Have you been asked to support a campaign or issue that you feel strongly about? I don’t mean someone asking you in the same room. I am talking about finding out using social media like Facebook posts or tweets on Twitter.
Campaign groups like 38 Degrees and Sumofus are very successful in focusing people’s attention on an issue, engaging their support and transforming that into action that is effective in achieving its aim.
The speed with which support can be gained is very impressive. The method of giving your support is very quick and simple. The ripple effect from publicising progress gains a momentum of its own.
I am sure we can all think of recent successful campaigns. Probably most of you have supported a campaign because the issue meant something to you…..
……which got me thinking (I know, that’s a dangerous thing for me to do! )
Would organisations have the courage to use their intranets as a business tool to identify barriers to employee satisfaction and productivity using a version of these tools?
Accepting that factors like communication channels, inclusive culture need to be working well, would tools like this help organisations avoid long-running disputes or make business decisions without being aware of the full picture?
In the UK (still part of the EU!) if an online petition reaches 100,000 signatures it has to be debated by MPs in Parliament and people who signed are updated on its progress and the outcome of the debate. (the latest was whether Trump should visit the UK or not).
So, with my governance hat on I believe this could benefit organisations and add to an intranet’s reputation as the nerve centre with a few simple rules.
- Avoid moderation. Employees want to be trusted to have a free hand in the views they express and the range of support and how to gain it. Most employees are able to see whether an issue is a genuine or just someone raising a personal gripe.
- Set a time limit for the length of the campaign. You want to identify the burning issues that could quickly cause problems rather than those that will keep chuntering on for ever and are unrealistic.
- Set a sign-up threshold for issues to achieve before action is taken. You could make that an absolute number e.g. 1,000 or a percentage of total employees. An upper limit could mean that when the top-level of management next meet the issue is given a minimum of time to be raised and a decision to be made.
- Give this channel/tool the appropriate prominence and senior management support. Employees need to realise it is not a gimmick but a serious approach to tap emerging thoughts and issues.
I am sure some of you will think this is unnecessary or even ridiculous and create nothing but problems.
Others may think ‘What is the downside?’ ‘What is there to lose by trialling it and seeing what happens?’.