HR (Orientation) Assistance for Social Profiles

One example that social business advocates constantly tout the power of collaboration is an ‘use case’ of knowledge sharing and team productivity.  It goes something like Mark is working on a project (let’s say it Project Clowns), he looks up the companies ‘expert profiles’ and finds Tom who has tagged himself as “clown” (Tom, come on, I am kidding) and contacts him.  Tom then points Mark in the direction of Sarrah who was the PM on a project he worked on and Sarrah shares with Mark the project plan template (on SharePoint), lessons learned (wiki) and project tasks (Activities).  And the value of expert profiles come through for Mark where he does not need to re-invent the wheel.

Great.  But that is assuming/hoping Tom has tagged himself.  Because if he did not, my search on “clowns” would show up empty.  And I see the value of being able to connect with over 15,000 employees we have (though sometime it seems like we are only a company of 100 people).  But, how do we get people to add and update tags to their profile?  Well, here are my suggestions:

Orientation/New employees: part of the welcome package should be a requirement that they go and update their profile.  Really, it would only be 10 minutes to tag yourself, add a picture, add some ‘about me’ content.  This would be a great introduction to new employees to the collaboration suite, allow them to find people similar to themselves, read blogs,  and feel part of the Sun Life community.

Yearly Review/Career Goals:  Every year employees document their goals in Workday.  How about at this time, have a requirement to update/refresh profiles based on past year work (projects, eduction, achievements, etc).  This just becomes part of the process.  And thus, at least all profiles are updated on a yearly basis.

Anyway, if we truly want to be a social business enterprise, we will need the data/participation to leverage it’s value.

The Change Bus

Within the Enterprise, change is part of everyday life. But there are still those folks who expend a great amount of energy resisting change. But, as change happens faster and faster, those resisters have less time to try and stop the change. So, let’s all get aboard the change bus to see who is who:

Drivers: Those who drive out change/early adopters. They are the ones who drive the bus, and plow forward through the storms.

Passengers: Although they won’t be first to change, they will get on the bus and go along with any change that happens.

Road Kill: Those who resist change.

Changing the Future: iPad Textbooks

Yes, the iPad will change the world.  The hype is over and it the world is still the same…though I believe it will change the future.  Recently I read an article stating that:

Textbook publishers have already enlisted the third-party services of developers to build adaptations of textbooks for the iPad.

I believe this will change the world in the future for the following reasons:

  1. Money: As someone who went through University and dropped a lot of cash for paper books, new iPad ebooks/ibooks will keep that much more money in student pockets.
  2. Throw away that Notebook: It would be nice (in the future) if you could add notes ‘right on your iPad book’ (ie – adding a sticky) so all of your notes are incorporated with your book
  3. Multimedia: Imagine, on page 206, when the author is talking about a theory that a YouTube video could be embedded on the page for users to view.
  4. Web: Yes, as you are reading your book, you can either surf to the web to find out more information from a hyperlink…or at least view your Twitter/Facebook/etc updates all in the same place.

So where will the biggest change be?  As more and more students graduate using the iPad, they will be bringing this into their workplace.  And thus, enterprises big and small will start integrating this into their hardware requirements (goodbye Mr Desktop and Mrs Laptop).

Hook’em when they are young.

My Overweight Friend (aka – Reducing e-mail)

Here’s a story for you about a friend of mine who decided he wanted to lose weight. He told me that he felt like he was being dragged down by his weight and could not accomplish what he wanted to in a day. So, when I spoke to him last he told me he was off “to join a gym”.

I ran into my friend yesterday and I asked him how his weight loss was coming along. He was exasperated at the situation as he hadn’t lost one pound. I asked him what happened to his gym membership? He replied “I joined but I never went in to the place.” I asked him about what he had changed in his diet? He replied “nothing”. I inquired about exercise such as jogging, “No” biking, “No” walking? “No”. Now I was the one getting exasperated. I said to him “it doesn’t seem that you really want to lose weight”. He replied angrily “I do”. Really? He said that may he may not be changing his bahavior but “he still wants to lose weight.”

OK….so I might have made my friend up (I really do have friends…I do). But let me replace a few word above with a story below:

Here’s a story for you about a friend of mine who decided he wanted to reduce his e-mail. He told me that he felt like he was being dragged down by the sheer volume and could not accomplish what he wanted to in a day. So, when I spoke to him last he told me he was off to “participate in the organization collaboration space”.

I ran into my friend yesterday and I asked him how his weight loss was coming along. He was exasperated at the situation as he hadn’t reduced one e-mail. I asked him what happened to his community membership? He replied “I joined but I never went in to the place.” I asked him about what he had changed in his behavior? He replied “nothing”. I inquired about exercise such as posting forum topics, “No” blogs, “No” boomarking? “No”. Now I was the one getting exasperated. I said to him “it doesn’t seem that you really want to reduce his e-mail”. He replied angrily “I do”. Really? He said that he may not be changing his behavior but “he still wants to reduce his e-mail.”

So, enough with the lip service.  If you are ready to change your behaviour…then change your behaviour.

KISS, Shirsky’s Law and Social Software Adoption

Keep It Simple Stupid.

In life

In love

In social media software development.

I came across Shirksy’s Law on the web which states:


Shirky’s Law states that the social software most likely to succeed has “a brutally simple mental model … that’s shared by all users”.

I am seeing more and more vendors come out with very developed social media platforms…and they are now becoming too complex.  Although many software vendors are on version 2.0 (or more), many enterprise users are still at 1.0:  trying to figure out not only how this can be integrated in their day to day activities, but what the ‘heck and blog is’.

Over at Bosacks Archive they interviewed Clay Shirsky.  Here is an interesting quote from that interview:

The shift is from thinking about the computer as a box to thinking of the computer as a door, and nobody wants a door with 37 handles. Twitter has six features, and it launched with only one. A brutally simple mental model of the software that’s shared by all users turns out to be a better predictor of adoption and value than a completely crazy collection of features that ends up being slightly different for every user.

Although the 37 handles will eventually be valuable to an organization…it can be overwhelming for the first time user.  As someone who helps roll-out communities, it makes my job more difficult for adoption.  There is too much for a new user to take in.  So, I end of slimming down the software myself which does not always give the user the best experience.

Maybe it is time to rethink the audience and what are there goals.  You don’t need to “feed the world” on day one…just feed one family at a time.

Principles for Enterprise Social Software Adoption

Read a great article over at Binaryplex.com about the 10 Principles for Enterprise Social Software Adoption.   Below is a summary:

Principle 1: Limit Social Software Data to Basic Security (Username/Password) Only

Principle 2: Social Software should use Authoritative Sources for relevant information.

Principle 3: Simple, Ubiquitous and Adaptable Access

Principle 4: Global Sharing (largest number of users)

Principle 5: Modular, Highly Integrated, Open Services

Principle 6: Configuration not Customization

Principle 7: Build for Rapid Growth

Principle 8: Designed for the people

Principle 9: Authority should be devolved to the lowest common denominator

Principle 10: People not Documents

It’s so interesting to see more and more articles talking about making enterprise adoption easier…rather than seeing blogs about selling social media to your executive team.  Now that it’s getting in the door, let’s see who survives and who are the causalities.

Social Software Adoption

I read a great post today on the Synch.rono.us blog written by Kathryn Everest on Social Software Adoption tips for the enterprise.  To sum it up, here are her five points:

1)  Make sure you are engaging the right people when getting started.

2)  Explain the story of social software from multiple perspectives as one size does NOT fit all.

3)  Focus more on “why” than on “how” in your training program.

3)  Make sure you have a way to measure success that is meaningful to business sponsors.

5)  Monitor and intervene when usage is not what you expected.

These are excellent points (especially #5 as noted by Luis Benitez as this will constantly change) but I would also like add a few of my own…that could be 6-10 on this list

6. Senior Leader buy-in/understanding/desire/appetite

If you are indeed going to roll this out, make sure you have an awareness of senior leadership.  I am not saying they need to be writing a daily blog, but there is an awareness not only of the software, but the change that is occurring.  Change does not happen overnight, and it usually does not have 100% participation.  Change takes time and patience.  If people want to change, they will help those change agents get there.  When there is a lack of understanding, change agents can be punished rather than rewarded.

7. Budget

Ready to rollout social software?  It ain’t cheap (in these times of cost cutting).  Make sure a budget is in place to get everything up and going.  Pilots are fine and dandy (and needed) but if your pilot takes off, make sue the money is in place to get it implemented.


8. Open it up/make it accessible to all

As mentioned above, pilots are fine and dandy, if you are going to do it, then do it.  Be ready to have it rolled out to everyone (or at least available).  One of the advantages of the social software is connecting with people who you did not know before.  If they cannot access your social software, they might not come back and you could lost that connection (and knowledge).  If someone finds a blog/forum/shared event/wiki etc, sign-up should be 2 or 3 clicks away.


9. Streamlined software

I agree with Kathryn that the software and how to use is not highly important…but it does have importance.  Most 2.0 software is not hard to learn…but some can cause time to be wasted.  For example, software should have integration with your current systems when possible (from you Office suite to your internal Operational systems).  The more places people need to go (for example, the wiki is a separate application then the blog than the forum than the virtual meeting room, etc) the more people are going to be confused where to go, have too many bookmarks and too many passwords.  A nice eco-system is preferable.


10.  Encouragement/PR/Marketing

I have seen good applications within enterprises be ‘disabled’ because not enough people understood the value/were using it to justify the cost.  Thus, get the word out, not only for people to discover it, but so value can be seen enterprise wide.  Keeping it a secret will help no-one.  It is also helpful when your boss (listen, some companies will remain top-down for a while) announces to everyone what a great job you did leveraging the wiki and sharing with your colleagues.  Everyone likes a pat on the back from time to time.

OK, that is my 5.  What do you have?

Update – Found a few more Adoption points from the Fast Forward Blog