Friday, June 22, 2012

Building Your Social Intranet - Step 6 Cultivating your Community

And finally my last post about building your social intranet. The final step might even be the most important one. It’s a step that is often skipped. For some reason people still think you just have to give technology to the organization and the employees will jump on it. Over and over again this has proven to be false (although the technology adoption barier is very low in most internal social platforms).

The last step is about cultivating your community. A social intranet is not alive in itself. It needs to be keep alive and fibrant. Potentially a social intranet supports most of your organization: the network-side of the company. If so, it is extremely important to make sure it can actually do so and continues to do so. This is even more important because sharing and collaborating with your employees is different than with your friends. Some say: Well, it works automatically on Facebook, so it should on our internal networking platform. I wish it were that easy. (And I don’t this it’s that automatic on Facebook either.) 

Look at your social intranet as a big community, consisting of many smaller communities. These communities must be facilitated and cultivated. In my experience the best community cultivation is done by a multidisciplinary team. Consisting of someone from HR, Communications, IT and the business. They pick up the responsibility to own and lead the community. This can be a formal or informal role. Their job is to encourage communication via the platform and outside of it. They train employees and explain why the social intranet was set up. They help them use the social intranet in a way that is effective and efficient to them. Measuring is also done by this team and the report findings to decision makers. The team learns from their own organization and other organizations how the platform can be improved, which elements should be added and removed. They connect people to eachother. And expect the unexpected. 

So, this wraps up step 6! If you’ve read closely step 6 actually leads us back to Step 1: Listening. Good community cultivation is listening closely to employees and the organization. So in a sense the steps that have listed can be seen as a circle. A social intranet begins and ends with listening. 

Do you agree? I hope you enjoyed my posts. Hopefully they were useful as well. Did I miss steps that you would add? I’d love to hear you thoughts and experiences in this area. All comments are welcome!

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