20 tips for a successful Social Network for Employees 

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Editor’s note: We would like to thank Mireia Ranera (Director of HR 2.0 at Íncipy, Digital Strategy and Innovation) who has shared with Zyncro her article, given below.

Mireia gives her clear tips on how we should make the change needed to get the most out of an Enterprise Social Network.

20 tips for a successful Social Network for Employees

We had got used to the idea that all technological innovation (the first computers, cells, Internet, email…) started off initially in companies and slowly was transferred to the private sphere.

Now the exact opposite is happening. Our employees have smartphones, tablets, computers… that are much more modern and innovative than the ones our companies give them.

But leaving the devices themselves aside, new communication channels and ways of communicating associated with professional topics are appearing first outside the organization’s walls, such is the case with Professional Social Networks, enabling employees, collaborators… to communicate, relate, exchange experiences, ideas and opinions.

Now we want to take advantage of what is happening naturally and spontaneously outside the company’s walls and transfer the potential of social networks to inside our companies with internal tools.

There is no shortage of media, as a multitude of social platforms and software have appeared on the market to be implemented in enterprises, and cloud computing has made things much easier.

All offer powerful functions like in the open networks: profiles, groups, directories, internal blogs, share spreadsheets, wikis, collaboration tools and communication in real time…

Really excellent features for promoting interaction among members of a company, helping to strengthen relationships and collaboration, encourage the flow of knowledge and to leverage collective intelligence.

What’s more, documented studies show that there are important benefits to be obtained from an Enterprise Social Network (McKinsey: “The rise of networked Enterprise: web 2.0 finds its payday”)

So, it’s hardly surprising that, given this potential, more and more companies are seriously considering implementing social network for exclusive, private use for all its employees.

But we must not fall into the trap of thinking that if our employees use the social networks outside the company’s, that they will also do so inside. Nor is it a case of simply integrating a powerful internal social software and waiting for our people to start to use it. It is an organizational change, a new internal way of working, communicating and relating to one another that must be guided and stimulated.

When is an Enterprise Social Network for employees really successful?

1. When the vision of its benefits starts from General Management.

2. When this vision is shared without fear and with courage by the other Directors.

3. When the Directors know how to transfer their support and priority to Middle Management.

4. When it is communicated and users are involved in the objectives of the initiative and in the real advantages that the new platform will mean for them in their work.

5. When IT becomes involved, supports it, provides their know-how instead of seeing it as a loss of power.

6. When a platform that is suitable for the specific objectives and needs of the company is chosen. You need to choose the best tool and don’t see the project as just a matter of buying licenses.

7. When the platform is so easy to use that it is intuitive and it generates a pleasant, simple and extremely visual user experience.

8. When the implementation is planned and stimulated, and users’ participation is made dynamic.

9. When it is implemented without imposition, and users are supported with patience so that they lose their fear, become familiar with it, and learn without pressure.

10. When you don’t fall in the trap of thinking that users will start to use the tool spontaneously, automatically sharing information and working collaboratively.

11. When actions are carried out and stimulated to encourage participation, collaboration and help break those initial barriers.

12. When the results of implementation are measured (level of participation, reading, contributions, comments, interaction, etc.) and you act and reactivate participation based on those results.

13. When the project is planned and started with pilot groups to learn, experiment and detect possible obstacles and opportunities.

14. When the know-how learnt is applied and implementation is gradually extended to the rest of the organization.

15. When users manage to improve aspects of their work with the new platform and achieve things that mail or traditional media couldn’t do.
16. When specific, top priority and valuable projects for day-to-day operations for employees, teams and the company are transferred to the platform.

17. When Management also participates actively and shares, exchanges ideas, makes suggestions… with the same transparency as the rest of users.

18. When employees see their contributions recognized by their superiors (with mentions, thanks, recognition of talent…)

19. When content of interest is shared and good repository of knowledge is generated that will be useful for everyone.

20. When, as well as work issues, more personal issues are shared, as they help to humanize relationships and consolidate teams.

 

My thanks to all my colleagues at Íncipy for helping me select these 20 tips, found from our day-to-day operations in supporting and stimulating Enterprise Social Networks.

The list is open to all your contributions and suggestions. Will you help us extend it?