Why your organisation needs an employee led digital identity

There are compelling stories emerging from different sectors of employees using public social networks during working hours to build resilience as well as drive growth within their organisations.

With the help of social networks we are now able to interact with a much wider circle of people than ever before. This allows us to have meaningful conversations based on our interests rather than physical proximity. There is a growing recognition of the value of these conversations to organisations. Take the example of Teresa Chinn. She was an agency nurse working in the world’s largest health service, the NHS in the United Kingdom. Feeling professionally isolated she set up @WeNurses, a Twitter account to connect with her peers. Through this account she started hosting weekly discussions using the hashtag #WeNurses. Three years and 28,000 followers later, these weekly chats enable nurses to share ideas, experiences and new learning.

Employees on social networks can instigate positive change and
build
resilience in a complex organisational structure

So why does this matter? Of the 1.6 million NHS employees, nurses make up the largest group. Patients spend a lot of time interacting with them. Research shows that this interaction affects clinical outcomes. As the healthcare system comes under increasing pressure and demand rises, this disruptive approach to CPD enables the nursing community to share support and resources very quickly and at very little cost.

When social engagement is hard-wired into the DNA of a firm

Bangalore based firm Rang De shows what happens when employee led conversations on social networks are hard-wired into the DNA of a firm. Inspired by the work of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, the founders of Rang De launched a micro-credit crowdfunding website to provide low interest loans. Over 30,000 rural entrepreneurs and students from India have used this website to successfully raise loans for their projects. Unlike other crowdfunding websites they aren’t looking to raise capital to develop cutting-edge consumer products and services. Typical Rang De projects range from setting up tea-stalls to paying school fees. The company is currently valued at INR 50 crore (USD 8 million).

Bangalore based firm Rang De has created a digital identity lead by employees and investors

Rang De doesn’t control these messages... and yet its digital identity is defined by the public narratives of over 7000 investors.

This powerful narrative cuts across demographics and geographical boundaries to create new stakeholders who bring tangible benefits. With their financial contributions they fund projects listed on the website. Outside of this closed ecosystem of the website, they also share stories, opinions and a call to action on their social media accounts. Rang De doesn’t control these messages and doesn’t own the content. And yet its digital identity is defined by the public narratives of over 7000 investors.

Before you kick-start any activity

One emerging business case in larger firms is for recruitment via social networks. It is an opportunity to present the internal culture in an authentic way in order to find candidates with shared values. Other firms are experimenting with the idea of using social networks to build social capital with communities. A number of options are available for those who want to test the waters with this approach. From hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit to live Twitter chats.

The biggest learning curve in leveraging the power of social media isn’t about operating an account, but enabling employees to create a clear, confident and authentic voice.

Ownership is high up on this list. Employees can build loyal, highly engaged communities that create social capital for the firm on their accounts. But what happens when they leave or change jobs? Privacy is also a major consideration. Some employees don’t want to be discoverable on social networks. Or they might have experienced abusive behaviour such as trolling. Awareness of such concerns is important.

Some employees don’t want to be discoverable on social networks. Awareness of such concerns is important.

Context setting is vital. Build a responsive training programme that helps employees find a clear and confident voice. They shouldn’t feel like an extension of the CRM strategy. Provide a flexible structure to help them figure out how they can use social networks to create value for themselves, their team or department and the organisation. And finally, the adage that social media needs to be a two-way conversation also applies to an employee led digital identity. Your employees will bring something back — from new stakeholders to new ideas. A level of preparedness to use these resources is what will help you drive innovation and growth.

I am interested in the context & values of our Digital Identities.

I am interested in the context & values of our Digital Identities.