With more and more companies employing social intranets, and other collaborative tools for the working environment, one of the most fatal mistakes the employer can make is equate personal social media usage with a deep understanding of what it means to collaborate in a professional virtual environment.
Recently I was reading an article in Techcrunch about Facebook Workplace, then I came across a pretty insightful observation in the comments section. In response to the article’s statement that onboarding employees to Facebook Workplace would be easy as most people are already familiar with Facebook Newsfeed, Groups, Events and Messenger – the commenter countered, “Sure, just like handing over a pencil makes anybody a DaVinci. Knowing how to post a cat-picture or like a status update is definitely not equal to knowing how to *collaborate* in an online environment.”
Sure, it’s a slightly exaggerated comment, but I feel it still holds a lot of truth. With more and more companies employing social intranets, and other collaborative tools for the working environment, one of the most fatal mistakes the employer can make is equate personal social media usage with a deep understanding of what it means to collaborate in a professional virtual environment. At the worst end of the spectrum, these assumptions (coupled with the omnipresent desire to cut costs) might lead the employer to ignore training altogether. If you’ve ever tried throwing your dog into the water because apparently it “just knows how to swim”, you’ll know that you likely have one angry and confused dog to face. It’s the same with people, you can’t just throw them into the deep end and expect everyone to swim.
Even the milder consequences of making assumptions can be disastrous. Employees may misconstrue the purpose of the enterprise social network and treat it as an extension of their own personal Facebook. Recently a colleague of mine was discussing a similar situation with an acquaintance, who confessed that their attempts at a corporate social network had failed when feeds became spammed with accounts of people’s weekend fishing trips and pictures of their children! Probably not what the company originally had in mind…
If the purpose for the social network is vague, people may also choose to ignore the solution altogether, drawing the conclusion that it has no use for them. Failing to communicate why the company is adopting a social network and what exactly employees are meant to do with it is a surefire way to flush the money spent on the platform straight down the toilet. Few people use their Facebook for more than stalking old contacts and following the news, so it’s not a coincidence if employees don’t realize that the social intranet is in fact intended for say, managing projects or crowdsourcing new ideas!
Beyond not assuming all your employees are Picasso’s and DaVinci’s, there’s a few other things you can do to ensure your social intranet/network is a success. Click below to download the TOP 3 tips on how to get started with your social intranet – you’ll learn about the importance of change management, the highly effective pull method, and how to establish the right goals for your intranet.