There are so many fabulous social enterprise tools out there that can have a great, positive impact on your organization’s communication, collaboration, innovation, productivity and engagement. The problem is that these tools simply sit in the shed and have no impact on building a social enterprise unless you have a strategy for user engagement.
I’ve been working on this type of strategy with clients and collaborators over the past several months, especially after learning so much from some leading organizations like TD Bank and TELUS at Impact99 last year. Here are some of the general tips and practices I suggest.
First, there are a few things organizations need to put in place to ensure users get on board. A strategy, a team, training, and process are all important.
Social Enterprise Strategy
Start with your strategy. It is important to know why you are using social technology. What are the goals and how will it affect your journey to meet your mission? Is the tool to provide a space for virtual collaboration? Social informal learning? Project updates? File sharing? Communication? In a particularly resistant organization, you may wish to start with one specific function – for example, training. Providing social learning as part of new employee onboarding gives you a chance to start new employees off on the right social foot and will organically grow.
Build your Social Enterprise Champion Team
A cross-functional and cross-generational team is a great practice to implement. Find those in the organization who are “socially-savvy” and have them plan a content strategy. Depending on your organization’s culture, you may wish to consider postings for the purpose of engagement as well as information. For example, encourage peer to peer recognition, post fun questions like “how do you like your coffee” – and then have leaders buy coffee for those who reply, or post fun quotes and the all too popular memes.
Train Everyone in the Social Technology
Next, provide hands-on training for everyone in the organization. Start with separate training for the Senior team. Senior leaders hate to look incompetent or silly in front of others. Give them a chance to use the technology privately so that they can ask questions, make mistakes, and test it without feeling the risk. As you roll out training, watch for those who enjoy and adopt the technology and engage them in engaging others.
Build Social Sharing Processes
Look at your information sharing processes. There should be a process for the new technology to be a go-to place for information. For example, you may wish to have leaders answer questions on the social platform rather than by email. Share financial results there and not elsewhere. Send users to the social technology to gain access to projects, files, etc.
BE Social – Don’t Just Use Social Technology
Finally, remember that the key is not just using social technology, but BEING social. Take a look at leader behaviour – are they authentic, trusting, friendly to employees? If not, this is a key place to start. Building a culture of trust and sharing in “real life” will help your users to use the social technology to behave the same way.
What do you think?
What other practices have you seen be effective? I would love to hear from you!
Join us at Impact99 to discuss this type of strategy and other ways of re-inventing the workplace with 99 workplace champions this October!