IBM Encourages Employee’s to Use Social Media with No Hold Bars.

Sonia    June 17, 2011

Organization Name: IBM

Industry: Technology

Web References: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-ibm-uses-social-media-to-spur-employee-innovation/, http://www.research.ibm.com/social/projects_socialblue.html, http://www.ibm.com/blogs/zz/en/guidelines.html

Description of how social media is used for business and employee involvement

In times when many companies are scurrying to implement a social media policy in fear that post may reflect badly, create legal problems for their company or worry about what social media platform is used, IBM is doing the opposite.  IBM’s Adam Christensen says “We don’t have a corporate blog or a corporate Twitter ID because we want the ‘IBMers’ in aggregate to be the corporate blog and the corporate Twitter ID”

IBM believes social media without intervening creates a vibrant forum where employees can exchange ideas freely and have the ‘water cooler’ conversations, without having to worry about who’s watching them.   Christensen says, “we realized we could trust employees to engage. Employees realized, ‘if we’re within reason, we’re going to be trusted’.”

IBM has a decentralized approach to social media which consist of unprecedented collaboration and innovation among their employees.  In fact, IBM funded $100 million on incubator businesses that was based from group discussion on social media platforms.

IBM encourages their diverse group of employees to talk to each other and the public without interfering or policing. It makes good business sense to let the people doing the day to day work collaborate and share ideas with consumers and each other.

Lesson for others

IBM has been around for 114 years, and they strongly believe in empowering their employees, so much so, that their social media guidelines was created by their employees. They believe if you stand back, employees tend to self regulate.   Providing a forum for employees to engage freely has proven profitable for IBM.

Submitted By: Sonia Singh