How an insurance company created a thriving internal network

American Family Insurance was known as a stodgy company. Then it started allowing comments and even ‘dislikes’ on its internal network.

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American Family Insurance used to be known as a stodgy, top-down kind of company.

You’d log in to the intranet, and the approved news and messages of the day would come down from above, says Pat Miller, corporate publications manager.

Then company communicators—somewhat nervously backed by their executives—decided to try a social intranet-driven new model: The intranet would allow comments, add an employee blog, start electronic shout-outs for a job well done, and even offer staffers a “dislike” button.

“This is what people are used to doing in their real life,” Miller says.

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