Don’t Forget the “Other Guys”

This blog is a response to chapter 12 of the groundswell textbook called “the groundswell inside your company” for my MARK4474 course.

So, you have an awesome social media strategy – customers are engaged, word is spreading and things are looking up! But what about what’s going on inside your business? Are your employees engaged? Do you have a strategy to connect with them?

Employees are an important factor to a company’s success. In a perfect world, employees should also want the company to be successful, and be passionate about what they do. However, that’s not always the case. The bigger the company, the more of a problem communicating internally to staff is, and the harder it is to hear your employees thoughts and ideas.

There are a few different ways companies can connect to their employees:

  • internal social networks
  • collaboration via wikis
  • contributing to idea exchanges

These three things all tap the power of the groundswell of ideas among employees – the people who know how your business runs best (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 234).

Of course, you can’t just implement the technology thinking that people are going to pick it up and run with it. Change takes effort. An easy way to promote change and get the ball rolling is to have upper management involved and actively using the tool you choose. Change also takes the right tool. If your objective and the medium you choose don’t go together, you’re not going to experience a positive outcome.

One company that did experience a positive result, was Best Buy with Blue Shirt Nation.

Best Buy created an internal community site for employees (Blue Shirt Nation) to listen to their employees. Not only did Blue Shirt Nation achieve this, it also enabled employees to help each other (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 236).

Like Best Buy, AMA also has an internal community site for employees called “The Backyard”. In this space, employees can find information that’s posted by different business units – kind of like a wiki. It’s a hybrid though, in the sense that on The Backyard you can also post in an area called Communities and Collaboration, where employees can talk to one another, ask questions, share stories and more! These two areas help AMA management listen to employees, and allows employees to talk to one another in a more social area. Sharing stories about great service or touching moments on the job also energize other employees, spreading the good feeling around the company.

Successful companies connect to their employees. They listen to what they have to say, provide them with tools to collaborate and exchange ideas. If employees aren’t happy, or at their full potential, then they can be harmful to a company’s brand. By connecting with employees, you can solve problems from the inside out, or before they even start.



Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.