Is it possible to stay on top of your employees when they are half way across the world? Thanks to technology, you can now stay connected with your staff and build a sense of community—Without using your office intranet.
Shane Atchinson, CEO of Possible Worldwide, a division of the advertising mammoth WPP Group, wondered how to stay in touch with his 1,100 employees spread across 32 offices. Possible manages social strategy and community for big brands like Procter & Gamble, Nokia, Microsoft, Michael Kors and the BBC. Atchinson wanted his staff to not just be friends but also share information on projects. His solution—Develop a social network customized to Possible’s needs instead of using the usual social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
“If I can get a creative director to post a challenge to any employee in the world, and any of them can say ‘I have an idea,’ and in 24 hours we can all vote on which ones to develop—that’s what we want,” says Atchison. “That builds culture and connectivity. Not going through eight people to get it done.”
Once the basic web app, which was named CoLab, was created and announced to the company, employees immediately suggested features and made requests, and the app development team listened and altered or added new features.
CoLab has been a hit with Possible’s employees; especially in situations where teams working on global projects that span 4 continents need to collect insights, share ideas and engage in a focused discussion on an ongoing basis.
This is ample proof that social networking works successfully when tailored to your company.