Empowered Individuals

In this Forbes article, David Kirkpatrick talks about the changes coming about from social media related to the workforce.

“We have entered the age of empowered individuals, who use potent new technologies and harness social media to organize themselves. A few have joined cause with WikiLeaks and its terrifying stepchildren, upending the once secure corridors of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. But most are ordinary people with new tools to force you to listen to what they care about and to demand respect. Both your customers and your employees have started marching in this burgeoning social media multitude, and you’d better get out of their way—or learn to embrace them.”

Michelle and I have talked about providing an opportunity for people to organize themselves in something like a Community of Practice (CoP), and about the value of listening to your employees’ suggestions as a way of getting positive input as you formulate the change.  What David Kirkpatrick points out is that you can’t really exert overt control over what an individual will say, and with the communication channels that exist through social media, what an individual has to say can go viral quickly — both positive and negative.

This is just one more reason for making sure your employees are involved in formulating the change and that you’ve established a communication channel where they can provide feedback.  If they are shut out of the process, what they have to say will still be said — and you, as an organization, will be missing out.

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