Increasing Access to Social Capital

Access to social capital is a sticking point for employees… To increase access, business leaders must first understand who has it—and who doesn’t. Advanced analytics can make it easier than it’s ever been to provide that understanding.

One electronics company, for instance, is using HR, facilities, and operations metadata (calendar invitations, email, HR information systems, and so on) and advanced analytics to map knowledge flows and other interpersonal exchanges across the organization. The company was able to identify the most plugged-in and influential employees and has systematically engaged these influencers as critical partners in creating more connections among individuals and groups that likely wouldn’t have gotten together otherwise. Through its knowledge mapping, the company has created a reliable, repeatable process for monitoring community clusters and identifying opportunities to build or strengthen social capital.

Other companies have used sponsorship and mentorship programs to facilitate connections among employees and institutionalize the importance of social capital. One technology company, for instance, has established a mentor-matching service for female software developers after a survey revealed that fewer than a third of them had reported having a mentor at the company. And one multinational company makes a point of acknowledging “super sponsors” each year across geographies and business units. The annual awards have prompted others to raise their hands to become sponsors and mentors, thereby upping the social-capital quotient at the company.

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