CorpComm Expo 2016: Beyond Software– Making Technolgy Work Better

CorpComm Expo 2016: Beyond Software– Making Technolgy Work Better

Author Andrew Ecklund will present “The Best Practices in Digital Communications,” at CorpComm Expo 2016 on Wednesday, November 16 from 3:00-3:50pm at Chicago’s Navy Pier.

As with most everything in digital communications, the promises of technology often loom much larger than their realities. We hear the pitches, we read their web sites, we watch their YouTube testimonials, but the facts remain that software is really just software, not magic. Software doesn’t fix us. And software rarely makes us less human.

Ah, yes. The humans. We humans are a tricky bunch, aren’t we? We come preloaded with emotions, dreams, fears, hopes, aspirations, competitiveness, and self-serving interests. Throw all of us messy organisms together in an organization, and it’s entirely shocking we don’t blow the whole thing up every day.

And then we add software on top of that. Software. Software is equally nutty. People who write software often write it for fantastical organizations comprised of egalitarian nuns who wouldn’t know what self-interest is if it whopped ‘em upside the head. And that’s why software has a hard time solving problems, most of the time, or ends up being vastly underutilized.

At CorpComm Expo 2016, I am going to be sharing with those of you in the audience a few key best practices that I have seen when working with organizations of all types – large and small – for how they organize themselves to make technology work better for them. Specifically, I am going to talk about employee advocacy programs because I believe really well oiled programs, that take into account the myriad human factors that go into them, are the ones that deliver some of the very best results that digital technology has to offer.

Employee advocacy programs, those cross-functional efforts that allow people from across an organization to create and share their own stories (yes, using software), accomplish goals not just within marketing communications departments. Great programs tap into the collective intelligence of the organization. They identify and amplify new voices from within. They champion both the headline-grabbing accomplishments and the small, nuanced, daily kudos we give our colleagues around the office fridge.

Employee advocacy programs are, at their very essence, about the lives and concerns of individuals, not brands. They respect that brands are not just logos or tradeshow booths, but amalgamations of complex critters – we humans. Let’s face it: it’s nearly impossible to create truly great products and services if the humans who make them are miserable and unloved. Sure, some organizations can make it a while under such conditions, but they can never sustain momentum. A great employee advocacy program gives those who engage with them – other employees, future employees, and customers – a true view into the zeitgeist of the brand.

I am focusing on employee advocacy not because I’m altruistic, rather because they deliver real business results faster and with less waste. Look. I’m a businessman first. No one has time for another new shiny buzz-worthy concept. As organizations, we’re moving fast and need to focus only on efforts that deliver real business value. In the case of employee advocacy, organizations that nail these efforts see the following:

-Sales that close quicker
-Recruiting efforts that attract the right kinds of people
-Cultures that celebrate successes rather than fire up fears
-Flatter organizations that understand the interdependence of one another on the whole
-Less division between senior management and their direct reports
-A sense that the brand is a living, breathing entity

I look forward to seeing you at CorpComm Expo in Chicago this November. I will share real world stories about brands that are transforming themselves from “users of software” to people who thrive doing things better.