I received an email from my friend at CIO Journal just as I boarded a United flight from Mexico City to San Francisco. He was on deadline and the topic was too good to miss as I've spent more than a fair amount of time studying and reporting on the social landscape as it pertained to internal engagement, communication and collaboration.
I frantically typed on my iPhone with my thumbs before the door closed. Time was.running.out. With the hit of the send button, the door closed, and I was relieved to know that I made the deadline. Fast forward....the article recently ran in WSJ's CIO Journal with a few of my thoughts. Since the topic is important to me and hopefully you as well, I wanted to share the response in its entirety. I'd also love to hear your thoughts on the subject...
Here's the setup (edited):
A company has rolled out a new social media platform to its employees in the hopes of improving its health and safety record by getting workers to talk about best practices and also to point out problems or things that need to be done differently.
Is it unusual for companies to introduce a social media platform to fix this type of problem (versus trying to foster more collaboration for business processes)?
Research shows that when a majority of the employee workforce is "disengaged," it's due to the reality that a lack of leadership or belief in overall corporate purpose or direction is prevalent. Social + gamification without uncovering and fixing employee relationships is simply gaming the system. However, social + gamification combined with an overhaul in process, management, and communication is how to bring about true change. Without investing in the culture, most initiatives are short lived and often minimizing the problem.
As my good friend and digital sociologist Stowe Boyd would say, "The tangible result of culture change is behavioral change." The opposite is also true. This is why management needs to explore its DNA to give employees something to align with.
Is adoption of enterprise social media a challenge. particularly when there is distrust of management?
A recent Altimeter Group study published by Charlene Li found that businesses that employ enterprise social networks without a true vision for collaboration or how to improve relationships often fail to meet expectations. Also, without leadership adoption, it's impossible to lead by example.
Hope this helps.