How to crack the ESN tipping point?

MVP

Barriers to ESN

 

So, why might we be at this ESN tipping point to make (or not make) our work visible through Yammer? It is now perfectly acceptable behavior to make our social and family lives blatantly visible on Facebook or Twitter, so why not our work lives? I’ve been cogitating this over for a few weeks and I’ve come up with seven barriers to the ESN tipping point:

  1. In many organizations, it might never be appropriate to adopt ESN due to the culture and type of work the organization manages.
  2. Employees might be dominated by “command-and-control”-style management.
  3. Management/employees might fear not knowing the answer to an employee question on the network that might be directed at them.
  4. Management/employees might fear posting something that will make them look stupid.
  5. Management/employees might not be comfortable with social media, see it as wasting time at work and not appreciate the business value.
  6. ESN speed of response might be perceived as actually too fast by command-and-control-style management.Email slows everything down to a pace ruled by management. Decisions have always been made in weekly, monthly, quarterly meetings or committees—not crowdsourced on the fly.
  7. There might actually be a limited internal communication budget for employee engagement, as the marketing department probably holds the purse strings for social media engagement with paying customers.

Overcoming the barriers

Here are my thoughts on ways to “crack” each of the Yammer tipping-point barriers above.

  1. Might never be appropriate.Consider the new tools emerging with apps and in processes, systems and tasks that might be introduced as part of tech upgrades. Take Microsoft Office 365, where employees might start using ESN (with Yammer) without realizing it, embedded across a suite of tools.
  2. “Command and control” management.Consider retirement planning that might slowly shift to a more trusted, collaborative way of working where ESN is aligned to corporate strategies, and organizational development might appreciate that ESN can nurture the right cultural behaviors and values. Another key to success is a “business sponsor” for the network: an influential leader in the organization who understands and actively communicates the value of working in a more collaborative way.​
  3. Fear of not knowing the answer to an employee question.Consider again encouraging a more trusting culture, comfortable with delegating a question to a subject matter expert without offending anyone or making anyone look stupid in the process. The use of “business intelligent tagging” can quickly spotlight current, authentic conversations (e.g. tags like #strategy #customer #product #performance #innovation #volunteering). Professional community managers (voluntary champions) are instrumental in this approach.
  4. Fear of posting something that will make them look stupid.Remember, we are only human and do not know all the answers. Delegating a post @another, to a subject matter expert, is again perfectly acceptable. Also, encourage “likes” on employee posts, especially from leaders, as a way to increase engagement and offer instant recognition.
  5. Not comfortable with social media.Continually share appropriate ESN success stories from outside and inside the company to demonstrate the business value. Benchmark competitors’ and internal functions’ digital transformation—don’t be left out in the cold. Equally, avoid procrastinating about posting/commenting.
  6. Speed of response is too fast.ESN helps to give organizations a competitive edge in our fast-paced world, and makes employees feel included and valued if their authentic, helpful opinions are voiced and quickly responded to in the areas of R&D, manufacturing, sales and marketing, etc. This behavior should be encouraged as “how we do things round here.”
  7. No internal communication budget for employee engagement.Consider making this part of your employee advocacy program. Employees should be regarded as brand ambassadors externally and internally, and should be included in sales and marketing campaigns with updates on your ESN. Provide employees with “actions” for how they might promote the company externally and on which social networks.

Getting started

ESN requires a substantial change in organizational behavior, so perhaps consider just three “crackers” to start with:

  1. Find a business sponsor (an influential leader within the organization) prepared to be visible on and advocate for the network.
  2. Align the network to business purposes and create groups and encourage conversations focused on corporate strategies nurturing the right cultural behaviors and values. Also encourage some light-hearted social activities.
  3. Encourage champions or community managerswho are not only passionate about social networking but have a deep understanding of your business and might be regarded as “intrepreneurs”: your unexpected leaders, risk takers and natural networkers.

    Barriers to ESN

    So, why might we be at this tipping point to make (or not make) our work visible through Yammer? It is now perfectly acceptable behavior to make our social and family lives blatantly visible on Facebook or Twitter, so why not our work lives? I’ve been cogitating this over for a few weeks and I’ve come up with seven barriers to the ESN tipping point:

    1. In many organizations, it might never be appropriate to adopt ESN due to the culture and type of work the organization manages.
    2. Employees might be dominated by “command-and-control”-style management.
    3. Management/employees might fear not knowing the answer to an employee question on the network that might be directed at them.
    4. Management/employees might fear posting something that will make them look stupid.
    5. Management/employees might not be comfortable with social media, see it as wasting time at work and not appreciate the business value.
    6. ESN speed of response might be perceived as actually too fast by command-and-control-style management.Email slows everything down to a pace ruled by management. Decisions have always been made in weekly, monthly, quarterly meetings or committees—not crowdsourced on the fly.
    7. There might actually be a limited internal communication budget for employee engagement, as the marketing department probably holds the purse strings for social media engagement with paying customers.

    Overcoming the barriers

    Here are my thoughts on ways to “crack” each of the Yammer tipping-point barriers above.

    1. Might never be appropriate.Consider the new tools emerging with apps and in processes, systems and tasks that might be introduced as part of tech upgrades. Take Microsoft Office 365, where employees might start using ESN (with Yammer) without realizing it, embedded across a suite of tools.
    2. “Command and control” management.Consider retirement planning that might slowly shift to a more trusted, collaborative way of working where ESN is aligned to corporate strategies, and organizational development might appreciate that ESN can nurture the right cultural behaviors and values. Another key to success is a “business sponsor” for the network: an influential leader in the organization who understands and actively communicates the value of working in a more collaborative way.​
    3. Fear of not knowing the answer to an employee question.Consider again encouraging a more trusting culture, comfortable with delegating a question to a subject matter expert without offending anyone or making anyone look stupid in the process. The use of “business intelligent tagging” can quickly spotlight current, authentic conversations (e.g. tags like #strategy #customer #product #performance #innovation #volunteering). Professional community managers (voluntary champions) are instrumental in this approach.
    4. Fear of posting something that will make them look stupid.Remember, we are only human and do not know all the answers. Delegating a post @another, to a subject matter expert, is again perfectly acceptable. Also, encourage “likes” on employee posts, especially from leaders, as a way to increase engagement and offer instant recognition.
    5. Not comfortable with social media.Continually share appropriate ESN success stories from outside and inside the company to demonstrate the business value. Benchmark competitors’ and internal functions’ digital transformation—don’t be left out in the cold. Equally, avoid procrastinating about posting/commenting.
    6. Speed of response is too fast.ESN helps to give organizations a competitive edge in our fast-paced world, and makes employees feel included and valued if their authentic, helpful opinions are voiced and quickly responded to in the areas of R&D, manufacturing, sales and marketing, etc. This behavior should be encouraged as “how we do things round here.”
    7. No internal communication budget for employee engagement.Consider making this part of your employee advocacy program. Employees should be regarded as brand ambassadors externally and internally, and should be included in sales and marketing campaigns with updates on your ESN. Provide employees with “actions” for how they might promote the company externally and on which social networks.

    Getting started

    ESN requires a substantial change in organizational behavior, so perhaps consider just three “crackers” to start with:

    1. Find a business sponsor(an influential leader within the organization) prepared to be visible on and advocate for the network.
    2. Align the network to business purposesand create groups and encourage conversations focused on corporate strategies nurturing the right cultural behaviors and values. Also encourage some light-hearted social activities.
    3. Encourage champions or community managerswho are not only passionate about social networking but have a deep understanding of your business and might be regarded as “intrepreneurs”: your unexpected leaders, risk takers and natural networkers.
5 Replies
Love it, great content!

Thank you! Got lots more blogs on Yammer on my LinkedIn profile will post here in the coming weeks.

I need to update this ...

 

We should also be mindful that it might not always appropriate for all “command and control” cultures to change. There are also many who want to transform the future of work but often have major network issues, from complex mergers and acquisitions. Unfortunately, in these frustrating situations there is often little MSFT can do – but can focus on the many who do seek and are ready for digital transformational DNA!

 

If you anyone has insights on how companies with major network issues, from complex mergers and acquisitions can be helped then post your insights here.


Forgot to go back and post more of my wee blogs, will now share more here, in the meantime search Twitter #YammerMagic