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: 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, digital workplace, engagement, governance, plan, 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 , How an engaged newbie can become a top performer and A top performer’s career development.
Leslie has been a top performer for some years as Leslie has moved from one role to another. Leslie has agreed to mentor people as part of their career development.
There isn’t one standard way to mentoring. From my experience as a mentor and running a mentoring programme, it is the personalities of the mentor and mentee (protegé), the needs of the mentee and the ways and frequency of contact between them which can create a dynamic, enriching and long relationship or quickly fizzle out to nothing.
Leslie has the right characteristics to be a mentor. Leslie has broad experience, is a natural collaborator – willing to share ideas and listen to different views, and deep knowledge of many areas of common interest with the mentee to explore.
There are three steps to make it easier for Leslie.
A digital workplace helps to give the relationship more opportunities to develop successfully between a mentor and mentee. Before it could be a combination of email, texts, calls or face to face meetings that helped nurture and grow a budding relationship into a strong friendship which can last for many years and extend into their personal lives.
The digital workplace means a blog post of interest can be shared with each other for comment, collaborating in a shared workspace on a subject with each other or with other trusted people that can help is easy to do. Using micro-blogging for direct messages as well as re-sending useful comments is great. Having a video call instead of a face to face meeting takes less time, effort and possible delay to fit with other commitments.
Most importantly is the degree of subtlety that a true friendship needs. It means a quick tweet or micro-blog comment helps keep the relationship ticking over when previously no response could chill things for a while and need more time and effort to repair……………..or even worse, lead to a terminal decline and end of the mentorship.
Use the full range of options that a digital workplace offers for how you communicate to find out what works best for a mentor and mentee.
You need a framework that rewards a mentor and mentee for their time and effort and value that an organisation gains from helping accelerate the career development of a potential future top performer. While some mentors will be happy just to have some informal recognition, maybe meet their mentee in their own time, for the majority some formal reward is needed.
A performance management framework enables this to be given in an appropriate way. For the mentee, a personal development plan, reviewed regularly with their line manager, can include the progress with the mentor (without breaking any personal confidences). This helps to plan future development and work that maximise the mentee’s engagement to the organisation.
For the mentor it gives a more subtle choice. It may not be a promotion or pay rise but a formal recognition award could motivate the mentor and with publicity encourage other top performers to consider being a mentor. It may help with the future career path of the mentor who wants to progress into a new field of work using the skills learnt mentoring.
None of this will be possible without the right strategy, values and behaviour for the organisation the mentor and mentee works in. Creating the right environment for collaborative working; feeling we are all part of one big team; seeing the bigger picture and how everyone contributes to the overall success; being clear what is the direction the organisation is moving in; all of these help mentoring.
Without the right culture a performance framework would focus only on individual performance and what is being done now, not in the future.
A digital workplace wouldn’t happen. The old view “if you are out of my sight I don’t know what you are doing” would stop it dead in its tracks.
Combining these three key factors will mean you have a very good chance of many strong mentorship helping the mentee, mentor (like Leslie) and the organisation.
My last post in this series will cover what happens to the knowledge when a top performer leaves an organisation.
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.
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… 4 days ago
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