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Brad Callahan
Vice President, Business Solutions Group
October 8, 2011

It’s Time to Tap the Power of Social Media

It is common knowledge that in today’s multi-generational workforce competencies and capabilities no longer correlate to age or experience. Emotional and social intelligence as well as a respect for others’ ideas are the prerequisites for today’s savvy fast-paced organizations. In business, understanding and appreciating one another’s perspective has always been the key to good teamwork. However, today’s evolving, multi-generational workplace demands that organizations extend the proposition to a more socially collaborative and relevantly connected network—a network built for change.  (Source:

These days, few businesses are self-contained entities and the competition exists not between companies but between networks.  Businesses today sit at the heart of an extended set of connections where the quality of relationships—those networks of suppliers, employees, and customers—determines the organization’s success.

To that end, many organizations are tapping into the internal collective by leveraging social media to build communities of practice (CoPs) supported by a variety of tools (Blogs, Discussion Forums, Bookmarks, File Sharing, Wiki). We can think of an organization’s communities of practice as the business equivalent of social media’s “communities of interest.” In communities of practice, cross-generational perspectives and subject matter expert input are applied to organizational goals, best practices are shared, and organizational knowledge is transmitted. (Source:

It really is all about a new way of sharing, getting feedback on ideas or approaches, brainstorming and a new way of learning. Because these social systems can reside behind a corporate firewall, employees get connected and feel free to discuss internal business topics. Residual benefits, above and beyond quick access to knowledge, include expansion of company connections and the establishment of personal digital identity and reputation. This in turn, can lend itself to social acknowledgement, validation and recognition. By focusing the tools of social media on the power that lies in the diversity of the workforce and the value-adding communities its members create, organizations now have a confluence of varying perspectives and expertise enhances collaboration and sparks innovation, purpose and passion—all of which can be incentivized, rewarded and recognized with formal and informal incentive and recognition programs.

In order to successfully sense and respond to today’s marketplace, organizations must be agile, adaptive, and able to bring their best talent to bear as challenges emerge. The connections formed by communities of practice, and driven by the tools of social media, lead to creative thinking, which leads to innovation, which leads to transformation in business—in other words, a formulary required for success in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.

Everything is changing…everything has changed. Social media tools are already commonplace, and if you don’t have plans to incorporate these tools into your organization then you are already behind the times.

Is your organization using social media in its motivation and recognition programs? In yes, how? If not, why not? Let us know by posting your thoughts below.

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