Pearson uses viral campaign for internal social network

Pearson’s viral campaign to get employees across its 411 subsidiaries using a new enterprise social networking (ESN) tool, achieved 80 percent adoption within six months.


Pearson’s viral campaign to get employees across its 411 subsidiaries using a new enterprise social networking (ESN) tool, achieved 80 percent adoption within six months.

The UK-based multinational, which owns publishers Penguin Random House and the Financial Times group decided to implement Jive software’s enterprise social network (ESN) to get employees to discuss business solutions and share valuable information across the group’s global brands. 

Neo, Pearson’s customised Jive software, is a hub similar to Facebook, with employee profiles, activity streams, microblogging, document sharing and group workspaces. Pearson employees are currently using it to connect with users in different continents and share business solutions across the separate brands. Prior to deploying Neo the human resources and internal communication team were navigating 134 different intranets. 

To achieve critical mass without an enforced roll-out, logins were created for employees and marketeers, communications and senior executives were encouraged to begin using the community and “spread the word”.

Kim England, Pearson’s Head of Learning and Collaboration, said: “We had told about 150 people in November but when we launched in March we had 18,000 users - so if you came in when it had officially launched you were late to the table. Those who came voluntarily created content for the platform before those who were dubious and slightly slower to adopt, which meant they could see how it was being used to create business value or how a team had swapped code from the US to the UK and got a product to market faster.” 

Collaboration across the expanding Pearson portfolio is also crucial for retaining employees, England said. 

“Working, internally, with lots of acquisitions is a huge challenge because before we had Jive it would take years for somebody to feel they were part of Pearson. With our new acquisitions as soon as the paper is dry we get them into Neo. We know we need to release the business value very quickly and if we leave them festering on their old systems then what is the point of buying them”, she said. 

Neo uses gamification to keep employees using the software including a competitive point system for the amount of connections a user makes across the network.  The tool offers a reputation centre where employees can view their current and completed "missions" and the points and badges they have earned. Managers can customise "missions" with more than 130 specific actions they want employees to engage in to accomplish business goals. These capabilities are powered by Bunchball. 

Pearson is currently working with Jive to turn its data and anecdotal evidence into hard numbers to quantify the return on investment. It will also analyse the results of its next engagement survey to measure impact.

The 80 percent adoption was measured on 36,000 employees.

Following the successful employee adoption Pearson is currently in the middle of an upgrade to version 7 of the Jive software. Hosted on-premise, the group will move Neo to the cloud next year.

The upgrade will allow Pearson to take advantage of Cisco’s recently announced partnership with Jive to offer a bundle including Cisco's WebEx Meetings and Jabber for online meetings, web conferencing, IM and audio/video communications and Jive's ESN software. 

Analysts, CIOs and other IT executives at Gartner's Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit last week discussed whybusinesses are failing to meet the challenge of enabling enterprise collaboration and offered advice on how to develop a more enriched digital workforce. 

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