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When I look at the valuable knowledge that Jim Brennan, Frank Giancola, and many others provide on the WorldatWork bulletin boards every day for FREE, I only hope that the members appreciate how much they are saving by not paying for a lawyer or consultant to do the same research.


But I would also include all the value of the many other forums, such as:

1) this one (Compensation Cafe, Compensation Force)

2) the blogs of specialty groups outside of compensation (like ASTD and SHRM) - and even -

3) alumni groups that give me a perspective of the real world outside of our professional bubble.

You are right, Paul, the value of all of the professional opinions in these groups is incalculable, and getting in touch with the pulse of the everyday person is priceless.

Just another thought...

When we contemplate the development of incentives for use of social networks either within or outside of our businesses there are a few things to consider.

I attended a seminar conducted by ASTD regarding the use of social networks, primarily within the company, as a means of employee training and a way of extending knowledge beyond the silos of our corporate departments. Compelling stuff... the cost of such training was less expensive and more accessible to all, and was found to be utilized and valued more than traditional training. I envisioned a truly organic organization. Can we incent this behavior? I think the correct question is how to incent the correct or valued interaction. Like any other incentive plan, this one could be gamed if we are not careful. As a start, I would open it up to a recognition program rather than an incentive program, until we know a little more about its usage and the value of such. If we do incent the use of social networks, begin by incenting the activities that are proven to gain revenue (e.g., contact with boss or client).

Still, I find that this may not be reaching the depth of what we want from the use of social networks and the free flow of information, with no boundaries. I think that incentives used to encourage the use of networks need to target (as any good training does) those employees that typically do not participate as much and reward their participation. Maybe an incentive payout curve that disproportionately pays more in the beginning (to build plan participation) and then tiers off some, could be the right model. Something to think about.

Thanks, Paul and Vita, for noting the many ways that individual contribute to our profession by providing their talents, information and expertise to their colleagues on a complimentary basis - via writing and researching articles, contributing to bulletin board discussions, and writing or commenting on blogs. Lots of great resource to tap into.

Also, Vita, appreciate your thoughts on how to "incent" social networking. I agree with you (and with Paul Hebert, who commented on Kris' original post) that caution should be the order of the day and that recogntion/non-cash might be a good way to stick our toes in the water here!

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