The End of Social Media? [Video Interview with Shel Holtz]By Nick Stein on July 16, 2012 in The Future of Work
In his 35-year career as an influential author, speaker, blogger, and communications consultant to Pepsi, The World Bank, and Intel, Shel Holtz has been at the vanguard of employing new technologies to transform workplace communication and collaboration. An early advocate of social media in the workplace, Holtz has first-hand knowledge of many of the collaborative tools that are changing the way we connect at work.
Recently, Holtz sat down for a conversation exploring The Future of Work with John C. Havens, his co-author of the book “Tactical Transparency: How Leaders Can Leverage Social Media to Maximize Value and Build their Brand.”
Holtz’s video interview is part of The Future of Work — a series exploring the changing nature of work through articles, interactive media, and social discussion.
You can watch the full video below. Here are a few highlights:
Social Media Helps Us Work More Efficiently
Holtz cites an interview series created by McKinsey & Company that has tracked the growth of social networking tools over the past number of years. Quoting from ideas featured in one of the more recent installations of the report, Enterprise Web 2.0 Finds It’s Payday, Shel notes that “organizations that use these tools and practices show dramatic improvements not only in internal practices but also in marketing to customers, suppliers and strategic partners. Cycle time on projects is faster, the ability to find subject matter experts is faster, meeting time is decreasing, and travel costs are decreasing.”
A mistake corporations have made for years with Social Media is to measure ROI only in terms of profits created by channels like Twitter (sales of laptops by Dell, etc). The real profit to be made by the social tools taking over the workplace is the time savings and improved collaboration from strategically utilized tools.
Holtz believes Social Media will soon become ubiquitous for employees and we’ll move beyond the era of CEO’s or anyone else asking, “What’s the ROI of these tools?” In that sense, “the end of Social Media” will come once employees and management alike stop discussing which tool works better and why, and simply agree on a few platforms and focus on the collaboration they bring.
The C-Suite is Starting to “Get” Social Media
Thankfully management at manycompanies has moved beyond the suspicion for adopting social tools to understanding how valuable they can be for employee and customer relationships. However, some in the C-Suite may still say, “we can’t have employees doing Facebook when they should be doing their jobs.” Holtz says, “the folks that don’t get it think that social media is a way that employees are trying to skip work when the opposite is true—social tools are the way those employees prefer to get work done.”
To be fair, it’s logical to think that platforms used not at work could bleed into the productivity that’s supposed to be delivered at your job. But ignoring the context for how someone communicates is equivalent to telling Baby Boomers to coordinate on a project without the use of email. The smartest companies embrace a platform that fits the culture of their organization, and simply institutes basic policies about how they should be used to avoid private or other non-work related conversations.
Work from Anywhere
“What you’re going to find is that employees are going to be able to do their work anywhere,” says Holtz “You’ll see a migration away from laptops and desktops to smart phones and tablets. People will have access to anything they need from wherever they are. People will start to do what Bechtel recently did. They tore down their entire IT structure to be cloud-based. It saved money and it allowed employees to get whatever devices they want. They can use an iPhone, laptop, whatever. They’re all authenticating via the cloud.”
Working from home or in clusters that make sense for specific tasks means less costs for commuting, infrastructure, along with happier workers who get work done how it best suits their overall lives. As long as an employee can deliver results, it will matter less and less that they do it in a cubicle from 9-to-5.
Likewise, the idea of the quarterly employee review is finally evolving. Rather than schedule onerous meetings between management and their staff to evaluate projects that may have finished months before, real-time systems for HR/evaluation will allow employees to get immediate feedback that can improve their performance and overall results for an organization. These tools also provide a democratic platform for creating a truly horizontal workplace. Managers can get feedback on their performance so old-school notions of iron-fist leaders can give way to supportive environments that foster true collaboration.
Watch the Video:
About Shel Holtz
Shel Holtz is the Founder and Principal of Holtz Communications and Technology and has spent the last 35 years in the organizational consulting industry. He has written a number of books including Blogging For Business, How to Do Everything with Podcasting, Corporate Conversations, and Tactical Transparency, amongst others. He is working on an upcoming book, tentatively titled, The Rise of Content Strategy. You can contact Shel via email at email@example.com or follow him @holtz on twitter.