Answer

How do we get employees to use enterprise social collaboration?

We've tried and failed to implement enterprise social collaboration technology into our company time and again. How can we get employees on board with a new system?

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It sounds like you haven't figured out what you want the collaboration system to do for you, and if you don't know, your employees won't figure it out on their own. What is the greater good that collaboration will provide?  Are you incentivizing it? Capturing data and developing metrics? In new technology rollouts, we frequently see organizations buy technologies and then try figuring out how these technologies fit into the organization. That's fine, but often the "fitting in" requires some modification of a business process or two. So start over and ask what sales or service or production could do if it gave employees the ability to instantly communicate about a specific issue.

Be sure to keep in mind that communication without authority to act is worse than useless. Are the processes you want to build communication into going to function well if you don't also expand the authority you give your people? So, be sure to give your people the latitude they need to make decisions based on the communication capabilities you are granting them. Think of it as a safe harbor, and forgive all sins made in the name of hustle, as my old football coach might have said.

Finally, what other data or resources would your people need? That's how business processes get modified. Take an active part in adoption, especially troubleshooting and removing roadblocks associated with implementing new ideas.

This was first published in January 2013

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