Elizabeth Jurewicz on how Rackspace Hosting addresses the “what if’s” of a social enablement program

Rackspace's Social Enablement program began as a tag on to team meetings.

In 2014, those trainings covered best practices in a 30-minute LinkedIn presentation for employees and leaders.

“So there I am, hopping from team meeting to team meeting. During the sessions I would get a lot of smiles and nods, but in the end, I'd get the dreaded ‘what if' questions,” says Rackspace Hosting's Social Enablement Strategist, Elizabeth Jurewicz. In her presentation at SocialMedia.org's Brands-Only Summit, she talked about addressing the fears behind these “what if” questions.

Elizabeth Jurewicz

“What if I say something wrong?” was a common concern. Leaders also worried about hurting their personal brands or having employees get poached by other companies. “I would do my best to answer these questions on the spot and really empathize,” But, she says, 30 minutes wasn't a lot of time to cover everything.

I thought I was just asking them to update their profiles, but what they were hearing was, ‘change the way you do work.'

After six months, Elizabeth wasn't seeing any results from all of those meetings.

“What I was missing is that at the heart of any enablement program, you’re asking employees to do something differently. I thought I was just asking them to update their profiles, but what they were hearing was, ‘change the way you do work.'”

She realized she wasn't addressing the real issue that was facing their enablement program: fear.

Elizabeth identified these three fears holding people back: time management, risk mitigation, and reputation management.

Then she changed her focus. In early 2015, they launched their new social enablement program.

The first thing she tackled was time management. Rackspace already uses a model to map out the “buyer's journey” which tracks new clients from the prospect phase to the customer phase. She used that model to create a two-track system for employees and leaders.

Rackspace Slide

It starts with the Awareness Track for Rackers who are thinking about getting involved. The track includes tutorials, videos, case studies, and social guidelines. For employees who are ready to get involved, they have an Advocacy Track which includes: Social Advocacy, LinkedIn workshops, and Social Strategy. The Social Strategy class was actually created by demand from employees who wanted to begin creating content like blog posts, podcasts, etc.

“By building it out this way,” she explains, “we were able to get employees and leaders the resources they needed depending on where they are in the phase of their journey.”

To address risk mitigation in her advocacy classes, she walks employees and leaders through real-life scenarios.

I really encourage you to take some time with them, and find out what is at the heart of those ‘what if's.'

She announces the scenario and employees and leaders are given five minutes to come up with a response. It shows employees that social media is tangible, with real consequences. And it shows leaders that these are real-life situations they need to be prepared for.

One of the first things Elizabeth does to address reputation management is ask employees and leaders to Google themselves. Sometimes it's an old MySpace page that shows up. Sometimes it's an unflattering blog post. Sometimes they realize their personal Facebook accounts aren't as private as they thought.

Then she asks them, “Would you buy from this person? Would you trust them?” This really shows them how important it is to manage their online presence and do basic things, like update their LinkedIn profiles.

Rackspace Slide

On the horizon for Elizabeth is the launch of social selling alignment and the addition of social compliance to e-learning for new hires.

The program resulted in a 73 percent increase in enablement from employees updating their profiles.

They've also seen 37 percent of all Rackers sharing content on LinkedIn, almost doubling Rackspace's organic engagement on LinkedIn.

There still lives the concern: “What if your employees leave, get poached.” She says she's found that investing in your employees while they still work for you makes them more loyal.

“Your ‘what if' questions are going to be different — but I really encourage you to take some time with them, and find out what is at the heart of those ‘what if's.' Addressing them up front will help you achieve results in your enablement program.”

Elizabeth has been a member since 2014. You can find Elizabeth on Twitter and watch her full presentation case study presentation here.