Internal Blogs: Are You Willing To Be Exposed?

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Blogs have become a way of life. Whether it is for entertainment, education or information, we all hang out from time to time on a blog. I read a new spin on blogs this past week in a great article in Wired Magazine. The article asks an interesting question – should we consider creating blogs as a form of employee’s feedback – to give them a space to share their insight?

In the article Fred Vogelstein shares that Microsoft has an internal blog that is written by an anonymous mid-level manager – he calls himself “Mini-Microsoft.” Since 2004 he has taken the company to task for everything from stifling supply bureaucracy to the way it pays and evaluates employees. His topics have even included the lack of paper towels in the company locker room to the quality of food in the cafeteria. His theme is that Microsoft is too big and should be broken up. When the manager first started posting there were high-level meetings about how to catch him and stop the blog. But in the meetings, the discussion soon moved to the fact that everything he was saying was actually right. So, instead of pulling down the blog, the company decided to begin to fix the issues he was raising. The simple items have been fixed (there are now towels in the locker room) but, an even more amazing outcome is the advent of blogs into other parts of the company. In addition to the “unofficial” Mini-Microsoft blog, the Senior VP of Human Resources now has her own blog to communicate directly with employees.

Microsoft has even taken the concept outside the company by creating a channel of communication with outside developers. The Wired article says that they have more than 4,500 company blog sites. That is a lot of information being shared in a lot of different ways from with 71,000 employees!

In a world were more and more people are engaging online each day, perhaps the time has come for an employee blog in your company. It might start with a simple communications blog that engages people to post their ideas, opinions or concerns. By creating an open writing style the company can deliver information but also receive immediate feedbacks from other employees (think post meeting notes and ask for feedback). Remember though, it is important that you are willing to allow the good and the bad to be included in the postings. It is OK to set parameters and “rules” for engagement – most blogs have them. Chose a writer to manage the information and “approve” follow-up posts before they are published. You want the real thoughts – good and bad – as long as it is not proprietary or derogatory to a specific person or team.

Technorati, in its recent State of the Blogoshere report is now tracking over 70 million weblogs with about 120,000 new weblogs being created worldwide each day. That’s about 1.4 blogs created every second of every day (it also means that it is pretty cool that you found mine). Perhaps it is time start your own internal, employee communications blog at your company. It is easy and may be the next best way to find out what your employees are really thinking!

You can read the entire Wired article at: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.04/wired40_microsoft.html.

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