One of the greatest rewards of mentoring and coaching is to see the "student become the teacher." I just had that gratifying experience.
Several months ago I recommended to a client of mine that his company should start using Facebook and blogging for recruiting and engaging his employees. Like many other small business owners and executives, he rolled his eyes and sighed. I'd seen the look and reaction before: "I don't get it," he said. "And we don't have the time."
But a few weeks ago, Bill called me for advice on setting up a Facebook page. Then a few days later, he called again – asking for help with the blog.
Well, over the past few weeks, I've been receiving his blog posts. I couldn't be more pleased. He's offering up good content and prompting some conversation. In just a few short weeks, Bill went from blowing off the value of social media in his business to finding out that one of his recruiters was already using MySpace to recruit employees. Congrats to both this employee…and to Bill for rewarding her for her initiative. This is a perfect example about how social networking empowers, engages, and rewards employees (and customers). It is also a great example about how to sell a great company culture. What better PR can you get than this for prospects and candidates?
To top it off, I just read Bill's most recent post – Do You Yammer? This was the first I heard about Yammer and it looks like another good medium for organizations wanting to keep the conversation internal It's also a great lesson on how quickly the student can become the teacher in today's lightening fast world of technology and information.
While many managers may cringe at more chatter in the workplace, social media offers a great strategy to engage and empower employees (especially younger workforces). I hope more leaders like Bill seize the opportunity and turn social media into a bridge between management, employees, and customers and not into another chasm.