Two years ago, Cisco, the network infrastructure provider, was faced with "reskilling" more than 14,000 people in its services department to support a strategic shift away from the traditional hardware-centered business. In response, it built social learning networks called Cisco Collaborative Knowledge and Carrer Connection that are designed to make it easier for employees, partners and customers to share their know-how.
Kathy Bries, senior director and general manager of Learning@Cisco, the company's training and certification program, describes the Cisco Collaborative Knowledge and Career Connection networks and the process leading up to their creation in this video from the recent HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas.
"We looked high and low for a platform that could help us scale," Bries said. "We had to find something more innovative because all of the tools out there are pretty much standalone tools. So, we created an internal social learning platform called Career Connection."
Kathy Briessenior director and general manager, Learning@Cisco
Bries said the network makes learning and career maps -- in other words, charts that show education and job options visually -- more readily accessible. "It really helped drive employee engagement as well as promote continuous learning," she said.
Cisco's software as a service social learning platform "provides all of our customers, partners and even our employees with all of the digital tools -- the technology required so that they can have real-time access to learning, to knowledge, to experts, to analytics and mobility. It's all in one."
The social learning system is used daily by a third of all service employees, according to Bries. "They use it primarily for learning and being able to connect with experts."
Cisco has captured metrics on participation and engagement that indicate a high level of "co-creation" of content among users, which means the social learning network has hit a "sweet spot," she said. "We're talking about moving from 10% to 80% co-creation, and that's phenomenal."
A newer initiative called Cisco Collaborative Knowledge lets people not just identify experts, but validate them, Bries said. "We also provide you with the ability to make your knowledge mobile" in a private cloud. Visual analytics provide a snapshot of each person's capabilities and of the organization.
Bries also shared some parting advice: "Always, always bring your employees along the journey, because they want to be involved. It's about them."