I have been giving seminars this past month on how companies are experimenting with social media to maximize knowledge sharing and collaboration and one theme is consistent across companies of various sizes and locations: they are turning to their training departments to be the test beds for using new social media tools like blogs and wiki’s.
This is the case with Jet Blue University (JBU), the corporate university of Jet Blue Airlines. Jet Blue University has 200 faculty spread across three locations, in Orlando, Florida (where they train flight crews), in Queens, NY (where they train operations and technical crews) and in Salt Lake City ( the training arm for reservations and customer services representatives).
Early in 2008, Jet Blue University powered its training faculty with a Web 2.0 toolkit of blogs and wiki’s as a way for them to share best practices and be the pioneers for social media tools. Murry Christensen, Director of Learning Technologies at Jet Blue University, says that the main driver to experimenting with these new technologies is to capture process improvements and “next” practices that are working among faculty across the country.
It really makes a lot of sense for companies to use their “learning organization” to test out new ways to collaborate and share best practices. First, for employees in the learning department of an organization, part of their job is to share best practices around the enterprise. However, often they have been frustrated with their company’s attempts at knowledge management systems. So now they can become blogger champions and learn first-hand the power of social media while using the tools to do their job—share lessons learned across their community of peers..
Secondly, while the training faculty may have good intentions about sharing best practices, they often lack an easy tool that allows them to collaborate with their peers. So, I can see how empowering the training faculty to be a community of blogger and wiki champions can create excitement and even be a vehicle to re-invent and re-brand an entire learning organization. Some topic areas to think about having your faculty share best practices using blogs and wikis’ include, new-hire employee on-boarding, leadership development of high potentials and even company-wide blogging guidelines, assuming the company then decides to expand this initiative enterprise-wide.
Finally, professionals in a company’s learning organization want to “role model” what is expected across the organization. What better way to be a role model business unit than to be the first to use these new social media tools.
The Jet Blue University’s social platform, which went live early this year, was provided by Awareness, a company that focuses on delivering enterprise-wide blogs and wiki’s to both internal and external communities.
In fact, the folks at Jet Blue University are so enamored with their “experiment” that they went ahead and made a series of videos describing why they did this. Tune in to hear what they say below:
So, is your learning department taking the lead to “test out” new social media tools for the enterprise? What has been your experience to date?