GonzoBanker is amazing, again.

I’ve been a casual reader of GonzoBanker for some time. I think I first got hooked in with their amazing summation of a bank boardroom discussion of Generation Y. So funny and insightful, and it reminded me of a few painful meetings I’ve attended in my short banking career.

Then, more recently, I fell in love with their prophetic piece on the demise of the banking industry. This article actually gave me great hope because so many people (including execs) at Vancity were emailing the link around. Great to work at a place where so many get it.

But today I’m commenting on their newest article, Web 2.0: It’s Not Just for Customers Anymore. The article makes an excellent case for banks to begin using social media, like blogs and wikis, internally as a way for staff to become more comfortable with and aware of these tools before embarking on a public-facing web 2.0 project.

One of the things that’s been interesting for me working at Vancity is the focus on the branch employee experience. I am very head-office-centric. I work at head-office and that’s where I see decisions getting made. But the majority of the employees live in the branch system. It’s what keeps everything running, and is the real centre of the company – where the action is. And yet there are 50+ branches, so it’s a hard world for people to feel connected to each other, share ideas and collaborate. It must be a very disconnected feeling, working out at a branch in Abbotsford, far away from any other Vancity branch, or head-office.

This problem is even greater with big banks. It must be hard to keep up any sense of cohesion amongst employees in such a fragmented, fractured work-place. This is where the future of the intranet comes in – allowing cross-company, inter-employee collaboration, idea sharing, building and communication. Hierarchies need to get flattened (what, a bank with hierarchies?) and everyone needs a voice at the table.

The writer of the GonzoBanker article, Cornerstone Senior Director Tripp Johnson does an outstanding job of putting down the reasons why banks should be using web 2.0 internally:

  • Most employees already know how to use this technology
  • The tools are easy to use
  • Blogs, wikis and/or RSS feeds provide a coherent, consistent way to find, share and leverage information
  • The tools are FREE!

He also provides many reasons why the vast majority likely never will:

  • What the hell is a wiki?
  • We couldn’t determine a tangible, quantifiable ROI
  • Bank executives wouldn’t know what to do all day without committee meetings
  • Leveraging the collective intellectual capital of our organization is something HR makes us say; we don’t really mean it
  • We have comment boxes in all our break rooms where employees submit their ideas on a regular basis
  • We don’t really want our staff collaborating; they might actually come up with new and disruptive products and services

A great article. The main thing I love about GonzoBanker is that they’re on the inside pushing for change and innovation among their peers.

PS: Oh, and I’m not just talking up this article because they unexpectedly linked to my blog as an example of industry folk who use social media (but thanks for the link-love, Tripp)!

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