Motivating and Harnessing Employee’s Thoughts, Ideas, and Energy with Social Media

cregan    February 1, 2015


Organization Name:         best_buy_logo     Best Buy Co. Inc.


Industry: Technology Retailer

Name of contact:  CEO Hubert Joly

 Web References:

Description on how Social Media is used for Business Performance:

Gallup Organization estimates that companies sacrifice over $300 billion every year to such productivity issues as engagement, interpersonal issues and group dynamics.  Clearly, this is a lot of money, almost twice the total cost of the U.S. Space Shuttle since its inception. What can be done?

Companies in the last number of years have been experimenting with Social Media to reach employees and get them involved.  I believe companies are seeing this technology as a way to build their employee engagement.  Studies conducted by companies such as Gallup, and Towers Perrin report companies with highly engaged employees achieve better financial results than those companies with disengaged employees.  A Towers Perrin study of 50 global companies reported business performance improvement of 51% higher operating income with 39% higher earnings per share for those companies who have an employee engaged culture compared to one’s with a disengaged culture.

A key question from leaders is can Social Media help increase employee engagement?  A study conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies founded the drivers of engagement to be:

  • The alignment of Employee’s values and beliefs with the company’s values and beliefs;
  • An employee’s understanding business context and bigger picture and how they are contributing to the company;
  • Relationship that are authentic, transparent, motivating with co-workers, and management;
  • A collaborative working environment where workers collectively work together to achieve a common goal;
  • An opportunity to learn, grow, and develop their personal skills and ability; and
  • An environment where worker’s contributions, ideas, and actions are valued and recognized.

Team workCompanies leaders know in today’s reality of an Uncertain, Volatile, Ambiguous, Complex, (UVAC) world, their organization needs to be adaptive, nimble and agile to be sustainable and survive. The company’s future is rooted in leaders’ ability to relate and connect with their employees so they are motived and inspired to achieve their best at all times.  Social Media is another communications channel available to managers and leaders reach out to employees and together create an energetic, enthusiastic and motiving work environment

Best Buy is a company who has experimented and embraced Social Media in many aspects of their business .  They have a very comprehensive Social Media strategy that has increased their business performance.  Gina Debogovich, Best Buy’s Community Manager described the depth and breadth of their Social Media program in her presentation entitled Best Buy’s Social Media Engagement Presentation.

In the presentation, Gina outlines different ways Best Buy is building employee involvement and engagement through:

  • Internal Communications through forums such as :Best Buy Community” or “MySpace” where employees ask questions, exchanges ideas, opinions, and information;
  • Employee input through Best Buy’s “Loop Marketplace” to harness employees’ ideas through suggestions. The “Loop Marketplace also has a stock market simulation game where employees trade predictions on what they think is hot for the future and other employees value the ideas by buying these predictions; and
  • assisting employees to grow through the “Learninglounge”; and
  • . Other forums with video .

Jennifer Rock, Director of Employee Communications (US) is interviewed by HR Reporter (Employee Engagement and Social Media) where she provides more insights into how Best Buy is using Social Media.  She stresses an important aspect for a Social Media is leadership courage and support.  Leaders need to encouraging employees to have open dialogue and listening to what employees are say about the company.

Best Buy Social Media Results:

The success of their program is highlighted by staff’s comments in the video “The Company as Wiki” about how staff uses the Social Media tools and the benefits to them.  The second part of the video is a conversation with Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson.  It is clear from the employees’ conversations and those of Brad Anderson, their Social Media program is very successful.   Former CEO Brad Anderson identified the importance of Social Media when he stated “The internal social media channels are essentially to “harness the energy” of the 170,000 staff”.  The resulting employee involvement is shifting Best Buy’s culture from a distribution company to a solution provider while at the same time it is aligning employees’ fundamental behaviours of employees to support the company’s core values:

  • Integrity and trust;
  • Constant learning and dealing with change;
  • Unleashing the power of people; and
  • Having fun while winning.

Another interesting aspect of Best Buy case is their focus on looking at the ROI (return on investment) of all their initiatives.  In the article “Competing on Talent Analytics” Harvard Business Review, October 2010 identified Best Buy can precisely identify the value of a 0.1% increase in engagement at a particular store to be more than $100,000 in the store’s annual operating income.

While another article by Baird & Parasnis “Social CRM”,  they reported that Best Buy is experiencing improved employee morale, better knowledge sharing and connections across the enterprise, corporate passion for social media innovation and significant brand buzz.  With these types of results, one can easily understand why companies are looking at Social Media as a way to take employee engagement to the next level.

Lessons Learned:

Several key lessons can be learned from the success of Best Buy’s Social Media program:

  1. Employees will be able to collaborate and share their experience and passion about the company’s outcomes and success.
  2. Employees will be better connected to a company’s goals and values.
  3. Better communications at all levels within an organization will develop over time.
  4. Your company’s culture and leadership will be impacted by Social Media.
  5. All social media initiatives need to have a business case with an ROI statement.
  6.  Leadership courage, curiosity and fortitude are necessary for a Social Media to be successful.

The importance of Best Buy’s Social Media Program is best summarized by Chief Marketing Officer Barry Judge when he said “to be relevant in a digital world you need to live digitally with your communications to your customers and staff and live digitally with the products you sell”.

Submitted by: Charlie Regan

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