Companies should have an investment fund for social presence.

Home Companies should have an investment fund for social presence.

More than 18 months ago, I got in contact with the director of a small university studies in The Netherlands He had just invested in iPod touches for all his teachers as a Christmas gift. The results were pretty interesting: students noticed it was easier to make an appointment with one of their teachers (because the teachers always had their calendar with them) and teachers started replying to their email faster and at different times (even in the evening, when they were sitting at their couches at home). Even more interesting, many of the technology sceptics had turned into technology enthousiasts and started exploring the possibilities of their new toys. This improved technology savvyness and adoption would prove to be an interesting breeding ground for next steps. Some teachers even started blogging and twittering, increasing the visibility of the school. Some even copied the BarCamp and OpenCoffee concept to invite external people to come over and brainstorm with them and their students. The best thing maybe, it increased student satisfaction.

I myself ordered an iPad 2 last week. I will use it to check my email and make notes (more efficient than my current moleskine). But also, I will use it to make short videos of people I encounter and it will enable me to write blogposts wherever I go (which is a bit of a hassle with a normal laptop). It will, in other words, make me a more efficient employee, will increase my content volume and make me more responsive.

It made me think: shouldn’t companies have an investment fund to invest in their employees technology and social presence? Like some companies have an education budget. Shouldn’t they have a technology budget? Or better: investment fund?

I like the idea of companies investing in the technology adoption instead of having a budget. It implies return on investment and measuring results.

The possible return could be along the lines of volume, share of voice, technology adoption, employee satisfaction and advocacy. Or with measuring starting point and progress, it even enables you to measure the difference in the number of leads and sales. It enables employees to talk positively about their company online. It improves technology adoption which will make it easier to embed conversations, social media and innovations within the company.

It could even have a variable rate of funding: if an employee performs towards their personal KPI’s, the company will fund a higher percentage of the technology. If an employee fails to perform, he/she has to refund.

What do you think?