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How raising “social capital” can accelerate organizational performance.
Every business requires various forms of capital. First, there is financial capital to fund the launch of the organization securing workspace, talent, machinery and technology. Next, there is human capital to foster invention, fuel innovation and fundamentally run the business. And while those two are essential, social capital, may be the most important to building sustainable success. I’m not talking about the external “social capital” that is created from corporate philanthropy, pro-social projects or outward facing media activities. My focus here is on harnessing and leveraging the valuable social interactions that happen between employees–your “internal” social capital.
Does your organization focus internally to create social connections between employees and elevate social leverage emanating from the inside? Our experience has been that not very many do.
We started thinking about how we could help companies raise additional capital–social capital. We worked on methodologies to provide new fuel for growth, create new internal efficiencies and drive performance by this new focus on “social capital fundraising”.
We hypothesized that organizational social capital would grow significantly if we could increase the “net social value” of each employee within an organization. As employees become more connected, as they share common values, as they experience more opportunities to communicate and as they feel rewarded (vs. punished) for “socializing”, the value of the company will be elevated.
So, we built a platform for organizations to recognize the value and harvest the benefits of growing “internal social capital”.
First, our approach helps leaders and employees re-position their perception of “social sharing”. Our purpose is not to replace or circumvent corporate social media channels like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the rest. In fact, we believe those channels have a purpose as do internal communications channels such as Yammer or Slack. Our view is that the official internal corporate social channel should work to benefit each person who works for the organization. We want to help every employee raise their own “social capital” thus making them more valuable as individual contributors to the collective cause. We believe, as we put unexpected “social capital” in every employees’ pocket, the platform will be more quickly embraced and widely used.
To make “social capital” more tangible, think of it as using technology and social interactions to create new relationships between workers, strengthen existing ones, and leverage the power of crowd-sourced problem solving. Social capital can help employees instantly find necessary resources, locate knowledge and information they require for success, or identify best practices company-wide. Peer level sharing has proven to be among the most trusted sources for advice and counsel. By facilitating these discussions among individual employees, organizations enhance their collective company social capital.
Other elements in our “social capital campaign” include platform technology to facilitate active listening, event monitoring, personal and group bench marking, challenge motivators, gamified social learning tools, pulse polls and other forms of interactive, aggregated activities.
When you think about what fuels a company, it’s capital. Financial resources, human energy and social relationships. Adopting a program to grow your “social capital” can elevate individual achievement and simultaneously enhance collective performance. And the best news, with the right program, social capital may be the easiest capital you will ever raise.