We are Betterworking (part 2: the ‘how’)

By September 6, 2013Blog posts

Welcome to Betterworking from me, I’ll try to follow up Chris’ excellent post on ‘why’ we’ve set up Betterworking and ‘what’ it is with a few comments on ‘how’ we want to do our bit to make work better.

I’ve been very fortunate over the last few years getting to work with some truly great people on exciting (and I like to think rather pioneering) social enterprise and collaboration initiatives. There wasn’t really a rule book, which is part of what I love about it, and indeed we were forced at times to take the plunge with some fairly experimental activities. And of course we started to see that some things work better than others.

Sharing (and learning from) experience

Over the last few years I’ve been contacted by many (often nervous) people and companies asking to me to share what we’ve been up to, our methodologies, what worked and what didn’t, and I’ve always been happy to share our experiences. Obviously it is still early days in terms of any of us truly understanding the full, long-term implications of the web and bringing it ‘inside’ businesses to improve collaboration and communication. However it’s safe to say that we now have sufficient experience to recommend how to (and importantly how not to) go about things.

Over the last year or so I’ve been working with Chris to ‘bottle’ the common success factors and learnings that we have been involved with and seen – to share with you via this blog and the pages on Betterworking.com. And naturally we’d love to meet with you to help you further.

Let’s increase the success ratio

It might sound pessimistic, but I believe Gartner are probably right in their estimate that 80% of enterprise social initiatives will fail. These cloud based tools seem so easy to switch on. Surely it just spreads virally? After all nobody needed training on Facebook etc etc. Well I think the world is realising that it isn’t as simple as just switching these tools on when we are dealing with highly organised, complex organisations where everybody is accountable for their part of the machine, and often not at all interested in (aka rewarded for?) helping the other parts.

Yes, it’s great news that the technology is increasingly powerful, affordable and accessible. But as the tech vendors will tell you, this is no longer about selling software to IT guys. This is ‘people stuff’.  Creating the right conditions for this technology to be truly harnessed for the benefit of the organisation, its employees and customers requires sizable culture and behaviour change – both individually but more fundamentally organisationally. And I’m afraid to say it doesn’t happen overnight. But it’s hugely important and it needs to happen, so work needs to start now if this change is to come about. And if you do things in the right way you can accelerate this shift and gain massive competitive advantage.

Follow our approach, trust people and take the plunge

I’ve seen first hand the amazing (seriously…) things that happen when people in businesses are trusted, given the right powerful web based tools and infrastructure, and a clear understanding of what they are collectively trying to achieve. And I’ve also seen the opposite, where in the worst case employees have been forced ‘outside’ to share their disgruntled thoughts on ‘uncontrolled’ blogs and social media. And who can blame them.

If you’re looking to create a thriving 21st century employee community that can connect, share and collaborate both strategically, and effectively in day to day operations then you’ll see we’ve put a lot of useful things like our recommended approach and case studies on Betterworking.com for you to follow and feed into your programme.

New horizons for internal communicators

A word of warning: if you’re in IC and you’re just hoping these new tools can be treated like traditional comms channels you can just push messages down, I would suggest that you’re in for a surprise. Things are going to be different from now on. Yes, communications outcomes are some of the many wonderful things that can come from these tools. But there’s so much more to it than that. If you do it right, success will lead to the outcomes your business requires, such as innovation, new product development and knowledge sharing. And yes these new tools will enhance the way communication and information is shared, but these are business platforms that go way beyond traditional comms channels. We’d love to help you to get your head around that, because if you do I believe you can be part of really making IC functions of even more strategic importance to your business.

The good news by the way for comms people is that we do have hard evidence, for example from Bupa Live which was my first project in this area, or indeed the research we carried out at Engage on Yammer at LexisNexis, that shows that active users are better informed about corporate strategy and business plans than non-users.

Enough from me for now. Please take a look around our site, there’s a lot of useful information, and hopefully plenty of food for thought. There wasn’t much out there other when we were planning Bupa Live nearly five years ago, and I certainly would have loved to pinch some of these ideas ; )

We are going to be publishing lots of guides and other useful content which I hope you will find useful.

Here’s to making work better for everyone. There is always a better way…

Author: Nick Crawford

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