Leveling Corporate Hierarchy Via Social Networks - Investors.com
With more businesses using social networks as collaboration tools, lower-level employees with the right knowledge are finding they can raise their profiles and flatten out hierarchies.
Such tools have allowed workers to cut down on email and meetings. But they also enable someone to ask the entire enterprise a question — and the quiet, anonymous guy down the hall may end up having the best answers.
"They appear and establish themselves as subject-matter experts," said Joe Drouin, chief information officer at Kelly Services (KELYA). “It certainly challenges the traditional organizational hierarchy.”
About two years ago, Cemex (CX) started looking for a “big bang” of change to flatten out the organization and unlock new ideas, said Gilberto Garcia, the company’s innovation director.
But with employees scattered around the world, some from recent acquisitions, the Mexico-based cement giant also needed something to help close cultural and language gaps.
"The collective knowledge was there, but it wasn’t fully utilized," Garcia said.
It turned to IBM’s (IBM) Connections social tool in January 2010 to bridge those gaps and found a way to motivate staff in the process.
While English is the lingua franca at Cemex, employees in different countries can use a translation feature on Connections to read a message written in someone’s native language.
Cemex promotes the use of local languages on Connections, especially to share health and safety knowledge, Garcia said. The IBM tool also lets users post instructional videos as well as write and edit wikis.