Social networks inside an enterprise

In this, and this  posts I talked about using internal blogs and wikis as a collaboration and project management tools, but still, not all people are welling to blog let’s not forget that it consumes time for writing a long blog and surely many others are not passionate about writing. Wikis are not conversational tools, and inside organizations their contents can be dealt with formally. IM massaging is not documented, it’s usually peer to peer and outside the browser.

This is why it’s very practical to have a social networking tool, to have an ongoing conversation which is easy for staff to involve in, post problems, solutions, ideas, socialise and network with each other. It also retain their talents and peer recognition, and sometimes, icrease their lifes!

However, as with any Enterprise 2.0 facility, adopting, using and sustaining it depends on the culture. You have to build your strategy depending on the current communication moods and norms, the social tools will just reflect what is there, and filter the best of it. Officeworks as our case example, can have the following points as a strategy for internal social network:

  • It has to be used as a main medium for announcements, to guarantee the regular access to, especially new employees announcements, so they start their careers on a conversation with the other staff, and it will make it familiar to them
  • Higher management usage for some conversations that can go internally public will make the staff more interested in accessing it
  • Specify a “no email day” to use the social network only for internal communication, and it’s better to be a “happy” day like Friday 😉
  • There are many tools that can be used, the tool is recommended to have the following characteristics:
    • It has to be installed on an owned servers, not using the famous services like Facebook because they don’t control them
    • Staff have to able to access it from anywhere on the internet. The social activities are usually moody, so, to flourish they shouldn’t restricted to work place.
    • As a tool, it has to has a mobile app, or at least a mobile friendly website, because most of the workers are in the stores, physically moving
    • It has to use the current users authentication and disable anonymous contributions

This post is dedicated to the internal use of social media only, for external usage, as marketing and resource building, you can check the following links from E2US team:

The importance of an independent corporate blog, Officeworks and environmental advocates conflict as an example

Since Reflex lost its environmental certification because of their Victoria’s forests wood chip, and though they are still certified under the Australian Forestry Standard. Officeworks found themselves in the middle, between environmental advocates (some of which are their customers)  on one side  and their commitment to their other customers, partners and stakeholders on the other side. There is a pressure on Officeworks to stop selling Reflex’s papers in their stores. Even though more than 650 companies boycott Reflext, the advocates are pressing on Officeworks since they are one of the largest stationary retailers in Australia.

Officeworks has a valid point, as their managing director Mark Ward mentioned, that boycotting Reflex will not solve anything, and all their paper is certified to the Australian Forestry Standard, which is recognised by the international group Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, and they are looking for alternatives of the local timber.

However, Officeworks have shown a commitment to the environment by cutting their ties with one of the biggest Asian paper makers, APRIL, because they are illegally logging Indonesian forests, and it’s a different case than Reflex which is legal and still certified under AFS. Also Officeworks  consider the environment one of their responsibilities, and they actually didn’t defend Reflex’s acts.

So, why when we open Officeworks page on Facebook we found people are complaining everywhere? why Officeworks point of view is only mentioned in a small part at the end of the news? or directing people to a forum created by Australian Papers the owners of Reflex?

This is one of many cases where companies found themselves have to start a conversation with the audience, Officeworks for example has an advanced website with many services, but no blog to have their points of view, the blog also may have interesting information and news about, for example, printing and design which will catch the interest of many people. But mainly it’s a platform to clarify their opinion to the public and start a conversation that led by them; a link to the post maybe posted on their wall on Faccebook and on twitter so whomever want to criticise them, will have a background about their attitudes, then the conversation will be more matuer. Officeworks points of view about this issue is peppered on small replies on Facebook, if it is a full strong convincing argument on one place owned by Officeworks like an official blog, something like what Telstra is doing, then it will clarifies their attitudes and commitments to the environment, and we may have another side among environment advocates that defends Officeworks.