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Social Studies

Social networking is paying off for some businesses.


Due to a reporting error, this information presented here does not match the data that appears in the September 2007 print edition of CFO magazine. The number of clients surveyed by SelectMinds was 60.

Social networking sites aren’t just for Generation Y
anymore. Increasingly, companies are finding them invaluable for
recruitment, retention, and even for landing new business.

Many companies already use such popular social networks as
Linked In, inCircle Pro, and QuietAgent to recruit new hires. A new
twist is the rise of internal social networks designed to help employees
connect with co-workers, alumni, and potential clients. Offered by vendors including SelectMinds and Visible Path, these networks are “all the rage,” according to Jason Corsello, vice president of the Center of Excellence at HR consultancy Knowledge Infusion.
Employees create personal
profiles that include education,
work history, current
projects, personal interests,
and other data, and can
then link to those who
share something in common.
Such communication
takes place over a closed
network, ensuring that, for
example, sensitive information
about job openings or
business plans is restricted
to approved parties.

Such networks can
help companies “on-board” new hires, Corsello says, by providing
them with a quick way to learn about their co-workers and the company’s
goals and culture. Social networks can also help remote, parttime,
and field workers feel more connected to the organization. And
access to such networks can be expanded to include customers.

Law firm Goodwin Procter’s use of SelectMind’s alumni tracking
network helps it stay connected to successful alumni such as
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who recently
returned to the firm to give a well-received presentation. Director of
professional development Scott Westfahl says that by highlighting
the subsequent careers of former associates, the network has aided
new-associate retention.

Of course, former employees can do more than just return for
a pep talk. One accounting firm says its use of SelectMinds to stay
connected to former employees helped it pull in $180 million in new
business. SelectMinds says a survey of 60 of its clients revealed an
average 11.7 percent increase in new business from the use of social
networks. Cost for the software varies depending on a company’s
size and type of network. A small company could pay a $15,000
start-up fee with an $8,000 monthly subscription.

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