More bosses should tweet
Richard Branson recently nailed his colours to the mast very much in favour of social networks. From the CEO of the Virgin Group, it is
perhaps no surprise that he claims to be an active participant in social media
because it is important for his business. He recognises, though, that there is
more to it: Embracing social media isn’t just
a bit of fun, it is a vital way to communicate, keep your ear to the ground and
improve your business. (loc cit)
But employers don't play fair...
Some people are a little sceptical about such an approach
though, warning against potentially embarrassing posts to social network sites
that are visible not only to friends, but to work colleagues and managers.
There’s no doubt, though, that if used wisely social media can boost an
applicant’s chances of success. 91% of employers review prospective employees via social
networking sites, 76% using facebook, 53% twitter and 48% LinkedIn; 47% look on
sites after receiving an application and before even talking to the candidate.
A staggering 69% claim to have rejected a candidate on the basis of what they
saw online (inappropriate photos, comments, behaviours and so forth); whilst
almost the same number (68%) hired a candidate on the strength of the
impression created (statistics from Reppler, which contains other useful statistics about on-line activity).
A Study of CEO’s
In his LinkedIn post, Branson referred to a fairly
extensive IBM study of CEO's and their attitudes to social networks. 1,709 CEO's
and senior public sector leaders across 18 industries and 64 countries were
contacted. In summary, the industry leaders agreed a set of three imperatives
for ongoing success:
- Empowering employees through values: employees
across organisations are being encouraged to learn from each other and pool
resource and knowledge to help drive innovation. 65% of them saw ethics and
values, as well as 65% a collaborative environment as significant for their
success. Only 58% by comparison highlighted purpose and mission.
- Engaging customers as individuals: efforts to
understand customers (see “Commercial exploitation…” below) and involve all
stakeholders in the value chain (see “Sustainability”), respondents underlined
a real need to involve their customers directly. It is just as important to
step up an understanding of individual customer needs as it is to improve response
times to market needs (72% of respondents in each case).
- Amplifying innovation with partnerships: now
more than ever, organisations are partnering even with those who previously
would be regarded as competitors, and those from completely different or new
industries. External partnering is seen as a key source of innovation (59% of “outperformers”
recognise this as opposed to 46% of their less successful counterparts).
The push in IBM terms is about “leading through connections”;
underlying it all, though, is participation, which – as outlined below – has both
social and economic implications.
And a socio-economic take
Through the various workshops SESERV organised ( Oxford,
Athens, Brussels) and the associated focus groups reported on in this year’s
deliverables (D1.5, D2.2, and D3.2), we have highlighted the need for all of the FI stakeholders we have identified to be engaged: notwithstanding the
knock-on effects for network operators, there is an increasing drive for
participation: users are driving innovation, typically via non-PC
devices, even around what would previously have been branded as having
little cultural value. Over time, we have seen demonstrated:
They (the Boston Consultancy Group) point to an ambiguity of perceptions, with “novice
practitioners” focused solely on environmental and regulatory factors, whereas
those with “more knowledge about sustainability” consider social, economic and
political impacts as an “an integral part of value creation” requiring
collaboration across the entire value chain.
- Commercial exploitation of social networking sites: On
the one hand, more and more commercially useful information can be gathered
from such socially-focussed engagement on-line (SocIoS, SOCIETIES, the IBM Smart Planet campaign). Our FI presence seeds the commercial innovation the IBM
study emphasised as important. But it is not necessarily the services and
applications assumed for driving the virtuous cycle (link); instead it is to do
- Participation: Despite perceived trust issues (including privacy and how we actually measure and maintain trust), the WeGov study
showed (among other things) that end-users want
to engage and are willing to
participate at any level. It is such participation and a need for on-line
presence as well as collaboration which are driving progress for the FI (end-users are already participating on their own terms); and at the same time
- Sustainability: the
need for collaboration and the beneficial effects on innovation and
sustainability have been recognised for some time. Werbach,Global CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, highlights transparency (letting people know what’s
important and what’s going on), engagement
(including all relevant parties) and networking
(collaborating with similar and related parties) are essential in moving
forward on sustainability. The Boston Consultancy Group talk along the same lines of the need to involving multiple stakeholders because it is beneficial if not essential for sustainability, and just as the CEO's in the IBM study said, there should be cooperation internally as well as externally across the whole value
In exactly the same way, Branson’s call for CEO’s to exploit the power of social
media reflects what has become increasingly clear during SESERV-initiated FISE
conversations: the Future Internet must be based on technology that supports
the creation and future growth of online communities. Industry will benefit
from mining such socially-focused activity; and infrastructure providers will
have no choice but to meet the resource challenges head on.