How to build a culture of a community through our virtual identities
As an enterprise community manager, I’ve seen how who we are in an internal community is much different than who we are on other social media platforms. Sure, LinkedIn showcases our professionalism and Facebook shares our happiest moments. But with 40+ hours a week spent in the office, our company employee profile often says more than our resume or vacation selfies combined. Instead, it’s our day-to-day, genuine selves. It’s a unique mix of who we are, how we work, how we play, what makes us happy, what makes us tick…and what makes us awesome.
At Jive, our own internal community is made up of more than 1,000 profiles—and these aren’t just pages with someone’s picture and interests. Instead, they tell the story of who we are as individuals, and allow us to easily find, connect, and collaborate with purposefully and playfully. It’s the place where digital profiles transcend the screen and become more human.
You can make new friends
New Jivers are welcomed to our social intranet, Brewspace, with an onboarding checklist—and a good manager will often include a list of @mentioned names of people you should have coffee with, ASAP. But this isn’t just an intimidating list of faceless colleagues. Move your mouse over a name and up pops a friendly face.
This hovercard (or profile summary card) shares a lot of info in a very small space:
Who are they? See the person’s title, their department and how to contact them
What’s their tenure? Check out his or her points—how many they have speaks volumes about their tenure and influence within the company.
What are they like? The three community badges show additional characteristics. These can be his or her workstyle (I’m a producer and an expert!) or even Easter eggs that they found within the community.
You can find hidden experts
There are quite a few ways to find people who have the answers you need. My favorite is the “correct answers leaderboard.” From there, I click on names to see their areas of expertise. Our culture of celebrating people encourages us to be creative in how we list our expertise, so it’s not uncommon to see “listening” and “cat GIFs,” along with “project management,” “six sigma green belt,” “consulting” and “presentation.”
Jivers themselves are also insightful and eager to put you in touch with the right person. I could be discussing something in Brewspace with a colleague who may @mention someone I don’t know—and then this person proves to be the expert I needed. After hovering over her name and clicking through to her profile, I find that she has a great sense of humor, loves unicorns—and just so happens to be one of the best designers in the industry. Perfect!
Her profile page also shows her colleagues and who she reports to, so I know who to engage with at the executive sponsor level and who to engage with at a tactical level when launching a particular companywide program. And it doesn’t matter which device I’m on when we have this conversation—laptop, mobile, I get the same experience.
You can be more human
One of the ways our internal community allows us to connect on a human level is through status updates. These updates clue us into the moments co-workers are feeling accomplished or when they’re struggling. Having a good day? Anxious about a presentation? Share it on your profile and open yourself up to the strength of the community. Depending on the mood, our entire community may react with encouragements, acknowledgements and recognitions. We’re a family like that.
Complete profiles also make it easier for us to connect with new Jivers. By reading a story about how they grew up, or seeing photos that show the people and things they are passionate about, we find an element of connection. That way, when we post our “welcome” comments, we can say more. “Welcome—I also love surfing!” “I have a toddler, too!” “I also feel the most creative in the morning.” “You’re now amongst family.”
And so we open the doors to ourselves and let our colleagues in. We’re no longer just a page on a mobile device or a laptop. We become human in this virtual space.
We can be more human…together
I had a Jiver, Marya DeVoto, share this idea on Brewspace:
“Have you ever needed to communicate with someone, wondered how to approach them, and then saw that their bio consists only of their role—even though they have been here for many months? It’s kind of alienating, and almost conveys the un-Jivelike value, ‘I’m too busy to talk to you.’ Maybe it’s that they didn’t know how. Maybe their manager didn’t tell them to. Or maybe they’re just shy—but their lack of profile makes collaborating harder.”
I will say that, with 78% contribution rate in our community, a blank profile is rare. But when we do see one? We kind of take it personal. And the fact that we do says a lot about how much we value our profiles. They’re the fuel of our community and we’re able to collaborate more often and more easily because of them.
At Jive, we do fun activities to encourage our community identity and culture, such as our annual “Primp Your Profile Day.” This virtual event celebrates the important attributes of an engaging profile, challenging all of us Jivers to create profiles that genuinely reflect ourselves and enhance our relationships—and our community is stronger for it.
Create a strong community
By choosing to be more human in our virtual workplace, we’re all making it easier it to connect and collaborate. With our culture that encourages everyone to work out loud, I sometimes even forget that I haven’t met some Jivers in-person; we meet and I already feel that strong connection and sense of familiarity. And so I continue to encourage Jivers to be their genuine selves and show that we are all human.
The ways I work
The ways I play
My goals and ambitions
My experiences and expertise
My many faces
Our profile is where we write our story.