Social “anything” is hot these days, and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to define what it means (full disclosure (in case you missed it): including myself).
Social learning, social recruiting, and social talent are some of the most recent ones that made it onto my radar screen. Unfortunatelly, and too often, people view the social aspects of traditional business processes through narrow-minded blinders. And that, inevitably, will result in missed opportunities.
Take social learning as an example. What does it mean to you? A way to expand the learning process to leverage the power of the crowd? “Designed” to reduce cost and increase the efficiency of the learning process?
But social learning is also much more than that. Social learning is about understanding that we do not need to learn everything ourselves – that some other team/tribe members may be better at learning certain aspects of how our world functions. It is about knowing who those people are and having lines of communications to tap into the knowledge they have when we need it. Social learning is not about social media, nor is it about crowd sourcing – social learning is about learning as a tribe (you know certain things better than I do and I trust you for being knowledgeable and up to date on the latest and greatest related to that topic) . The main benefits to organizations are neither bottom line nor top line (those are nice side-effects), they are game changing and relate to employee passion and customer loyalty.
Turning business processes into social processes allows you to scale those processes to levels that you could never achieve with traditional management techniques. And the benefits you derive from creating social processes always go beyond cost savings and increased productivity.