Screen+shot+2012-04-01+at+4.33.42+PM.pngImagine you've just landed your dream job. 

After a week of setting up your voicemail, carefully choosing your healthcare plan, and determining which breakroom has the best snacks, you're ready to start making valuable contributions to the organization.  The problem is once you've completed the orientation checklist, it's often hard to get ramped up, especially in a large enterprise.

It's at that moment, Don Henley's voice starts playing in your mind:

Great expectations, everybody's watching you

People you meet they all seem to know you

Johnny come lately, the new kid in town

Everybody loves you so don't let them down

I've seen firsthand that social business tools make it easier for "the new kid in town" to become fully productive and part of the culture.  Technologies like social intranets also have real, monetary benefits. The average knowledge worker requires between four and six months to effectively learn and assimilate the necessary skills and processes to perform their job effectively.  During this period, employees are bringing home full salary, yet aren't producing at full capacity. They are also more likely to slow down fellow teammates by asking questions, even if those people aren't the subject-area experts.

Social intranets help with these kinds of issues because they allow knowledge sharing to happen online in unstructured formats.  New employees can do a quick search or read an update in an activity stream to find the answers they need.

While there is still definitely a need to have face-to-face interactions, social intranets definitely help with the employee on-boarding process. 

To get a first-hand account of what this experience is like for a new employee, I reached out to Jive's new Sr. Director of Customer Experience, Sydney Sloan Can you introduce yourself, your role and how long you've been at Jive?


I joined Jive March 2012 to lead the customer and social marketing team.


Q. Describe what your first experience with the Jive social intranet solution was like.


Our internal instance of Jive, aka: Brewspace, is central to the way the company runs.  I think the best way to describe my experience is similar to giving advice to expectant parents — you can give them the best tips and advice, they can read all the new parenting books but until they bring their new bundle of joy home they had no idea how their world was going to change!


My reaction was a little bit overwhelming for the first week.  I had set up my profile, completed my first blog and organized my activity streams.  It became a bit of a running joke that every time I asked someone a question the answer was "it's in Brewspace."  Quickly I realized how I could navigate to understand how departments and groups were structured and then I cracked the code on using the powerful search function.  The other discovery was to take the time to follow the people I was meeting – reviewing their blogs, activity streams, what groups and people they followed and current discussions they were participating in.


Now I am working on setting aside time to make sure I spend time just browsing and discovering what's happening in Brewspace. I've also re-set how I use activity streams to better follow content and help me focus on key projects I'm working on that may span across different groups and discussions. As well, we've redesigned our team's space to better link the groups and projects my team is involved in.  Admittedly we're a bit spoiled that we've got 3 community experts within the team!


Q. What were the biggest ways the social intranet helped you get caught up to speed?


I'd highlight two key examples.  We were a month out from the launch.  I was able to review the product launch plan and link to all the sub-projects, status, and who was responsible for the areas my team was involved in.   If we didn't have it all in Jive it would have been much harder to get up to speed and get the context of where we were in the project.


The second example was my on-boarding. Thankfully the person who was in the role prior to me joining did a great job to summarize all the big projects in a document – with links to groups, content and people.  This is a huge benefit for corporate knowledge retention that I have not seen otherwise promised by document management systems.  In reality, when a person moves on to a new company they take that valuable knowledge with them, or it gets lost as their hard drives get re-imaged. With Jive, all the information is retained for others to leverage when they arrive.  I'm working on a project now and was able to find the past 3 years of related information.  That's invaluable!


Q. What are your biggest goals for the next 6 months?


My favorite project is one we're working on for engaging our customers the Jive Community to make every day like a day at JiveWorld!  We're also working on new and creative ways to best feature and promote our customers and their success -- I'm amazed at the number of passionate reference customers Jive has, well above the industry average.


Q. Biggest recommendation to people new to the platform.


Allow yourself some time to adapt, have fun discovering how to use Jive, and follow the 4 quests in the experience.  Those are great lessons directly from Jive customers!


At Jive, we are continuing to help new users like Sydney.  Stay tuned to this blog for information about an on-boarding feature that will get new users comfortable with Jive and ready to participate and contribute faster, leading to a more robust community.