Days before its Valentine’s Day launch, SAS’ internal social networking platform, The Hub, had attracted more than 1,000 employee users.
“It truly went viral in a very organic way,” says Becky Graebe, internal communications manager at SAS.
In the three weeks or so since the official launch, the social networking site, which Graebe describes as “kind of like a Facebook/LinkedIn behind the SAS firewall,” has nearly 5,000 users and 425 groups. SAS has 11,500 employees worldwide.
How did SAS do it? Internal communication managers have held training sessions, given executives personal training, written news articles, invited bloggers to sing The Hub’s praises and asked a group of early adopters to spread it around.
The beta period
The company is known for its internal social media efforts—one of the factors that prompted the Great Place to Work Institute to name SAS its top employer two years in a row. It boasted blogs, wikis and Sharepoint discussion boards, but what it didn’t have yet, Graebe says, was a “town center.”
“What we felt we were missing was that one common place where people came together for those types of discussions,” she says.