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In his BlogWell New York presentation, Walgreens' Online Community Manager, Chris Catania, shares how they use community management strategies to build relationships, support culture change, and engage employees.

He gives a detailed summary of their four big challenges starting out, how they overcame those challenges, metrics from the 6-month program, and how they intend to improve moving forward.

Below is live coverage of this session by Merrill Richmond:

-– “Rolling out social programs is a journey…here’s a story of our first steps,” says Chris.

— Chris shares the four big challenges:

-Analyzing the internal social eco-system
-Based on existing communities, prepare for larger social intranet rollout
-Demonstrate the business value of employee communities
-Live the charter: “Connect people to the business and each other”

— Chris says to overcome these challenges, Community Managers should:

1. Master the data
2. Produce tangible examples by showing stories that achieve the goals and objectives

— Chris: How we started: We adapted a 1 : 9 : 90 framework (influencers: contributors: spectators) for measurement. We started by listening and hosted one-on-one meetings as well as offline community meetings. Our program was run through a corporate communications department, which held road shows to internal groups to solicit feedback.

— As we evolved, we continually refined our Social Playbook and aligned it with our external social media policy.

Other activities as we progress:

-Regular reporting with executive sponsors
-Ongoing engagement with business units and cross-functional teams
-Creating a framework for the Center of Excellence

— Chris: Our PTO blog became an example of how social could be used to create a subject matter expert.

— Chris gave some results from the initial 6-month pilot program. Metrics include:

61% email invitation acceptance rate
60% profile complete
63% active users
37% participation

— Chris says self-moderation is emerging and they’ve had only one TOU issue with over 4,000 total actions, over 300 unique conversations, and 75% business-related. They identified over 20 business use cases during the pilot.

— Chris: Engagement was sometimes surprising. For example: “What if Big Foot attacked one of our stores?”

— What’s next? Ongoing executive and stakeholder education. We’ll continue to nurture employee communities. We’ll also continue regular reporting and ongoing demonstration of business value.

Q & A

Q: How does getting employees engaged internally benefit the end customer experience or business overall?

A: Chris: Communities breaks down silos. It speeds access to answers and supports our growth experience.

Q: How do employees not at desk participate?

A: Chris: That’s part of the next phase. Can we deploy kiosks or mobile to include them?

Q: How do you get people to overcome hurdles to join the community like learning how to access it and use it?

A: Chris: We’ve identified over 60,000 people who could benefit from the tools. Some people gravitated to the tools, and they began to see the benefits. Then, the word of mouth spread and encouraged others to try.

Q: Did you start out with use case or support base?

A: Chris: We started broad and then narrowed it down based on how people used the tools.

Q: Was the intention to have one community or to have niche communities? What’s the vision?

A: Chris: Our expectation is we’ll have many communities. We’ll make it easy for employees to get info fast — get it and get out — with good information.

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