Do employees want to blog?

If you build it, will they blog?

For the most part, it is a moot point: employees don’t want to blog. There are always
keeners and exceptions to the rule, but employees have no interest in blogging. Even at IBM, one of the most technology and social media savvy employee populations on the planet, with more than 350,000 employees, there exists about 15,000 employee blogs (less than 5% of the population).

Employee blogs using Lotus Conections. Source: Social Collaboration @ IBM, A.P. Radder

However, more and more organizations are rolling out internal blogs. Preliminary results from the Intranet 2.0 Global Survey 2010 reveal that nearly 60% of organizations have blogs on the intranet. Why is that?

I’ll reveal the full details in my keynote at the Cogress Intranet 2010 (the biggest intranet event in Europe, perhaps the world, with 500 or more delegates expected. Register now), but for starters, most employees have better things to do. However, employees do want to read the thoughts and plans of executives. An executive blog, even if it’s shared by several or all executives, is something that many employees will read (if executed properly).

Intranet blog deployment: blue bands represent % deployed (22% enterprise-wide deployment)

Source: Intranet 2.0 Global Survey 2010 (preliminary results)

A survey of more than 500 employees with one client of Prescient Digital Media reveals that 80% of employees read blogs, but less than 10% write on blogs on a regular basis (both findings are higher than the average organization). So while employees want more information, and want to read blogs, they don’t necessarily want to blog themselves.

What should you do for your employees? Well, ask them what they want. Undertake an employee intranet survey, sprinkle in a few focus groups, and unless you’re methodology is off, you’ll have your answer. Note: if you simply ask employees if they want corporate blogs, many will say ‘no’. However, most have never seen a corporate blog, and can’t envision it. The knee-jerk reaction is to say no. If you paint the picture for them, and tell them what to expect from a good corporate or executive blog, and show them an example or two, they will often say yes.

Come and check out some of the examples and intranet case studies at Cogress Intranet 2010.

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