Content strategy for enterprise social networks

Written by Sunder Ramachandran on 5 August 2016 in Features
Features

Enterprise social networks (ESN) are helping training professionals re-imagine the way learning gets designed & delivered.

Trainers must be encouraged to share possible use cases or examples of application with the community. Credit: Fotolia 

The use cases for leveraging the ESN for creating learning journeys, crowd-sourcing training design, validating training needs, encouraging social learning and sustaining engagement beyond a training event are well documented.

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Getting closer to the customer

This calls for strong community management from the trainers who need to learn the skills involved in enthusing the audience within a community with content, creating momentum and sustaining engagement. The absence of engagement and adoption of ESN can often be attributed to lack of ownership but also a clear content strategy.

A first step to get training professionals aligned to this approach is to orient them to modern workplace learning practices. This can be done by leveraging the enterprise social network and creating a professional learning track targeted at the training team. Here’s a quick overview on what the broad objective should be within such a track for trainers:

Consumption

It is important to ensure that trainers get first hand exposure of consuming a range of content assets. This includes videos, infographics, articles, blogs, podcasts, GIFs & slide shares. Employees in general are embracing content on consumer platforms.

Micro blogging & YouTube videos have become main-stream in the personal learning space for most employees. It is important that training professionals understand the engagement that such content creates and also use this experience as a proxy to define their own learning content strategy.

As trainers create learning groups on specific themes, they should use the same content principles and support employees in gaining knowledge, acquiring skills and finding new information.

Reflection

Next to consuming content on the enterprise social is the ability to engage with it and reflect meaningfully. To this effect, each content asset must be accompanied by questions for reflection i.e. what are your key takeaways from this video, what of these trends do you think impact our work directly?

This allows the trainers to establish a series of meaningful conversations with peers in the community. Reflection could also involve endorsing other’s views, sharing insights, asking questions and being an enthusiastic member in the community. This prepares the trainers to apply the same engagement principles in their wider learning communities.

Contextualisation

How does a new piece of knowledge or skill change the ways of work within the enterprise? This is where the rubber meets the road and trainers must be encouraged to narrow their broad perspectives from the community to specific use cases within the enterprise.

Simple questions like ‘what does this mean for us within the enterprise’ and ‘what are the possible challenges we may encounter’ often trigger the process of contextualisation within the community. Asking questions and seeking information to build the context also boosts engagement within the community. These conversations must feature as a mainstay in the learning track.

Application

At the end, trainers must be encouraged to share possible use cases or examples of application with the community. This builds confidence and also provides an impetus to all community members to experiment with the new ideas.

These use cases also be leveraged to demonstrate benefit realisation to the nay sayers. Examples of application accelerate adoption within the community like nothing else.

In summary

It’s a no-brainer that enterprise social networks can be a big lever in creating a learning culture within the enterprise. Leverage however happens over a period of time so trainers must remain consistent with their content strategy.

Employees will come to the enterprise social network for meaningful content & meaningful conversations and trainers must ensure that both are available within the ESN.

About the author

Sunder Ramachandran is General Manager, Training at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals India. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached on Twitter: @sundertrg

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