One of the issues that got us thinking and writing about social media inside of companies was that although there is no shortage of platforms one could use as a platform for internal social media, none of them quite hit the mark. Before we delve deeply into why that is the case, we thought it might be helpful to offer a review of the platforms that are out there by someone who is not predisposed against them.
Internal communications specialist Rachel Miller at All Things IC offers an incredibly comprehensive list, cataloguing 25 platforms and some 400 case studies, that begs for perusal. There are videos demonstrating each of the platforms, and links to the sites of their creators.
A caveat on Rachel’s site is that the case studies and the videos all are produced by the companies that are selling the software and services. There is an extremely high happy-talk quotient here, and almost no “we tried this and it was great for three months, but after a year nobody was using it” stories.
Start with that, though, and we will try and add some balance when we dive into what we want in future platforms.
In addition to the importance of clarifying the business need for enterprise social tools, Dilbert provides additional wit and wisdom on successful social tool implementation.
In short, it is critical to listen actively to skeptics.
Not everyone will be excited about using new social tools. In fact, some may even be openly hostile to the entire value proposition of social tools.
Skeptics will generally be in two camps:
1) Active Resistance: Those who openly question the value of social tools
2) Passive Resistance: Others who privately ask the same questions
The concerns of those who actively resist will come to light quickly while those who passively resist will likely require you to proactively reach out to them. With both parties the goal is the same: listen to and actively address their concerns on a consistent basis.
Not all issues can be addressed – for instance, there may be technical limitations to the tool that you can’t easily influence. Actively addressing concerns may mean that you are simply honest about what the new tool can and cannot do. It may also mean you proactively suggest work around solutions and compromise when your are getting too much push back on full social implementation.
Expected Results – Integration into Comms Tool Kit
Through combining a clear articulation of the business needs the social tool addresses and actively listening to the concerns of your skeptics, your business case for the tool can be even stronger. Through listening to the skeptics and seeking ways to incorporate their feedback you will have more realistic view of the business challenges the tool will address. In addition, you should also be able to convert some critics into supporters that will further strength the change management adoption for the entire team.
In the end, articulating the business need and listening to critics will enable social tools to become an increasingly integrated part of your team’s communication tool box.
In this scene, Scott Adams, Creator of Dilbert, highlights a critical reality for successfully rolling out social tools within any company: Clarify the Need
Never implement social tools without a clear understanding of the business needs they address. The tools must address specific problems that are articulated and understood throughout the team – from the top down. Though the need will likely evolve over time, it must be clearly communicated on an on-going basis. Furthermore, it is critical that the core message of the need be couched in business terms and internalized by the senior most leader on the team and a core team of advocates spread throughout the team hierarchy.
For example, a relatively simple business need may be simplifying a team’s file sharing by leveraging a single platform where all team documents can be stored – whether files from an annual off-site meeting or weekly dashboard reports. A more complex business need may be for 24/7 technical support for the new company employee recognition tool that can be partially addressed through moderated discussion forms embedded within a virtual community.
In short, our social tool roll outs don’t have to be stuck in Dilbert’s misery. Start with the business need and build your team-wide promotion of the social tool accordingly.