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: blog, collaboration, digital workplace, engagement, governance, social media, strategy, wiki
I read with interest Jane McConnell’s blog posts on governance in the digital workplace. Jane’s Digital Workplace Trends 2012 survey showed how a strategic decision-making body can increase the chances of creating an effective digital workplace.
Now, before I go any further I have a confession to make. I was the BT Intranet manager for nine years. During that time I helped transform BT’s intranet into one benchmarked independently and accepted as one of the best globally. I also was heavily involved in developing the wider digital workplace which I define as ‘work is what you do, not where you go to’ to support BT’s ambitions.
My intranet role was in Group Communications as part of a team focused on intranet, internet, web publishing, design and development. Being in Group Communications felt naturally the best place to be to improve the intranet. It was seen by other parts of the business as right too and our authority was accepted and not challenged for managing information online and to work directly with our IT partners on business needs.
However as more tools were used for online processes and activities – room bookings, training, performance management – so the difficulties of managing these became more apparent. To brand these tools with a BT mark was very involved and conflicted with an ‘out of the box’ and ‘no customising’ approaches taken by IT.
Combine that with a defensive reaction to introducing wikis to share knowledge, podcasts to show and tell how to do things and most importantly blogs which made every employee potentially a communicator across the BT and you can see the landscape is changing for communicators.
I believe despite the success of the previous years where most successful intranets have been managed by communications that it is time to think differently as digital workplaces expand that role and function.
The digital workplace is more than a news channel or document store. It can become the natural way of working so everyone is more productive and your organisation more efficient with:
- People working from any location as well as their normal place of work
- Everyone able to collaborate, search and complete tasks
- Individuals choosing tools – RSS, mobile, etc. – that help them
- IT infrastructure giving the same or similar experience
- Physical workplaces to meet future needs and ways of working
- Organisations measuring benefits and encouraging the digital workplace
This expands the role beyond information management traditionally championed by communicators who own the intranet. It also needs more than one person and it needs people who represent other key functions within the organisation.
Who do you think should own the digital workplace?
Tags: blog, collaboration, communication, engagement, intranet, sharepoint 2010, social media, wiki
I have covered in previous posts how internal communications can improve with collaboration tools. I also believe SharePoint 2010 can help organisations’ intranets if applied well. This post covers 8 ways that SP 2010 can help internal communications.
I’m not saying that SP 2010 is the only way to improve internal comms or intranets generally. There are other technologies that can do this as well or better. It is how you use the technology that is critical to it being a success.
These 8 ways can help SharePoint 2010 make a difference to internal communications by offering more agile and tailored solutions to meet the organisation’s needs:
- Polls: you can use polls to ask for feedback on a subject with a menu of answers for people to choose from.
- News: you can tailor a section of a page to show as many stories as you want. You can give people the choice to see extra news and mandate how many news stories they must see and how many are optional.
- News stories: people can read these and show how they feel by using the SP 2010 features to like and rate the stories.
- Share news stories: people can also share a story with people who will be interested. This is usually by email like with internet sites.
- Tag news stories: people can also tag a story with words or phrases that group it with other information or news they can find easily in future. Tags can also be shared with other people and their tags can create a folksonomy.
- Discussion forums: people are able to extend their feedback on the news story by discussing it further with other people. Internal communicators can also join the discussion and help explain any points that are unclear to people.
- Blogs: people (including internal communicators) can give a personal view on a news story. Again it extends the original message if someone feels strongly about or offers an opinion to challenge another view. This can help tease out small issues that can be quickly resolved before they can become major issues later that are more complex and harder to sort out.
- Podcasts: internal communicators can show and tell how to do something to help illustrate a message better than using words. This is different from high quality corporate videos. The quality may be lower but much cheaper and normally accepted by people. It is the informal, personal, style that can make a positive difference to people’s perceptions.
The real benefits with SharePoint 2010 are when you use it on a major scale. If you create the content to be communicated once, then be able to re-use it across many channels, you can focus on quality of the message. You can communicate it as a news article, mobile text, video/podcast, etc. and get feedback from discussion forums, polls, rating, comments, shares and likes to it.
Have you found any of these have helped you?
Tags: blog, collaboration, communication, engagement, intranet, rss, social media, wiki
Intranets have developed over recent years from mainly being a channel for a few people to publish news to becoming places where any employee can collaborate and share knowledge with other employees. I find it ironic that it is internal communications who are hesitant, even resistant, to embrace these changes. Ironic because many intranet teams are located within internal communications. Doubly ironic as it is normally intranet teams who are involved with how collaboration tools are used.
Instead of embracing this chance to engage with employees using these new tools and integrate them into an enhanced communications framework, internal communications reaction is more often a knee-jerk one that results in more and more ‘official’ news to try to drown out other voices.
I think that’s very sad when it happens. It’s a bit like an ostrich burying its head in the sand. It has to face reality at some stage. The later internal comms leave it, the bigger the challenge it faces to use these tools to the overall benefit of the organisation, employees and internal communications.
Over the next few posts I want to cover how tools like blogs, video, rating and RSS can be used more effectively. I will also show how I can help you if you need more information and support.
Is this scenario something you are familiar with in your own organisation?
Tags: applications, blog, collaboration, digital workplace, intranet, rss, social media, wiki
I thought it would be good to start a debate on what we mean when we say the digital workplace. Many intranet professionals want to find out more about the digital workplace. Here is my view for you to consider and comment upon.
What exactly is a digital workplace?
I define the digital workplace as “Work is what you do, not where you go to.”
In a digital workplace you are able to:
- Work in any location. This may be at home, in your own or anyone else’s office, on the train, or ideally anywhere that suits you at the time you need to.
- Do your work. This may making a room booking, checking a person’s contacts details, searching for information you need, or reading the latest news.
- Use any device. This maybe your laptop, a shared PC, a smartphone (iPhone), or tablet (iPad).
- Share information. This means being able to use collaboration tools to help other people.
- Search across all places where information is and you have permission to use.
What is the difference between a digital workplace and an intranet?
An intranet has a more limited role. An intranet typically has corporate news and documents e.g. policies. Publishing will probably use content and document management systems. A digital workplace will also have:
- Collaboration tools e.g. blogs, wikis, podcasts
- Micro blogging tools e.g. Yammer, Twitter
- Knowledge sharing/building e.g. team wikis and share workspaces
- Applications/tools e.g. HR tools, online training, sales performance
- Processes e.g. approving decisions, compliance checks
It will help me and other intranet professionals if you can comment to agree, disagree, amend, etc, to create a shared understanding on the digital workplace. Thanks in advance.
Tags: applications, benchmark, benefit, best practice, beta testing, blog, bt intranet, collaboration, content, digital workplace, engagement, governance, help, homepage, intranet, intranet applications, Mark Morrell, plan, publishing, research, sharepoint 2010, social media, standards, strategy, usability, user testing, value, wiki
Thinking about what is the best way to implement SharePoint 2010?
Are you looking for good examples of managing intranets?
Are you planning how to transform your digital workplace?
Maybe you want to use collaboration tools to increase employee engagement?
Now you can find helpful information on all these areas in one site. It combines my first-hand experience managing BT’s intranet with my knowledge and help improving other intranets to show how you can improve your intranets and digital workplaces.
If I can help you further please contact me whenever you want to.
Tags: blog, career path, collaboration, engagement, sharepoint 2010, social media, training, wiki
How do I engage employees and improve collaboration? is a question I have been addressing in my posts Make a newbie welcome and more engaged,, Integrating and engaging a newbie and How an engaged newbie can become a top performer.
Leslie is a now a top performer and is considering the next move for career progression. Leslie reviews what the options are:
Leslie’s performance is recorded. Leslie has made the information available to propective managers who could be interested in Leslie’s skills and experience. Leslie’s preferences for the next role can also be seen – just like with LinkedIn.
From day 1 that Leslie joined this organisation, Leslie’s career development has been recorded, progress reviewed and options updated so it is relevant and accurately reflect Leslie’s development and future preferences.
This has proven to be the most valuable resource to help Leslie’s career progression. Through discussion forums, communities of interest, communities of practice and wiki contributions, Leslie’s expertise is well known and appreciated.
Leslie’s blog posts and MyProfile showing Leslie’s skills, exdperience and current activities are a showcase that everyone can view.
Leslie has carefully cultivated relationships with key people in mutual areas of interest. These people are actively considering where Leslie could fit in to their team.
In my next post I will cover how Leslie becomes a mentor.
Tags: blog, collaboration, digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, sharepoint 2010, social media, wiki
I have been answering the question “How do I engage employees and improve collaboration?” in my post Make a newbie welcome and more engaged which covered how day 1 can be the right start for a newbie joining a business and how you can accelerate engagement over the first few weeks in my post ‘Make a newbie welcome and more engaged’.
I now want to pick up as the first year for the newbie shows they have become a top performer. Let’s give this person a name (rather than ‘newbie’ or ’top performer’) from now on of Leslie.
Leslie is now a fully integrated, high performing employee at their organisation. This hasn’t happened by chance or luck. This is because of the way the organisation has provided the right environment to encourage a committed, engaged, productive performance.
Let us cover how Leslie has become a top performer:
Leslie’s performance is measured on outcomes. There are clear, agreed, measurable, objectives with a time line, budget and quality standard to be achieved. They are challenging but not impossible to achieve all or most of. The objectives are regularly reviewed with Leslie’s manager. Progress is recorded and actions agreed to be reviewed at the next formal review or anytime in between if needed. This approach is very successful because it gives Leslie the freedom to innovate. It encourages decision making and is supportive when they don’t always work out. (No decision is the worst decision to make?)
- discussion forums: Leslie has shown a real flair for sharing knowledge with other communities of interest and created a strong reputation across the business
- MyProfile: Leslie has used SharePoint 2010′s features to good advantage with Leslie’s skills, experience and current activities showcasing these to help other colleagues
- micro blogging: Leslie follows key people with similar interests and has cultivated a growing number of followers across other business functions with similar interests
- wikis: Leslie has learnt from the knowledge shared and increasingly contributed his views and experience which other people are valuing more and more
- blogs: Leslie’s blog is regularly viewed, frequently updated with new posts and has an increasing number of comments that add to the topic posted
- communities of interest: Leslie has joined groups with similar interests and contributed to the webinars, and online Q&As
Leslie, Leslie’s manager and business colleagues all work from different locations, in fact some in different time zones and sometimes from more than one location each day. Leslie is comfortable not going to a phyical workplace. A digital workplace where Leslie is connected virtually has proved a great success. Leslie has the tools to connect from a hub, home or while on the move. Leslie is pleased this saves unproductive time, being able to keep in touch with everyone though the laptop, tablet and smartphone given by Leslie’s organisation. Leslie knows the performance management system measures what Leslie’s output is while Leslie’s manager is contactable whenever needed.
My next post will cover how Leslie uses the digital workplace and collaboration tools for future career opportunities.
Tags: benefit, beta testing, social media, value
While I was at the Employee Portal Evolution Masters conference I was struck by the number of organisations who were interested in using social media tools but were not sure what approach to take.
To justify any investment funding you need to have a strong business case – even more so in these difficult economic times – that clearly shows the benefits to the organisation of adopting social media tools. That justification has to have good reasons backed up by clear evidence of how it benefits the organisation.
Here are a few points to remember and use:
Have an idea of what you need to do. Try using personas to help identify a typical group of people with a similar need. Find a few volunteers to test out what the tool will do. I talked in a previous post about beta testing with people as you develop a new tool.
You need one friendly person in IT, a PC, maybe a small server and the software. You need to make sure it works – no fancy design, just out of the box functionality – before you start to testing.
Go with the flow!
Whatever you think it needs to do let the volunteers testing it set the direction that helps them most. They will be using it in future – not you!
Keep it cheap
It is important to avoid any unneccesary costs. If possible try something for free. By keeping it to a small number of people testing and just one PC or server you avoid high star-up costs.
When you have clear evidence of benefits, more people wanting to use it, buy-in from IT, you can then build a business case showing how it will help your organisation. You may be asked for more or better examples but it is less likely you will get a ‘NO!’ response.
Then consider what guidance, training, education and governance is needed.
Tags: best practice, blog, bt intranet, governance, social media, standards, value, wiki
I’m speaking next Monday about how BT has increased the value of its intranet by adopting social media tools to help improve collaborating by people solving business problems.
The conference is called ‘Employee Portal Masters Evolution’. I’m really looking forward to hearing from some great intranet speakers about:
- strategic business alignment & integration of social media
- evolution of intranets and employee portals into digital workplaces
- intranet lifecycle management
- benchmarking and KPIs of portals for a maximum on ROI
If you can’t join me, you can see my slide presentation if you are interested.
How can I help you?
- RT @sammarshall: slides from my talk at #intranets2013 on Loving the #Intranet slideshare.net/sammarshall/lo… 2 hours ago
- RT @netjmc: Thanks for sharing for those of us who could not make it! #dw24 #digitalworkplace digitalworkplacegroup.com/category/news/ 2 hours ago
- Less than 24 hours until the start of #intranatverk. Looking forward to keynoting, workshopping and networking with new and existing friends 3 hours ago
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