Using social media to track and drive organizational success metrics


This week I was MC for the AHRI HR Technology conference, and ran one of the workshops on the following day, on Creating Results Using Social Media.

A real highlight of the conference was the Social Media: Risks and Rewards panel, which I chaired, with the participation of a fantastic cast of Peter Williams of Deloitte, Steve Barham of LinkedIn, Laurel Papworth of The Community Crew, and Sam Mutimer of ThinkTank Media.

It was a fabulous discussion, and we covered a lot of territory in the conversation.

One of the many topics discussed was the use of social media to track metrics and correlate these with organizational success metrics.

Deloitte’s success with enterprise micro-blog Yammer led to Yammer asking Deloitte if they could create a case study. In that process Deloitte correlated Yammer usage with staff information. One discovery was that staff turnover of active Yammer users was 2%, substantially below the company average. Whatever the causality, there is a very high correlation between social media activity and retention. A range of other very specific insights were generated from the analysis, and these metrics are now tracked on an ongoing basis.

Interestingly, Deloitte also tried to tap data on their staff’s social activities from LinkedIn’s APIs, so they could further draw out useful insights and correlations, however LinkedIn told them they were in breach of terms and conditions, so they have not been able to identify any links between performance and ways in which LinkedIn is being used.

Deloitte also use Yammer as inputs to organizational network analysis, allowing them to identify the network hubs and knowledge brokers across the firm. Often there are surprises in who these people turn out to be. Discovering this can be vital in organizational development and design.

I have written before about using organizational network analysis to drive performance, and also co-wrote a California Management Review article on networks and performance which described some of the specific interventions that can be designed stemming from insights into individual position in organizational networks.

An organization that has a high level of participation in social media has a very specific advantage over companies that do not. It can gain insights into individuals, activities, organizational dynamics, and very specific drivers of organizational success metrics, that in turn allow the creation of highly targeted initiatives that will improve its performance.

Do you want deep insights into your organization and the drivers of better performance? Get going with social media.