When we told people we were going to ‘smile’ in London there were a few head scratches, a few smirks and a couple of “good luck with that, it never stops raining” messages. What they didn’t realize is we were talking about a different type of smile. Indeed, the smile we were referring to was SMiLE London. Standing for Social Media in the Large Enterprise, SMiLE brings together some of best and brightest from the internal communications community.
The venue at St.Pauls in London was packed with over 200 internal communications professionals; Intranet Managers, Social Media experts and Directors, Comms Managers and individuals looking to build adoption for their new or existing Enterprise Social Networks.
At Beezy we know a fair bit about the value that social can bring to an enterprise, and the success that can result from creating a platform that allows users to feel engaged, stimulated and connected. Enterprise Social Networks like Beezy's allow businesses to create a workforce that is united. The desire to be social and communicate is naturally ingrained in everyone, and an ESN supports and encourages those needs to be social in a fun, productive and rewarding way.
For us, nothing is more rewarding than seeing social working inside an enterprise that we’ve worked with. So attending SMiLE London was great as it gave us the chance to chat with fellow attendees and guests about the value of an ESN, and also allowed us to catch up with a friend of ours, Stanley Awuku, Internal Digital Experience Manager at Vodafone.
Stanley was speaking at SMiLE London about Vodafone’s Circle platform that was built and customized by our team at Beezy. Circle serves as Vodafone’s “main social media outlet for all employees”. The objective of Circle was about bringing external behaviours used outside into the enterprise to increase knowledge sharing.
So far, it’s been a big success. During his talk Stanley spoke to resident DJ and Simply-Communicate organizer Marc Wright about the community functions in Circle and how they work. “Circle allows our employees to create their own communities which they’ve done on a large scale. For us it’s all about connections, and Circle’s community features have enabled over 2,000 to be created”.
When we talk about Enterprise Social Networks reaching out to all areas of a business it is certainly true with Vodafone and Circle. Stanley spoke about Vodafone staff feeling “galvanized” by being able to talk to and ask questions of their business leaders and colleagues. “Staff can chat to one another across the world and talk about different topics which is great”.
Something we found particularly poignant was when Stanley was asked about the cultural differences between different countries. In his reply he said “there can never be too much traction between employees. Sharing learning experiences and best practices can be achieved no matter where people are located. Circle encourages these connections”
These connections have been helped by Circle’s ESN features. Stanley explained, “Email is great, but sometimes it can be limiting and take away from collaboration. With Circle, it pulls people back in with notifications and really allows staff to share and collaborate”.
One of the things we’re most proud of at Beezy is creating new and innovative features that encourage communication within an enterprise. Our Town Hall features are an example of that. Playing on the simple concept of Q&A, Town Halls allows employees to ask questions to any of the designated speakers. Stanley spoke to Marc about Town Halls and how they have played a positive role in Circle.
“Giving employees the opportunity to engage with leaders for one hour via video conference or a webinar, Town Halls allows questions to be posted before an event and in real time. It’s been very popular”
As Circle is an On-Premises platform, the Town Hall feature has enabled another positive for Vodafone, “It’s allowed for an incredible source of information to be collected”.
It was fantastic to hear Stanley talk about the success of Circle at Vodafone and share his and the company’s experiences. We’re extremely proud to have helped play a part and provide a platform that has seen over 75,000 registered users engage with and use Circle to communicate with colleagues around the world.
One of the great things about SMiLE London was the format. In between guest speakers and refreshment breaks were two 30 minute ‘Table Sessions’ where attendees could listen and chat to vendors talk about an area of expertise and offer guidance.
We delivered two such sessions and spoke about ‘Success Factors for Adoption of your Enterprise Social Network’. Thank you to those who attended, we really enjoyed the opportunity to speak to those looking to learn more about an ESN and successful adoption. Many had questions about leadership, using specific features, our vision at Beezy and top management buy in of an ESN which we hope we helped you with. If we can help you or anyone else further do get in touch.
Our first experience at SMiLE London was great. It was a hugely valuable day and we look forward to attending again in future. I’d like to finish the post by sharing with you something Stanley told to us the day before SMiLE London, he said “Circle is the most stable platform we’ve had for the last two years”. Now for us that’s brilliant to hear. It shows that an ESN can create a vibrant and engaging social community while being a reliable platform that offers security and stability. Now that should make everyone SMiLE.