Social networking brings IT employees closer

When 23-year-old Dipon Samaddar joined HCL Technologies as a software developer last year, he had no clue that he would be able to interact even with his CEO Vineet Nayar, through the company’s internal social networking site.

He was surprised when Nayar personally clarified some of his colleagues’ questions.

Launched in April 2011, HCL’s social networking site for employees, ‘MEME’, has almost 60,000 registered users till date. The platform has 1,579 groups where employees can discuss topics ranging from work-life continuity to their passion factors at work.

Nayar himself is part of the networking platform and with him on-board making comments, the traffic to the site has increased manifold.

“When we started this initiative, the service was offered only on invitation basis and got brilliant response within six months,” said HCL Technologies Senior Vice-President (Human Resources) Ravi Shankar.

Shankar also pointed out that employees can share their queries on MEME and get answers from other employees and experts within the company. Another Indian IT major Cognizant has also come up with a novel concept of internal social networking through its Cognizant 2.0 platform that allows employees to interact among themselves. Starting with a mere 100 employees, it now has 1,00,000 Cognizant employees using the service.

“The notion of ‘work’ as a place where employees perform tasks in isolation from each other, as well as from partners and customers, has been losing relevance for some time,” said Cognizant Vice-President (Knowledge Management) Rajashree Natarajan.

Connecting people

Natarajan added that tectonic shifts in society and technology are driving organisations to create an environment where work becomes more fluidic and an intimate collaboration between employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, delivering continuous business value.

The purpose of this venture was to create a connect among the geographically distributed project teams across Cognizant’s enterprise. Today, C2 provides a virtual “town square” for more than 1,30,000 Cognizant associates and over 1,00,000 users have collaborated on hundreds of projects worldwide. Information is exchanged at a blistering pace, with over 15,000 blog posts and more than 1,00,000 Techforum queries.

Sharing knowledge

“These sites not only help in connecting and bonding social capital but can facilitate knowledge exchange too,” said Assistant Professor at Centre for Social and Organisational Leadership (CSOL), Tata Institute of Social Sciences, P Vijayakumar.

Vijayakumar added that it is possible, for the bonding that happens through these mechanisms to provide both tangible and intangible benefits for the organisation members and thereby, contributing positively to employee performance and retention.

Infosys believes that in the dynamic world of today’s business, success is significantly determined by the collective intelligence and actions of its  employees.

Keeping this in mind Infosys had launched InfyBubble, the homegrown social network for employees. Currently, there are 82,000 employees registered on the platform, with 3,92,051 connections established across the world and 102,572 average page views a day.

Infosys Technology Analyst Sanish Fernandez said that it has given him options of both professional networking and personal networking integrated into one single platform.

“I’m member of a group called Ink, a writers and poets’ forum and I can share my views with Infosys employees across the globe having a similar set of interests as mine,” said Fernandez.

Senior Vice-President Group Head of Human Resources, Nandita Gurjar, pointed out that such networks not only provide two way communication between the top management and the employees, but also gives employees an opportunity to voice out opinions on the company’s policies.

Fun at work

Last year on August 18, Infosys had also launched a radio service for their employees, InfyRadio, an in-house radio station for employees across all development centres in India.

InfyRadio serves a dual purpose of keeping employees informed about happenings in the organisation and also ensures they are motivated and engaged with some fun at work.

The station runs for six hours a day, five days a week and is accessible via a link on the employee’s computer and on an average it receives 10,000 hits per day.

Deloitte (India) Senior Director (Enterprise Risk Services) Shree Parthasarathy feels: “Internal social networking is a great tool to engage project teams globally to share ideas and collaborate on projects.”

Meanwhile, Wipro also has its service, ‘myWiproWorld’, which has 1,16,981 registered users and 3,264 communities.

“Now, we have effectively integrated both Twitter and Facebook with myWiproWorld so that personal and official networking and collaboration become seamless,” said Wipro.

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