Need to Measure Social? Look Down More.

According to a recent CLO Magazine article/survey, executives added or supported social tech for 3 very big and very common reasons:

increase collaboration (47%),
increase engagement (42%) and
create a culture of continuous learning (60%).

Each is sincere but since an investment has been made, measurability is desired and rarely found. There are two problems. First, the focus is on abstract ideas and second, the emphasis is only on “growing” each. Stop looking up and start looking down.

  1. People are collaborating. If questions are being asked and answered, input is sought and given, feedback, edits, etc. This IS the work in collaboration.
  2. People are engaged. Engagement to HR = happy employees. If they’re sharing photos, jokes, emojis, if they are supporting personal causes and lending an ear to a peer. These are community behaviors, the stuff that makes people feel connected to each other.
  3. Learning is continuous. Are tips being provided? Articles and resources shared? Corrections, critiques, knowhow abound? This is how people learn informally, it’s happening.

What each of these has in common is that each is really small. Meaning that they often happen between small numbers of people and they can happen very quickly in small exchanges between people. Social closes gaps. Organizations need to measure what’s shrinking not what’s growing.

  • A good measure of learning through others (social learning) could be measured by a reduction training; it’s requests, it’s expense, production time and time taken out of work.
  • Celebrating success, maintaining relationships, getting timely feedback are all parts of the engagement equation. If these activities are present you may be seeing a reduction in disgruntled employees leaving the organization.
  • Do you follow your employees on social platforms? Are they talking up the organization? If employees are engaged and better connected then Marketing costs could shrink as passionate employees are your best evangelists. Happy employees are invested and invested employees want to see the organization succeed.
  • A well-connected team means peers guiding peers. information if flowing easier through and around management. A communication bottleneck is removed and measured by a reduction in management time in providing direction.
  • Do you know what might be equal to or better than innovation? Nipping bad ideas early before they grow into full-fledged costly initiatives. An open conversation can surface all the issues well before the baking process begins, reducing time and money waste.

The truth is social is already happening with or without technology but if you must measure it to justify technology, lean in a bit more to all the small stuff that is contributing to big impacts on the business.