For the Australasian Talent Conference that will run in Sydney May 24-26 (where I’m speaking), they’ve been drumming up interest with a press release. As a consequence, I’ve been doing some interviews, some live, some via email. For the latter, I was asked to address the question: “what businesses can learn from allowing employees to access social networking sites, and how allowing social networking can benefit businesses?” My answer:
People are no longer just what they know, but also who they know. It’s the network. If you block social media at work, they’ll take the ‘social media cigarette break’ and step outside with their phones (you can’t stop the signal), because they need their network to answer questions, share ideas, and more. When you can get connected to the person you need, get answers to your burning questions, connect to colleagues who can mentor, morally support, and more, you find that doing without is no longer acceptable. Personal story: wanted to know about a piece of software and tweeted it, received an answer from the person who wrote it in 3 hours offering to answer any of my questions!
People might be concerned with what folks share, and there are two answers. First, there are corporate equivalents: for every Facebook and Twitter there’s a behind-the-firewall and/or industrial strength and secure solution. Second, investigations into people misusing social media and making inappropriate comments show rare violations. If you’ve got a company with the right culture where the mission is clear and people are empowered, folks just don’t violate sensible guidelines.
There are important reasons to be using social media in connecting with customers, and at least as much by empowering employees to get their work done. To succeed, you need to do more than just plan, prepare, and execute. There isn’t time. You need your employees to continually innovate, problem-solve, and more. This happens collaboratively and through communication – conversations are the engine of business – and consequently success is going to be predicated on empowering employees to work together to continually improve.
If you’re in the Antipodes, or nearby, it looks like a good event. If you are interested in attending, using my discount code ‘CQ11′, will get you a 10% discount. Hope to see you there!