help with your social media policy, check out Laurel Papworth’s excellent resource here.

The right technology.

Getting started?

I’ve found the best tool to get employees comfortable with social media is Yammer.  Often referred to as the Office Facebook, it offers a simple interface with all the Web 2 bells and whistles.  Yammer offers numerous benefits to a workplace, including the ability to connect with others both formally and informally.

For more on Yammer, check out my preso Yammer in 5 Minutes.

LAST WORDS. Don’t make the same mistakes we did!

In our early attempts at trying to get internal teams to adopt social media at DOJ, there was a veritable social media wasteland of wikis, blogs and nings, which had been started by an enthusiastic individual or team but eventually lost momentum and been left to rot on the digital vine.

The main problem was that while social media is flavour of the week/month/year in the office, people would flock to join a wiki because they think they should, rather than thinking about why they need the tool, and what for.

What follows is a more serious issue to resolve – social media fatigue. Teams who had excitedly signed up to a wiki (or three), having now experienced the worst of social media –inbox-clogging, complex tools, that seem devoid of any real value – have become disillusioned with social media.

Remember! Signing up for the latest social media tool and putting out a policy is not enough.

You need to use your people to engage, support and drive others.

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