If you are a marketer, brand manager or an entrepreneur, then technically you are not supposed to know about Enterprise 2.0 tools. But then if you believe that the strongest aspects of creating a brand start with building the right culture into the company, the I will recommend you start spending time understanding this field since enterprise collaboration tools have the capabilities to not only increase productivity and handle projects but also power fascinating company cultures.
Why need enterprise 2.0 to power company culture
As organization grows the number of layers between the people who have the enthusiasm to take initiatives to brighten up the work culture, the power holders and others keep on increasing. It takes more like minded people to do something fun in the company and these like minded people need to be connected and facilitated with the right tools. Enterprise 2.0 comes handy as it has the potential to socially connect people at work, initiate and participate in conversations and discover the hidden potential and interests among people.
How some brands have done it?
To make my point I would like to share 2 stories of brands and how they have successfully used Enterprise 2.0 tools to create interesting work cultures into the company.
The first company I would like to talk is Shopify, at start-up that has tried to gamify the company culture with the help of their Enterprise 2.0 tool. This tool called UNICORN (created by Shopify themselves) not only helps employees share information and updates but also reward points to each other. Hence employees are using this tool for activities like posting news, finding hidden talents, knowing each other better and even giving performance reviews. Essentially, with UNICORN, a typical day in the company has been gamified and people are getting experience points from their managers which can be exchanged for rewards. (Source - Fast Company)
The second case I would take here is IBM, one of the leading brands in the world with one of the world's largest workforce. IBM has made use of some smart self-developed enterprise 2.0 tools to create a culture of idea sharing and innovation in the workplace. To begin with, IBMers have their own internal blogs where they can share ideas and information with the company. But on top of it, they have their own internal wiki that serves as a hub of information, their own internal bookmarking site like Delicious called Dogear, their own internal Twitter like tool called Blue Twit and a Facebook like tool to help employees stay connected called SocialBlue. IBM even conducts companywide jams, which are online forums for employee brainstorming. The seriousness of these programs can be seen from the fact that the 10 most voted ideas internally by the employees from the 2006 IBM Jam were funded and incubated by IBM. (source: socialmediaexaminer, adamchirsten.com and beshayer.com)
So you can see, here is a brand which despite having a massive size, is making use of the enterprise 2.0 tools power a culture of creativity, innovation and idea sharing.
How can you use enterprise 2.0 to power a fun workplace?
If the above examples of shopify and IBM have excited you to use social technologies to make your work place even more exciting, then I have listed down related use case and the enterprise 2.0 tool that can power them:
Gamifying feedback: As discussed above, shopify might have developed their own tool UNICORN to create a game layer over the company processes, but you can do that too with tools like Rypple and Get Work Simple.
Rypple is a tool that helps you track your projects, manage performance review and also give recognitions to team members in forms of badges, but everything in a manner that is fun and engaging. You can use Rypple to set your goals, give interesting badges to your team as the project progresses and also get a similar feedback from your colleagues. Apart from a real time continuous feedback, the best part of this tool is that all feedbacks are in the open, so if you have a stingy boss, you no longer have to suffer in appraisals.
Here is how a typical day with this tool looks like:
Real time rewards and recognitions: Another tool, love machine inc. also helps you create an open and continuous feedback culture but it has a stronger focus on recognition and rewards. Managers can set up goals and allocate reward budgets. The team can then send open messages to team members recognizing their efforts and the tool provides cumulative performance analytics of each team member, which can be used to distribute the reward budgets.
Knowledge sharing and curation: Having a culture of sharing knowledge and information with colleagues can be a great asset to the company. Firstly, it makes communication more effective within the organization. Secondly, it helps people share their passion and find like minded people. Finally, it cuts down a huge chunk of email junk.
There are many popular tools that help support this need like Yammer, Salesforce Chatter and Tibbr. These tools have been designed to initiate discussion in the company over projects, work, passions, interests or anything else. I would like to describe our own experiments with Yammer inside my company Kuliza, where we realized this tool was a great way to educate our employees about social technologies and social design. Once the tool picked up popularity the heads of design team and social media marketing team inside Kuliza started sharing interesting links to learn the respective fields. The CEO started using it to brief the employees about the company key news and updates while developers started sharing news about conferences that they are attending.
Employee ideation: Employees have great ideas and some of these ideas are really valuable to the brands for improving their business. For instance, sales people for a business might be having the best ideas to improve business performance since they understand the real scenario. Many brands understand this and have provided tools to employees to power their ideas. Dell ran the EmployeeStorm campaign where employees could give ideas about making Dell a better place to work and others could vote their favourite ideas. The campaign was powered by Salesforce's Force.com platform
Intuit too believes in this philosophy too and has a couple of tools to welcome employee innovation. Intuit has buit an ideation platform 'Brainstorm' to get employee ideas that are sprouting in the companies get noticed by the right kind of people. Inside Intuit, around 15-20% of the people use this tool every month and around 3800 ideas have been since it started. (source)
Creating internal thought leaders: Many brands, especially services or consulting companies want to create internal thought leaders and field experts. Moreover, even if you have experts working with you, in a large organization, finding the right expert might be difficult. Enterprise 2.0 tools like internal blogs (for example SocialText Collaborative blogs) help employees showcase their capability and thought leadership to the organization. People can search on the topics and even find field experts who are talking on those topics. Jive's 'Engage Employees' software among all its capabilities also ensures that users can locate field experts within the company
I hope this article helped you realize the potential Enterprise 2.0 tools have to make your company an interesting workplace and create a lively work culture. That said, however tools are only one part of the story and getting your employees to use it is another. Please do share your experiences and stories of getting your colleagues / employees use such Enterprise 2.0 tools within the company.