How Enterprise Social Networks are Changing the Role of the CEO

Enterprise social networks are a great equalizer between the C-Suite and employees. Or at least, they can be. Here’s what CEOs looking to leverage the power of its people should do on an enterprise social network.

8 Opportunities to Seek When Launching Workplace by Facebook to Field Workers

 Image by Darius Sankowski

Image by Darius Sankowski

There are many factors that contribute to getting your company’s “road warriors” to download and join the company Workplace network. The confluence of field worker interest, circumstance, and technology often requires a personal (not digital) touch from a manager or co-worker to get that first log-in to happen. In the past year, I have experienced and sought every one of these opportunities with multiple Workplace customers. I’ve been in awe at how drastically different one company’s culture is from another’s and how culture exerts its power through behaviors on groups of people bound together as a company.

Here are 8 opportunities to seek when launching Workplace by Facebook to remote workers:

Close the remote worker/headquarters divide. Close the divide between your headquarters and your people in the field by letting them share their contributions in Workplace. A recognition campaign, a regional challenge, or even a tweak to the famous Ice Bucket challenge could be that one hook they can’t resist. The will appreciate the spotlight of gratitude or the friendly competitive challenge. When your company leaders read, reply, and dialog with them, they will earn credibility for listening, connecting, and responding. For many companies, interactions of this nature have never happened before because communication was in email or newsletter form.   

The empathetic executive. Find the member of the C-suite who wants to invest in employee well-being and satisfaction (hint:  this is not always the CHRO!). Showing empathy for what field employees may be going through shows willingness to dive into any area of the business. Workplace is a great place for leaders to express, “I’m thinking about your experience right now.” And using Workplace leaders can trade places for a day with someone in the field, rediscover their own career roots, or build appreciation for how every role in the company contributes to success. Workplace is an ideal tool for leaders willing to walk the walk, be vulnerable, and learn publicly from the front lines by crossing traditional corporate boundaries of job role, authority, and hierarchy.

The middle manager touch. Making Workplace a key initiative in the minds of your middle managers is important because they embody the “authority” most relevant to field workers. Communications from corporate leaders may not feel worthy to field workers. Many companies have a deep, historic sense of “us vs. them.” Ask your middle managers to prioritize checking-in to Workplace and look for other connection and communication rituals to move into regular use of the platform.  Design your “why Workplace” story so it’s relevant to the daily challenges or directives middle managers are living.

Blend your uses of Workplace to match the blend of your people. Businesses are powered by humans. Not all the value we create can be accounted for via numerical and metric ROI models. How we feel at work also affects our work. Field workers are road warriors who often start and end their day before the sun rises or sets. Whether someone is sharing technical tips or just celebrating life/work wins, businesses must have spaces where both recreational and functional content exist. Without some presence of both, we lose what is vital and human. Long days and life on the road can also create isolation. Workplace transmits that humanity to help keep someone on the road in tune with what’s important and with positive motivations to inspire a job done with care.

Create multiple types of hooks. Your road warriors may be drawn by the fun they see others having in Workplace or, they may be drawn by the functional uses they see related to their jobs. Be fully prepared to deliver engagement for either mode—people will choose which kinds of interaction is most meaningful to them. I’ve observed that as peers join, even the most reluctant, social media disliker cannot resist the feeling that they might be missing out. We all want to be acknowledged and thanked—even those of us with strict work/play boundaries. A well-organized Workplace offers both types of engagement.

Grassroots-originated ideas and gain. Take one customer’s insight or one worker’s invaluable field experience digital and it might “catch fire” (in a good way) across other parts of your company. Road warriors sharing their front-line experiences in Workplace will get the feedback of having everyone learn from their contributions. With advocates and champions on the inside to help target and amplify, field workers will experience the value they’ve created for others. This is powerful.

Leverage identities. In many companies ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) are natural points of shared connection. ERGs often have events in succession and national or international companies often welcome workers virtually being drawn together by past or current interests and identities. Find common profiles among your field workers and talk with your talent recruiters about where they find the best employees. Do you have a high population of ex-military people or does your company have ERGs focused on a more diverse workforce?

Think outside your walls. Companies that act and engage in the physical communities where they do business have a distinct advantage. Caring about regional communities, local non-profits, and the lives of your employees is a deep commitment. Beyond the increasing frequency of natural disasters or tragic events, companies that prioritize a caring and an externally-focused mindset (even in times of relative peace and prosperity) are already creating a climate that field workers can connect with. They see the company caring about the part of the world where they work—outside its walls. Workplace embodies a channel where that connection and accountability become tangible, both locally and to everyone at your company.

Remote workers are not that different than others in your company but getting their attention may be in competition with the circumstance of their jobs. Plan for this population to adopt more slowly and to have some resistance to the value of using a social technology. If attitudes toward continuous improvement and change are already part of your company’s values or are being furthered by other initiatives, you will find fertile ground in which to seed slow, steady gains in adoption.

Talk Social to Me and ServiceRocket Team Up to Bring Elevate Program to the Enterprise

If you're bringing Workplace by Facebook into your organization, and you need more controls, insights and guardrails than what the basic platform provides, then it's time to customize your Workplace experience with Elevate.


Regulations + Deskless Workforce = Adoption Challenges

For anyone who has worked in a regulated industry or a “deskless worker” atmosphere (or both), you’ll know that using communication and collaboration tools at work can be tricky. For deskless workers like retail associates, manufacturing teams, and drivers, their day-to-day work brings them face-to-face with customers and products daily, but often they are more isolated from their coworkers and don’t have the technology tools to properly share information quickly. In regulated industries like healthcare, companies want to get their employees more connected while still adhering to the many restrictions and compliance requirements that are mandated. And, due to concerns around HIPAA and employee unions, deskless workers are sometimes seen as a riskier group to enable with company-wide communication tools.

Changing the Community Management Paradigm

Talk Social to Me has advised clients on regulatory challenges over the past 10 years and helped clients put programs in place to promote adoption of their platforms while still properly addressing these valid concerns. However, organic adoption in regulated and hourly environments can still be slow to take hold. But with the changing landscape, and the introduction of Workplace by Facebook,  the time was ripe to re-invent the standard approach to community management and empower companies to approach communities with less fear.

Introducing Elevate — Automatic Moderation, Personalized Use Case Coaching

This is why Talk Social to Me is excited to announce our partnership with ServiceRocket, a leading provider of Workplace apps and bots (in addition to other awesome collaboration apps for Atlassian). Together, we have created an accelerated adoption program aimed at highly-regulated and deskless workforce enterprise customers of Workplace by Facebook. Our program, called Elevate, is the first of its kind developed by two official Workplace deployment partners. Elevate will offer Workplace customers access to ServiceRocket’s proprietary Moderation and Insights app alongside Talk Social to Me’s consulting services for critical use cases in compliance management, employee discussion trends, and influencer coaching. Our program is designed to “elevate” the experience for companies that require keyword alerting, tighter governance, and behavioral guidance in their communication and collaboration efforts.

Moderate ss3.png

So, What Does Elevate Look Like?

With the Elevate program, Workplace admins get access to two teams, new technology, and two paths of customized support:

1. Access to the Service Rocket Moderate app, which provides customized moderation and alerting for your Workplace community on a per-group and overall-network basis. With Moderate, admins can set alerts for keywords, find spontaneous conversations that have exploded in popularity, and take a real time pulse of what employees are talking about.

2. Custom coaching and guidance from Talk Social to Me's team of community managers, specific to instituting best practices in moderation as well as building engaging communities for a variety of employee populations.

ServiceRocket and Talk Social to Me’s Elevate program is available immediately. For more information, please visit our Elevate information page.

Bots and People - Together - Oh My!

How bots and people both have skin in the game to improve employee communication norms.


Yammer Group Insights: Opening the Door to Group Transparency

Everyone is a Community Manager

More and more, employees are taking on the role of community manager for individual groups on their company’s enterprise social network. Sometimes, a company doesn't have a global community manager, or maybe there are so many groups that it's become a challenge for one person to provide reporting across every group company-wide. Today, many of these group admins are realizing that they need to personally track their group activity in some way, in order to be able to determine if their engagement efforts are paying off. They're taking responsibility for their online discussions as an integral part of their day to day work efforts.

In a much anticipated move to support these group admins, Yammer has just introduced Group Insights— a simple, effective set of analytics that give lightweight details about activity. Group admins can now have a look into metrics for the groups they manage to get a feel for how much their members are posting, reading, and liking the items posted in their group.

So, what does the tool look like?


Yammer group insights_28 days.png


Active People Summary

Yammer provides rolling metrics for the last 7 days, last 28 days, or the last 12 months. The Active People Summary breaks down into the number of people who posted messages, the number of people who read messages, and the number of people who liked messages—for both members and non-members of a group. This breakdown helps admins see if they have engaged members, or if they are attracting a lot of non-members to the group. This is important because it helps admins understand the global reach of their content beyond the group's virtual walls — if a particular piece resonates, the group admin can take this information and open a strategic discussion with other areas of the business.

Posted, Read, and Liked Messages

Again, broken down into members vs. non-members, the Posted, Read, and Liked Messages information will show this activity within your group for the chosen time period. Keep in mind that if a person posts multiple time within the time frame, each post is counted (so, these numbers are not a reflection of unique user activity). This is important because it serves as a general health check on your group: are people sharing and reacting? Are people reading, but not reacting? Look for trends that indicate a healthy balance of consuming and reacting, and intervene when needed to support more engaging content if needed.

Downloading a Report

This downloadable report will provide data for every day for the last 24 months. This is great news for those who prefer to aggregate and crunch their own data on a strictly month-by-month basis (instead of “last 28 days”), or who might want to exclude weekends or holidays from their graphs.

Where Will Group Insights Head?

While there are many possibilities for metrics, this initial offering from Yammer covers the basics and is a great start to supporting group owners in managing their communities. That said, here are a few things we’d love to see in the future (obviously not an exhaustive list):

  • A way to target non-active members, in order to determine why they don’t use the group much, and develop strategies to reach them better
  • A way to know who the non-members contributors/readers are, and determine whether they are worth targeting in future strategies
  • A way to find out if a specific thread has reached a certain percentage of members. This would be useful for group owners to know if their most important messages are being read (think announcements!). If the “read” rate (by members) on an announcement is greater than the email open rate for an announcement, then that would be a pretty strong case for discontinuing email
  • Set a custom date range for graphs, rather than use the standard week, 4-week and year offerings

Overall, we are excited for group insights, as they offer the democratization of data that is crucial for building transparent organizations and strong communities. Have you used Yammer group insights? What do you think? We'd love to hear your feedback.



Six Ways to Treat Your Employees to a Successful ESN

Employee communities offer the sweet promise of bringing your people together to help them connect on a more personal level and build relationships that create better collaboration and business outcomes. But, some employees feel like these new communication platforms are a bit too spooky for their taste. How do you get them to see the new collaboration tool as a treat, and not a trick? Here are some ideas to get you started, with a Halloween twist:

  1. Your community members may be suffering from change fatigue. Could your new tool be at the door of their inboxes, arriving as if dressed as Count Dracula – another time-sucking tool for them to use? It’s your job to convince them that it is really more like Glinda from the Wizard of Oz: welcoming, gracious, and ready to help. Much like Dorothy’s journey to Oz and with the Wizard, an enterprise social network (ESN) gives back what you put into it. As the collaboration champion and advocate for your organization, you should be the ever-present, positive face of your community, connecting employees with information, answers, colleagues, and solutions. Give employees the virtual ruby slippers they need to get them to a place of comfort.

  2. Deliver your messages like you would IRL (in real life – see what we did there?). Sometimes corporate jargon seems like the zombie chasing you through a forest, and it can be detrimental to connecting with your employees. An engaging employee community thrives on storytelling, transparency, and sincere commenting and reactions. Promote open communication and be sure to style your “formal” communications in a less jargony, more (alive) human way. The Walking Dead have no place in your network.

  3. Like a Tootsie Roll, create sticky content in your ESN. You may need to gently, yet firmly, prompt behavioral change. One way to do this is by taking popular content such as a widely-read company email communication and moving it permanently into your community.  

  4. Were your employees expecting king size peanut butter cups, but feel like they got an apple instead? Apples are nutritious! It might be that your employees are just not aware of the amazing things a collaboration tool (or apples) can do for them. Be sure to create some fun campaigns for your employees to learn what’s in it for them, so that they can understand the value before jumping in.

  5. Are you sick of the same old candy for Halloween? Crowdsource for some new ideas. Include your employees by crowdsourcing their ideas on ways to use and improve your collaboration platform. What better way to show employees their voices are heard than to include them in the process for improving a tool you want them to adopt on a daily basis! Follow up with specific employees about their ideas, be transparent, and work together to implement the best ones. Some ideas may not be what you were looking for, and that’s ok. Openly explain why an idea isn’t feasible, and they will appreciate the honest feedback and the time you took to consider their input.

  6. Sorting your candy haul after trick-or-treating is always fun, and a great way to weed out what you don’t want. Your employees will do the same with the information they consume on your ESN. Help them by thoughtfully structuring and planning your ESN design, curating content carefully, and not bombarding the feed with too many push communications. Be sure to show them how to personalize their notifications so they can choose the information being pushed to their attention. 


Treats are powerful reward systems. When it comes to making your ESN a successful, business-critical tool for your organization, you need to consider how each staff member wants to be “treated” as a human, employee, and colleague. Provide them with an environment that fosters gratitude, acknowledgement, and connection by giving them a powerful technology solution that supports a better way of working.


Happy Halloween from the Talk Social to Me team!


Confession: My actions led to ‘Reply-All’ email cascades at work

 Email was such a ubiquitous, entrenched habit at my former organization -- and I contributed to that problem. 

Email was such a ubiquitous, entrenched habit at my former organization -- and I contributed to that problem. 

Knowledge workers are sick of all of the emails they’re receiving at work. U.S. workers have an average 199 unread unopened emails in their inboxes, according to a recent study by project management software company Workfront.

This, too, was my reality before joining the Talk Social to Me team in February. [We use Workplace by Facebook as our primary means of communication. Organizations that adopt Workplace by Facebook see a reduction of emails by about 50 percent, according to Rebeca Tristan, Workplace by Facebook head of customer success.] My actions, admittedly, were a source of the problem. My last position with the USA Today Network was a regional coaching role, so it wasn’t uncommon for me to include employees in four geographically distinct locations in one email at a time. The idea behind many of these “metrics roundup” emails was to highlight successes and identify opportunities for each property in hopes that it might spark inspiration among the other teams.

It was a well-intentioned concept – and blessed by my boss, but it quickly turned counterproductive when the emails often inspired an influx of “Reply-All” responses. Sometimes the emails would be positive in tone, “Congratulations, Rob and team for such a worthy watchdog effort!” Then there was a certain adversarial – and sassy – individual who responded with challenging remarks (directed toward me). Were said emails sent individually to me? No. They were “Reply-All” emails that included more than 50 other employees. Journalists are easily some of the gutsiest people I know.

It wouldn’t have been easy, but looking back, I should have created a group in company’s enterprise social network, Yammer, to communicate with the teams I coached. I was extremely active in an Audience Analysts community of practice group on to keep up with best practices for my role across the organization. The hurdle would lie in getting those I coached, the content managers – and their teams – to adopt the platform. Email was deeply entrenched in their work culture. Here are some ways I could have transitioned the emails into an enterprise social network:

Tips to reducing email at work:

·       Post critical information. Cross posting information to both the community and email wouldn't have been successful, as Talk Social to Me has witnessed in working with other organizations. Posting must-read content in the community would be a sure way to bring those I coached along with me.

·       Start with team managers. Sometimes – but not always, a top-down approach is best. I didn’t directly manage those who I coached, so leveraging the influence of direct managers to emphasize the benefit of using the group would have been extremely helpful.

·       Host a ‘Week without Email’ campaign. To help build awareness of the group, I could have experimented with a “Week without Email” for communications with me. It would be helpful to set a date on the calendar and to communicate the dates well in advance. All communications to and from me would be posted within the group during that week.

·       Advocate for the group. If a conversation should have been taking place in the community group, I could suggest it be moved there, and help follow through.

These past nine months at Talk Social to Me have been a complete 180 from working at an organization where email is such a ubiquitous, entrenched habit. If only I had been part of the solution – instead of part of the problem – at my former organization.

5 Rules to turn the tables on your collaboration tools technology initiative

If you lead Internal Communications or IT at your company, you likely have been watching recent developments in collaboration technology. Collaboration for the enterprise is expected to be a $49b market by 2021. The number of companies vying for that market (enterprise social networking being the heaviest category of spend) continues to grow. Technology that began as instant messaging apps or document storage services are being re-imagined.

  • There is deep competition to see which tool most effectively bridges the gap between employee communication and actionable work.
  • It’s a noisy, cluttered market with lots of capabilities.
  • The potential for distraction is very high.

What’s a Communications or IT leader to do while navigating sales demos, shadow IT and competing internal priorities? The answer is not the easiest solution:  Resist temptations for the newest, flashiest features (aka artificial intelligence)—for now. Put your business use cases front and center to direct your choice of tool. It’s also important to be realistic: it’s unlikely that any one tool will solve every use case at your company. Envision and plan for an ecosystem of tools that support your people, your processes and your company culture. Use these framing ideas to guide your company’s search for the right communication and collaboration mix with an employee and business-value centric approach.

Rule 1:  Don’t act alone

One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of finding the right technology is tackling the process as a team effort. HR and/or Internal Communications often lead the initiative, but IT should also serve as an active partner to ensure the tool selection meets expected technical and security standards.

It’s also very common to see these projects happening without input from the intended users of the tools. Your employees are not just your internal customers, they are your best advisors. A Softchoice study found that among 1,000 IT Managers and line-of-business employees, 77% say their organizations do not consult them in the process of choosing an office communications tool. Recruit a team of employee advisors to work with you! They are in the best position to help reconcile specific business objectives, day-to-day workflows and what the tools can do. Successful Talk Social to Me customers engage their employees in gathering candid feedback on what’s working and what’s not with existing solutions. Employees you involve in the process will also be natural champions and spokespeople when it is time to introduce tools widely within your company.

Rule 2:  Match the technology to your people and needs

Alcatel-Lucent’s head of digital marketing stresses that modern day companies are not homogeneous entities. How people work and their personal preferences (thanks to our app and technology-obsessed lives as consumers) vary widely. Find the common themes among your users. A streamlined tools ecosystem that exists under the purview of IT offers one, or at most two tools to address like use cases. For outliers and unique situations (legal or financial areas are common), plan an ecosystem that’s flexible—most organizations have at least a few industry and/or functionally mandated processes that need special accommodations.

When you define your needs, identify where the intended impacts of collaboration will be felt and who they will impact.

  • Will they directly benefit the employee experience?
  • Will they increase efficiency internally and ultimately manifest outside the business (perhaps as improved customer experience)?
  • Our customers often tell us they want “to increase employee engagement.” This isn’t specific enough and there is no clear “why?”
    • This will also be a challenge when the tool gets introduced. Employees may not share the feeling that there is a worthwhile outcome to be gained from using a new collaboration tool.
  • An un-specific “why” will cause employees to question whether or notthey should bother engaging. Well defined goals aligned to the business, combined with a collaboration tool that is part of the “how,” will have a much stronger appeal to everyone.

Rule 3:  Take stock of existing relationships

Look at your company’s existing IT investments. What vendor relationships have been successful? Which tools are already widely used? Does it make sense, for example, to consider G-Suite if your company already has a significant user base? Vendor relationships and trust take time to develop—so look where the company has already invested. There are many exciting collaboration offerings coming from companies such as Atlassian, Box, Microsoft and Facebook. When you compare the tools, you’ll find much of the functionality offered across vendors is almost identical.  Look at which tools are already in use helping employee productivity.

We’ve also observed a dark side of relationships that sometimes affect vendor choices:  personal relationships. Sometimes personal relationships and favors are used to skirt formal and thorough vendor vetting efforts. Having worked with colleagues in other companies is good, but personal relationships should not be driving or forcing (in the case of among executive leaders) a vendor selection. When this happens, it adds to the natural disconnect that executives face every day as leaders of big companies. It’s hard to stay connected to any company’s daily operations.

Rule 4:  Harness diverse perspectives and tenure with an employee advisory committee

When you recruit your employee tools advisory members, reach out and invite people from many areas of the business. This diversity of users will represent a broader sampling of the company. In recruiting advisors, consider tenure. Workers hired in the past 6 months will draw from both their early experiences at your company and their more recent experiences at other companies. Employees who’ve been with your company 2+ years will have a richer, more historical perspective on what’s best for your company. Employees who are given a voice in the decision will feel valued and recognized when invited to contribute—so target your advisors wisely. Anyone vocal about existing tools or the problems can be a worthy candidate. Someone who has a lot of feedback (be it positive or negative) clearly cares enough to express it vs. leaving your company.  

Rule 5:  Embrace (or at least, Respect) Shadow IT

It’s hard these days to structure a tools ecosystem without coming to terms with Shadow IT. Cisco found the number of cloud services used in large enterprises had grown 112% between 2015 and 2016. The quest for efficiency and productivity is indeed king. But Shadow IT is something to be studied. It likely holds clues to use cases and business functions where employees took matters into their own hands. Learn why. Were they trying to eliminate friction they experienced using other company tools? Were they seeking efficiency; answering needs of unique workflow circumstances? Were they fed up with the long RFP process IT imposed on them? Understand what motivated the actions and take steps toward improvement, depending on what you find. Shadow IT is hard to make go entirely away, but understanding where it is rooted informs the relationship and perceptions employees have of your company’s IT team.

It really is about understanding & navigating people. Really.

The software makers and experts would have you believe tools and features can solve for everything, but the stark reality is that the failure rate for enterprise social networks is high. Businesses often don’t make the program investments they need to to mitigate the real adoption wildcard:  people. Involve employees in different levels of the tool selection and rollout process. Plan on investing in  strategic programming for the long term. Employees that participate in any of the above ways (being in the advisory group, being invited to share feedback and/or why they use outside services) will be natural ambassadors post- launch. With creative programming and team support, employees will have had a hand in creating something good for the business and its people.


Why you need group leader coaching to build engagement on Workplace


You've launched Workplace to your organization, and early adoption and engagement are strong. But as the initial buzz calms down, people are starting to ask - how do I use Workplace for... real work? It's up to you to have the answer. We know that building strong group leaders is the secret sauce to a thriving Workplace community. To keep employees interested, engaged and productive, you need to support the mid-to-senior leaders who will bring their processes and work out of email and into the community.

Building productive, confident, responsive and inclusive group leaders requires a bit of preparation and sometimes a lot of practice. It's not always natural for leaders to shift their work habits away from "what they know" into a more open, collaborative home like Workplace. One-on-one coaching with a Workplace expert can help take your community from needing a kick-start to engaged and eager.

MORE: We're betting big on Workplace - Why Workplace by Facebook is a force to be reckoned with

Building Strong Group Leaders in Four Steps

Who are your group leaders? They are the manager, director and VP-level employees who are responsible for a team, a project, a function or an area of the business. Inside Workplace, they will build and lead their people to work more openly and together. Group leaders will build the group and drive engagement for the purpose of achieving their intended business outcome.

Here are four tried-and-true ways to get them up and running in Workplace with confidence.

1.    Teach them the basics of engagement. Not all group leaders realize the importance of their role within Workplace, or how the platform can be leveraged to create dialogue (rather than a one-way broadcast channel). Some are thrown into the position simply as a part of newfound Workplace job duties, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to facilitate employee connections (yet). At minimum, one-on-one coaching sessions are of value in establishing a baseline for group leaders and how their role is essential to creating a positive employee experience. Some daily expectations of group leaders might include:

  • Greeting & tagging new members as they join. You wouldn’t want to walk into a dinner party without any acknowledgement. Group leaders should operate as hosts by @ mentioning new members in a status update.
  • Ensuring questions are answered in a timely manner. Point out resources, including other people with an @ mention, if you are not the best user to answer.
  • Starting and continuing conversations with members. It has to be somebody’s job to present the icebreaker questions – and that somebody is the group leader.

2.    Provide accountability, based on the group’s specific objectives. Each group within Workplace is unique. A one-on-one coaching session can help group leaders to hone in on a few concrete goals, and exactly what is to be accomplished within workplace. We always tell group leaders to avoid "boiling the ocean" and keep their focus narrow. Developing customized daily and weekly Workplace action plans based on these objectives holds group leaders accountable – and helps co-leaders to remain on the same wavelength. Group leaders can ensure objectives are met by:

  • Establishing two to three concrete goals for the group and specifically spelling out how Workplace will be used to accomplish the goals.
  • Communicating these goals clearly – in the group description and/or as a pinned post at the top of the group – is important for keeping the focus, too.

3.    Highlight opportunities for improvement. Groups that aren't prioritized by group leaders will often receive the same treatment from users. If a group leader is only posting to the group once every two weeks, post frequency obviously should be an area of focus. But other opportunities for improvement aren’t always so obvious. A seasoned community coach can help you determine less-obvious ways to boost engagement. You might coach your group leaders to be more engaging and signal the group's importance by:

  • Responding to questions or posts in a timely manner – Response time is important. It helps group members know their questions and contributions are valued. Establish a one-hour goal for acknowledging posts, even if it’s just a simple “like.”
  • Calling out and encouraging others to post – If group managers are the only users doing the posting, members might be waiting for an invitation. Choose a topic for discussion and @ mention key users to signal that their response is requested.
  • Giving thanks – Don’t forget to thank members for their contributions to let them know that they’re valued. Give thanks by @mentioning the user in a thread they’ve started or in a new “kudos” post giving a bigger shout out to the @mentioned individual(s).

4.    Build confidence and peer support with a Group Leader Hangout. Group coaching is a great opportunity for group leaders to bounce ideas off of a each other and more experienced community leaders. Are you looking to onboard a new hire population primarily on Workplace? Not sure where to start in launching your first crowdsourcing campaign? Build a dedicated group in Workplace for all of your group leaders to join, share best practices, and offer advice to each other. The organic support that group leaders receive from their peers will work wonders in boosting confidence and competence in leading a team in Workplace.


Talk Social to Me's "How to be a Great Group Leader in Workplace" is a practical resource that can help boost engagement on your organization's Workplace platform.

How can the community professionals at Talk Social to Me help coach your organization's group leaders? Connect with us for a copy of our How to be a Great Group Leader in Workplace guide today.

We're betting big on Workplace: Why Workplace by Facebook is a force to be reckoned with

Analysts, competitors, and consumers, take note: it's time to stop scoffing and time to start respecting Workplace by Facebook as a serious contender in the enterprise social space. Now officially one year old in production, Workplace is gaining traction -- and winning top-notch customers. Just today, Workplace announced a customer win for retail giant Walmart. Convincing the world's largest private employer to sign up for employee collaboration is no small feat; that they chose Workplace by Facebook over rivals is indicative of a larger global trend in prioritizing solid employee experiences and simple, easy communication.

Long-Term Value & Your ESN: Finding the Magic and Making it Stick

Long-Term Value & Your ESN: Finding the Magic and Making it Stick

You’ve got this shiny new thing called an enterprise social network (ESN). You’ve unwrapped the package, installed the batteries, read the instruction manual, and flipped the switch. Abracadabra! Poof! This thing is ON. You move forward with an awareness campaign, you train your users, and after the first few months you even have some metrics you can collect. But you still might be scratching your head, thinking, “How do I create long-term value with this thing?” Upper management is breathing down your neck, wanting to know how it’s going, and by the way, has it paid for itself yet?

Yammer in a Time of Crisis: Supporting Employees During Hurricane Irma

Yammer in a Time of Crisis: Supporting Employees During Hurricane Irma

Recently, Talk Social to Me had the opportunity to help Johnson & Johnson stand up a Yammer group to support employees in just such a situation. During September’s Hurricane Irma, a J&J employee shared her desire to help evacuated employees find housing with other employees out of harm’s way. Within hours, a cross-functional team from IT, Human Resources, Workforce Communications, Global Services and others mobilized to make this happen – and the Employee Home Share program was born.

Employee Communications: 7 Lessons Learned by Cutting Out the Middleman

What if you could obtain real, raw, unfiltered information from your employees about how your collaboration program is actually working today? What if you had the chance to put yourself in the shoes of line workers, field sales reps, headquarters teams, new hires and senior engineers alike? 

You’d quickly learn that regardless of however many collaboration tools or employee communication programs you put in place, real work is getting done through informal social networks — the relationships between employees that weave a web of friendships, trust, alliances, social power and ultimately, information exchange.

This organic collaboration has a tremendous impact on the way your company handles employee communication. But you can’t control it, you can only try to strengthen it.

Unexpected Collaboration and Communication Findings

Recently, Talk Social to Me uncovered a variety of interesting lessons from employees while conducting collaboration audits and discovery interviews for our clients. Seven of these lessons rang true for nearly every organization, from pharma to retail, from technology to utilities and banking. 

And, nearly all of them came as a surprise to the CIO and Head of Communications. 

How did we uncover these unexpected findings? Simple: by cutting out the leadership middlemen and asking employees what was important for them to be able to communicate and collaborate effectively with their networks.

6 Tips to Transition Your Company Publication into an Employee Community

It marks the end of an era. After decades of publication, C-suite executives have decided to cease the printing of your organization's company magazine as they launch an employee community.

You’re not quite sure how you feel about it. The company magazine has been viewed as an industry symbol and incarnation of the business for as long as you can remember. You’ve worked hard to plan, write, edit and paginate the publication each month, and there’s nothing like the smell of fresh print when the magazine is delivered from the plant. Part of you feels like donning a black veil and calling around to schedule a proper burial service.

Mourn not, internal communications pro. It’s time to admit it. There is another part of you that feels strangely liberated. This is an exciting opportunity to start something fresh, and unbound by the constraints of print.

Not sure where to start? Translating your existing internal communications into your employee community isn’t as daunting as you think.

Enterprise Social Network Rollouts, Language, and Culture, Oh My!

It’s exciting to introduce an enterprise social network (ESN)! It’s also very common to start by planning a giant, one-time event. But enterprise social networks, while often guided by the same people leading other company-wide initiatives, are inherently different and there are many reasons why the correct sequence of events and use of language is critical. ESNs are relationship tools for your employees. Like those work relationships, employee networks can go on forever and they are central your company’s strategy with regard to its top asset:  its people.  

To prove value back to the business and to the employees who use it, an ESN requires the gradual steps of a crawl-stand-walk-run methodology. How else would you approach the Yellow Brick Road?

Celebrating #WOL and Women of Leisure

As we sashay right into our first day of #WOLweek, we celebrate those ladies who best embrace living the #WOL lifestyle: bon bons in the morning, a cocktail at mid-day, and a bit of afternoon sun by the pool. It's high time that we properly acknowledge all of the women and their leisurely activities that sparked the powerful global social media trend called #WOLweek. Won't you join us in the festivities?

"But wait," you might be thinking right now. "It's Women of Leisure week? Is that what all of this #WOL chatter is about? That can't be."

Migrating from Jive to Yammer

Every few months, new shiny chat-apps and social technologies roar onto the enterprise collaboration scene. They force a lot of tough choices when it comes to determining the right mix in your collaboration landscape: how do you combine legacy toolsets, evolving use cases and micro-purpose apps brought into the mix by employees? It’s no wonder that companies often find themselves questioning whether they are using the right tools, the best combination of tools, and even switching between tools on a fairly regular basis. The employee collaboration experience is ever-changing, which makes our jobs as technologists and community managers a constant work-in-progress.

Making the Switch from Jive to Workplace by Facebook

With the recent acquisition of Jive Software by ESW Capital and the Aurea family of companies, Talk Social to Me has fielded many calls from companies who are wondering if they should consider changing vendors when their contracts are up. We love Jive's product and especially its people, who are some of the best collaboration pros in the industry. But we also are acutely aware of what happens during an acquisition, and we realize that many decisions are now out of the hands of the Jive team that we know and trust.