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Social Networking and HR - Live Case Study at the Capitalist...

The world of Human Capital Management is littered with reasons you shouldn't try things - liability, technical issues, unresponsive employees or managers, exposure to bad stuff (another way to say liability), etc.

Sometimes you just have to be like Tom Cruise in Risky Business and say "Why Not" (actual Tom CruiseRisky_business quote from movie edited by censors...).

A great example - the use of social networks inside of companies.  Joel Cheeseman recently waxed about HR's struggle with Web 2.0. (hat tip to Jason Averbook at Knowledge Infuser).  In his article at The Industry Standard, Joel points to a lack of marketing and IT chops among HR people, along with liability, as the main reasons HR can't leverage Web 2.0 to their benefit.

Joel's right about his observations.  But I don't think it has to be that way.  So we're going to run a project in my shop and drop our notes and lessons every couple of weeks for as long as it's relevant here at The HR Capitalist.

The project - establishing a social networking platform inside a company...

Social Networking (think products like FaceBook and MySpace) should have positive impact inside a company.  Linking employees to other teammates they've never met, sharing thoughts, interests and news inside a social network sounds cool.  Surely that translates to increased satisfaction, retention and even engagement - right?

We'll see....

Here's how the project will work.  We're going to launch a social network inside our company, including the ability to set up your own home page, a blog hosted by me with multiple contributors, youtube video capablity, widget functionality, etc.

I orginally tried to do this with Facebook, but got immediately concerned when I saw an existing employee account that had daily derogatory comments about the employee's manager.  Since liability is always on the table, no reason to assume more risk than you have to.

So, the open platforms of Facebook and MySpace are out for this experiment.  I can't afford a custom private solution, so we're going with a new product on the market called Ning...  Ning allows you to create a social network for free, but the upside for me as a HR Pro is that I can approve anyone who's added - meaning we can "wall it off" to employees only.

That's it for now; I'm configuring it as we speak.  I'll get it launched and provide updates as we move forward with the technology.


Michael Haberman, SPHR

I will be watching for your updates with a great deal of interest. Good luck.

Paul Hebert

Ditto... Let me know if you need any help with changing behaviors!

Rosie Sherry

Ning is actually pretty darn good service and it costs next to nothing. I've set up a couple of Ning networks and I'm suitably impressed with their service.

I'd be interested to see how this goes. A common problem with social networks like Ning is that initially there is alot of enthusiasm, but it often dies out quite quickly. To make it work you really need to have someone 'championing' it all the way and keeping it fresh and lively.

The benefits 'can' be great...

Malcolm Kass

Sabre Holdings (parent of Travelocity) has a internal social networking product called cubeless that they are bundling with their other products. Sabre Holdings is already using cubeless (called sabretown, but just customized to Sabre) and American Express will be using it as well. For more info, please let me know and/or check out the article from a couple of days ago on Yahoo Finance:


or the cubeless webpage at cubeless.com

Malcolm Kass

Malcolm Kass

Oh and by the way, please let me know if you would like some contacts within Sabre on how Sabre Holdings HR department handled cubeless. Sorry, forgot to mention it earlier.

Rob in Charleston, SC

SupervisorHelpDesk.com is opening up a portal to relevant content that can be used by professionals in EAP and HR for reasonable suspicion, supervisor training, and stress management. Be sure to read the articles.

More to come..the site is live, but the products are still being posted. Feel free to buy now, or request a free 30 day preview at no cost to you.


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