In my last column, we explored the concept of “the engaged enterprise.” This is a corporate business model that suggests an authentic, dynamic, and deeper relationship between a company and its various stakeholders, in which conversation and business ideas are shared up, down, and sideways.
A constant value-exchange is the new norm.
Due to considerable response and curiosity on this subject, this is the first of two columns that will dig deeper into the model. In my next column, I'll look at what you need to do in external engagement, but first, let's look at what you need to do internally:
Strong internal collaboration. Lots of companies have implemented Microsoft SharePoint and other collaboration tools. But the issue is: how widely are these tools used? Does your department live on the site or is it the occasional repository of random documents? Collaboration and knowledge sharing exist in real time. Success depends more on culture and leadership than on technology.
Mobile professional development. The larger your organization, the more obvious it is that professional development shouldn't require people to physically assemble to take a course. (Such courses have increasingly high no-show rates.)
Mobile enhances training because the scale of your reach can support a greater investment in teaching talent and methods and people can get their information wherever and whenever they want. Sure, there's always a need for the occasional physical get-together, but strong professional development programs have tightly focused courses that can be attended virtually.
RSS feed ubiquity. Tailored RSS feeds should be put in place for the top 20 executives of the company. If they don't understand the benefit and impact of such mass customization, they'll never get the larger social media landscape.
Shift your budgets. At least one quarter of the brand communications budget should be deployed in social media. Whether it's investing in your own channels, creating valuable content for YouTube, or engaging customers and prospects on Twitter, the future is there. Fight and claw for budgets, if need be, but social media is no longer an experimentation.
Robust internal corporate directory. Most internal employee directories are merely phone books online. A powerful step into the future is creating a robust directory that includes employee photos, profiles of their expertise, papers they've written, articles they've read, and presentations they've made.
Enterprise integration. Cross-functional collaboration used to be one of those “nice to do,” “value-added” things beyond the core job of the CCO. PR and marketing folks should try to marry customer relationship management activities with social media. PR and legal teams should collaborate to effectively empower employees to understand the potential of the digital environment. PR and customer service teams should work together to find innovative ways to enhance the customer experience. And, so on.
Employee engagement. The engaged enterprise starts at home. The best companies are now tapping into the collective wisdom and potential of their employees. Here again, consider implementing idea engines, like crowdsourcing, around key strategic priorities and have your employees contribute their creativity and insights. The result will be smarter strategies and a more engaged, committed workforce.
There you have it. Lots to do! More in my next column.
Bob Feldman is cofounder and principal of PulsePoint Group, a communications management consulting firm. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column focuses on management of the corporate communications function.