April 28, 2023
Employee communities are a powerful tool for fostering collaboration, enhancing engagement, and driving organizational innovation. However, when implementing such communities, executives may have concerns that keep them from wanting to have a collaborative platform in the first place. In this post, we will discuss executives' top fears when implementing employee communities and provide insights on how to address them.
The old way is a "push" intranet where management says stuff and no one can respond. The fear is what employees might comment – disagreements, other voices, etc. – on posted content. The mitigation is that for content that should not have any debate (e.g. the Travel and expense policy or time-off) you can lock that content down.
For content where you want your employees to engage with it – maybe a new business line you are starting or ending, or a new procedure – having employees comment on it can be helpful. Content is not anonymous so the vast majority of employees will be constructive.
One of the main concerns executives have is the potential loss of control over company information and the security risks associated with online communities. To address these fears, investing in a secure platform and establishing clear guidelines and policies for sharing and accessing sensitive information is essential. Educate employees on the importance of data security and consider implementing role-based access controls to protect your organization further.
Executives may worry that introducing an employee community will decrease productivity, as employees may spend excessive time on the platform. To mitigate this concern, focus on promoting the platform as a tool for enhancing efficiency and streamlining workflows. Employees will not want to appear foolish or unproductive to their peers or management so have incentives to act appropriately online. Your company culture will dictate how "buttoned-up" the collaboration will be. But even in the most conservative companies, the collaboration platform is useful for non-core business purposes such as charitable endevaures, diversity and inclusion activities.
Change can be challenging, and executives may fear that employees will resist adopting a new employee community platform. For the executive managing risk, keeping with the old push content intranet may seem safe, but the risk you run is falling behind the "war on talent".
Your competitors are moving toward a conversation with employees. By keeping the status quo you risk having your company appear to be aloof and uncaring to not allow the voices of employees be heard.
To overcome this obstacle, involve employees in decision-making, gather feedback, and demonstrate the value the community brings to their daily tasks. Communicate the benefits clearly and offer training and support to ease the transition.
Keep in mind, you can start slowly with a mainly locked down community where there are few places for employees to comment. Over time you can open up more content and areas for discussion
Another fear executives may have is that employees will refrain from engaging with the community or fully adopting the platform. To encourage participation, design the platform to be user-friendly and visually appealing. Highlight success stories, recognize top contributors, and regularly update content to keep the community fresh and engaging.
Additionally, appoint community managers or champions to drive engagement and assist with onboarding. Professionals will gain signficant benefit in from the employee community to stay aligned with management direction, learn about other parts of the company, as well as interact with their team on their own projects.
Keeping the status quo is safe and certainly less costly and disruptive than a migration to a new platform with set-up, training, etc. For the senior manager to buy-into a project to move to a new platform they would need to agree that the benefits greatly outweigh the cost and disruption to the organization
Measuring employee communities' return on investment (ROI) can take time and effort, which may cause hesitation among executives. Develop goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the community's success. Focus on metrics such as employee engagement, productivity improvements, and reduced response times for support or assistance. Regularly assess the platform's performance and adjust your strategy to maximize ROI.
While executives may have valid concerns about implementing employee communities, these fears can be addressed with careful planning, communication, and ongoing support. By understanding and addressing these concerns, your organization can adopt an employee community that fosters collaboration, enhances engagement, and drives innovation. If you're considering implementing an employee community as part of your intranet migration or digital transformation, contact our team of experts for guidance and support in making the transition seamless.