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When I was hired to manage the Jive Community in 2014, I adopted a community that was well established both in good and not-so-good habits. It was clear that our community needed a fresh look and some new ways of thinking and that getting a partner's help with the effort was just the thing to bring in that new perspective.

 

We engaged Social Edge, a professional services consulting firm with Jive-focused expertise, to help us develop a branding refresh of the Jive Community. Social Edge is a Jive Consulting Partner that helps companies implement Jive, while using Jive’s solutions themselves every day to collaborate and work more aligned as a team.

 

Our focus was to redesign the Jive Community homepage, as well as key spaces including Customer Hub, Partner Home and SMB Labs. Right away I could see an impact from working with Social Edge including seeing new approaches to developing tiles and an open mind with how to get things done. Anything became possible.

 

Special thanks to the joint team: Andrew Kratz Brooks Jordan Madalina Papacica Greg Lowe Ben Zweig John Reynolds Ruth Neighbors Robert Hanson Laura Batten Nicole Stark I love working with all of them!

 

Be sure to check out this interview with Andrew Kratz, Social Edge's Consulting President and CEO, to find out how Social Edge works with Jive: Breaking the Partnership Mold - The Social Edge Consulting and Jive Story

We’re living in the age of digital disruption. It’s no longer a question of if your business will be disrupted, it’s only a matter of when. Will you be ready?

 

While some executives believe the solution to disruption is to throw ever-more technology at the problem and hope it sticks, smart HR professionals know there is a more human answer. Rather than giving employees more tools that they must learn and adapt to, many companies are turning to a single solution instead – the Interactive Intranet.

 

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An Interactive Intranet brings people together with the experts they need, the corporate memory they desire and the solutions they already use. Allowing employees to connect with colleagues, showcase their contributions, and get the feedback and recognition they deserve is key to engagement – and engagement is key to success.

 

In a brand new article for Talent Management entitled “HR’s Role in Technology Disruption,” written by myself and Jive’s Senior Manager of Employee Success, Amy Dobler, we discuss the importance of engagement, retention and culture in this age of disruption.

 

Today, the companies that succeed will be those that employ HR to connect people, information and systems in ways that create productive and rewarding experiences. You have a choice; ignore the inevitable and face friction and unmanaged change or leverage disruption to cultivate inspiration and empowerment for employees. So, what’s it going to be? Disrupted or disruptor?

 

To find out more, read HR’s Role in Technology Disruption.

With the coming wave of IoT devices, businesses that find a way to utilize all that data will have a big advantage over competitors. Machine learning is enabling new algorithms to explore and dissect those massive amounts of data in ways unimaginable even a few years ago — and in ways that people can’t even begin to understand. AI is also freeing executives and employees alike to focus on more creative endeavors such as ideation, innovation and gaining competitive advantage.

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In my recent CMSWire article, I discuss the importance of analytics and how new AI technologies will lead the shift away from human interfaces toward more intelligent and intuitive systems. Jive is at the center of these changes. By anticipating employees’ next actions and needs, future Interactive Intranets will further improve tasks such as searching for experts and institutional knowledge across silos of corporate memory by short-cutting the steps they need to go through to find information.

 

To find out more, read my article here: How AI Will Serve Us in the Workplace.

Ever since JiveWorld, I've been looking forward to the Power of Connection event tour, which officially kicked off in New York City this week.  What an apropos way to get things going, I thought, as the topic of connection, inspiration and collaboration never fails to be relevant.  I had the pleasure of helping our team put on the event and got to sit in on a few sessions too, seeing what the magic was all about.  Here's a little personal recap to give you a glimpse of what went on, or to encourage you to check out a future event (and there's many of those happening through the rest of the year). 

IMG_7037.JPGLucky to enjoy some good weather karma with a crisp, sunny NYC day, the event, held at the Westin Grand Central started with some meet and greets.  Welcoming old friends and partners as well as meeting lots of new folks, it was exciting to see all the great companies represented such as the Chubb/ACE Group, CA Technologies, PR Newswire, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, New York Life Insurance, Vineyard Vines and lots of others.  The positive energy in the room was infectious and it was clear folks were there to learn!

IMG_7041.JPGJive's CEO, Elisa Steele headlined the event with an awesome presentation that broke down exactly what the Power of Connection means to us today, and as it relates to the technologies we use each day. She of course explained how Jive was central to that as a hub of connection, collaboration and a key enabler to being more human and engaged in your place of work.  She teed up the other speakers for the day and really got everyone jazzed about the knowledge they'd be taking back with them.

 

The day continued with other excellent sessions and presentations from not only our own experts, but also our fantastic partners and customers such as Tim Wike, Principal, Shaper Solutions; howardscohen, VP of Social Web & Knowledge, Chubb; and Sam Creek, Advisor, CA Technologies. 

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I learned something in each session, such as how the Chubb team uses their Jive-powered community, The Village to deliver strong unified work across the organization. It was also interesting to learn how instrumental Jive was in helping Chubb achieve better integration and working relationships with their new colleagues as a result of their recent merger with ACE.  One thing in particular that stuck with me was when John Benfield, AVP of IT Process at Chubb said "Don't discount personal communities and discussions because they help establish bonds between employees." In this way, having fun at work and finding things you have in common with others actually helps your people feel more engaged and in turn helps to support your core business functions. I live and breathe this each day at Jive!

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The evening ended with a fun cocktail reception, where we really got to chatting and exchanging more ideas and stories.  We raffled off an Amazon Echo which was a big hit - congrats Teri Wayne

 

Overall lots of good vibes and connections were established and I especially loved seeing how the talented folks at these different companies have adapted Jive to suit their individual needs. It was nice to see the power of Jive through their eyes.

For those of your interested in learning more and attending a future Power of Connection event, the next one will take place on June 8th in Chicago. You can register here.

We all know that one of the key factors to success for an internal community is having active and engaged executives on the community. So it's no surprise there have been plenty of community conversations on how to get executives involved. In fact, there was an entire JiveWorld16 session dedicated to this topic, chock full of case studies and best practices:

 

Getting Executives Engaged video recording and PDF slides:

(compliments of JiveWorld staff and presenter Daniel Martin Eckhart)

Getting Executives Engaged

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Getting Executives Engaged attendee notes:

(compliments of Maren Beckman)

Getting Executives Engaged

 

An Easy, First Step For Your Executive:

ThinkstockPhotos-82172822.jpgAside from all the great best-practices shared in the resources listed above, one of the easiest use cases to describe to your executives in order to get them more involved is blogging. It helps them connect with employees, share important and valuable insights behind company strategies, and open a dialog for honest and transparent feedback. Yet, despite the head-nods we get from our execs, they can easily get overwhelmed with how to blog effectively for an internal employee community.

 

I recently sat down with one of Jive's own executives , Robert Block, for this very reason. He shared some first hand tips for blogging on an employee community, from one exec to another. If you have any executive champions that are shy about jumping in, be sure to share this helpful and credible resource with them to help them get started:

How Executives Can Write Impactful Internal Blog Posts

communitygecko

The Like in B2B

Posted by communitygecko May 11, 2016

If you are like me (and even if you are not), the concept of Like is, well, very social.

 

My friends post a photo or video of something memorable in Facebook and elsewhere and I'll Like it. But diving a bit deeper in these shallow waters has me pausing about the value of Like. Like, why am I really clicking Like? In these situations I can think of these reasons:

 

  • I really like what is posted - that's what Like is for? Like Right?
  • Wrong! I see cases where Liking is part of being in that inner circle of that moment, that moment being the act of posting something that may be memorable, but may be to demonstrate how clever we are? how creative we are? how inclusive we are? how current we are?...and this list can go on pretty much forever keeping to the spirit of the thought.
  • Wrong! I see cases where Liking is part of being noticed or getting recognition.
  • Wrong! I see cases where Liking is part of the popularity contest for what is posted. We even see blatant self-promotion in this case by companies (Like our page to get a free it-will-break-in-1-day-trinket) or by people (Like my comment so that I will earn something even though I'm not clear on what that may be)
  • Wrong! I see cases where Liking is a part of a kind of social threat: Like my comment even if you hate it because if you don't I will never Like anything you post.

 

These are just some examples and you really don't have to like any of them (and don't let that stop you from Liking them), but I list them because I, like, Like them so that (and I'm getting to it) I can make my larger point.

 

So, let's turn the table just a little and ask: Why do we see Like in a B2B setting? I start a discussion or ask a question or create a new idea. As we write replies or comments, sure enough, the Like button makes itself known. It would be logical to click Like if you really like the reply or just ignore it if you do not. You could also Like the reply for any of the social reasons I already listed and more that you likely have. Some bold platforms even have the Not Like or Thumbs Down icon to click, so ignoring both options must mean you are neutral or don't care one way or the other.

 

In a community I participate in, the use of Like struck me like a bolt of lightning. Someone suggested an idea and others chimed in with their opinion, myself included. It was a pretty clear cut idea and on the surface one person voted it down because of wording (as opposed to voting it up and suggested that the wording should be changed - that's what I did). When I realized that the idea could lose steam (bolt of lightning on its way) I went back and looked at the replies. Without realizing immediately why I was doing it, I started Liking all the positive replies. As I started hovering my reply, the system, of course, would not let me Like my own and that's when the bolt of lightning struck its target:

 

I like Like in this scenario because I want to influence the next reader that this is a great idea and they should vote it up plus also Like all the other positive replies!

The only missing connection is how do we know this happened so that we could see the influence of the Like in our metrics. I don't have a good answer (yet), but I have stored this experience in the think-about-it-compartment and will come back to you when I think I am on to something. Of course, if you think about it and put comments with your ideas in this blog maybe I'll Like your reply to influence and promote more discussion around the topic .

 

PS: Just moments after writing this I went back to the idea and, sure enough, more positive replies were entered and the Likes on the other replies I initiated is catching on because others are now also doing it for the same reason!

Communities have come a long way since the days of the forum and online bulletin board:

 

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Once considered a simple, low-cost tactic to exchange information online, a community has evolved into a massive, multi-functional deployment that requires a whole new level of sophistication and resources to support it. 

 

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Today's community is core to a brand’s digital initiative and can significantly impact multiple business functions. Like many community managers, you will rejoice for the huge opportunities this shift in strategic importance adds to your profession. But with this massive responsibility comes massive expectations for the success of your community and a positive ROI. If you don’t do your homework up front and map out a comprehensive community strategy and a realistic resource plan, you will find yourself in front of your executive team later down the road explaining why you did not deliver what you promised.

 

In my whitepaper, Get Execs To Say Yes, I discuss how you can prevent this uncomfortable (and career limiting!) scenario. Based on a Jive-sponsored study, I provide you with:

 

 

  • Highlights from the Keys to Community Readiness and Growth study by Leader Networks and CMX.
  • Best practices for launching a successful community
  • Essential steps for building a business case that will get your execs to "yes"

 

Whether you are launching a brand new community or trying to grow your current one, it's time to get the resources your community deserves!

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