Facebook for the Enterprise

It is totally amazing how large corporations “engulf” 1000s of employees; minimal existence as an employee id or an e-mail address, contributing from a small cubicle in a functional department. I was talking to a few people over at my day-job — these are the people who have at least 100+ connections on LinkedIn. A lot of these connections are also from the work buddies. When I asked them about connections at work beyond the 1st-degree, very few existed.
Doesn’t it make sense to have connections beyond 1st degree at work, except for the ones coming through the bosses? More than that, doesn’t it makes sense to ‘show and tell’ the life at work and beyond work? One of the challenges within the enterprise is finding people who could do the job, but managers hire external consultants, spend time and money on external recruiting efforts to get it done.
A Facebook for the enterprise could be the answer. People would know what you do, who do you interact with and projects you are working on.
Sure, this would raise the “heckles” of the management, even more of the immediate managers — They would be worried as ever, thwarting further moves allowing employees to promote the brand YOU. What the heck, You have been successful in establishing 100s of connections on LinkedIn, have been writing a blog which the recruiters are reading and have been posting videos on YouTube and have made friends across the atlantic.
What a typical implementation of a Enterprise Facebook would have?
1. A Profile Page
2. A Project Page
3. A Friends Page
4. A Message Page
5. A Musings/Moods/Notes Page
6. A Groups Page
Organizations are pathetic in having Groups for intra-company discussions. Think about it. Knowledge is not contained in a department — it cuts across functional boundaries.
However, don’t do the following if you want the Enterprise Facebook to succeed:
1. Do not have implicit connections between manager and the employee. Have a “boss connection” only if the employee chooses to do so (Great HR exercise here to figure out the bosses who are disliked!)
2. Do not let this project ever, ever be run by HR
3. Do not moderate the content. People within the firewall are more responsible than outside
And yeah, if your Enterprise Facebook experiment becomes successful, open it up outside the corporate firewall and hand over an alumni account to every departing employee.
Doing the above, might improve your rankings by couple of notches in Fortune’s Most Admired Companies.
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