External Influence & Employee Brands

In the previous articles Connecting the Dots and A Consistent Experience I looked at a holistic view on the building blocks of the Social Enterprise and why it is important to deliver a consistent user experience and brand experience to employees.

In this article I will be looking at the Social Enterprise from the outside.

Influencing the champions within a social enterprise

We are moving to a future where the lines between work and personal lives are being blurred and as I covered in the previous article it is important that employees can represent the company and the brand correctly at any time whether they are at work or not.

The individual employee is representing a direct communication option to the company, an important fact for external marketeers. And the question becomes: “How can we give champions of our products and brands the tools to spread the word to their colleagues within the walls of the Social Enterprise?

Yam It or Chatter This

Creating the ability to for people to share to their social enterprise environment from the public web is one way to go. Granted it is possible for an employee to copy and paste the link into the corporate interface, but this is where the history of user experience design can be beneficial:

For a long time user experience designers where arguing back and forth whether having a print button or a bookmark button on a website was beneficial or clutter. After all it duplicates standard browser functionalities available (sort of) to the users.

But it became clear the argument was missing the point. The question was not whether the buttons duplicates a function or not; The question was: Do the buttons make it easier and are they more inviting for the users?

I suspect the answer played a part in the success of Facebook ‘Like’ and “Tweet this” buttons that social media brought to us: It makes it easy. I think it is reasonable to assume that similar options for sharing from the public web to the Social Enterprise will prove effective for the same reasons.

Technically sharable documents

I am not going to discuss the value of quality content as there are loads of good articles on the subject. Instead I would like to direct your attention to the delivery mechanisms.

In a consumer environment some delivery tools are better than others (horrible flippy pages anyone?) but for most part all can be viewed by the target audience if they wanted.

However, it may not be as straight forward for users on a corporate network. Your target organisation may still make use of older browsers or restrict access to plugins such as Flash and Java. Make sure any content work in older versions of browsers/ file readers and don’t rely on any plugins to be installed.

Employee Brands

To finished off this series of articles on User Experience Design in a Social Enterprise Environment I want to highlight a new and exiting concept called “Employee Brands”.

The Social Enterprise supports a more flat corporate structure. Due to the collective ownership of content and responsibility more power is in the hands of the employees and some individuals are better at handling, distributing and manipulating the stream of information making them influencers within the Social Enterprise regardless of job title.

  • They become known sources of good information
  • They become known by name
  • They become Employee Brands


Connecting with these Employee Brands seems like a feasible way of reaching inside the Social Enterprise wall, but how can they be identified?

Employee brands have two facets: Their public profile, reach and influence which can be destilled from all the hints of the public facing web (Have many Twitter followers? How many Facebook likes on the last blog post? What’s their Klout score and Peer Index?).

The other facet is their profile, reach and influence within the Social Enterprise and here I fall short of an answer because I am not aware of any capabilities able to measure an employee’s personal influence or “brand power” within a Social Enterprise from the public web.

One way might be to use their public presence and how it relates to the public presence of fellow employees, but this is merely a shadow of their Social Enterprise presence and may prove misleading.

Another way might be using what traditional account management and PR has taught us: Get to know the employees. Engage with them in the public social channels. Start conversations and use the information gathered to create a picture of the brand value of the employees.

I agree; The concept of Employee Brands is difficult to gauge, but looking at how the power of communication and information is spreading throughout organisations I think it is a concept well worth exploring.

What are your thoughts on influencing the Social Enterprise?