I started systematicHR something like 5 years ago as a true weblog – a place where I could record my thoughts as I went through my daily reading and research. More than 5 years after my first blog post that I never thought anyone would read but myself, systematicHR has really become my own personal brand. It reflects a lot of who I am, what I’m interested in, but more importantly, it reflects what is in my head and how I think. I have continued to contribute to the HR blogosphere since I think I have a unique point of view that is not widely represented in a space filled with analysts, vendors, recruiters, but not too many strategists connecting dots between all of that thinking. Hopefully, you all have not decided that I’m delusional.
The thing about Web 2.0 and what I’ve decided to call Enterprise Digital Interactions (rather than “enterprise social media”) is that we’re assuming our employee populations are willingly going to participate and lend time to contributing content. Certainly, we’ll have a hard enough time getting a large and diverse cross section of our workforce just to subscribe the the appropriate blogs let alone writing them. Employees are used to the networks and connecting with other people by now, and some people are getting used to pulling data from the web and consuming what they want rather than what they are given.
The key to all of this is the personal brand. Just like for myself, some (or hopefully many) people will take some pride at being able to share knowledge. People like the fact that they came up with an original thought or a best organizational practice. They like the community recognition that they are in some way, a leader. And it just so turns out that people who contribute also tend to subscribe to more in the environment as well. All of that leads to more comments, conversations and more interactions.
I know there are at least dozens of ways to help spur participation in the corporate communities, but personal brands seems to be a good, long term way to view employee motivation. You can always get people to post a blog because it was on their list of goals, but you won’t get them to continue to do so unless they see the personal value to it.