How important is building an internal social network for
an organization? What are the major benefits that a business would
derive out of investing in building an internal social
Building an internal social networking platform for
today’s modern workforce has become a necessity and is a
business imperative. Today, majority of the organizational
workforce is spread across different locations, therefore there is
a huge need to bring them together onto one common platform where
exchange of ideas, thought processes and viewpoints can take place
seamlessly. Organizations are increasingly realizing the need to
make the most of this evolutionary technology that enables faster
communication, greater collaboration, and larger outreach. By
integrating social media tools into its work space, an organization
essentially aims to gain clarity in communicating with its
employees, and increasing transparency thereafter.
Please tell us about HCL’s internal social network
— the HCL Meme Platform? In which year was the platform
launched for the employees and how many HCLites are using this
internal social network currently?
HCL’s professional networking site called Meme was
launched in April 2011 with the objective of aiding employees to
connect, share, learn and grow by exchanging information. The
platform provides an opportunity to employees with diverse
functions, age-groups, nationalities, locations, etc., to connect
with each other and feel part of the HCL family.
From a functionality perspective, Meme allows users to create
pages, send invitation requests, and post statuses and pictures
— it includes all the popular features present in the social
networking platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
We used PHP and Drupal Technology to develop the platform.
Drupal is an excellent blend of CMS and Framework, and it has been
rated as the best Open Source PHP CMS in the last couple of years.
It took us six months to develop the platform and was initially
launched for 150 employees, only for six months. Post sedulous
enhancement Meme was launched for all the employees and till now
the response has been overwhelming.
What were the key drivers that motivated HCL
Technologies to build an internal social network?
HCL firmly believes that the value created for its customer base
emanates from its employees. Hence, the company envisaged a
platform, that enables faster and transparent communication among
employees, irrespective of the location, job role etc. Employees in
a collaborated mode reach a solution much faster as compared to
each member looking at the query independently and then coming up
with the solution. It also propagates the concept of a virtual
workforce, which has now become a trend in most organizations. The
need for facilitating simultaneous, real-time dialogue, discussions
and collaboration across individuals necessitated the birth of
Meme serves as a great platform for employees for exchanging
information and ideas, learning through each other’s
experiences (professional or personal), and knowledge upgradation
by participating in discussions/forums across domains. The
introduction of Meme has enabled our entire workforce to
collaborate more efficiently by making information across the
organization accessible to all. This platform has assisted
employees in interacting, sharing views, and exchanging information
and ideas on everything related to the organization. In a short
span of time, Meme has become a reservoir of ideas, collaboration
and common interests that fosters innovation.
How are the employees at HCL Technologies using Meme
Platform in a way that is improving collaboration vis-à-vis
the previous scenario when Meme wasn’t in place?
The core benefit that Meme as a social networking application
offers is instant communication and collaboration. This trend of
using social networking platforms to communicate instead of e-mails
is more visible with the Gen Y workforce as they prefer instant
responses when it comes to tackling work-related issues. With this
trend, in the near future, employees will not be required to go
through standard workflow systems to raise capital expenditure
(CAPEX) requests, recruit skilled resources, make travel requests
for business and look at policies anymore.
Also, our senior leaders are using the social networking
platform to post queries for employees and share their ideas on
facing certain professional situations. This two-way communication
instills a lot of faith in our employees and gives them a sense of
inclusion, making them realize how their contributions impact the
broader picture in terms of the company’s overall
Meme is also being used by employees to hold discussions on
several topics. For instance, in a discussion related to
environment friendly initiatives at work, an employee recommended
organization-wide “no printing days”. Today, this is
being implemented and we have “printer holidays” where
the printers remain unavailable for use, except for a few
departments wherein the printers are absolutely essential for
Apart from this, Meme has proved itself as the platform of the
future — by accessing the employee information available on
the platform, developers are writing several useful applications.
For example, one of the applications allows employees to search for
the nearest B+ blood group donor. Another application informs
employees about an internal job post of matching skills — it
runs in the background, and pops up on the employee’s screen
when custom criteria are met. Then, there’s an answer finder
that enables an employee to send a question to specific groups of
individuals based on a criteria, and a resource finder that enables
the company to find a resource with matching skills to solve a
Additionally, Meme is playing a key role for the global
workforce to synchronize itself with the latest engagements on
organizational, as well as personal front. For example, a group on
Meme enables women to access a career coach who assists women
employees plan work before and after maternity leave and a life
coach to provide counseling.