The Groundswell Inside Your Company

So you have connected to your customers, but the question now is: are you connected with your employees? What about them? You can connect with employees internally, to create new ways for your employees to work together and connect with each other.

In the end, internal groundswell is about the relationships with employees not technology.

In chapter twelve of Groundswell, the authors speak of the opportunities that internal communities can bring to a company. They did so with a real life example of an internal groundswell; the Blue Shirt Nation aka the community page for Best Buy. Best buy created this community to get insight into what is actually going on, on a day to day basis at the store. Here, employees participated and share on the online community. This kind of internal community gave employees the ability to find what they needed for others, as well as gave management the opportunity to resolve issues in just a few days rather than months. Li and Bernoff (2001) displayed more benefits of internal communities in the objectives discussed before:

  • Listening: Employees can swiftly bring problems to your attention and thus with this can turn feedback rapidly into problem solving.
  • Talking: Companies can post policy changes and updates for employees to read.
  • Energizing: Employees can spread positivity and advise to other employees, which can impact a large amount of workers in many stores around the world.
  • Supporting: Employees can support each other and companies can support employees. Companies can also look here to promote from within.
  • Embracing: Can be a place to find great talent and ideas from employees.

Wondering a little more about Blue Shirt Nation? Here is an interview with the creators:

Employees are assets, when you use them they will show you just how valuable they are. In an internal groundswell, here are tips that Li and Bernoff (2011) said you will need to nurture the groundswell power of your employees:

  • Promote a listening culture from the top down: Requires a high level of trust because employees have more on the line if they participate; thus it is crucial for managements active participation and allowance of opinions in order for it to be successful.
  • Ease and encourage participation with incentives: Make your application easy to use and appealing to use; accommodations are key to getting everyone involved.
  • Empower the rebels in your organization: The energized few can drive many; with guidelines and rules in place these people can ensure the success of the application.

Culture is key. Culture is a thriving force. Internal groundswells, like communities, wikis or idea exchanges can lead to a better relationship and culture with employees. The benefits are grand; if you connect externally with customers why wouldn’t you internal connect with your own?


Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA, United States of America: Harvard Business Review Press.


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