One challenge in introducing and making the most of social technology
is in encouraging baby boomer pick up. Elliot suggested that the fear of falling behind can be a powerful motivator for older workers, but fear can also hold them back. A number of organizations have had success with reverse mentoring, where an older worker is paired with a younger colleague.
"It's really successful on both sides of the fence. The new workforce feels they are being appreciated immediately for their current skills and the older generation feels they can ask the 'dumb' questions," he added. "It's critical that these tools, for both the new and old generation, be dead simple to use."
Since TELUS introduced its SuccessFactors program four years ago it has seen employee engagement scores increase from 53% to 81% and consumer satisfaction has increased from 62% to 73% in the same time frame. The jump in stock price from $28 to $72 didn't hurt either. While a few factors contributed to the increase, the company, it credits the social enterprise as making happier employees, customers and stockholders.
"I honestly think that companies have got to embrace someone’s tools urgently or they’re going to risk extinction as more nimble competitors steam roll past them," Elliot said.