Friday, 9 December 2011

Looking forward – Enterprise 2.0 Summit


   That’s pretty much it for this year – my business is already starting to wind down into Christmas.  Next year promises to be another and even bigger year for social organisations.

One of the first events I’ll be attending is the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Paris in February.  There’s a great list of speakers at the event, which includes:

  • Jean-Luc Abelin, Product & Knowledge Manager, Lafarge Group
  • Stéphane Aknin, Head of Group e-Communications, AXA
  • Thierry de Baillon, Senior Social Media Strategist , 90:10 Group
  • Valérie Blondeau, Directrice de la Communication, Lagardère Publicité
  • Yves Caseau, Executive Vice-President, Bouygues Telecom
  • Frederic Charles, IT Strategy & Governance - Enterprise 2.0 evangelist , Lyonnaise des Eaux
  • Richard Collin, Professor & Director of the "Institut de l’Entreprise 2.0 Grenoble Ecole de Management" and Executive Partner, NextModernity
  • Jerome Colombe, Head of Web Governance , Alcatel-Lucent
  • Bertrand Duperrin, Management & Enterprise 2.0 Consultant, NextModernity, France
  • Anu Elmer, Vice President Communications, Swiss Reinsurance Company, Switzerland
  • Dion Hinchcliffe, Senior Vice President, Dachis Group, USA
  • Cordelia Krooß, Senior Enterprise Community Manager , BASF SE
  • Jean-Christophe Kugler, Senior Vice President, Light Commercial Vehicles , Renault
  • Tobias Kunz, Solution Manager Enterprise Portals, Deutsche Lufthansa AG
  • Karine Lazimi, Innovation and Community Manager, Allianz France
  • Johan Lybaert, Business Developer Agile Software Development, Cegeka
  • Jane McConnell, Intranet & Portal Strategy Consultant, NetStrategy/JMC
  • Neil Morgan, Head of Global Intranet, WWF
  • Jamil Ouaj, Communications Manager, Deutsche Bank
  • Franck La Pinta, Web Marketing Manager / 2.0 HR / e-reputation , Société Gérérale
  • Anthony Poncier, Consulting Director, Lecko, France
  • Emanuele Quintarelli, Partner and Social Business Strategist, Open Knowledge
  • Nicolas Rolland, Social Prospective Director , Danone
  • Bobbi Augustine Sand, Creative Director, OZMA
  • Isabelle Schlumberger, EVP Sales & Development , JCDecaux
  • Bart Schutte, Director, Web & Architecture , Saint-Gobain
  • Rawn Shah, Social Business Transformation Expert , IBM
  • Luis Suarez, Social Computing evangelist, IBM Software Group, Netherland
  • Stefania Todisco, Head of Group Operations and ICT Factories Community Unit, Uniredit
  • Mara Tolja, Collaboration Community Manager, Deutsche Bank
  • Ellen Trude, Training Consultant , Bayer Business Services GmbH, Germany


Although the event is only a few hundred miles away from the UK, it does seem to be affected from a common problem that any event organised in continental Europe struggles to attract many people from the British isles (and vice versa) – something that may become even more pronounced with the UK’s increased political separation.

This certainly isn’t an issue about focus on social business within the UK which is at least as strong here as it is in the rest of Europe, so if you’re doing good work on Enterprise 2.0 within the UK and you’re interested in participating in the conference, do let the organisers know.




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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

#CIPDSocial11 & Social Engagement – in the socialmedia garden


night garden flower   I’ve had a couple of conversations with Michael Silverman, Unilever’s ex-head of engagement research, since meeting him at a Symposium event earlier this year (eg at CHRU, and the Personnel Today awards, where Michael and Unilever won the award for the best use of HR technology).

Michael uses a new research tool called Opinion Space, developed with Hybrid Wisdom Labs, which uses the new technique of ‘collaborative discovery’ to help communities suggest ideas and develop understanding about particular issues – eg engagement.

I have to say I don’t really understand the full science behind this:

(Taken from Info and Help)


(!!!)  But to me, the benefit of the technology is largely the same as any social media tool – 1, it allows people to collaborate together and 2, it’s visually appealing.  Add these two points together and it means that it’s fun and compelling.

As I wrote before, this is quite useful in engagement research.  I agree with Michael on this – it seems oddly dissonant that the tool most organisations use to measure engagement generally disengages people.  It’s another area that shouts out to be social medialised!

To give people a chance to experience the technology for themselves, Michael is running an open access research study.  And since it’s run using social media, we thought it would be interesting to apply it to the use of social media.

The starting point is to answer five questions about social media as well as contributing a suggestion about the main barriers for organisations adopting social media.

  1. Using external social media sites at work makes people less productive.  (Yes, I think it can!)
  2. I feel heavily involved in social media.  (Err, yeah!)
  3. My organisation has embraced social media.  (This one was was difficult for me to answer, so I thought about my average HR client!)
  4. HR is best placed to lead social media. (I think it should.)
  5. Successful implementation of social media is about technology not leadership. (Absolutely not!)


So these were my responses:


“HR still hasn't woken up to the opportunities provided by social for media.  In so many organisations which do use social networks if you look at the departmental take-up, everyone is there (led by IT) but not HR.  I hope the CIPD conference and this research will help generate a bit more interest.”


The thing about the garden is that then the whizzy technology displays your responses as a ‘bloom’ within a garden, where surrounding blooms are the other participant responses which are most similar to yours.  Or something.  Neat, anyway.


And then the even more neat bit it that you can vote and comment on other people’s suggestions (which changes the size and colour of the blooms).  It’s this social experience which is the key innovation for me.

Anyway, here are some slides from Michael on the results so far:


If you want to try the system out, and / or contribute to the research, you’ll be able to get an access code – here – soon (by about Friday – come back to this post then).  Have fun!



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#CIPDSocial11 Bill Parsons (ARM): social media and why business needs to take notice


   The CIPD’s social media conference has kicked off with a session from Bill Parsons, EVP HR at ARM Holdings.  I met Bill at ARM in Cambridge earlier this year, so this post is a combination of his presentation, and my earlier notes.

I’ll start off by saying ARM is one of my favourite companies – and in fact it’s one of the world’s favourite companies too.  ARM’s vision is to be an effective innovative company (not just a wacky one) – a creative productive machine – and it has been consistently judged as one of the most innovative companies in the world.

However the reason I like the company is that it’s one of the very few that I know about which isn’t just using social media, but has focused on becoming a truly social organisation.  Rather than following ‘the Chelsea Model’ of simply having the very best people / access to the best human capital (‘human capital is about a group of smart people who don’t talk to each other’), ARM focuses on the best social capital – ie having the best networks, relationships and trust.  Human, social and intellectual capital (the explicit stuff which they sell) are the company’s differentiation.  Social capital has been at the centre of their HR strategy for the last decade – it’s the rocket fuel of the innovative organisation.



This starts with the company’s values which focus on things like teaming and selflessness (unusual in such a profitable company) – and are definitely not vanilla.  They were developed and evolved from the organisation’s founders and focus specifically on ARM as a unique organisation (rather than the things which every other organisation does).

Part of the reason that ARM focuses so much on social relationships is that their strategy is about connecting, collaborating and hence innovating and their model for innovation is primarily about open innovation.  They therefore need everyone to behave selflessly – for the greater good of ARM - in external as well as internal networks.  It sounds idealistic but Bill says this really works at ARM (and I think I believe him).

It’s an unusual business model – ARM sees itself as being at the centre of an ecosystem of 500 competing companies collaborating.  ARM itself only employees 2100 people – vs Intel, its main competitor, with 100,000 people.  Their model only works by having a high surface area which it achieves by having its employees talking directly to customers.  The company’s values and culture makes this easy – it’s clear what provides value.

These values are then used as the basis for HR practices eg assessing promotability, fast tracking etc.  In fact the whole HR strategy is about creating the magical ingredients supporting the development of social capital.  Eg rather than the Accenture corporate model in which people are fighting to get to the top, in ARM if anyone is seen to be overtly trying to be promoted, ARM will fire them!  Rewards come to people who do things for the greater good.

So ARM does identify high flyer potential management talent and provides them with coaching and training to help them build their legitimacy.  If you don’t have the buy-in and support of your peers and the people you’re going to manage you’ve got a problem.  ARM ensures that these individuals have good business relationships and networks.

Compensation aligns with ARM’s social strategy as well.  Ensuring justice is an essential part of a social strategy and ARM provide their staff with more equity than any other European company.  This makes employees’ feeling of ownership more meaningful too.  The corporate bonus is largely collective too (just a small proportion is individually driven).

Recognition also focuses on what people do together – they hardly ever celebrate individual success.  Eg the company celebrated its 20 year anniversary last year (its been the highest performing company in the world over this time).  But the celebration was really one of international collective being eg they gave everyone an ipad (they were founded as a child of Apple and Newton Computer).  It was a 27 hour global party revisiting their global successes – not individual stories.

Leadership selection and development is aligned with the values too.  Their CEO is probably the most understated CEO in the FTSE – the one with the highest humility.  He works full time at ARM and keeps a low profile outside.

More generally ARM seek to grow leadership internally – ensuring cultural fit, and fit into the team based environment.  Their feedback and development system also focuses on the company’s values, providing 180 degree insight about what employees think of their bosses.

Social media does have a role in all of this of course, in fact they’ve been using social media for at least ten years.  This includes Skype, Linkedin and Facebook for external use, and blogs and forums internally.  In addition, it uses:

  • Internal YouTube – ARM TV
  • Yammer has taken off in a big way.
  • Video conferencing is the norm (rather than something which would be perceived to be not quite as good.)
  • And wikis are the predominant tool for collaboration.



They also run a Exec Q&A once a year in which their exec answer any question on anything from anyone.  And it’s videod and podcasted so that everyone can see it.

Interestingly a lot of this, eg Yammer and their wikis, were started unofficially and took off from there, rather than being introduced by IT.

However, in Bill’s view, social media can become antisocial media – a barrier to effective communication. So you need to do face-to-face meetings to help people get to know each other. Arguably in advance of social media.

So in ARM, traditional communications plays a part as well eg ARM run twice the number of events (with a corresponding impact on travel budgets) than they need to – these are overtly opportunities to create social networks.  Eg they have a 80 person forum in which they invite people who don’t know each other well to get together (some of which is done unconference style) to work on a range of OD topics eg on the organisation of the future.  This ensures the organisation is constantly questioning its culture.  To get round the biggest organisational barrier of any organisation which is not having the best ideas, they often invite internal customers along, and sometimes external customers too.

It all starts with dinner and drinks in the bar, and then the next morning a discussion on the topics – but what matters is the relationships and new networks that are formed.  The same in their engineering conferences, code tests, transistor tests etc etc.

ARM have tried to measure their social capital through approaches like social network analysis, and they also measure engagement, though what they’re really concerned about is organisational citizenship behaviours – do staff understand that networking is part of their day job, and that they need to help the organisation rather than just doing their own thing.

It’s an impressive case study and it’s paid off too.  ARM’s market value is £4m per employee which Bill argues is down largely to the company’s social capital and use of social media.



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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

With Globoforce on Social Recognition


   I’ve just been attending an event with Globoforce and the Conference Board on social recognition.

I’ve been a long supporter of Globoforce’s work on recognition, eg this webinar we did together, and also my support for their book – see this endorsement (which I still support) printed at the start of this:

“Recognition is a hugely underused and badly misused HR and management tools.  It’s effective use isn’t helped by various myths and misunderstandings about the value of transactional recognition schemes.  Using executive and research insights, supported by a series of ‘myth busters’, Mosley and Irvine provide a clear and compelling case for a more strategic approach – the time for Strategic Recognition is here.”  Jon Ingham.


It’s been a natural progression for Globoforce to move beyond strategic recognition into the growing social HR space with a focus on social recognition too -  though in a sense, recognition has always been a social sort of thing.  (We didn’t really talk about this, but my perception is that Globoforce has moved progressively from enabling people to exchange thanks, to sharing points, badges, kudos etc – ie slightly more tangible ‘social recognitions’.)

Some of the most interesting points included in the presentation were:

  • Recognition is key to engagement.  Globoforce’s Mood Tracker suggests that ‘only’ 38% of (N American?) employees are searching for a new job, but that 49% would move to a company offering better recognition.  (I’m still not sure about this.  I think employees like recognition because of what this is likely to lead to, rather than because it’s an engagement driver itself – see this post on this Globoforce webinar.)
  • Social recognition differs from more traditional approaches by being frequent and widespread.  (Yes, although I think it’s deeper than that – it’s about meaningful recognition, and it’s meaningful because it’s from people you know, and work with, rather than just people more senior than you).
  • Social recognition allows organisations to overlay their structures with employee recognition moments, creating a representation of the power players in the organisation.  You can see who is participating in the corporate values and how deep these go across the organisation.  (Yes, though this is just one representation, and other tools will enable you to draw different types of social network too.)
  • Organisations are increasingly interrogating social recognition data, overlaying this on performance and compensation systems and identifying the correlations, providing a sort of multi-person review.  (I worry about this – firstly because of the point that was made that there is a spectrum of people who won’t give feedback, and secondly because once recognition is any way linked to formal performance management and particularly reward, the potential for dysfunctional outcomes is dramatically increased.  I’d just keep it for engagement, and individual and organisational development.)
  • Social recognition is a powerful lever for culture (deepening or) change.  Stanford research suggests that just 5-8% of the workforce providing weekly nominations is enough to develop a self-sustaining culture and significantly increase employee engagement scores.  (Yes, but 5-8% of the workforce doing anything involving discretionary behaviour is a powerful boost for change.)
  • The need for social recognition applies everywhere although the way you might encourage it varies by geography.  (Yes, although I do think some cultures would take to it much more easily than others eg African vs Asia again.  Globoforce mentioned Celestica as an organisation that had cracked social recognition in Asia Pac, but then suggested that India was particularly active – well yes, they would be.  India is a very different place to the rest of Asia – at least as far as social media is concerned eg there are probably more bloggers in India than the rest of the world combined, at least excepting the US, but there are still very few people involved in social media travelling further East.)
  • Social is broader than just social media (a suggestion you might have picked up previously in my blogs).  Eg GE managers in Asia go out to dinner with their employees’ families to support retention by applying a bit of ‘social pressure’ on the parents – a very nice idea.  (But shouldn’t you do that anyway – though perhaps with older employees with partners and kids instead?  It’s a great way to ensure you see your employees as whole people rather than just as interchangeable resources.)


Despite my concerns, it’s great to see the development of social recognition.  I recollect Euan Semple’s remark at HR Technology Europe that all this is doing is formalising something that has (or should have been) always been happening informally.  I think that’s right, and I do think the formalisation of the informal is a good thing.  It’s just too important to be left to chance.

My only remaining worry about a system like Globoforce (and therefore also with Achievers / I Like Rewards, Rypple, Sonar 6, Small Improvements etc) is whether one of more of these areas is important enough for your company that this is where you want your social interaction to be?

Or do you want this interaction in your knowledge management, collaboration, innovation or CRM system instead?  Because if so, you’re potentially going to be reducing the impact of both systems if you split the interaction in two.

So think about which you need to prioritise.  Eg if your whole organisation is built around personal and organisational appreciation (eg using AI, strengths etc) then social recognition might fit well.  If it’s based on more balanced performance management (failures as well as successes), you may need to use one of the social performance management systems.  And if it’s about innovation, then I’d go for a social system that is built around this.

Of course, over time, all these systems will become increasingly integrated (through organic development or acquisition) in exactly the same way that best of breed HCM systems have all been joined together into a small number of integrated talent management platforms over the last five years.  But until then, my advice would be to focus clearly on what it is you want.


Addendum: I thought that was a good last line with which to finish off the post.  However, thinking it through, I’ve got one more: if more social appreciation isn’t what you want, then think about whether it should be (what you should want)!

Eg if you’re going to prioritise innovation, you need to be clear about which you think comes first – ie does appreciation follow innovation (you need to encourage appreciation to stimulate more innovation) or is it the other way around (that stimulating appreciation will most likely lead to more innovation taking pace)?

I think that increasingly organisations are going to have develop their people and build their cultures first (what I refer to as creating value).  If you agree with this, then recognition is a pretty good place to start.



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Sunday, 4 December 2011

Social media in the hopeful continent


   I was in South Africa for a few meetings and a workshop on HR and social media last week.  It’s been a while since I’ve been to southern Africa but it was good to be back – particularly as this meant missing the news that the UK is possibly already back in recession and the announcement that austerity cuts are going to be deepened and lengthened, as well as the public sector strikes during the week (Jeremy Clarkson’s comments on the strikers were still well reported however).

In comparison, South Africa’s economy is getting along quite nicely thank you.  An article in the Economist this week suggests that Africa will grow by 6% this year and nearly 6% in 2012, about the same as Asia.  Although this relates to the continent as a whole, the article touches on a lot of the key themes from my week there too.

For example:

“Africa now has a fast-growing middle class: according to the World Bank, around 60m Africans have an income of $3,000 a year, and 100m will in 2015…

Population trends could enhance these promising developments. A bulge of better-educated young people of working age is entering the job market and birth rates are beginning to decline. As the proportion of working-age people to dependents rises, growth should get a boost. Asia enjoyed such a “demographic dividend”, which began three decades ago and is now tailing off. In Africa it is just starting…

Having a lot of young adults is good for any country if its economy is thriving, but if jobs are in short supply it can lead to frustration and violence. Whether Africa’s demography brings a dividend or disaster is largely up to its governments.”


This mixed opportunity and challenge was something that came up in several of my meetings.  Elijah Litheko from South Africa’s IPM suggested that the country’s dual economies is one of the major issues that HR practitioners there need to deal with, ie that they have a key role in nationalisation and economic development.

One of other things Elijah believes is different is that South Africans are more diverse and that therefore organisations have to deal with, and benefit from, more different perspectives (“everyone in Europe thinks the same way”).  I wasn’t there long enough to test this out thoroughly, but am prepared to accept the suggestion.

I think a result of this diversity, which I also discussed with people, and was demonstrated in my meetings, was that South African culture prioritises conversation, and that people are prepared to really listen to each other until they arrive at a consensus.  This willingness to participate also came through in my workshop (and our use of social media within the workshop, which, whilst not quite as much as I would have ideally liked, was more than I’ve been able to encourage in any other social media workshops I’ve run in Europe or Asia).  And I actually think this is a very positive indication of Africa’s future success as well.  (In the new world of work, organisations need their people to come forward with suggestions and contributions – I think the fact that some cultures don’t support this will limit their future development.)



“Africa’s enthusiasm for technology is boosting growth. It has more than 600m mobile-phone users—more than America or Europe. Since roads are generally dreadful, advances in communications, with mobile banking and telephonic agro-info, have been a huge boon. Around a tenth of Africa’s land mass is covered by mobile-internet services—a higher proportion than in India.”


We discussed this development too, building on the statistics and presentation Bill Boorman had produced for Tru South Africa a few weeks previously.  We didn’t find any HR applications for the local tween focused networking system, MixIt, but did agree that mobile was going to be key for participant’s future social media activities (eg they liked LV’s mobile focused approach to social recruiting here).

We also hypothesised about the deep take-up of social media (especially Facebook) on a personal basis, but the still limited take-up within corporates.  We thought maybe that whereas Europeans in particular tend to do a lot of their mobile social networking on, or waiting for, public transport, given that people tend to drive rather than take public transport in South Africa, and given intermittent mobile coverage and security concerns that they wouldn’t want to try using an ipad in a car, there’s less time for people to go online for company purposes.  I’m not totally convinced by this, but again, am prepared to take it forward as a working hypothesis.


I’ll be back in South Africa again during February…


Picture from The Economist article


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