Tags: collaboration, digital workplace, engagement, intranet, social media, users, wiki
An organisation’s purpose involves how to manage how their people behave by encouraging, sometimes even mandating, how work tasks need to be carried out and by whom. In my last post I asked ‘Why not use a wiki to develop policies?’. How would using a wiki to develop work in practice? Here are four ways to consider:
- You need to have the right culture which will encourage people to contribute and feel comfortable challenging what exists and being constructively critical.
- You need ground rules, or terms and conditions, or guidelines which set out clearly what the expected level of behaviour is for anyone using the wiki.
- Make sure the wiki is easy to create and edit as well as to read. Anyone who has used Wikipedia will know it is a very different experience if you want to create/edit an article compared with reading it!
- I recommend the person responsible for the policy adds a draft – something which makes sense but its structure and content is loose enough to encourage people to edit – and asks anyone interested to contribute. It is much easier to comment upon what exists than to start with a blank screen.
It is best to start with a policy that affects most or all people working in the organisation. Choosing a Human Resources policy best fits that aim. A policy on employee’s terms and conditions; holiday – how much and when it is taken; flexible working hours – shift patterns; and grading and pay rates. All of these are policies people will have a view on what they believe is appropriate and will help build up a policy that is accepted by most other people.
Why should your organisation take such a risk?
My answer is “Why not?” I believe there is very little to be risked if you pick your first policy to be one that has widespread interest and is not seen as being contentious.
One way to encourage stronger engagement with people within your organisation is to ask for their views and listen and act upon them. Giving people the opportunity to shape a policy which affects them means there is a stronger chance of buy-in to the final version and the impact it has.
When organisations treat their people as adults with a chance to express a view you will generally find it is taken seriously and the outcome is very good. This applies to blogging, micro blogging, feedback, and discussions that are moderated by the members of the group.
Here are three benefits to consider:
- It is probable that a better thought through policy will be developed that takes account of many more concerns and points than an expert or small project team could expect to include.
- It is likely to be completed in less time with less effort. And if it doesn’t work an organisation should be honest and explain why e.g. too few comments, too negative, and pledge to learn from the experience.
- Less time, effort, and costs will be spent policing the policy in future if everyone has had the opportunity to influence its development.
So, go on, why not use a wiki to develop a policy in your organisation?
Tags: collaboration, communication, engagement, publishing, social media, users, wiki
Ever since organisations have existed there has been a need to manage how their people behave by encouraging, sometimes even mandating, how work tasks need to be carried out and by whom.
There can be various reasons for policies: business, regulatory, and legal are the most common. The way that policies are created, updated, and developed has changed very little in my experience working in or with organisations. There will normally be an owner, champion, or stakeholder who will have overall responsibility for creating and managing the policy throughout its life cycle.
When a policy is created or needs to be reviewed it will normally be the owner who will start some form of a consultation exercise. This may simply be an email to a few people across the organisation who are most affected by or can influence the policy asking if there are any changes they need to be made existing policies or what needs to be included to new policies.
It may involve a more robust approach being taken:
- maybe a focus group
- a request to a wider audience who have an interest in the area of the policy
- or a project team who work through the detail and check back with their business function or stakeholder for guidance on the progress being made.
The variety of approaches used by organisations when creating new policies or reviewing and updating existing policies hasn’t changed much in recent years.
But the ways that organisations can now engage their people to create or update policies are changing. There are new approaches being used which help encourage people to be more involved in what their organisation’s purpose, aims, values, and culture – amongst many others – should be.
Adapting social media tools used successfully on the internet include:
- people using blogs to give their views and opinions
- feedback any questions to news articles
- share information through discussion groups about a wide range of work related activities.
I believe a corporate wiki that any person in the organisation can use is a great way to create a new policy or to update an existing policy. It gives the chance for any person with an interest in the policy – maybe they are affected by it and want to improve it – to give their views.
Have you tried this in your organisation?
Tags: benefit, best practice, collaboration, digital workplace, engagement, social media, value
This is the third in my series of posts showing examples of the savings organisations have made by shifting work to a digital workplace. It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace. This is essential to transform your intranet into a digital workplace. The previous posts covered productivity savings and reduced absenteeism.
I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group‘s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what organisations taking the right approach can achieve. This example covers how reduced staff turnover can improve engagement save costs impacting on your organisation’s financial bottom line.
How to reduce staff turnover
- Performance management where you are measured on outcomes rather than time spent at work
- Having the right collaboration tools in place with a good governance framework in place is needed
- Having the right tools to connect from a hub, home or while on the move keeps you in touch with everyone
What organisations can achieve
- Recent studies have found clear links that show new ways of working have a positive impact on staff turnover.
- The value of reduced turnover from people telework for half the week is estimated at an annual $3,350 per teleworker.
- If a quarter of a business’ workforce leaves each year, and the average pay is $35,000, it could easily cost a 1,000-person organisation $4m – $10m a year to replace employees.
- Employees with flexible working arrangements are more likely to be satisfied, productive and committed – and stay with their employer in the long term.
- The digital workplace is a key component in reducing absenteeism through flexible work options.
- More than 91% of Cisco’s 2,000 survey respondents say being able to telework issomewhat, or very, important to their overall satisfaction.
- In a 2009 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 80% of HRprofessionals felt that flexible work arrangements have a positive impact on employee retention. Some 75% felt it helps them attract employees. And 86% felt it improved employee commitment.
- In Accenture’s 2012 Women’s Research – The Path Forward, 64% of respondents said that they stay in a job longer if offered flexible working.
- Canada’s Top 100 employers competition has found that employees who are given the option to telecommute report greater loyalty.
- 82% of Fortune Magazine’s 100 best companies to work for in 2011 offer telecommuting opportunities to workers.
My next post in this series will be on property savings.
Tags: collaboration, digital workplace, engagement, governance, social media, value
I have read with interest the comments made upon the Yahoo! message about homeworking by HR head Jackie Reses. It is the 2nd paragraph that intrigues me most:
This tends to fly in the face of the overwhelming evidence I have found from clients I have worked with, expert views I have read, and my own first-hand experience when I was homeworking at BT.
My recent post ‘Great examples of Digital Workplace productivity savings‘ showed clear benefits gained by individuals, other employees, and their organisations from homeworking. In the comments there is more detail.
It reminds of the story about King Canute, seated on his throne with the waves lapping around his feet. “Go back, sea!” he commanded time and again, but the tide continued as expected.
I wonder if in 2014 the policy will still be the same and homeworking will be a thing of the past at Yahoo!?
Tags: best practice, bt intranet, digital workplace, search, sharepoint 2010, social media
Like when the crocuses and snowdrops are followed by daffodils flowering in spring, the IntraTeam conferences in Copenhagen is a key part of my intranet calendar in March. This will be my third time at this conference but my first purely as a delegate and not as a speaker. I’m really looking forward to absorbing the knowledge to be gained, networking with existing friends while making new ones, and feeling the pulse of where intranets and digital workplaces are going next!
To start with on 5 March there is a full day of workshops covering the digital workplace, mobile video, transforming intranets, and HR portal. Quite a variety to choose from.
That sets us up nicely for the main course on 6 and 7 March with the main speaker sessions. Starting with Jane McConnell and her Digital Workplace Trends 2013, we move on over the two days to cover corporate intranets, gamification, storytelling, social video, mobile intranet, search and much, much, more!
For dessert we have the legendary networking dinners where Kurt Kragh Sørensen, Owner, IntraTeam A/S @IntraTeam plays host to a great experience of fun, laughter, and great conversation on intranets.
It’s giving me quite an appetite before I have even arrived!
This conference will give you ideas on how to communicate, share knowledge and create value with your intranet, SharePoint solution and enterprise search.
It’s a great opportunity not to be missed.
Tags: career path, collaboration, communication, digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, sharepoint 2010, social media, standards, strategy, value
Several people have asked me what my predictions are for 2013 for intranets and digital workplaces. I couldn’t resist the temptation to give my view from more of a practitioner’s perspective than maybe others have done. So as that legend in his own lunchtime, Tony Blackburn on Pick of the Pops (c’mon you’re not that young to not know him in the UK at least! ) says “Ok pop pickers, here is the fabulous five!”.
1. Not just a flexi fortnight
In 2012 we had the fantastic experience of the London Olympics and Paralympics. Many blue chip and dyed in the wool organisations with office workers in London had a big shock and had to wrench their employment practices quickly into the 21st century by letting people work away from the office at home or other more local places. People were trusted to work as normal for each of these games events. Amazingly it all went smoothly with many organisations realising here was a quick way of helping to save costs with pressure on their business performance.
I predict many ‘flexi fortnight’ organisations will invest heavily in making the digital workplace permanent in 2013 and help change many people’s work/life balance for the better as well as improve overall business performance. They will need help though!
2. SharePoint will be ‘good enough’
SharePoint 2010 and increasingly 2013 will continue to be the major technology deployed by large organisations transforming their intranets into digital workplaces. Why? Well, there are not many alternatives to choose from now or likely during 2013. Organisations may not choose it for the right reasons ‘herding sheep’ is sometime the image that comes to my mind. Where the real challenge will be is the perennial areas of strategy and governance.
I predict many organisations will need help unpicking poor decisions taken without the full knowledge of what SharePoint is capable of. We know that it can be capable of many good things if in the right hands – then again the opposite happens too.
3. ‘Social media’ a threat to internal comms?
And the problem is partly the term ‘social media’ which is misleading in my humble opinion. I always use terms which are more practical and relevant when talking with clients. The same should apply for intranet/digital workplace practitioners when talking to their internal partners and customers. So we’re helping people to find other people with similar interests to help solve a problem quicker, easier and maybe cheaper rather than ‘knowledge management’ and improving communications by people showing how much they value it by sharing, liking, rating, and commenting on it rather introducing ‘Facebook’ or ‘social media’.
I predict internal communications will ‘get it’ and see this as a big opportunity to gain better employee engagement. Use the right terms and examples to get a better understanding of what it’s all about.
4. Security and compliance taken more seriously
We have seen several high-profile examples of organisations with previously strong reputations and brands suffer severe setbacks because of insecure processes and training and not complying with regulations and legal requirements. It really is time that organisations looked at ALL the legal and regulation requirements as a joined up picture for what is needed in a digital workplace. There has always been a risk that sensitive information can be mislaid since the written word many centuries ago so it’s not a new problem.
I predict organisations will ensure their digital workplace governance and processes are robust using software and education to make sure the right behaviour is encouraged to minimise risks of sensitive and commercial information being found by the ‘wrong’ people.
5. Intranet practitioners become INTRANET or DIGITAL WORKPLACE PRACTITIONERS
Yes, it’s my shorthand method of saying the profile for practitioners will grow in 2013. I do believe as intranets transform into digital workplaces, organisations are realising the value they give them. I also believe your profile will increase as you engage with more senior managers over wider areas that are relevant to a digital workplace than just to intranets. I sincerely hope the value you provide in your role will be recognised and rewarded.
I predict 2013 is the year when many intranet practitioners will find by the end of it their career on a much stronger path with many people showing more interested in wanting to be part of this journey and more willing to help you.
Whatever happens in 2013 I hope you achieve your ambitions!
Tags: collaboration, intranet, social media
Their latest eBook, Social Intranet Toolkit, provides you with over 25 ways to leverage the social and business tools available on your intranet. I’m honoured to have one of my blog posts included in the Social Intranet Toolkit.
Topics that are covered in the Social Intranet Toolkit:
- How to leverage your social intranet
- Business vs. social tools
- How to handle objections
- Social policies and governance
- Designing your social intranet
These are all areas I care passionately about and help organisations benefit from my intranet experience.
This is a free eBook you can get by subscribing to their intranet blog and start with the building blocks to help you work smarter, not harder, in delivering a successful social intranet for your organization.
Tags: best practice, collaboration, communication, engagement, intranet, social media
This is the last post in a series answering the question “Can collaboration tools improve internal communications?” covering the right culture needed within an organisation, the redefining of internal communicators’ role and how collaboration tools and features can help improve internal communications.
I now want to discuss how I believe discussion forums can add to the richness of existing internal communication channels and not be a threat that needs to be closed down. I’m going to illustrate this with three examples.
1. Reacting to discussion forums
The initial reason why most discussion forums first start is because employees want to, or organisations encourage employees to, share problems and solutions on work issues with other employees who can help or need the information. However other topics can be discussed for example what people’s views are on the latest corporate initiative? How does it change how they do things now, etc? This is an opportunity for internal communications to explain how it will affect employees. It helps avoid a vacuum which could be filled by rumours and conflicting information. It also shows the organisation is interested in what employees say and responds with a supportive answer.
2. Leading in discussion forums
Internal communications can take a more pro-active role with discussion forums. When an important corporate message has been announced a question can be asked on the discussion forum to gauge what the reaction has been to it. The important point is not to react badly to critical views. It’s no good responding “you haven’t understood the messages or “you just got it wrong” because that will stop future responses. You need to explain carefully and consistently to their views. Remember many employees will only read the conversations and not contribute. Think about that wider audience.
You may set up a separate thread which is dedicated to internal communications where only views and opinions that cover this area are raised, discussed and responded to. Be clear firstly whether it needs to be separate and how your approach will be before starting it.
3. Senior manager online chats
Consider having regular chats online with senior managers and employees. One way would be to have a different Board Member answer questions sent online for one hour each month. The topic could be on anything but it is probably best to concentrate on their area of responsibility where they will bemore comfortable. All the questions and answers given should be published on the intranet for employees to read through especially if they were not able to take part when the online chat happened.
Another way could be to focus on those senior managers who are the best communicators. Certainly if your CEO is keen and sees it as a good way to give a personal message that is different to what has been sent out through the formal channels it normally causes great interest with employees.
I hope this post along with the previous areas I have covered helps to show you how collaboration tools can help, rather than hinder, internal communications and communicators. How you plan to do this and manage this is critical. I can help you with my internal communications‘ experience and knowledge with:
- a few hours help and guidance
- a day’s training/workshop
- a few days advice and detailed guidance
- a few weeks strategic guidance, project planning and if needed, implementation
Tags: blog, collaboration, communication, engagement, governance, intranet, social media, value
In my last post ‘How to improve communications using collaborative tools‘ I gave my view on the corporate environment needed to encourage internal communications professionals to welcome collaboration tools being used by employees. I also gave examples of collaboration tools that can help improve internal communications. This post covers how blogs can help improve internal communications.
A corporate blogging tool can help employees share ideas and opinions. It’s not just used to comment upon internal communications. Blog posts can also help employees doing similar work or having a similar interest in different business units to save time and effort. Employees can find someone else’s views who they do not know to help them solve a problem or speed up a task.
And blogs are something employees are becoming more familiar with on the internet and expect to see on their intranet. For example in the UK many of the BBC reporters blog what they report on TV and radio. There are also many bloggers who post on subjects of interest to employees, whether work-related or of personal interest.
The main point for internal communicators to understand is blogs are established, accepted, and understood on the internet by the same people, employees, who are the audience within an organisation who receive news. So, I recommend a few points internal communicators consider:
- Be accepting of this changing environment and welcome it as some progressive internal communicators have done successfully.
- Don’t feel threatened and react negatively by asking for posts with different views to be removed.
- Widen your scope to include blogs in your communications planning.
- You communicate the corporate message but it is not the only message that can be communicated.
- Treat employees as people with opinions and views they have a right to express, be listened and responded to constructively.
- Take a wider, more strategic view, of all communications and communicators.
- Engage with bloggers and comment on their posts and explain your point of view.
- Posts on blogs can act as an early warning device of a small problem to be resolved before it becomes a much larger and difficult problem to resolve later.
- Posting and commenting on blogs increases employees’ engagement. If they didn’t care, why would they blog?
- Blog posts should help shape corporate values and future direction.
Contact me to find out how I can help you:
- implement a blogging tool
- have the right terms and conditions of use
- communicate better using collaborative tools
- improve engagement of employees
- measure the benefits to be gained
My next post in this series will be on discussion forums.
Tags: collaboration, communication, content, engagement, intranet, research, social media, training, value
In my last post ‘Should collaboration tools redefine internal communications’ role?‘ I gave my view on the corporate environment needed to encourage internal communications professionals to welcome collaboration tools being used by employees. But which collaboration tools can you introduce and improve internal communications too?
I recommend researching employees’ needs to find which are most needed and likely to be adopted. Some contact with senior managers to understand the corporate values will help too. Let’s start by increasing employees interaction with existing communication channels before we move on to new collaborative tools.
When a new article is published on the intranet employees normally have no easy opportunity to show how valuable it is, what their views are or the effect it has. Introducing a few features can help to change that.
Employees are able to rate how useful the information has been. The higher the rating, the more useful it is. It helps show internal communications what is most valued by employees and encourage similar messages to be published. More importantly it shows what is not useful and could be reduced or stopped. This information helps plans for future communications that have the best impact.
Employees are able to comment on the news item. A comments feature gives freedom to express positive and negative views. It also enables other employees to see these comments and show if they dis/agree with what has been said already. This helps internal communications to understand better how useful, complete, and relevant it has been. It helps internal communications to improve future messages and empowers employees to influence these by expressing their views.
Employees are able to show they like the news item. This helps internal communications understand how valuable and useful the message has been to employees. It is a simpler approach to rating content (see Ratings) and gives a basic indication by the number of employees who how liked the message.
Employees are able to share news items with other employees who have a similar need or interest. This helps spread news more quickly using the channels that employees prefer to use rather than the formal, existing, internal communication channels with other employees.
How I can help
I have several years’ first hand experience improving communications and helping other organisations too. Please contact me if you would like me to help you:
- decide on the right collaboration tools
- communicate better using collaborative tools
- improve internal communications
- research employees needs and attitudes
- train internal communicators
My next blog will cover how blogs can help improve internal communications.
How can I help you?
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