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Quantifying the social gap

6 January 2013

I’ve recently left Capgemini and am writing this post just before 1am in Muscat, Oman, while listening to Joan Armatrading singing ‘The Weakness in Me’ in the background. None of that is really important.

Over the last few days before I left Capgemini, I had been thinking about how you quantify in social terms the loss of people. Over the last year, Capgemini has lost @buchanla, @windahl, @fransgaard and now @guy1067. In my opinion to have lost one of those people is understandable. People get to a point, get a better offer, move on…

What I find hard to make sense of, however, is that you don’t often get four people with the experience, credibility and understanding of social coming together in the same place at the same time. You know what they say about buses never coming and then suddenly loads turn up all at once. I’m not here to criticise, try to understand the whys and wherefores, or be self-indulgent, but more to try and understand whether it is possible to quantify the gap left when people leave a company.

The conclusion I came to is that it’s not really possible yet. We do have proxies, but what these proxies represent or equate to is not quantified.

  • What does a Klout score of 63 really mean?
  • What does having 4668 Followers really mean?
  • What does Tweeting 19046 times really mean?
  • What does receiving 27 LinkedIn recommendations mean?

[Followers = Twitter Followers ; Updates = Tweets ; LI Connections = LinkedIn Connections ; Rec received v= Recommendations received in LinkedIn ; Rec given = Recommendations given in LinkedIn]

Whilst I don’t know what the different scores really mean, I do know that an opportunity was missed…


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11 Comments leave one →
  1. franzann permalink
    7 January 2013 12:06 am


    This is an interesting way to look at and think about employee churn. What social value or credibility has the business lost when people walk out the door? I think this will become a more prevalent way of thinking about this in the future… I don’t think we’re there yet.

    At the same time, if we don’t think about these people IRL and about the value they contributed to the business (in-person)… and the loss from that perspective, I think we’ve lost a little bit of reality and sanity. :-)

    Good people are good people, social value or not. Businesses need to stand up and take notice before good people leave. Long before good people leave.

    Annette :-)

  2. 7 January 2013 12:51 am


    What a poignant post!

    Just before I left a large company to set up my own business a senior manager made a casual comment to me about a forthcoming re-structure: “Get the right *structure* and everything else will follow.”

    I remember feeling very ill at ease with the comment. Surely, I thought, it should be “Get the right *people* and everything else will follow.”

    Your conclusion is spot on – the consequences are the missed opportunities. But I’m not sure anybody measures those.

  3. 7 January 2013 8:14 am

    Hello Guy
    First and foremost I wish you well on your travels. And if I can be of help then do reach out to me – if I can help then I will help.

    Upon reading your post it occurred to me that the metaphor of gardening is appropriate here. For a plant to thrive, to really thrive, it needs the right context. That starts with the soil and involves considerations such as sunlight, protection from cold/wind, water – just the right amount. I have taken plants that looked great in the ‘shops’ only to see them struggle, wither and eventually die. It occurs to me that this the case with what occurred regarding the social team at CapGemini. A lack of fit between the plants (the social guys) and the garden/gardener. Rare is the gardener who will go to great lengths to change the garden and his gardening habits to cater for the needs of the plants. It tends to be the other way around.

    I once interviewed with CapGemini for a specific post to do with marketing especially digital marketing. After asking challenging questions – questions to do with their brand, their marketing plans, value proposition – I got that the fundamentals had not been considered. Put differently, the folks around the table had an assumption that being in with the IT guys meant that they would be in with the Marketing Director. And when I challenged that assumption it was clear that the CapGemini folks around the table really did not get marketing at all. Our conversation did not go further than this.

    All the best to you.


  4. 7 January 2013 10:36 am

    A very interesting and thoughtful post. Whilst it opens interesting questions about how you ‘quantify’ the value of an employee or collection of employees – i feel disappointed i wasn’t included in the list :(
    Enjoy Oman

    • guy1067 permalink*
      7 January 2013 11:50 am

      Scott, don’t take it personally! The reason I only looked at Laurence, Windahl and Rob was that I knew them before I joined Capgemini. You did come into my radar when I was thinking about the post though, if that is any consolation.

      • 8 January 2013 9:56 am

        No problem – i take comfort in knowing that i was at least in mind (if not the blog).

  5. guy1067 permalink*
    7 January 2013 11:54 am

    Thank you all for your comments. I think the bottom line is that a business has to be ready for something, or at least to recognise the value of what it has. For some businesses, the moment simply passes them by.

  6. 7 January 2013 12:23 pm

    Great post. Staff do have business value from their role as social media ambassadors. The problem is that this hasn’t been demonstrated clearly.

    But, this is something we could quantify in terms of dollars and cents using leaderboarded ( by assigning a marginal value to each social media interaction that contributes to their leaderboard score.

  7. 10 January 2013 10:32 pm


    I was once told that when there is change there is opportunity.

    Maybe the opportunity wasn’t missed. Maybe the opportunity has just been created.

    Good luck in the future


    • guy1067 permalink*
      11 January 2013 10:45 pm

      James, I hadn’t thought about it from that perspective and I guess there are two opportunities presented. The one I am going to and the one left behind at Capgemini. I guess the response of what is done will dictate the type of opportunity they both are… time will tell.

  8. 12 January 2013 12:15 pm

    Hi Guy,
    Personally, I’m not sure I am surprised knowing Laurence and yourself. Great people often prove challenging to companies. Many companies believe that if they hire great people them everything else will take care of itself. However, one thing they fail to ask (and this is the reason that many don’t stick around) is: Are we willing to let them be great and are we ready for that change whatever it may bring?

    Great people in a poor system/structure/culture invariably doesn’t work.

    All the best for your next adventure. Let me know if there is anything I can do.

    Best wishes,


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