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  • Jose Miguel Bolívar 9:00 am on May 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , organizational change   

    Knowledge Networks: Life After the Organizational Chart 

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

    Editor’s note: The new ways of the enterprise 2.0 transform companies and mean a change that affects even hierarchies and organizational charts. Today we’d like to share with you this post that José Miguel Bolívar posted a few days ago on his blog which we think is highly interesting. Thank you, José Miguel, for letting us share it.

    In a recent post, Ximo Salas asked himself where is my organizational chart? and, among other things, he stated that “organizational charts haven’t died” and suggested the need to invent an organizational chart 2.0. Unfortunately, it’s true that organizational charts aren’t dead… Yet.

    However, without knowing exactly what Ximo understands as being “organizational chart 2.0” and what type of organizations need one, I think the concept “organizational chart”, or at least in its traditional sense, has no place in the type of organizations we talk about and that we undoubtedly will become, no matter how slow we are in becoming one or how far away they seem at present.

    On the other hand, the death, present or future, of the organizational chart is not a new topic. Much has been written, and well done at that. Like for example this post by Manel Muntada and this other one from Pedro Muro.

    However, apart from the above, the big question for me continues to be: are organizational charts necessary or not in post-industrial organizations or, as I prefer to call them, in knowledge organizations?

    The model used by organizations in the Industrial Era as the backbone is the hierarchy, in other words, a structure that arranges its elements according to criteria of superiority or subordination between people.

    This structure starts from a model, bureaucratic administration, that assumes the division of work as its principle of efficiency, expressed as the division of roles and responsibilities and that hence, seeks as its primordial objective to optimize the transmission and execution of orders or instructions.

    If we think about the traditional assembly line, the model makes sense. There are people whose responsibility is to think, assess the alternatives, find solutions, assess the risks and propose options. Other people are responsible for making decisions and taking risks. Others are responsible for transmitting those decisions quickly and effectively and supervising that they are carried out to the letter. And others, finally, are responsible for carrying out those instructions.

    What’s more, to make it easier, the information travels in a single direction, without return.

    But what happens when, apart from “doing”, all people in the organization must also “think” and “decide”? What happens when we want the information to travel in multiple directions and in real time?

    In these circumstances, the organizational chart is not only no longer useful, but it becomes one of the main obstacles for organizational performance.

    Anyone who knows how a knowledge organization works “from the inside” knows that nowadays the organizational chart has become a decorative and costly element; an organizational relic serving the ego of a few; a bastion of the paradigm of control that perpetuates mediocrity and hinders innovation.

    Today, having a specific position on an organizational chart does not indicate how much you know nor how valuable you are as a professional. It only indicates how much you can manage to bother the rest of the organization if you set your mind to it.

    Organizational charts today are Snow White’s looking glass of a management class in the process of extinction. The carrot of “some day this will all be yours” for too ambitious newbies. And little more.

    The future is going elsewhere. In a world with an overabundance of information, of knowledge in transit, organizations will become progressively more complex while, paradoxically, more flexible and dynamic.

    After some years “leveling out” the organizational charts, it turns out that the organizational future is multi-dimensional. Knowledge networks that cross over and superimpose each other, in constant mutation over time.

    Knowledge networks that are generated from a shared interest, like for example learning (sharing and generating knowledge) or a project (applied knowledge). What’s more, a single person can play not only one but many roles and these roles can be the same or change according to the network. Different roles in different networks… The antithesis of the organizational chart. And of course, all in constant change.

    I’m talking about a future focused on people and not on structures, unlike current organizations, in which people are dependent on the structures (and the processes and technology).

    A not-too-distant future in which the most important thing is not how much power you have, rather what you know (you personally and also through your networks), and above all, what you know how to do with all that knowledge and how you are demonstrating it.

    In that future, and the need for tools that help tonavigate knowledge networks fluidly becomes evident.

    Be it a profile directory, a social search engine, or any other technology solution, we need tools that tell us in real time what people know about a specific subject, in which networks they are operating, on what projects they are working, and how to contact themto in turn weave new networks.

    An image that produces vertigo in anyone allergic to change, in organizational zombies, in those addicted to the predictable. But that’s life. Diverse, complex, unpredictable, and constantly evolving.

    Fortunately, there is much life after the organizational chart. What’s more, I’d say that the future is ahead of us…

    Jose Miguel Bolivar (@jmbolivar) is Artisan Consultant, ICF coach, lecturer, researcher, speaker and author of the blog Óptima Infinito, in which he has been writing about Innovation in Productivity and GTD methodology since 2008. With a degree in Social Psychology and Political Analysis from the UCM, a master’s in HR from the Centro de Estudios Garrigues, José Miguel has extensive experience as an executive in highly competitive environments such as HP or Life Technologies. Currently, as Artisan Consultant and Coach, he works to increase competitiveness in organizations, improving individual and collective productivity of its employees.

     
  • Chris Preston 9:00 am on February 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , organizational change,   

    The Five People Your Business Really Needs to Make Engagement Stick 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    Editor’s note: Today we have the pleasure of presenting a new Zyncro Blog author: Chris Preston, a navigator of the corporate culture, spends most of his time working with interesting companies that create a wealth of stories, anecdotes and cautionary tales. Chris describes himself as a natural Storyteller, but a terrible Strategist – so the blogs should be good, but probably late. Welcome Chris! :)

    Over the last two years Jane Sparrow and I researched content for a recently released book, The Culture Builders. In doing so, we uncovered the five people you really want in your organisation if you are to make engagement, work, stick and pay dividends.

    The examples we heard, from companies large and small, showed us how great engagers (be they leaders or first-line managers) are adept at inhabiting five roles as they look to move the workforce from caring about the business, to being passionate about it – a difference we term ‘savers and investors’. An organisation full of investors (and they do exist) can achieve amazing things and delight and move their customers way beyond the ‘OK’ mark.

    We use the phrase Investor to describe the levels of commitment, involvement and ownership that people feel and demonstrate when they genuinely feel part of an organisation. The five roles get them there – steering, challenging, talking, doing and inspiring.

    So, I guess the question you’re asking is, ‘who are they… and how do I get them?’… Meet the Culture Builders:

    • The Prophet: the one with the vision for the future, forward looking, inspirationally overflowing. This role is all about what’s over the horizon, and we should all be aiming to get there (the past’s a forgotten place).
    • The Storyteller: bringing the journey to life, uses rich language to localise the vision and help people bridge the gap between where we are and where we’re going.
    • The Strategist: keeping it all on track, aligning actions and people with the goal, ensuring ‘it’s for the long term’. Driving consistency of behaviour and longevity of an initiative to ensure a successful outcome.
    • The Coach: Knowing what makes the heart ‘beat’ of the people in their team, and using that knowledge to engage them fully in the activity, to use the engagement process to grow and challenge them, constantly thinking how.

    These first four are what we term the ‘type’ roles, and describe the ways in which we go about engaging the wider organisation. We know from research that there is a preference for the first one, closely followed by the Storyteller. It’s the Strategist that is the least prevalent in managers and leaders – opening up a whole host of issues around longevity of actions and cost for projects (I’ll talk more about this in future blogs).

    The final role is what we term the ‘style’ role, and focuses more on the personal approaches that a leader of people will rely upon:

    • The Pilot: The person with their hand on the tiller, the calm, firm voice in times of change – a style that colours how the person delivers the four ‘type’ roles and steers teams to act and develop in very different ways (we break this role down into three areas: Authoritative, Inclusive and Enabling).

    I firmly believe that these five roles are made, not born in people, and can be attained by focus, effort and determination. Like many areas of leadership theory, the first step is always going to be recognition of what the situation requires and understanding how you personally get there.

    Interestingly, the really high performing individuals that we met did not possess all five in high levels. Rather they had a balance in the four type roles (so either Prophet or Storyteller high, and either Strategist or Coach high). In terms of the Pilot, those that are highly inclusive are seen to do the best in engagement terms.

    So that’s a quick jaunt through the book’s main thinking. In future blogs I hope to move beyond it, and look more widely at how areas such as trust, dialogue and the corporate environment all build or detract Investors in our organisations. Let me know your thoughts, and what you’d like me to expand on – culture’s a whole world in itself!

     
  • Jose Miguel Bolívar 9:00 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , organizational change   

    10 Traits of Organizations 2.0 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    MolecularThe general situation with regard to the changes we could include under the ‘2.0’ tag continues to progress in the right direction.

    Although it is true that this evolution is in fact much slower than many of us would like and, above all, than is necessary, it does seem as though the conditions necessary for its definitive acceleration are appearing, and for the change to occur across the board.

    I mean, of course, organizations whose raw material is knowledge, not necessarily solely but at least partially. In other words, a growing percentage of organizations in developed countries.

    If we look back four or five years, we see that we have gone from a situation in which hardly anyone in a position of responsibility in an organization was aware of what ‘2.0’ was all about, to one in which three large and very different groups have appeared:

    1. The first group, probably the largest, is made up of people who still don’t dare to make a move in order to be part of the change, but who are increasingly more aware that they need to.
    2. The second group, the smallest, is made up of people who, admirably show sufficient courage to actively contribute to change. They are our great hope and an example to follow
    3. The third group,which is fortunately becoming smaller and smaller, includes different tribes: cynics, skeptics, unbelievers, the ignorant, the proud, egomaniacs and other organizational specimens, who continue to show active passiveness, if not open resistance, based on the absurd belief that no change is a viable option and that this way they will protect their status quo.

    In spite of all this, it appears that there is still a certain amount of confusion about which traits define an organization 2.0. Being an organization 2.0 goes beyond “having” communities of practice, enterprise social networks, internal wikis and a presence on social networks.

    Being an organization 2.0 is, above all, about “showing” that a series of so-called values 2.0 have been understood, adopted, interiorized and begun to be expressed, and also proving that it has evolved, overcoming the bureaucratic traditional administration model, towards new forms of understanding the role of people, processes, technologies and structures in organizations, which allow answers to be given to the needs arising from this new situation.

    There are probably more, so these ten points are just a starting point. So, here are the 10 traits of organizations 2.0:

    1. Netarchy: This is an indispensable requirement. An organization cannot be considered genuinely 2.0 until it has overcome the paradigm of control. By definition, an organization 2.0 is a network organization that is merit-based, rather than hierarchical. Meritocracy replaces the organizational chart. Painful as it may be for some, hierarchitis and groupitis are organizational diseases typical of a bureaucratic administration model. As Eugenio Moliní rightly points out, “the network is the only configuration where it is possible to shine with your own light at the same time as others”.
    2. Distributed: An authentic netarchy doesn’t need physical structures to obtain its identity. Large corporate infrastructures make no sense in a network world where connection replaces physical presence. In the Knowledge Era, work is what you do, not somewhere you go. The work centre and working hours are two relics of the past which are anachronistic to an organization 2.0. In a world that is increasingly more globalized, structures must be flexible, dynamic and delocalized.
    3. Fluidity: We live in fluid times and organizations 2.0 cannot ignore this reality. They must therefore be flexible in configuration and size, leaving behind the obsolete concept of job position and focusing on projects. This means changing from understanding the organization as an institution to understanding it as a platform.
    4. Connected: BYOD is the bridge towards a new environment in which each node of the network is an autonomous and independent person responsible for the technology he or she uses. In an organization 2.0, being connected is critical. Nodes of the network must be able to share information and knowledge at any time and under any circumstances, immediately and efficiently. Technology must be understood as a means of uniting people and not become a permanent obstacle to collaboration, as occurs currently in the large majority of traditional organizations.
    5. With a purpose: A large number of organizations have currently stopped being a means and have become an end. Hierarchies are looking for ways to perpetuate, even at the cost of sacrificing the reason for which they were established. In organizations 2.0 sensemaking cannot be brushed aside. Organizations 2.0 don’t need an empty mission, vision or values, but a real and shared “for what”, representing the interests and values of their nodes.
    6. Innovation: To innovate is in the DNA of any organization 2.0, to point where it must form part of its purpose. Innovation is understood to be an essential requirement for adapting and survival. The objective of the people, processes, technology and structures of an organization 2.0 is to encourage and facilitate continuous innovation.
    7. Diversity: One of the main obstacles to innovation for traditional hierarchical organizations is the lack of diversity. The typical groupitis of hierarchies becomes single thought. Diversity, the hybridising of experiences, knowledge, characters and perspectives that are different and complementary, are the essence of any organization with a vocation for innovation.
    8. Open: In line with this vocation for innovation, organizations 2.0 are open. If, as it appears, it is true that there is such a thing as collective intelligence, why not use what our customers, suppliers, friends and even competitors can contribute. In an organization 2.0, the desire to learn and collaborate in order to innovate must always come before the interest to compete and win.
    9. With a human voice: There is room for all voices and opinions in an organization 2.0, not only because they are enriching but because otherwise it would cease to be an organization with a human voice.
    10. With productive people: The challenge for organizations 2.0 is to become networks of productive people who innovate. The increase in productivity must be understood as the aggregate result of the increase in the personal productivity of all of the nodes in the network. The performance of an organization 2.0 is only possible if the people in it are productive at an individual level.

    What features would you add, change or delete? Do you know any organizations 2.0? Feel free to continue the conversation with your comments.


     Jose Miguel Bolivar holds a degree in Chemistry and a degree in Sociology, and has a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Coaching. He is the author of the blog in Spanish, Óptima Infinito, a collaborative space where he writes about Innovation and Productivity for a World 2.0 as seen by individuals, networks, and organizations, and where you can find the original publication of this post.


     
  • Mari Carmen Martin 9:00 am on December 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , organizational change,   

    Communication 2.0 and organizations 2.0: designed to understand each other 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    A few weeks ago Alejandro Formanchuck was visiting Barcelona and he took the occasion to participate in an event organized by Zyncro: #Ysehizolaluz, which I was able to attend and during which he enthralled us with a conference about internal communication 2.0. Alejandro made us ponder a number of questions such as “Are 2.0 tools revolutionary?”, “Who uses these tools?”

    To be honest, after learning that even Queen Elizabeth II and the Vatican have been convinced, it should come as no surprise that many Spanish companies are currently deciding to join the 2.0 revolution.

     

    This table shows some of the differences in some areas between enterprises 1.0, those which have yet to adopt internal and external 2.0 tools, and the so-called enterprises 2.0. It is clear that the gap between 1.0 and 2.0 is not only semantic, but is also about a natural and sophisticated evolution in many areas and fields of the company, initially by adopting more universal and humanist values, and within a framework for collaboration.

    According to Alejandro, to create a culture 2.0 the following is necessary:
    • Access to and availability of information
    Minimizing the asymmetry between senders and recipients
    • Boosting the prosumer logic
    • Extending participation
    • A genuine interest in people generating the business and sharing contents
    • Interaction in decentralized network formats
    • Collective construction, collaboration and meritocracy
    • Willingness to listen and make use of this information
    Respect for people and giving up ego
    Minimizing control

    Every day more studies show that adopting and using 2.0 tools contributes positively to better company results. In this sense, in 2011 McKinsey statistically proved that businesses which internally and externally use technologies 2.0 to a larger extent, are more profitable. In the same study, 27% of companies declared to have better margins and market shares than their competitors. The conclusions state that “a connected company has 50% more of a chance of belonging to this group“. The latest study by McKinsey from November, about Strategy, shows how “social intelligence” guides decisions and how “internal and external social networks” are changing the classic decision-making process. The influence is clear, if from a common sense point of view we analyze the enormous amount of information that social networks provide, businesses need systems to be able to process the subject in an intelligent and suitable way. This leads to the conclusion that in the development of social CRMs there is a need to include all this “big data”, one of the greatest challenges facing companies over the next few years.

    In the most recent study by IBM on companies that have adopted a social business model, surprising data has been revealed such as:

    • 9 out of 10 businesses report benefits thanks to the adoption of a social business model
    • 57% of companies obtain better results than their competitors which do not have a social model
    Growth in expenditure on social software by companies is forecast at 61%, up to 2016, reaching a business figure of 6,400 million dollars.

    I would like to put a few questions to directors of Spanish companies with regard to this matter: Do you need more data? Do you need more time? What are you waiting for to get prepared? What are you waiting for to drive the strategic change and adopt your company’s social model? Do you want to start with a change in the company’s internal communication? Try out the Zyncro Enterprise Social Network.

    Mari Carmen Martín (@maricarmenmar) is a trained Industrial Psychologist and an expert in HR. Currently she works for Cloudtalent, a company of the Humannova group, where she is responsible for creating personal branding programs for executives and professionals.

     

     
  • Sonia R Muriel 9:00 am on August 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , organizational change   

    Managing fear in companies 

    Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

    Editor’s note: Today at Zyncro, we have the honor of welcoming a new blog contributor, Sonia Rodríguez Muriel. Passionate about HR, she is HR and media director at the Andalusian Agency for Innovation and Development IDEA. Her personal blog, which we highly recommend at Zyncro, is as she says “an open space dedicated to reflection on issues associated with people management, incorrectly called Human Resources.” Thanks for joining Zyncro’s team of bloggers, Sonia. Welcome 😉

    If we think about one of the words we have heard most in recent months, regardless of the context, I’m sure it would be: FEAR.

    People who work in business have many fears, which is nothing strange, especially given the harmful messages that some politicians dish out as if nothing, the headlines and photos that make the front pages on a daily basis or the images that are shown all too often on the TV.

    Fear of losing jobs, fear of downsizing, fear of not getting the next paycheck, fear of a merger, fear of the company’s uncertain future, fear of failure, fear of salary drops, fear of restructurizations… FEAR.

    What attitude does the company’s general management adopt in this situation? Does it add fuel to the fire or does it make an effort to build confidence and trust among its employees when they are afraid?

     

    Fear has been used as a mechanism for control and social domination for a long time. We have lived so many centuries in a culture of fear and with a system of absolute iron control in companies that now it is hard to break. On some occasions, there isn’t even any intention whatsoever to do away with this obsolete model.

    Fear blocks, paralyzes, rules out creativity, prevents growth in an organization and in professional development. Fear generates insecurity; we see the environment as being more aggressive and causes us to enter into a dangerous dynamic: a downward spiral of fear. Fear builds other new worries and they start to grow indefinitely, leading us away from where we can be constructive and face our own fears and break the spiral. As Sophocles said: “To him who is in fear everything rustles”.

    The figure of the toxic coward in every company is no help either. They are people who find someone to share and reinforce their fears and flee from the optimist, preferring to adopt a critical and/or defeatist attitude, and who need to be surrounded by likeminded people. Unconsciously, they seek out bad news, rumors and new fears. For others, it is easy to be swayed by these negative emotions rather than be affected by someone who sees life with a more positive attitude. The paradoxical situation may even arise where someone who is fearless, proactive and dynamic becomes threatened by the toxic coward. What’s more, if the coward is a director or a middle manager, their harmful influence on the work environment is multiplied by 100.

    If our excuse to allowing ourselves be dominated by fear is that it is impossible to take a different attitude in the current socioeconomic context, I encourage you to seek out experiences where worse situations have been overcome. A good example of this can be seen in “Man’s Search for Meaning”. Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist of Jewish origin who had a promising career. When the Nazi threat was more than evident, he obtained a visa to emigrate to the United States with his pregnant wife to continue working there. But Frankl let this visa expire, as he did not want to abandon his parents. Shortly after, the entire family was taken to a concentration camp and among other unpleasant incidents, the manuscript containing his work was destroyed.

    He survived his experience in the concentration camp, overcoming the idea of his own suicide several times to see how pessimism in the other prisoners brought them to self-abandonment and finally death. After feeling defeated on several occasions, he was capable of remembering his work, finding meaning to life, and when he was released, he was able to rebuild his career with much effort, despite the loss of all his loved ones and his traumatic experience.

    For Viktor Frankl, “life deserves to be lived beyond the circumstances and the inability to discover the meaning of our existence is what brings Man to lose inner balance and hence, to bring him to desperation.”

    Returning to the laboral front again, it is evident that we need help in not letting ourselves be overcome by fear and seeing the current situation as an opportunity and not a threat. As Pilar Jerico says in her fantastic book No miedo (NoFear), “only those who have power can generate fear”, so creating an atmosphere of confidence and undoing a management based on fear is the responsibility of the company’s leadership. It is one that should be worked to include emotionally intelligent leaders who make their teams grow and generate confidence and trust, the key to fighting fear.

    Uncertainty can be a danger in a company! Those who believe information is power can cause more harm than good. Organizations are porous so it is unlikely that the information that management doesn’t want to share stays completely within their grasp. The worse thing is when it reaches lower levels in the organization, the message has little to do with the original one and has deteriorated even further.

    The greatest challenge for companies at present is to manage, generating confidence and trust to reduce growing fears, and above all, to not create new ones. To do this, it is essential to develop a corporate culture that doesn’t punish error and encourages employees to innovate, share and take risks, that promotes talent and people on a human and emotional level. To achieve this, it is paramount to find the right motivation for employees and to leave behind management by control mechanisms once and for all, adopting a new model of collaboration.

    Once again internal communication becomes the cornerstone. The language that the company’s management uses when speaking with their employees; a lack of communication, coherence between discourse and behavior, and the insecurity that it generates only feeds fear in the organization and creates new worries.

    Corporate social responsibility, as in vogue as it is in recent years, means the company is responsible for, among other questions, maintaining a healthy, safe working environment and the physical and psychological wellbeing of its workers.

    Management plays a fundamental role and the type of leadership it uses or promotes will depend largely on the work environment .

    But if this argument isn’t convincing enough for some CEOs, maybe we should talk about the financial side of things. The working environment is a factor that has a major effect on productivity in the organization. Employees can’t give their best if they are not committed and without confidence and trust, there cannot be commitment.

    If we want to have employees committed to the organization, we need to establish open, transparent dialog with them to win their credibility. And reinforce that credibility with the rest of the company’s policies.

    Being a good professional is conditioned by the working environment and we are all responsible for generating a positive atmosphere, regardless of what our position is. Our mood infects our colleagues and co-workers, so why not think about what we are really transmitting to others?

    “Under the influence of fear, which always leads men to take a pessimistic view of things, they magnified their enemies resources, and minimized their own.”

    Titus Livius

     

     
  • Rafael Garcia-Parrado 9:00 am on July 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , organizational change,   

    The dilemmas of learning 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    Creating new ideas, implementing and updating information systems, controlling technological applications, designing environments and processes are just some of the day-to-day challenges that businesses face.

    All of these challenges have a common denominator, knowledge, which should be integrated in the organization as a source for creating value and competitiveness, helping to differentiate from the rest.

    A fundamental aspect for increasing this knowledge is organizational learning and talent management. In a fluid society such as that of today, adapting to continuous change is essential, and this is where the organization and its employees must stay in touch with reality. Avoiding egocentrism in the organization is a requirement for lasting over time, although sometimes this is no guarantee of success.

    In short, looking around and learning from competitors and collaborators is extremely important and allows the survival of organizations thanks to improvements in their competitiveness.

    These are just some of the consequences of organizational learning in businesses:

    • Learning not only to drive quality, but also as a requirement to create and increase it.
    • Innovation requires a high capacity for effective learning. It also depends on the organizational knowledge base. The more solid this base is, the easier it is to internalize change.
    • Above all, both innovation and learning are processes associated with the individual. This reinforces the idea that improvements in the organization occur with the best people for each situation, strengthening the importance of resident organizational talent.
    • Surroundings influence learning, changes occurring in the markets must be contemplated, not as threats, but as opportunities to learn and improve.
    • Knowledge and learning management should allow the organization to react faster to change, anticipating itself in its culture. Therefore, the importance of a suitable working climate stands out, as do monitoring systems that allow the automation of changes produced.
    • Learning technology influences the way of distributing knowledge and allows new forms of thinking, and of how to process the work, to be developed, with the objective of facilitating employees with it for the generation of new ideas.

    Intelligent organizations sacrifice part of today’s performance to achieve a better performance tomorrow.

    A suitable management of efficient learning will have positive repercussions in the organization, favoring flexibility and openness when faced with change and unexpected events that may occur, because ‘change is the only constant‘. To do this human resources policies should favor both internal and external collaboration that benefits the management of talent together with continuous learning.

    Rafael García works as a consultant for Índize and has his own blog which Zyncro recommends: La Factoría Humana.

     

     
  • Mireia Ranera 10:02 am on February 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , middle management, organizational change, , ,   

    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?

     

     
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