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Social media: a heterogeneous market with mixed messages

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Houlihan’s wanted to be able to communicate in a granular way, identifying specific restaurants and locations, and to engage employees to develop a sense of shared culture. As a first step, the company made some leadership changes and took a fresh look at its operational challenges. It then identified the specific capabilities that it wanted in a platform, which ranged from being able to handle multimedia content to social features such as the ability to post questions and answers and personal profiles of employees.

The company selected the Jostle intranet platform as its centralized collaboration solution. “Jostle is very much a social intranet,” says Brad Palmer, CEO of Jostle, “but one that is focused on getting work accomplished. It helps scale leadership and connectivity in organizations to promote interaction among employees and create a vibrant culture.”

Targeted communications

The change soon helped Houlihan’s culture evolve—sales and customer satisfaction levels increased and employee turnover decreased. Communication improved, and accountability also increased. Significantly, Houlihan’s has sustained a high level of participation on the Jostle platform, currently more than 79 percent measured monthly, creating a vibrant community of franchise owners, restaurant managers and head office staff.

Jostle is geared toward helping employees accomplish work tasks by organizing communications, from informal social chats to more strategic corporate communications. “In many cases, information needs to be targeted to specific groups,” says Palmer. “This makes it possible for Houlihan’s head office team to roll out a menu change just to a particular franchise in a particular state, thereby not confusing the rest of their community with this non-applicable information.

Jostle makes it easy to target communications to exactly the right people.”

Communications can be filtered around location, organizational units and types of employees, for example. A calendar helps plan and advertise major events so they do not conflict.

Some aspects of the application are managed by designated subject matter experts, while others are designed to be open. “Anyone can use the chat functionality to interact one-on-one,” adds Palmer, “but for an org-wide news item, designated content owners need to post it. Each library reference volume also has a person or team that owns it, with curation tools to keep the content clear and organized.” Jostle is designed to be suitable for a wide range of employee types, not just knowledge workers. For Houlihan’s, it has provided a way to manage corporate information and an environment in which to share the company’s growing sense of employee enthusiasm.

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