Information is everywhere, we're surrounded by endless streams of information, but the lifespan of this information is decreasing dramatically. One of the key challenges of modern business is to find a way to deliver the right information to the right people and help people become more efficient as a group, not just individually. This is what collaboration is about and many business collaboration specialists gathered in Berlin last week to share their insights on how to foster employee collaboration in the world of digital. "The Social Business Collaboration
is the place where business meets technology and where collaboration platforms meet tools that enable processes". Our team collected the key highlights for you:
1. Change is a long-term commitment
"You can’t change the mindset and behavior of people in one year. You can force change, but sustainable change takes years" - Thierry Muller, Program Director Business Service Transformation, DSM / The Netherlands
Many speakers were talking about technological progress and change in the communication culture. The challenge here is that, as John Aphonse
(Director Global Collaboration, Telenor ASA / Norway) stated, "willingness to adopt is lagging behind the technology trends". And change in people's mindset doesn't happen in one year, it's a long-term project and a long-term commitment. For an internal communications specialist to successfully create a collaborative digital environment you have to have a vision for the next few years and a clear goal what you want to achieve, otherwise you will get lost on the way.
"It’s a long journey, you have to keep your eyes on the prize in order to not get side-tracked. There’s no one way of collaboration." - Laurence Fourcade (Director Knowledge Management, Keolis Group/ France)
One of the key components of successful collaboration is trust. "No trust - no sharing. No sharing - no collaboration" - says Thierry Muller. Trust is a cultural component and can't be forced, but can be influenced via the right communication methods. The change process takes 6 steps: Unaware -> Aware -> Understood -> Implemented -> Mastered -> Embedded.
"When we talk about social collaboration we need to talk about culture first" - Harry Heijes, Executive Next Gen Collaboration Program, ABN AMRO Bank N.V./ The Netherlands
2. Smart complexity
Many companies already have a couple of solutions in place and they accept the fact that different groups of employees prefer different channels, especially in the case with high-knowledge workers. So the key challenge is how to successfully integrate all these channels together and make sure the logic is clear to everyone and each channel is easily accessible. It's all about smart complexity.
There were a couple of interesting solutions presented on that. For example, Schneider Electric created a collaborative environment where they connect all dynamic communication channels with static content environment. And they went even one step further by showing personalized content based on the data in your employee profile (region, function and people management role). To make the environment comfortable for everyone they did user testing where they asked employees to show where they would intuitively search for specific information. After they had heatmaps which helped to improve the UI of their portal.
3. Management commitment
And another extremely important component for sustainable collaboration is management commitment. You should have top-managers onboard your communication development strategy and they should lead by example. Managers should be the first ones to use the new channel and they should be active on the channel to demonstrate the importance and efficiency of the new environment. Thierry Muller
, Program Director Business Service Transformation, DSM / The Netherlands presented his model of the "Hamburger of change-centric initiatives". On the top of the Hamburger you can see the top-management layer and its role in driving change. Change is not an IT issue and you can't resolve it with help of any technology alone.
Anselm Muller (CRM/Mobile Manager, Europa-Park GmbH & Co Mack KG) hosted a talk where he shared the first insights after implementing Beekeeper for operational communication at the park. He highlighted the importance of the park's management being actively involved in the tool.
"Our founder is using Beekeeper everyday, he reads posts and comments. It’s engaging employees to use it" - Anselm Muller (CRM/Mobile Manager, Europa-Park GmbH & Co Mack KG)
Do you want to learn how Beekeeper can help your company reach and efficiently communicate every employee? If so, submit the form below and we will be more than happy to show you a demo.