Harnessing the Power of Community

Sangeeta    May 30, 2013

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 work then the concept of communities at work is a natural evolution.  They already exist. Social groups, dragonboat teams, fundraising groups, potlucks, etc. are all a form of community. But how do communities remain relevant and dynamic in the world of geographically dispersed teams, working from home, different time zones?

IBM is finding the answers as they boost employee involvement around the world, harness the power of knowledge sharing and empower employees to write their own rules.

In the article “How IBM Uses Social Media to Spur Employee Innovation” posted on the Social Media Examiner, author Casey Hibbard outlines some of the guiding principles that led to social media success within IBM.

  • Boost employee involvement – By making the same technology platforms available to all employees around the world, employees are able to connect with peers who share similar interests.
  • Harness the power of knowledge sharing – Knowledge sharing, especially in an informal way allows employees to learn, collaborate and solve problems. When a social media platform is layered with that knowledge sharing is becomes dynamic content visible to the entire community to comment on and rate.
  • Empower employees – When content is dynamic the frequency of repeat visitors increases. IBM has also take a further step in employee empowerment by removing the traditional role of moderating or policing employee posts.

With over 100,000 employees registered on their internal blogging platforms, over 17,000 internal blogs and upwards of one million page hits, IBM is proving that it is a leader in employee engagement willing to take advantage of the benefits of social media. And in the spirit of knowledge sharing the article provides tangible guidelines that many companies can utilize to maximize the benefits of internal social media.

Submitted by Sangeeta Zilka, SMBP, University of Waterloo

To contact the author of this entry email sanzilka@hotmail.com.

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.