That’s what one company in the US, Domo (a business intelligence startup), has done.
The CEO, Josh James, has mandated that all 130 of Domo’s staff complete 20 social media and online tasks over eight weeks, from creating three Google+ circles to creating a playlist on a online music service.
Called “the #domosocial experiment“, as staff complete tasks they receive badges and there’s rewards for individual staff who have met the full target, plus a bonus day off if the entire company achieves the goals.
If uncomfortable with the concept, they can create ‘disposable’ accounts – simply so that they understand how various online services work – rather than using their existing personal accounts or creating an ongoing online presence.
As reported in TechCrunch, the experiment is already delivering results,
James says he can see a difference in the way the team operates. He recalls tweeting out some company news, then seeing it retweeted by more than 50 percent of the workforce. Another time, he says he tweeted about a feature that he was really impressed by see in another product. James didn’t mention it again, but two weeks later an engineer proudly demonstrated a way to add that functionality to Domo’s product. And it’s not just about watching the boss’ Twitter account and keeping him happy. James also says that when he walks through the company’s cubicles, he’s more likely to see (or hear) consumer apps like Pandora or Rdio in action.
“It’s given us a common language,” he adds.
The company’s progress is being published online at www.domo.com/what-we-do/social-status
Should other organisations take this step – mandating their staff to at least trial the use of various social media and online tools?
I think there’s merit in the concept.
Staff don’t need to be taught how to use television, radio or newspapers because they universally grew up exposed to them.
However the generations that grew up with social media are only at the cusp of hitting the workforce, so there’s a lot of people in your organisation who are extremely familiar with traditional media but potentially lack experience in online.
While it may not be practicable to mandate that all staff must use social media, teams that deal with public and stakeholder engagement, communication, customer service and business intelligence should all be well equipped to use online channels to meet the goals of the organisation.
Using a reward based process, as Domo has done, provides a better canvass than a penalty based approach and, I think, is well worth considering.
I have begun to hear of communications teams in the private sector who will not hire staff who are not conversant with the major social media channels, and courses for senior managers – both within and outside the public service – which require as ‘home work’ that they establish Twitter or other accounts.
If we want to foster a 21st Century workforce then we do need to take steps to create it, not just sit back and wait.
A strategy encouraging people to use online tools, which costs little to implement, might be a good start.