Archive for March, 2013

I work for IBM, but what value do I bring to my previous employer, Capgemini?

Posted on: March 28th, 2013 by Fransgaard 5 Comments

I went to the Kred London Influencer Summit last night. What a fantastic time. Met a lot of Twitter connections I had not met before.

 

I also ran into an old colleague of mine from Capgemini, Inyk, and we got talking about the connections I retain within Capgemini.

Today Inyk sent me this interesting article on the subject: Coming out: can you bring value to an organisation after having left it? And it got me thinking about what value, if any, I still bring to Capgemini, even now where I work for one of their competitors: IBM?

Examples of my relationship with my previous employer

  • I left Capgemini on good terms.
  • Capgemini in general have a view that people who leave are potential future re-hires with new experiences they can bring back to the company (they don’t display the same sense of betrayal the author of the article Inyk shared has encountered).
  • I am part of their official Yammer Alumni group, which I hardly ever visit.
  • I maintain relationships with ex-colleagues on both Twitter and Facebook.
  • After meeting a talented mobile SME, who recently moved to London, the first people I connected him with was ex-colleagues from Capgemini.
  • Capgemini ex-colleagues remain loyal readers and retweeters of my blog posts.
  • Emmanuel Lochon, Capgemini’s global head of marketing, sent me a Linkedin message about the new Capgemini website going live, which I responded with both direct feedback and tweets.

Does this mean it is the people I am retaining relationships with rather than the company? Ofcourse! But it is the employees who are the company. As such they are the point of contact with the company. What they say and do is the corporate message.

It is vital the employees are up-to-date with any corporate messages as they are the voice of the company.  But it is equally important that the employees are not forced to relay these messages or even rewarded for doing so.

For example Emmanuel’s Linkedin message about the new Capgemini website is relevant to me because I was involved in early stages of the project. Had I not been, his message would not have been relevant to me.

Am I still a Capgemini advocate? Yes, I am. So I do think I still provide a value, but it is driven by a mutual relationship and an understanding we are competitors.

Do I champion all my previous employers?

While I’ve left all my previous employers on good terms, and while I retain personal relationships with ex-colleagues at all places, I don’t actively engage with the brands themselves. I think this is because when I have involved myself with their digital content, I have had no response. A one-way relationship is really not a relationship.

 Do you still represent your ex-employer?

People ask how much time I spend on Twitter. The answer is: “None”.

Posted on: March 24th, 2013 by Fransgaard 2 Comments

I tweet a lot. As such there are two questions that keeps popping up from new, or would-be, tweeps.

Question 1: What should I tweet?

This one is easy: You don’t have to tweet anything. You can as easily just use Twitter as way of bringing news to you from people or companies you are interested in and leave it at that.

At some point there will be something you will want to reply to or something you will want to share yourself, but there’s no rush. Don’t worry about it.

Question 2: How much time should I spend on Twitter?

This one I find a lot harder to answer because the truth is I spend no time whatsoever tweeting, but that is hard to explain when I tweet 12 times a day on average.

Twitter was from the start, and still is today, a means for me to fill micro-pauses in my day:

  • Waiting for a tea to brew? Check Twitter.
  • Queuing for the post office? Check Twitter.
  • In the bus and need a break from the book you are reading? Check Twitter.
  • Commercial break on TV? Check Twitter.
  • Walking? Check Twitter (but be careful).

And please feel free to share any expansions on that list. I am sure you can think of a few.

But I do spend time on Twitter management

Because Twitter is a semi-professional tool for me I do use time on managing my Twitter account:

  • Managing my Twitter lists.
  • ManageFlitter.com to weed out people who are not following me and whose Twitter stream doesn’t really offer me any value.
  • Set up scheduled tweets for my blog posts.

Professional Twitter accounts is another story

For professional Twitter accounts time does need to be set aside to maintain a consistent long-term effort, but that’s a different story.

The forgotten corner stone of a Social Business: The Employee

Posted on: March 20th, 2013 by Fransgaard 5 Comments

Following reading a great article: “Using a broadway show to explain the differences between social media and social business” I have just finished reading “The evolution of social business report from Altimeter group – part 1“.

And it’s all great stuff:

  • “Link your social presence to business objectives” – Great.
  • “Listen to customers to learn about their social behavior” – Great!
  • “Foster employee engagement through enterprise social networks” – Now we are talking!

Although, Altimeter Group puts employee engagement at stage 3 of their 6 stage process to becoming a Social Business, at least they included it, which I think is a breath of fresh air in all the talks around Social Business.

People drive the success of Social Media efforts

Back when I started introducing Social Media to customers I used to say:

“People don’t want to go to an empty house, they want to go to a party!”

In other words, it is people who make a Social Media effort successful, not technology and not what we think.

Nothing new in this and this thinking is widely adopted now, but by “People” we tend to think “Customers”.

CEOs, Board Members and Managers are people too

Social Business efforts are no different from customer facing Social Media efforts. It is still the People who make the efforts successful. The difference is “People” are the employees.

It was this quote from the Altimeter report that got me thinking about this:

“One social strategist shared, “Many of our board members and executive leaders aren’t even on Facebook, so social media is foreign to them.”

How are you ever going to explain something as complex as Social Business to people who don’t even have a basic understanding on why the little buttons with “Like” written on them are important?

Setting up a Social Play Pen for can help educate employees in leadership positions to understand the benefits of Social Media and be able to confidently champion such initiatives when launched.

One solution could be to set up a Social Play Pen allowing employees of equal level to try out Social Media. For example a closed forum for the Board Members to chat about… well.. whatever Board members chat about. A place where they can speed-learn what the Digital Native generation is growing up with.

According to the Altimeter report, Dell listened to customers for 9 months before launching its Social Media presence. When companies do this, why not run an internal program to educate staff as well?

A workspace for both the ready and the resistant employees

All employees at all levels within an organisation can be mapped on a line ranging from the Social Media savvy who use Social Media privately to the people who have little or no knowledge of Social Media (other than it’s something their kids do).

However, common for all is: They have their daily job to do and neither want additional “stuff” to deal with. 

Employees don’t want more to deal with, they want smarter ways to do the things they have to do already.

This is a very important point. It’s great having company wide strategies about becoming a Social Business, but will all this just add extra work to the workforce? Will it just give them more stuff to deal with and create more opportunities for confusion?

As Jacob Morgan writes: “One of the most common challenges I see with organizations that deploy collaborative platforms and technologies is the employee adoption rate.”

As Andrew Grill  described in his article a Social Business consists of two parts: The customer-facing front visible to everybody and the “Back Stage” where the crew makes it all happen.

The “Back Stage” is the Social Workspace employees have to work in and it has to be a time-saving environment, not another time-drain. It has to provide:

Party on!

If employees do not see the value in the Social Workspace it will not work.

They will either simply not use it, or even worse, launch their own grass root initiatives that will be isolated from the official efforts.

So make sure everybody is invited to an awesome party they all want to go to and reap the benefits of having become a successful Social Business.