Your customers see what you don’t

Here on the social business team at UBM, we regularly survey UBMers for feedback and insight on how we can be better serving them.

Our most recent survey focused on the homepage for our enterprise social network the Hub, hosted on Jive.

We wanted to better understand our employee’s experiences, thoughts, frustrations and challenges. After all, as a product owner who uses your product day in, day out, after a while, you stop seeing those daily irritations which affect your customer base.

Here are the main highlights from our research:

> UBMers generally find the homepage too overwhelming, crowed, cluttered and too long

> It’s hard for them to know what’s important and feel that there’s too many static and stale sections

> There’s a demand for a more curated homepage, with ‘newness’ and relevancy of the content coming through as major themes

> Interestingly, UBMers were also asking for things which already exist within the Hub but are hidden/not well communicated/signposted

And following this feedback, here’s what we’ve implemented for our users:

> We’ve stripped back and streamlined the page to make it less cluttered and easier on the eye

> We’ve made it more visual and increased the amount of curated content, helping employees to more easily identify important and interesting content from across the business

> We’ve pulled in the events calendar to feature forthcoming shows so UBMers can see at a glance what’s coming up and when

>  We’ve added personal navigation links to enable employees to more quickly find the features which they previously felt were hidden from view

> We’ve updated the main navigation to include central UBM initiatives and links to divisional spaces and IT support

> We’ve re-named a link in the main navigation to News, to better highlight this as the personal Hub news feed / timeline (think Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)

> We’re working with HR to improve the accessibility of the divisional Human Resources spaces and the information they contain, including building out a new central HR portal; making it easier for employees to search and navigate to the content they need

In a month’s time I’m going to pull data from both Jive’s own community manager reports as well as Adobe Analytics to see what impact the updates and improvements to the homepage have had on user activity and engagement – check back soon.

Marketing & HR in the digital world. Grow together or fail apart?

I recently attended a breakfast launch of the ‘What Works Where in B2B Digital Marketing’ report from Omobono. I highly recommend downloading the full report for yourself.

A central theme to this year’s research was marketing and HR in the digital world, and specifically how ‘marketing is under threat from HR in its communications heartland’.

The report goes on to state that ‘with its unique positioning – speaking as employer and brand – HR has the most influential voice both internally and externally’.

Interestingly the breakfast panel discussed the possibility of HR and marketing becoming one department within organisations; helping to ensure that both employer brand and consumer brand are one of the same (HR-HD approach, as outlined in the report).

By taking an HR-HD approach, marketing can be left to focus on the delivery of tactical product campaigns based around the brand strategy devised and directed by HR.

It’s a brave route, but for me, one which makes huge sense. You can read more about why in this previous blog: Is your brand living up to expectation? 

The question is, who will be bold enough?

Recognising UBMers with a Wow

Wow is our internal peer-to-peer recognition app, which enables UBMers to award a trophy to a colleague celebrating an achievement or sending thanks via the Hub, our enterprise social network on Jive.

Every employee has a virtual trophy case displaying their Wows within the app. Trophy cases are open and can be viewed by others – a useful way for managers to see how many Wows members of their team are being awarded.

The great thing about Wow is that it’s global – people aren’t tied to their divisional reward systems – and it’s quick and easy, providing instant recognition. Unlike some of the divisional reward systems there is no monetary /gift incentive, it’s simply a public recognition of a job well done.

The new Wow trophies have been aligned with our UBM Commitments; these commitments represent the DNA of UBM – who we are and how we work.

  • Passion & Expertise
  • Customer Focus
  • Doing the Right Thing
  • Innovation
  • Serving Communities
  • Collaboration

The Wow app gives us a global platform to celebrate success and reinforce desired UBM Commitments behaviours and thinking, in turn increasing day-to-day satisfaction for employees knowing that an achievement has been seen, appreciated and celebrated.

There’s a great article on Forbes about the importance of recognition in the HR toolkit: 5 Ways Leaders Rock Employee Recognition

My experiences of managing a global team

Here at UBM we run an internal video series called ‘Manager’s Minute’. It’s an opportunity for managers from across the business to share their experiences with others.

When I first took over as Global Community Manager here at UBM in 2014, I had never managed a global team and I wondered how I might need to adjust my management style and my ways of working with my team, when my staff come from different countries and cultures.

Here’s what I learned:

Embedding and integrating new employees onto the Hub

In 2014 UBM acquired a new business to expand its event portfolio in the USA. For my team, this involved onboarding 600 new employees to the Hub – our enterprise social network hosted on Jive.

Late on in 2015, our integration team asked if I could tell them how engaged our new employees were compared with existing UBMers in the Americas region; ‘uuummm, maybe’ was my response.

This data was going to be a little tricky to source, as following the integration of Advanstar and the restructure of Americas, the only unique identifier available to us was UBMers using as their Hub profile email address – and of course the Community Manager reports in the Hub don’t have a filter for that.

But, thanks to some data work from the technology team, I’ve finally been able to get a hold of these stats and do some analysis.

In the graph below, what you’re seeing is the data split between users with as their Hub profile email address vs. those using, who have identified themselves as being part of the UBM Amercias division. It’s not perfect as there are a minority of people using other email domains, but gives us some interesting data.

The graph shows the percentage of active users taken from the total number of registered users, by email address. An active user is defined by Jive as: ‘Users who have viewed at least one document, discussion, blog post, status update, poll, video, idea, group overview page, space overview pages, or project overview page in the previous 30 days’.

I think there are two main takeaways (for me at any rate) from this:

  • The big spike in activity in March was when we ran the bespoke Advanstar Hub training sessions
  • The gradual upswing after August coincides with the UBM Americas restructure – as Advanstar users become more integrated into UBM, the importance of the Hub increases

Overall, during 2015, the number of active Advanstar users increased by 17% from 76.6% in January to 89.6% in December. I think this is even more significant because we would expect activity to be high in January as this is when Advanstar were registering for their accounts. A great result.

active hub users.png


The Art of Being Brilliant

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop called The Art of Being Brilliant (based on Andy Cope’s PhD research into happiness, positivity and flourishing in the British public sector).

In a nutshell, the workshop was about taking personal responsibility for your own happiness; happy people have made the active decision to be happy.

Common sense but not common practice.

Something which really fascinated me was the idea that only 10% of whether you have a good life or a bad life is going to happen anyway; 90% of whether you have a good life or a bad life is about how you choose to react to the 10%.

I’ve been on a little post-workshop trawl of Google for resources related to this workshop so I can work on changing my daily mind-set and become one of the ‘2%ers’ – the 2% of people who feel consistency great, not just that, but they live longer, are more productive and raise the happiness levels of the people around them:

Art of Brilliance brought to you by Andy Cope | Home

The Art of Being Brilliant: Transform Your Life by Doing What Works For You

Andy Cope (@beingbrilliant) | Twitter

A Life Worth Living: Andy Cope


The power of employee social advocacy

People are connected like never before. From LinkedIn to Twitter, Facebook to Instagram, Weibo to Tumblr, our employees have a wealth of contacts, connections and information at their fingertips.

Did you know that the average number of user connections across social networks is 846? And that 1,000 advocates have the power to reach 1,000,000 potential customers?

Instead of having one channel talking about your brand, whether it be the official corporate accounts or an individual brand’s social channels, why not have tens, or hundreds, or thousands of voices sharing your message?

By encouraging social advocacy, organisations can both increase the distribution channels for their content and the reach of their brands, as well as attract new talent to the company through their employee’s networks.

Social media platforms are also enabling potential employees to look inside companies like never before, giving them access to the inner workings of a company’s culture, as well as a broader view of how the business is performing in the eyes of their peers.

Sites like Glassdoor, where employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management, offer a year-round insight into how people feel about the business and what it’s like to be an employee; reviews which could mean the difference between securing – or losing – the perfect candidate for your next open position.

Employee advocacy has the power to drive business results. Here are four quick social advocacy wins to help you get started:

1. Odd are, your company has current and former employee reviews on Glassdoor. By signing up to you can receive email alerts for these updates, so you can see what our employees are saying about your company.

2. Connect to your colleagues on so you can see what your colleagues are sharing into their networks. Recognise and support this sharing behaviour by liking, sharing or commenting on their behaviour.

3. Follow your organisation’s company page on LinkedIn to get regular updates which can be easily shared into your own network by liking, sharing or commenting.

4. The official EY social media channels have a reach of 1,224,452, but the networks of its 190,000 employees have a reach of 216,220,000. Read this EY case study about how 6,500 of their employees generated 35.8K clicks, 22.9K shares, and a 7.5M reach.

Content creation made easy

This is a post I originally wrote as part of internal series of blogs on social leadership, so you’ll see lots of mentions of ‘the Hub’ which is UBM’s enterprise social network hosted on Jive; however many of the suggestions here can easily be applied to external networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter.


Being a social leader in today’s digital business landscape is hugely important.

“In a social enterprise, your value is established not by how much knowledge you amass, but by how much knowledge you impart to others.”
Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at IBM.

And imparting knowledge in a digital world means creating content. But creating content doesn’t mean having to slave away over an essay length blog post once a week, it can be much simpler than that.

Here are 14 ways to create content and impart knowledge which won’t eat into your day:

How long do you have?

60 seconds
> Post a status update on the Hub – perhaps you’re working from home, or you are on site at an event, want to welcome someone new to your team, or have a photo to share
> Call out examples of the Events First Strategy on the Hub using #eventsfirst hashtag
> Share an open position from your division into your network on LinkedIn
> Like a piece of Hub content
> Like a LinkedIn post from your network

5 minutes
> Comment on a piece of Hub content and share your insight or ideas
> Comment on a post from your LinkedIn network
> Share the link to an interesting article you’ve read today (remember to add your thoughts to give it some context)
> Scan through the recent Hub status updates and add a comment or two to increase employee engagement
> Upload a document to the Hub –perhaps your strategy, a template, PDF, a spreadsheet – which others may find useful; this helps make our knowledge more universally accessible

10 minutes
> Take a look a new Hub Discussions: Is there a question you can help answer or an opportunity for you to impart your knowledge?
> Create vlog: Using a platform like Microsoft’s Movie Maker makes it quick and easy to record video updates with your webcam
> The Hub team create weekly vlogs, updating each other on what we’ve achieved during the week. It has hands down been the best global team building exercise we’ve tried, far outstripping the value of conference calls.

20 minutes
> Commit to writing a weekly round-up blog on the Hub
This shouldn’t be a strenuous exercise. Think of a blog like a diary, or an opportunity to reflect on your week. Have you read something interesting? Who have you met? What have your teams achieved? What have you learned? What ideas have you had? What are you looking forward to over the coming week/month?


What is social business and where’s the ROI?

In a social business, the culture and systems enable the organisation to use its communities (whether internal or external) to encourage people to create business value and yield real business results including increased profitability, loyalty and advocacy.

Here at UBM, we’re already able to measure and analyse how our brands’ social media engagement is influencing the conversion rates at our shows, but how does this translate to social engagement internally?

“Before social business, companies were very hierarchical, and information was shared hierarchically, and people’s contributions were determined partly by their geography and partly by their relationships,” says Nick Blunden, SVP Digital, Economist Group. “But what social business does, putting people at the centre of conversations, allows you to create much greater levels of engagement and participation at every level of the organization.”

Research from McKinsey has shown that improved communication and collaboration through social technologies could raise the productivity of interaction workers by about 25%.

Enterprise Social Network provider Jive (supplier of the Hub here at UBM), has helped customer companies increase employee productivity by 15% and drive 2-4% incremental top-line value annually.

Use of the platform also sharply reduced employee turnover and drove major improvements in a range of business areas, including corporate strategic alignment, marketing planning and execution, sales team effectiveness and customer service.

Researchers commissioned by Jive found that platforms like the Hub:

> Improve productivity by 15%
> Grow top-line value by 2-4%
> Reduce email load by 21%
> Reduce meetings by 16%
> Reduce the time to find knowledge, expertise and best practices by 34%

The research demonstrates that when you have a company of people who are sharing knowledge between themselves, you have an amazing powerhouse.

What’s not to like?