We are so caught up with aligning all feedback systems based on the formal organization structure while remaining blissfully unaware of the changes happening as a result of the information communication lines that develop under the radar. These informal organization structures wields lot more impact in terms of performance and credibility. The fact that organizations have now started investing in social collaboration platforms is hastening the creation of a well entrenched informal structure and “knowledge equations” as opposed to power equations.
Earlier this year, The Fast Company published an article that highlighted the importance of measuring employee influence as a means to determine employee worth. According to this article, companies like Salesforce.com use data from their Chatter social collaboration platform to identify the most influential employees. They are signed up to become evangelists for key organization-wide initiatives to guarantee a successful roll-out. This strategy recognizes the fact that traditional power equations and silos are not the only communication channels available for disseminating new ideas or implementing changes. Social collaboration tools now give us an opportunity to find out who actually has the street cred!
However, this strategy of measuring influence also has its downsides. What about the introverts that don’t actively participate in enterprise social collaboration tools or what about people who are too busy to contribute? Would the influencers lose their credibility if they were known to become the top management’s spokesmen?
As products like Chatter and Yammer take off, I am sure we will have more empirical data on how influence in enterprise social collaboration platforms is meaningfully leveraged.