Geosocial mobile … for onboarding?

Social, Mobile, Geo-aware (or SoLoMo per John Doerr) are hot words in the technology world today.  Why is that and what does it have to do with onboarding?

What is Geosocial Mobile?

Social and mobile go hand-in-hand.  Mobile has accelerated the use and purpose of social applications. Meanwhile, mobile use has moved from primarily phone & email to “new” interactions in internet search and social applications. According to a study by AppsFire, these new activities account for nearly 60% of all mobile usage.

Why is this?

Social applications are easy, visual, and discovery-based.  Mobile devices are perfect for this – with their touch screens – to flip through pictures, click “like”, read brief descriptions, etc.

Social applications tend not to be desk-based. Things happen when you are out and about.  You need information when you are out and about.  Mobile devices are the ideal mechanism to have when you’re out and about.

That’s not to say it doesn’t matter where you are.

In fact, location-awareness is a 3rd dimension that converges with social and mobile. Consumers check into places on Facebook Places, Foursquare and the like.  If the place doesn’t exist, they add it.  As soon as they check in, they get coupons and benefits, advice and commentary from others and other useful information.  The more one uses the service, checks into places, and shares information with others, the better (they get badges and treats and all sorts of good stuff).  And so, there is even a 4th dimension to this new mobile world – gaming or gamification.

What’s the value for business?

DoubleDutch's configurable Geosocial Mobile home page

As with mobile and social, geo-specific context is moving into the enterprise domain.  Secured communities (within or related to an enterprise) can be formed and unleashed with applications like DoubleDutch.   Events are a great example use case.  In fact, this year’s TED and TEDActive conferences will feature DoubleDutch technology to further engage the already eager session goers. (now I’m even more sad to miss TED this year!)

Conference attendees can check into activities and speakers – not just “places.”  In addition to sharing information, commentary and advice, the attendees may participate in a quest. Meet a person who does x, participate in a particular activity, find the answer to a question, and so on.  A prize might be in store for completing it.  Or it might just be an opportunity to connect with people, share experiences, and broaden the learning experience and value of the event. It’s mobile, social, geo-sensitive, and gamification all rolled into one.

How does this relate to onboarding?

Instead of a new hire checklist, think of a quest,” says DoubleDutch CEO Lawrence Coburn.  A former HR Director, Lawrence knows a thing or two about people and communities.  And, he believes that in much the same way you can engage a community at a conference, you can engage a community of new hires.

Imagine your onboarding experience had the feeling of a game – one that connects you with people you should know, provides suggestions along the way, enables others to advise and assist you, and generally provides an engaging experience for you and your peers as you embark on the journey of joining a new company.  For example, perhaps I “check in” to benefits enrollment.  This means I’m ready to think about it; now is a good time to give me information about it.  Others that are checking in can comment about what they chose.  Then, I need to check in with my manager, a mentor, and 3 other people on my new extended team.  The quest is multi-faceted and it’s fun. It’s well beyond a checklist.  It is a shared experience with others that are eager to get a good start.

Bottom line: Geo social mobile is a fun and effective way to engage a community.  Consider engaging a community of new hires through a “quest.”

Your POV: Does your onboarding experience lend itself to this kind of engagement?  Are there other communities that could be engaged in this manner?

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