A few years years ago, I had the privilege of working with Katrin Fischer, the social intranet project manager at Schaeffler Group, on the early stages of their Jive launch. The other day, I had a chance to catch up with Katrin about how things have been going since then, and get a sneak peak of her upcoming presentation at Aurea Experience, where she’ll be discussing Schaeffler’s evolving digital transformation, and how her team is getting and keeping employees engaged and working in new ways.
Schaeffler is a global automotive and industrial supplier with more than 92,000 employees in over 50 countries. In the interview below, Katrin explains how the company’s collaboration and communication have evolved since replacing their 15-year-old intranet four years ago. In particular, she describes how Jive (aka “Schaeffler CONNECT”) now serves as the organization’s primary communications platform, corporate memory repository and virtual meeting place for employees from every division, region and function – ultimately building a transparent culture of cooperation while improving efficiency and strategic alignment.
Michelle: Which best practices surrounding Schaeffler’s community adoption and employee engagement are you most proud of?
Katrin: Last week we hosted an event at our headquarters in Herzogenaurach called “Coffee to CONNECT,” where we conducted a small info fair. In advance, we asked within our network if anybody wanted to share their best practices with the audience, and one of the volunteers was the community manager of our global product data management community. He manages more than 1,000 colleagues in his worldwide network and was so excited about the communication possibilities he now has with Jive. This is what he had to say:
“...Lots of things have become a lot easier. The global overview of our meetings, agendas and topics. Searching, finding and sharing information saves me a lot of time.”
This best practice is just one example of many. We now have more than 2,000 groups in Schaeffler CONNECT, ranging from small project teams to huge cross-organizational expert communities. In particular, I am proud of our “Ask the Schaeffler CONNECT experts” group, where we provide our users a place to raise questions, provide feedback and exchange information. A lot of their questions are answered by other interested colleagues who use Jive intensely, which really helps my team reduce our support efforts. In addition, the global multiplier network we started two years ago has been a success. We now have more than 300 guides all around the world who help us spread the CONNECT message throughout the Schaeffler organization.
Michelle: How do you think workplace mindsets need to evolve to address changing business needs?
Katrin: In my project, our huge challenge is how to help change employees’ mindsets (and also those of management) to prepare them for the needs of the changing business world. With Jive, we have introduced a global platform that already provides easier, more intuitive and flexible possibilities for communication and collaboration. Our challenge now is to succeed with changing our communication culture – a long and sometimes hard journey.
In my opinion, this is not a technological challenge. We already have a broad set of tools available and the necessary infrastructure to help people improve their daily work, as well as communication and collaboration with their colleagues and external partners. However, it can be confusing for users to know when they should use which tool, and so we need to define clear use cases and to provide them with guidance through the app jungle.
Michelle: What are you most looking forward to in November during the Aurea Experience conference?
Katrin: For me, the exchange with other Jive users is always the most interesting. I look forward to seeing presentations of other customer projects and use cases, and learning what works well for them. In Germany, we already have a quite close network of German companies using Jive. I am really looking forward to meeting them in Munich and also meeting new faces and making new contacts. Of course I am also highly interested in the Jive roadmap and new developments in the software – in particular, Jive’s on-prem and mobile strategies.