I just returned from a conference called Online Information (they must be from the early net days when the combination of these words must have seem revolutionary) where I was speaking at a session about adding value to intranets. My spiel was about blogs in general and internal blogs in particular. I have been asked to step in for someone else only a couple of weeks ago and I am glad I managed to rally and put something together.
My main point was that all the projects whose objective is to stimulate information sharing, collaboration, creativity and innovation within companies have to be aware that they are working on a human solution, not a technological one. The implementation and the format of the solution has technological aspects but these will amount to nothing is the basic unit of a company, the individual, is not taken into account.
I enjoyed talking about blogs and what they are capable of to an audience consisting of people who can actually put them to good use and make a difference. I got a chance to have a quick chat with a few of them afterwards and look forward to hearing from those who found my talk interesting enough to get in touch. There is a lot more, where that came from!
Oh, one of the people who approached me handed me a little leaflet saying: You’ve been blogged! Marvellous! There is a blog covering the conference, Infotodayblog.com and it’s a good one. (But no permalinks, as Christina’s LIS Rant points out.)
Update: Here is the presentation in full. It’s PowerPoint, so hold your horses.
Sure. That’s what Dianne Marsh, a co-founder of SRT Solutions and president of the Ann Arbor Computer Society, thinks:
It’s a time saver. A lot of companies are asking employees to write down what they do on a daily basis. It makes a lot more sense to keep that as a blog.
You don’t say. They also cottoned up onto the fact that blogging provides the convenience of a Web site but is a far less static environment.
It’s becoming a pain and a commodity, calling someone to constantly add content to your site. (Blogging) is a much more efficient way to keep your site up to date.
Indeed. The more people realise this, the better.
For example, Stardock‘s 25 employees built a public blog for customers to sound off on the software as well as an internal blog for software developers in Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, Italy and Poland. The technology has helped form a “community” for employees, most of whom have never met face to face, said Stardock president and CEO Brad Wardell.
As more and more companies go virtual, they have to have a way to create a more cohesive environment for their employees, and blogs help do that.
Yes, they do indeed. Internal blogs are a perfect tool for creativity and a bottom-up collaboration.
Via BL Ochman, I see that this past Sunday’s New York Times featured an article on how blogs are used in recruitment (annoyingly, a subscription is required to read the NYT’s content). As well as job seekers using a company’s blog(s) to get a feel for the corporate culture and whether or not it would be a good place to work, and writing their own blogs as “living résumés,” employers are increasingly scouring blogs for leads on candidates. Heather Hamilton, senior marketing recruiter at Microsoft, says that she has found great candidates through blogging, and that she thinks blogs will change how companies recruit. That echoes what Thomas Nelson Publishers’ COO Michael Hyatt told me recently:
I think it’s a way to contribute back to our industry and recruit new talent to our company. I have had several people write to say, “Gee, I’d like to work for a company that is this forward-thinking.”
But the recruitment and HR uses for blogs go much further than the NYT piece explores.
- Industries where competition is fierce for the most talented, highly skilled candidates stand the most to gain from blogs: people who blog and read blogs tend to be very educated and exceptionally networked, as well as innovation junkies. These are the kinds of people that most organizations would love to have working for them, but those cut-throat sectors where lots of companies are vying for the best and brightest need them more than ever. These are the businesses that should engage the blogosphere as a matter of some urgency.
- Companies can get their vacancies and corporate culture in front of ‘valuable eyeballs,’ as some marketers might say. For example, the pharmaceutical industry is a hotbed of competition for a handful of exemplary candidates. If a pharma company publicises on its blog those roles it needs to fill, the link to that post can be picked up and blogged by the bloggers throughout the pharma/scientific niche of the network.
- One of the reasons why jobs fairs have tanked is because recruiters can use the internet to reach people - blogs take that to a whole new, more valuable level.
- It’s crucial to find the right person for a role as quickly as possible - and information moves at breakneck speed when it is blogged.
- With blogs, people have a choice of personal relevance that we’ve never had before. That goes for job seekers, too. If they come across a company’s blog and think, “Hmm, wouldn’t mind working for them,” they can keep tabs on their recruitment very easily, while keeping up with what the company is doing and where it’s going. You get a sense of the corporate culture from a blog - how people interact, if they’re straight-shooters or blowhards, how inspired and engaged the employees are - and that can be highly informative to someone who is considering whether or not to work for a certain company. Someone who reads the Google blog won’t need to read the employee handbook to figure out if a shirt and tie is required daily wear.
- The above can be valuable during the on-boarding process - new hires don’t need as much time to get up to speed with the corporate culture and default business mode.
- Companies that don’t want to pay market rates for certain jobs or are just crappy places to work may well be on the receiving end of rough treatment from the blogosphere. If you’re not a good company to work for, that can really shine through in your blog. Companies whose authentic voice is more of an authentic snarl probably should not have a blog.
- Last, but certainly not least, internal blogs can serve as a huge asset to HR. It is unfortunate, but much of HR’s time is spent filling in forms and acting as glorified administrators in a role bogged down with paperwork. There is a huge need for HR to spend more time on the ‘soft’ issues of working with people and less time on tedious tasks that are not making the most of HR’s potential value to their company. Using internal blogs to - amongst other things - remove a substantial amount of that admin burden, engage employees, and make employees feel more fulfilled would be a huge boon to any HR department’s efficiency and effectiveness.
Go back on the hippo's back...
Pontificating about blogs in corporations today on the CEO bloggers club…