Yes, social media has a place in a productive workplace, as speakers from IBM, Fidelity Investments and State Street Corporation discussed in a recent NICSA webinar titled “Crowd Sourcing and Online Collaboration.”
All 3 firms are using social technologies to tap into the collective knowledge of their teams to enhance customer service, increase efficiency and build employee engagement. They’re asking team members worldwide to contribute their best ideas to a “virtual suggestion box” – and those ideas are leading to tangible operational improvements.
Fidelity, for example, is implementing 100 of these associate-sourced suggestions every year, which has resulted in $7 million in savings over the 3 years that the program has been in place. They recently crowd sourced a website design enhancement from their associates.
But as all 3 speakers stressed, “It’s not the technology; it’s the process.” Putting a program into place will not automatically generate results. Here are their tips for getting the most out of a crowd-sourcing effort:
- Make crowd sourcing an event, by focusing attention onto a specific time period. State Street recently ran a 72-hour program, closing the online suggestion box at the end of the event. Fidelity keeps its program open continually, but uses periodic directed campaigns to re-engage associates.
- Advertise the program extensively. Communicate that it’s ok to participate – but be careful not to pressure people. Show that the leadership team is directly involved.
- Facilitate the conversations. Engage content experts to direct the conversation and drive it forward. These may be individuals who are specifically selected to serve in this role or super-user “champions.”
- Publicize successes. Associates want to know that their participation was meaningful, so keep the team informed about the results of the program. Balance “quick hits” with longer-term projects to demonstrate a steady stream of improvements.
- Acknowledge individual contributions – but not monetarily. None of the firms provides financial rewards for successful suggestions.
Want to hear more? NICSA members can listen to the complete program in our online archive.