Social Business Skills—What do your employees need to know?
Douglas Heintzman 060000Q98X firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  skills social-business
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As organizations realize the power of both internal and external social networking tools, they are seeking employees with the skill set needed to advance social initiatives. Surprisingly, many organizations are discovering that their IT, research and development teams are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to working collaboratively.90 percent of those surveyed felt that their organization does not have the skills needed in business-critical technologies including social business, mobile, cloud computing or analytics.
For example, a popular software development methodology, Agile-Scrum, requires developers to stand up each morning and discuss the project they are working on, challenges they’re facing and how to overcome them. This gives developers the opportunity to talk through issues and take advantage of the collective skills of the group. In addition, when developers and IT professionals need an answer for a problem, they take advantage of internal and external resources – forums, blogs, Tweets or their coworker.
Data from the 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report indicates that more than two/thirds of the developers, students, professors and business leaders surveyed deem social business tools as imperative to their business success. The report actually revealed some pretty alarming statistics about the growing technical skill gap among today's professionals and students:
More than 60 percent of IT/LOB decision makers and more than 73 percent of educators and students reported moderate to major skill gaps across all four technology areas.
And it's going from bad to worse: nearly half of the educators and students surveyed indicated major gaps in their institutions ability to meet IT skill needs in mobile, social, cloud and analytics. IBM announced a major new global skills initiative aimed at helping students, professionals and business leaders get the skills they need in social business and other key technologies.
Looking across your organization, how can you break down silos and help your employees embrace more digital, social and collaborative forms of communications?
Here are the top five skills each employee should acquire:
1. Define your social presence: Every time we engage in a social activity, we make choices that affect our presence. By presence, we mean achieving a position of distinction as a trusted business advisor, standing out in the marketplace as individuals and as an organization so that others can interact with us through our digital systems. The way you define your social presence will ultimately impact your eminence. You have the power to shape your eminence, through what you decide to share in the workplace and on the web.
2. Understand social communities and jump in: We all belong to communities in our daily, physical lives. With the advent of social media, we have the opportunity to join online, social communities that map back to our business and/or interest and connect with people across the world. Find and participate in social communities which help foster a greater sense of community belonging and inclusion.
3. Build your digital footprint or network by publishing your expertise: Work to build your "online brand" by cultivating your network and sharing your expertise. Internally, this will help coworkers find you quickly when a customer has a question or there’s an issue that comes up within your expertise.
4. Spend some time listening and engaging on social networks: There are a few steps within this step as you’ll want to listen and engage on the various external social networks that are important to you and your business. Run a Google search to see what others find when they search your name, check Twitter to see if you’ve received new @replies or direct messages and use relevant hashtags when posting.
5. Be a good digital citizen: A good digital citizen understands the responsibilities involved with using technology and digital media. Through awareness and thoughtfulness, you can be a good digital citizen and become a trusted and reliable resource.
I have summarized some of this in a video blog at IBM Developer works (also on youtube).
These skills are easily acquired, but can take some time to fully develop. The first step in any social business is to familiarizing yourself with these skills and the technology available to help employees embrace their social profile.