Monthly Archives: March 2011

Social Media insights to measure “real health” of your organization

I wrote this post for Management Innovation Exchange. It is posted at MIX.


Implement a pattern derivation system based on the conversations people in your organization have about their work life, stress level, relationship with management and co-workers and workplace environment on social media platforms. Use the pattern obtained to find “real health” of the organization and improve corporate management and organizational change management.


Corporate surveys to find out organization health often fail to capture the “real health” of the organization.

1) It’s done one or two times a year. Doesn’t provide the holistic picture of how things are round the year.

2) The answers very much depend on the way the questions are asked. The surveys are closed ended.

3) People are conscious about what to put in the survey and how it will be received.


1) Develop an aggregation engine to collect information from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. about what employees are talking related to their work.

2) Develop a data store to organize and keep the information anonymous. Anonymity is important to get real insights.

3) Develop a pattern recognition system. This system will mine the information and use sophisticated algorithms to find the common themes and patterns based on these conversations.

4) Implement a search methodology to search the data store and get insights and patterns on specific topics.

Practical Impact

The “real health” measurement system can have several practical impacts on the way an organization functions, implement changes and analyses impact. Some of them are:

1) Continuous and real-time availability of the health of your organization. This is the “real health” because people share information sub-consciously and more freely with their friends and family as compared to filling a survey.

2) Improved decision making related to organizational changes incorporating the information obtained through the health measurement system.

3) Better analysis of impact of organizational changes by observing specific pattern changes in the system.


1) Challenge: Management’s urge to link information to the sources (people in the organization).
Suggestion: Do not collect personally identifiable information during aggregation of information. Not collecting the information will make the source not identifiable (guess work will still keep happening, but the system won’t provide the source).

2) Challenge: Privacy concerns of the individuals in the organization (we don’t want individuals to stop sharing information on social networks).
Suggestion: Filter the information to only collect posts that have work related topics. A smart aggregation system with filtering capability will be able to do this.

3) Challenge: Trusting the information and patterns derived from the analysis of information.
Suggestion: It can be hard for management authorities to believe the patterns are genuine and the information is not tampered. Doing a pilot on a particular organizational change can be a way to develop trust.

First Steps

1) Collect very specific work related information from a couple of social networks to derive patterns on a few key issues concerning the organization.

2) Run pilot organizational changes in the organization and analyze impact by using the system.