In February of 2011, SAS unveiled its internal social network to employees with the goal of creating an information sharing space that would break down silos and connect employees to resources and experts throughout the organization.
In order to facilitate a successful intranet, SAS employed a team of 35 employees who represented all major departments and divisions, thus ensuring a rewarding, relevant experience for all. The resulting intranet, the “Hub,” nabbed top honors in Ragan’s Employee Communications Awards for 2011 in the Best Community Building: Intranet category.
SAS understood that to make this something employees want to be a part of, employees should be involved from the get-go. Employees were asked to suggest and vote on the name. The project team tested the “Hub” prior to its launch. As SAS was likely aware that employees might feel reluctant to connect with each other using the “Hub,” the team informed company executives that their involvement was crucial to the success of the project and let employees know that executives fully supported the project.
Another impressive element SAS employed in devising an intranet strategy was to reach out to employees who were already active bloggers and get them involved. This showed a commitment to making it a network for employees, by employees. SAS used its resources! Efforts didn’t stop there. When the intranet launched, the company made sure to provide ample training opportunities, globally, through webcasts. They also did hands-on demos for execs.
Because of the strategy employed, employees actively use the “Hub” to share information, ask questions and locate documents. It has increased efficiency, too. SAS provided an example of an employee who was unable to locate a document. The employee used the “Hub” to ask about it and within moments, he had a link from a colleague he had never met to the elusive document.
The Hub is also used to discover information and thought leadership; experiment with social media in a safer setting; stay connected from anywhere at any time through mobile and smartphone apps; share information about the company; and host global brainstorming sessions.
The Hub isn’t just for business interactions. Employees are encouraged to use the “Hub” to not only develop professionally, but to join groups about topics in which they are interested in outside of work. This fosters a sense of community and encourages employees to keep logging on.