Chili’s Grill & Bar is an American casual dining restaurant chain that features Tex-Mex-style cuisine. The company was founded by Larry Lavine in Texas in 1975 and is currently owned and operated by Brinker International. It wasn’t long ago that the words used to describe Chili’s was “It’s a place I remember my mom and dad taking me as a kid. There’s no growth and development around the company, and I never hear any buzz surrounding it.” Those were the words that Chili’s Director of Workplace Community Chris Ebbeler heard after surveying employees of other restaurants. They polled the audience to understand how Chili’s Grill & Bar brand was perceived by restaurant workers and whether they’d even consider working for the restaurant. In short, the responses left him and other members of the Chili’s brass disappointed. The company listened to those concerns as well as concerns from their own team members and made the crucial decision to turn their organization around and transform the old-school perception into something powerful, modern and attractive to the next generation workforce.
In the first decade of the century, BlackBerry (then known as Research In Motion) was an unrivaled leader in the smartphone industry. The introduction of the Inter@ctive Pager brought emails to users wherever they went and with each subsequent device, they further refined their capabilities, bringing in phone features and internet connectivity—making them a household name with prestige across the world. That all changed with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the Android operating system in 2010. These competitors, along with the substandard device launches, left BlackBerry in an extremely vulnerable position in 2011. In July of 2011, they announced the first in what would be a substantial number of layoffs over the coming years, initially letting go 2,000 employees, but in the end letting to of nearly up to 10,000 employees — with 4,500 alone being announced in September 2013. Imploding Employee Morale This landscape led even the most passionate employees to question not only their decision to stay with the company, but the likelihood of their own careers within BlackBerry. The management team knew that they would never be able to perform their critical turn-around strategy if employee engagement stayed low, so they looked to the Internal Communications department to make sure employees were heard and valued during the upheaval. They knew that fear would not be a motivating factor in ensuring performance, so they needed to appeal to their own motivation and job satisfaction. Though the company was known for emails and was an extremely email-heavy culture, the team decided that they best way to foster that engagement was to have a single space where employees could go to hear from leaders, find out the latest news internally and externally, and communicate with each other. They decided to invest in their intranet.
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Were you aware that a small staff of six are working to save the lives of LGBTQI people all over the world? As the name Rainbow Railroad implies they work to discreetly move people out of dangerous circumstances into safe houses, and often on to a safe haven in a new country. Their name is intended to pay homage to the Underground Railroad that began in the 1780s. In April of this year, the abduction, detentions, torture and deaths of 200 plus LGBTQI Chechens were documented by the media. What you may not realize is that this is a global problem. Homosexuality is illegal in over 70 countries, several of which impose a death sentence. Living in a country where homosexuality has been decriminalized does not guarantee one’s safety. Rainbow Railroad has grown to a team of six employees (five in Canada, and one in the United States) and obtained charitable status in 2013. The inspiration to begin Rainbow Railroad came from a homeless Palestinian youth during World Pride in Tel Aviv in 2006. Supported by an active board of directors and countless volunteers, this organization has assisted more than 300 individuals to date.
How do you unite a rapidly growing company that has offices all over the world? How do you integrate the work of employees in disciplines that range from architecture to geomatics to wastewater engineering? How do you inspire people who’ve come to your organization through acquisition to buy into your vision? These were some of the challenges facing Stantec in 2011. In consultation with employees, Stantec built a new strategic framework around the concept of community and launched it in 2013. “We have evolved our brand to better reflect who we are and what our clients and employees believe about us,” says Stantec president and chief executive officer, Bob Gomes in a news release. “Our new positioning—focusing on community, creativity, and client relationships—differentiates us in our many market sectors. At Stantec, we design with community in mind: we help our clients meet the needs of the communities we collectively serve.” Four years later, that concept of community pervades all areas of the organization, on its website, in its employee publications and its marketing materials. And social media plays an important role in bringing the strategy to life. Here are three examples of how Stantec uses social networking and collaborative tools to build a sense of community across disciplines and time zones.
Rolling around on a skateboard is a right of passage for most children growing up in North America, many of them dreaming of becoming the next Tony Hawk, or Nyjah Huston. While many of these people will never attain these goals, they will still have a blast pushing around town on their boards. Skateboarding is a wonderful tool for transportation, but it has a few key limitations. The main problem is hills, and everyone who has ever stepped on a skateboard has a deep fear of the dreaded “speed wobble“. While going down a hill on a skateboard, you don’t have many options for braking and going up hills is also an issue, as it becomes a battle against gravity. Boosted Board is a company that was founded to improve some of the issues that have plagued skaters for years. Boosted Board is an electric skateboard controlled by a small handheld remote. You can adjust your speed and even brake! Skateboarders everywhere now have a solution to some of their problems. Boosted Boards has turned to social media to showcase their product to the skateboarders of the world and get everyone skateboarding again.
Professor Justin Bruckmann walked into his martial arts academy on September 8th, 2016, expecting a normal day of teaching classes. What he was instead greeted by was the destruction of his life’s work. The club’s hot water tank had burst, flooding the entire building. Nothing could be salvaged, from the floor mats, to the washrooms and Justin was left waiting for insurance to pick up the pieces. With nothing to do but wait, Justin turned to his social media network to spread the terrible news, there were classes to teach and no academy to house the students. What happened next was a perfect example of employee involvement helping an organization recover and thrive.
Organizations are always looking for new and innovative ways to reach out to consumers and drive loyalty. Social media is used for a lot of different things when it comes to business, from receiving customer feedback to advertising new products. Recently, companies have started to involve their customers in a very crucial part of their business, the product development and design of their products. Some companies are using social media platforms for the company’s advantage in order to enhance the development of the next great product, while making customers feel valued by listening to their opinions and ideas. In 2013, Tesco, a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer decided to do something different. This organization had an amazing initiative to get their whole social media following involved in the process of creating a new wine, mainly through Facebook.
In today’s social media communities it can be noisy, even annoying, to see sponsored and promoted messages, have products clamouring for your attention, and marketing departments from companies of all sizes try their best to stand out in the chaos. But for one ABC television show, they’ve successfully approached social media in a different way. To listen. The show itself (The Bachelor) is a marketing goldmine. The quest for love, smothered in manipulated drama, to appeal to the hopeless romantics, or provide an endless parade of judge worthy material for the cynics. Its hard to deny the vapid nature of the show itself, but what the show has done with it’s social media offers a lot of lessons for the marketing community.
Organization Name: SAP SE Industry: Software Web References: Company Website Twitter SAP SE is a German software company based out of Waldorf, Germany with customers all over the world. SAP deals in the space of Enterprise Software, which allows organizations to manage their customers and business relations. With over 293,500 customers in over 190 countries, managing customer relationships and ensuring that… Read more »
Organization Name: Zappos Inc. Industry: Online retailer – shoes, clothes, accessories and more Contact: Tony Hsieh, CEO Web references: www.zappos.com; YouTube, Twitter, Social Media Examiner, Forbes The concept: Zappos.com is more than just an online shoe and accessories retailer. The Zappos Family embraces a set of core values the entire company is aligned behind, and that serves as the real… Read more »
Organization Name: think with Google Name of Contacts: Brian Solis, Altimeter Group – @briansolis @thinkwithgoogle Industry: Digital Marketing Web references: Think with Google Past, Present, and Future of Social Media Social media has been a tool that has been unknowingly immersed in our everyday interactions from as early as the invention of the early stages of postal services originating in 500 B.C. When… Read more »
Organization name: GitHub Name of Contacts: Tom Preston-Werner, Co-Founder and Former President, GitHub Chris Wanstrath, Co-Founder and CEO, GitHub PJ Hyett, Co-Founder and COO, GitHub Industry: Code Sharing Network – Social Networking Site for Programmers Web references: GitHub – @GitHub Twitter – @Twitter Mark Otto – @mdo Jacob Thornton – @fat Company Overview College drop out, Chris Wanstrath began development of GitHub in October of 2007. By… Read more »
Organization Name: Indigo Industry: Retail, Online Retail Name of Contact: Heather Reisman CEO Web References: Indigo, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Globe and Mail, CBC Established in 1996 with a vision of being a booklovers’ cultural department store, Indigo opened it’s first store in Burlington, Ontario in 1997. Growing from there it merged with Chapters in 2001 to become the largest… Read more »
Business name: Tracx Industry: Social Media Management and Marketing Intelligence Contact: Reinhardt Schuhmann, Product Manager Description Tracx is a NYC-based company with a SaaS platform for sophisticated brand marketers who want to manage their social media presence. The company provides an end-to-end solution that indexes the entire social web and captures a 360 degree view of activity around a brand. This… Read more »
Organization Name: Project Management Institute Industry: not-for-profit professional membership association Web Reference: www.pmi.org Contact: PMI, Bruce Branch Board of Directors The introduction and proliferation of social media has changed the world of marketing and how organizations of every type communicate with and market to consumers. Consumers are no longer passive. They have voices, they have needs and they… Read more »
Title: Whole Foods Market – Using Social Media To Influence The Supply Chain Organization Name: Whole Foods Market Industry: Food, Supermarket Name of Contact: John Mackey (Founder and CEO) Who Are They? Whole Foods Market is an American grocery retailer that specializes in providing natural and organic food options throughout their supermarket style stores. It currently has just shy of 400 stores located… Read more »
According to Wikipedia the term community refers to a social unit of any size that shares common values (it can also mean national or international groups of individuals). Evidence of communities can be found throughout history and now, leveraging technology, specifically social media, the concept of community is transforming within companies. If individuals spend a third of their time at… Read more »