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: applications, collaboration, content, digital workplace, intranet applications, money, people finder, research, social media, users, value
OK, so you now have a digital workplace strategy showing the direction you need to move in; a governance framwework to show who is responsible for what with standards, etc, to give you a fantastic online experience; policies and values that encourage you to use a digital workplace and benefit from them.
Now I will show how you can be more productive using a digital workplace:
It is critical that the time you use in a digital workplace is not wasted. That means having clearly labeled information, direct route to the information, able to use the information whatever device (laptop, tablet, smartphone) you have, and be able to edit the information as well as read it.
And it’s not just information, you need to find people who can help you or you want to share some knowledge with. Having an easy to use people finder helps as well as finding collaborative content in discussion groups with other people with similar needs or interest.
Finally if you are mobile your time is limited. You need fast access to apps and services you need to use e.g. booking travel, hotel room, invites for meetings, hire care. The list is long but you need to get to each task in a short time and complete each task quickly.
You need to have the right tools and access to gain the full benefits from a digital workplace. Your organisation needs to fund and provide laptops, smartphones, tablets as well as an internet connection and monitor screens for homeworking. Having the right choice of devices means you can always use the digital workplace whenever you need to – checking people finder, completing tasks, sharing information. This means you can be more productive and aim for a better work/life balance. No more waiting to get to an office before you can do your work. And with the right device you can do your work better, maybe faster too.
You need reliable access to your digital workplace when you need it. If your organisation gets it wrong then you probably won’t use the digital workplace so much. Your IT network needs to be reliable for speed and availability. If it is frequently down for a hour or so you won’t trust it and become reluctant to use it. If it is slow then you will vote with your feet and stay in a physical office where you can contact people and work better.
You must be confident you have secure access to your digital workplace. Your organisation needs to be confident it will not be abused by anyone away from their physical workplaces. For example if you want to check your pay record online you want 100% confidence only you can do this. Likewise if you need to access sensitive information online the organisation also needs 100% reassurance only those with the right permissions, like you, can use it.
To be fully productive you need to use these services with confidence about how secure they are in a digital workplace.
Your organisation needs to develop and have available the things you need to do your work. Research will be needed before your digital workplace can be used. You should be involved and asked questions like:
- What is the information you need?
- What applications do you need for your work?
- What collaborative tools do you to share?
- Will any device work in your digital workplace?
All of these need to be addressed before you need them. It may take your organisation time, effort, and money to research fully what is needed. However it will be seen as an investment in the months afterwards when you start using your digital workplace because it helps you to be more productive.
Tags: best practice, collaboration, communication, digital workplace, engagement, social media, users
In my last two posts on the digital workplace I talked about how you need a strategy with a governance framework to help you create a great digital workplace. In this post I want to cover how a digital workplace can help the engagement of people working in your organisation.
It is vital your Human Resources policies encourage and make it easier for you to work in a digital workplace. You need a culture where the values include sharing of knowledge, openness, and trust.
You need policies that help encourage you achieve your own, your team and overall business goals. You need to show how the digital workplace helps engage everyone more to the business. This can include:
- Allowing access to social network tools like Facebook and Twitter. Common sense policies balance the risks with the rewards of engaging and sharing knowledge and help with people in your organisation and with other organisations with a similar interest or problem.
- Having a new ideas scheme to encourage your suggestions to improve your business and recognising and rewarding you for successful ideas.
- Building a more informal, less hierarchical structure, and management style so you feel you can approach any person (no matter what their seniority or role is) to ask for help or offer helpful information and advice.
- Encouraging feedback. You should feel confident you can raise contentious but relevant issues and get a helpful response that takes your views seriously.
- Treating you as a responsible adult and trusting you will behave online accordingly,
Recognise and reward
What’s in it for me? That’s a typical response to any policy decision made especially when it is an HR policy affects you. You need to see how digital working benefits you. This can be achieved by:
- Recognising positively your move to a digital workplace e.g. making sure team meetings become team calls with you staying at home
- Incentivising your knowledge sharing using digital workplace tools e.g gamification, measuring your activity with blogs, wikis, discussion group comments
- Performance framework rewarding your output not your time spent working in a physical or digital workplace e.g quality of work not just quantity
- Having simple guidelines saying what you can say (nothing slanderous, etc) and encourage the right behaviours through a common sense approach e.g. gentle reminders not formal disciplinary action.
You should be encouraged to work in a digital workplace. This can include:
- Paying for your equipment (desk, chair, etc.) and your phone/broadband service from home.
- Making sure you have a laptop and/or tablet and/or smartphone so you can connect to your digital workplace when you need to.
- Training managers to manage employees remotely. Just because you are out of sight doesn’t mean you are not working effectively! A facilitating rather than directing management style helps.
- Flexible working hours to fit a sustainable work/life balance e.g. not 09:00 – 17:00 but maybe split to fit yours and your organisation’s needs.
- Having confidence your personal information is secure and always available whenever you need it with the right permissions.
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: 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: 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.
How can I help you?
- thnx @paulmillersays for inviting me to comment on the #digitalworkplace on #dw24. Good luck to wide awake club members too! 3 days ago
- I wonder how ENTER will manage their comments in 2 to 3 years time? So much content...out of date.......conflicting content. #dw24 3 days ago
- RT @Hadrig: Had to leave the #DW24 to go and talk to a business about internal collaboration and innovation. Well-armed with a few more ex… 3 days ago
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