The following is a guest post by Molly Kittle, VP of Digital Strategy at Bunchball.


As we move from the old enterprise model [that relies on centralized control] to a more collaborative and social model [that encourages a social intranet as the driving force for information dissemination & communication] it's more important than ever that we recognize and empower the people who drive conversations and engagement.


The smart enterprise is focused on increased efficacy:  Onboarding.  Adoption.  Enablement.  Retention.  How do we help our employees learn to use and get the most out of the tools we've invested in?  It's a big problem.  It's estimated that disengaged employees are costing businesses 300 billion dollars a year in lost productivity. (Gallup - and


My job is to help our clients map their business goals to the appropriate motivational tools.  Over the years we've seen that integrating tactics from game-play into a social intranet has a direct impact on motivating employees - and there are several specific characteristics of games that deserve a strategic place within the enterprise: Performance, Achievement, & Social Interaction.



  • Real-time-feedback - The immediate delivery of positive or corrective feedback solidifies learnings or provides an opportunity for adjustment.  Surface a notification that an employee is on track or has just been successful.
  • Transparency - Show your employees where they stand in relation to company goals and others in the organization.  You can do this with leaderboards, newsfeeds, progress bars, badges and other techniques.
  • Goal-setting - Break large goals down into achievable steps on a path toward long term success.


  • Badges - Universally understood symbols that indicate mastery of skills and accomplishment.  Display them on a profile and they can act as a visual checklist or a point of pride and status.
  • Levels - A shorthand way of indicating long-term, sustained achievement and status.  An employee's current Level Icon should be closely tied to their profile photo, name or other identity items and is most effective when used to unlock special privileges or abilities.
  • Mastery - The drive to master new skills and feel competent is an essential human motivator. (see self determination theory and this blog about the dopamine response) For example, onboarding employees shouldn't be about reading instructions, it should revolve around “teaching by doing” - coached along by a system that provides step-by-step guidance, until they feel they have sufficient mastery to venture off on their own.


  • Competition - Employees and organizations often involve competitive situations.  There is an opportunity to move beyond competing for a position or a raise and foster competition around enablement (top performers/first to complete training).
  • Collaboration – Introduce Groups and Teams Team provide an opportunity to connect and bond with others “like” you, (even if the only similarity is that you’re on the same team), and work together as a cohesive unit to accomplish goals and compete with other teams.
  • Connection - We are spending more of our work lives online and the line between personal and professional continues to blur.  Encouraging employees to share their work success with their social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) deepens their pride in accomplishment while it’s broadcast to a broader audience.


These game mechanics are tools that the socially aware enterprise can use to facilitate and direct employees during all phases of their lifecycle; from onboarding to adoption to enablement to ongoing performance and job satisfaction, which translate into retention...


How do you think some of these concepts could work in your organization?

dinesh tantri


Posted by dinesh tantri Apr 15, 2012

This is the story of myThoughtWorks – a social intranet that is turning into a hugely valuable knowledge commons and collaboration hub for ThoughtWorks. ThoughtWorks, for those of you who haven’t heard of it is a global IT consultancy providing agile and lean based systems development, consulting and transformation services to Global 1000 companies. We are about 2000 strong with offices in US, UK, Germany, China, Australia, Canada, South Africa, India, Singapore and Brazil. With approximately 9800 documents, 6500 discussion threads , 4200 blogposts, 3500 bookmarks and an average of 834 contributing users, ThoughtWorks with help from Jive has tread an incredible path from no-intranet to a full fledged social intranet over the past year. Read on to get a glimpse into our social business journey.

The Problem

About a year and a half back we revisited our enterprise collaboration strategy. We were getting bigger and more distributed than ever before. To add to the distribution complexity, most of our consultants work out of client locations. Interconnectedness was becoming a huge problem. There was a plausible gap between our purpose which was “to be a home for the best knowledge workers in the world” and the internal knowledge/collaboration platforms that we had at the time. People were not able to find and get to know people in other regions, people were not able to find content, we had far too many destinations for knowledge and collaboration –from file servers and wikis to mailing lists and custom applications. To sum it up we weren’t in good shape on the knowledge sharing/collaboration front.


What were we looking for in a potential solution?


We knew for sure that we wanted to move beyond a hodgepodge of collaboration and social software to an integrated platform that would give us many of the core features. For us, the following mattered the most :


  • Rich People Profiles: We wanted to make sure that there was a face against every name – Rich profiles was something we wanted to get right. Profiles that would give a holistic view of a person – contact information, groups they are part of, stuff they have been creating, tags they have been using etc., Profiles we knew would be at the front and center of this enterprise community. Profiles formed the cornerstone for identity, relationships and serendipity.
  • Authoring & Discovery: We wanted to make it dead simple to get stuff into and out of the platform. Reducing the barriers to authoring content be it discussions, documents, blog posts, bookmarks or ideas was one of our key objectives. We also wanted to make finding stuff seamless.  Search, tag based navigation and “in-context” recommendations like related people and content were some of the key things we wanted on the discovery side. Enterprise search to us had to be more than 10 blue links on the results page – we needed it to be a bit more faceted – we wanted to be able to look up for something and filter down based on content types, people, groups etc.,
  • Email Integration : We wanted to ease change management with tight email integration so that people can create and consume content from email and their mobile phones. This by the way, continues to be one of the areas of our focus this year.
  • Incredibly easy group forming - We knew early on that groups are one of the key constructs to get right. We wanted to make group creation as straightforward as possible. We did not want any IT intervention in the creation of groups. Anyone in the company should be able to create a group and invite others. We now have a number of groups ranging from scuba diving and photography to social justice and software development. Making it fun and easy has led to an explosion of groups.
  • Serendipity – Given that we were extremely distributed, we wanted to make sure that people in different regions keep bouncing into other interesting people and ideas. This then sets the stage for new ties.
  • Send out signals that the community is alive – One of the things that went wrong with intranets in the past is that they hardly sent out any signals of activity that you can act on. We knew upfront that activity streams are a cool way to do this. The activity stream on our landing page is our “information radiator” in many ways sending out constant signals to the community about content and people.

Why did we choose Jive?

There were a number of reasons for this. Let me try to list the most important ones:


  • Jive had a very strong integrated social stack with most of the features we considered crucial available out of the box - We believed this would enable us to move from pilot to production quickly. This was a valid assumption
  • We did not want an on-premise solution but rather refocus our time on adoption and change management
  • Support was a major thing for us and we knew that Jive with its thriving support community would be a good choice
  • We wanted to work with a vendor which had a solid road map on the social business front  - specifically on bridging customer and employee communities, a good mobile strategy etc.,
  • Given that Jive uses Java, that worked in our favor as well - staffing the internal development team was considerably easy and the learning curve at least from a language standpoint wasn't too much
  • We wanted a stack that had reasonably good email integration - far more than just email notifications. We are not social business purists and believe that there is going to be an interim period of a few years where social software has to coexist and inter-operate with email. Jive we thought at least had the framework to do this.


What else helped us?


While Jive has the ability to amplify your interactions and help you scale collaboration, it is also imperative that you think deeply about organizational and management innovation that may need to go hand in hand for your social business initiative to succeed.  In our case there were a number of organizational and people practices that helped drive adoption directly and indirectly. These practices and beliefs form the corner stone of what we call our “Global Social Infrastructure” :


  • Our belief that culture is the long term advantage not business models
  • Small Offices – We limit the number of people in each office to 150. People get to know each other better, there is better trust and deeper knowledge sharing
  • Open work spaces act as change catalysts – None of our offices have cubicles – None in leadership team have a private cabin.
  • Loose Hierarchies – our organizational structure resembles a fishnet with “temporary centralization based on purpose and need.
  • Smart Incentives  – Peer recognition and intrinsic motivation drive collaborative behavior
  • Informal Communities – We have always had thriving communities & fantastic conversations. None of them are “official” per-se. Most of them are self-assembled groups of passionate people – Irrespective of the platforms we have used in the past [ Mailman, Google Groups etc., ], we have always had intense conversations and debates in these communities. This is a side effect of the kind of people we hire and the traits we look for. Face to face community meetings are another key aspect of the culture. Every region has its own style and rhythm – Friday Pubs, Lunch and Learn sessions etc.,
  • Transparency and trust – This is a key part of our culture – Giving people on the ground access to resources they need and letting them make decisions is a major way of engendering trust. The rule of thumb on the transparency is “as much as people can tolerate “.


Overall, Jive has been an incredible platform to build out our social intranet. We have just started work with Jive on a customer community and hope to realize our vision of having a thriving interactions ecosystem that connects employees and customers in one seamless network sometime in the near future.

When something doesn’t work at home, you might complain on Twitter or use your smartphone to report the problem. Or you’ll search for a solution on-line and fix the problem yourself.

But what do you do at work? Probably nothing.

At most companies, it’s simply too hard to fix small things. Every department has their own portal and their own number to call. It’s not nearly convenient enough, so you just live with the problem or leave it for the next person. And dissatisfaction and disengagement multiplies.

There’s a better way. And it may be more important than you think.


The Broken Windows theory

In 1982, two sociologists wrote an article that said, in essence, small breakdowns in a society, left untended, lead to bigger breakdowns.

“Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.”

One of the authors subsequently worked as a consultant to the NYC Transit Authority in the late 1980s, when they started to target graffiti and minor violations. Later, he influenced the Police Department, leading to NYC’s  “zero tolerance” and “quality of life” strategies that are widely seen to have significantly reduced both petty and serious crime.

Broken windows at work

While the debate continues about causation and correlation, most people agree that the Broken Windows theory matters because social cues matter. That is, “individuals look for signals within the environment as to the social norms in the setting of those signals is the area's general appearance.”

What are the equivalents of graffiti and broken windows at work?

They're the broken speakerphone and missing network adapter in the conference room. The leaking sink and mis-set clock. The empty vending machine and the dirty pantry.

It’s an endless list of little things, typically in shared spaces, that are big enough to irritate someone but not so big that they’ll do much to report it or put much effort into fixing it themselves.

Those seemingly little issues add up to a culture where it’s okay for things not to work. And quality and productivity suffer as a result.

3 ways to modernize employee service

Improving customer support is a classic use case for social tools and practices. It’s not often applied inside the firm, but it could be. Here are 3 ways to improve service for employees.

Make it easy to report issues - and for service providers to engage: instead of every department having their own way to report a problem, social platforms let anyone post a simple complaint from their iPhone, iPad, or desktop. Those same platforms make it easy for the right people to listen, engage the person complaining, and fix the problem more quickly - all in a way that everyone else can observe. (Here's a recent example from BofA's customer service on Twitter.)

Let people help themselves: the internal helpdesks at your firm - from HR to IT to facilities - are anachronisms and almost pure waste. Each one consults their own knowledge base to handle endless phone calls and emails, largely the same questions over and over. Using a single collaboration platform instead boosts self-service by providing a universal set of on-line forums. That makes it easy for anyone to search for answers, provide feedback on the results, or ask their own questions.

Let people help each other: When the problem can’t be readily solved by a forum or by a service provider, it can be usually be solved if you find the right person. Here's where on-line, role-based communities are extremely valuable. They make it easy to get your question in front of relevant people and to identify experts on specific topics.

“Doesn’t anybody care?”

We have all of this at home. (We don't call the Google helpdesk. And, increasingly, even municipal governments are adopting social tools and practices to improve service.) We can and should have better service at work, too, because it’s better for the employees and better for the firm.

Responsive service inside the firm sets cues for the rest of the organization and shapes  the culture. It says:

“We care about our workplace. We care about our employees. We care about the quality of our products and the service we provide for our customers.”

In a previous blog post in the Jive Community, I discussed Best Practices for User Avatars. In this post, we'll discuss how you can reinforce your company's brand though the use of avatars in your Jive-based community.


Like many community platforms, Jive ships with a set of default avatars. Most of these are cartoonish or whimsical photos and are fairly generic. They also ship with a default "gray man" avatar as a system default. Herein lies the Community Manager's opportunity to reinforce the community's branding by adjusting the set of available avatars.



System Default is your Company / Community Logo

It is extremely easy to upload new avatars through the Admin Console. This means that it is very easy for you to replace the default logo with something that reinforces the brand of your community. This could be your the logo for your company, organization, or website.  You might even make this the same as your Twitter or Facebook avatars. Regardless, you definitely want to change the default avatar. Nothing says "don't take this community seriously" more than a generic avatar.


Additional Avatars

As for additional avatars you have some choices. Some communities will continue to make some or all of Jive's default set available to users to use if they want. While this does provide some options for your community members, the presence of a large selection of avatars might de-incentivize them from creating a custom avatar (such as a photo of themselves). Depending on the nature of your community, this could be a good or a bad thing.


My recommendation is to come up with a small set of alternative avatars for your community and then eliminate all Jive's default set. These alternate avatars could be different versions of your organization's logo or maybe product logos for your company. For example, the Apple Community features a large and eclectic set of avatars related to Apple products of recent vintageor distant past, along with some generic avatars (flowers, etc.). It says something to the members of the Apple Community that they can have an avatar of an original Macintosh or a modern iPhone (whichever is their preference).

apple.pngIn Juniper's internal employee community we have several logo treatments available, as well as some avatars related to some of our key products. We also have some avatars (not shown) that relate to some programs directed at our internal audience.  This allows employees to identify with products they help produce and sell, or to demonstrate their adoption of those internal programs.  Whenever we add a new avatar, such as for a new product, we make that new avatar the default for a couple weeks. This provides visibility to users of our community since they'll see the new avatar for anyone who uses the system default.

juniper.pngYou could even do something creative with your system avatars. Have a contest for your community members to come up with some new or creative avatars. Or, have them vote for their favorite. There are lots of ways to get your community members involved.


However you decide to manage your Jive community, don't overlook the value of the avatars to reinforce your brand. Avatars are simple to make and install, and they help demonstrate tone, purpose, or ownership for your community.




Kevin Crossman is the Enterprise Community Manager at Juniper Networks and a Jive Champion. He helped launch Juniper's Jive SBS based environment and supports other content management and collaboration tools at Juniper.


Kevin is a proud member of the Social Business Council, a collection of managers in large enterprises that are charting the course for 2.0 adoption.


You can connect with Kevin via direct message or via Twitter at @kevincrossman


The views expressed here are my personal opinions and do not necessarily represent the views of Juniper Networks.

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