Business transformation through enterprise social networking – the story of Deloitte Australia

jvaishnav    October 5, 2015

Organization Name: Deloitte Australia, a member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Industry: Professional services (accounting, auditing, taxes)

Name of contact: Cindy Hook, CEO

Web references:

Deloitte Australia website: About Deloitte Australia, Careers, Culture and Behaviours

Deloitte Australia Facebook page

Forrester – Ted Schadler’s Blog: Winners of the 2011 Forrester Groundswell Awards (Management Division) – Deloitte’s Yammer Time

Social Media at Deloitte: Participation, communication, transformation

Press release: Deloitte Australia and Yammer Win Prestigious Industry Award for Social Technology Excellence

About Deloitte Australia

As a brand, Deloitte is known as a member of the “Big 4” Professional Services firms for audits, economics, financial advisory, human capital, taxes and technology.  Deloitte Australia’s revenue for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2015 was A$1.336 billion. After a 15% increase in profits year-over-year, Deloitte Australia plans to sustain its momentum by continuing to “invest in innovative new services, products and people, while expanding its business through acquisitions, alliances and organic growth.”  With over 5400 people located in 14 offices across Australia, Deloitte’s employees are crucial to the company’s success and collaboration is key.

At the heart of Deloitte’s culture are the following “Seven Signals”:

Seven Signals - Deloitte

The “Play to win – think globally” signal calls for employees to “collaborate and act beyond the boundaries of teams and location markets”.

Leading in a connected world, by connecting employees

“In a connected world, power shifts to those best able to connect.” – Ethicist Dov Seldman

Deloitte Australia references Seldman’s quote in its document Social Media at Deloitte – Participation, communication, transformation, issued in May 2010. The document further states, “Connecting, innovation and people are key planks in Deloitte Australia’s strategy. So it is natural the firm should lead when it comes to social media.”

Being able to connect with people requires “relevance”. Deloitte Australia states that “Fortunately ‘being relevant’ and ‘being connected’ are characteristics of Deloitte’s brand.”

Entrusting employees to participate in social media is not an easy step for many companies. In a 2009 survey by Deloitte Touch LLP in the USA , 74% of employees surveyed said it was EASY to damage a company’s reputation on social media. That’s cause for concern.

Nevertheless, Deloitte Australia decided to turn to one of its Seven Signals – “Empower and Trust”, as a guiding principle in developing and implementing a business transformation strategy that relied heavily on social media. The company decided to embrace social media both as a medium to connect its employees, and as a platform for its employees to engage with customers.

Let’s look further at how the company uses social media to connect its employees.

Transforming the business with social media

According to its careers page, Deloitte Australia is committed to helping talent “lead, develop, flex and connect”.  Social media is the foundation by which Deloitte’s thousands of professionals connect with other members of the firm. The organization’s internal social network is comprised of two technology platforms – the DeloittePeopleNetwork (DPN) and Yammer.

DPN is kind of like the of the business. Rather than hosting profiles of potential mates, it hosts profiles of employees and helps them “cut through the complexity of the organization, solve problems faster, and to make connections and collaborate effectively across borders and functions.”

By contrast, Yammer is sort of a cross between Twitter and Facebook. It’s a private, secure enterprise social network where employees around the globe can meet to share ideas and engage in virtual conversations.  According to Deloitte, “Stories abound of professionals who use Yammer to find resources, support, and even staffing for member firm projects.”

Yammer at Deloitte Australia

Deloitte Australia has been recognized for its business transformation through social technology excellence, winning the prestigious Forrester Groundswell Award in the Management: Collaboration System category in 2011.  At the time, usage of Yammer had exploded internally, spreading to 5000 staff members and 12 offices. Deloitte reported that Yammer users had lower staff turnover (2% vs. the company average of 15-20%) and that Yammer had reduced costs, broken down silos, and accelerated innovation. The award entry also stated that Yammer helped build culture, improve connections for mobile workers, and made it easier to leverage knowledge and expertise.

“Yammer is used within Deloitte as an effective communication tool which allows all people to communicate with each other at any time. It has become the preferred communications tool within Deloitte with almost 5000 members in Australia, over 450 groups and countless messages sent to date. The knowledge sharing benefits, building of communities, and removal of hierarchies, plus the simplicity of broadly connecting with people, have benefited Deloitte enormously.” – Peter Williams, CEO of Deloitte Digital, 2011

What do employees think?

With their 3700th member signed up, the company decided to ask it’s employees – Why do we love Yammer at Deloitte?


And what did the employee at the top think?

In his 2011 video interview with RMIT University, Giam Swiegers, CEO of Deloitte Australia said, “Social media is changing the rules” and indicated it would not be possible to be an effective leader in the future without using it.  He discusses his personal use of Yammer and gives a great example of how Yammer helped to connect two professionals from different sides of the organization, leading to an innovative solution being presented to the right contact at a client account.

Lessons learned

Organizations can use social media to create a more cohesive and collaborative culture. This collaborative culture can lead to business transformation.

Enterprise social networking solutions like Yammer and SocialCast can be valuable assets in creating a collaborative culture.  These solutions, when fully leveraged, can help connect employees that would otherwise remain unconnected, thus enabling knowledge sharing, building of communities, and the removal of internal hierarchies.

To truly succeed, people at the highest levels of the organization must be transparent and embrace transparency.

At Deloitte Australia, Yammer has become the communication tool of choice. What is your organization’s tool of choice?  Can it drive innovation and build community within your workforce?

Submitted By: Julie Vaishnav, University of Waterloo SMBP

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