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41 ways to spark collaboration!

Hi everyone, hope you had a great Easter break! Ours was filled with lots of Easter fun with the kids, visiting parks and zoos collecting eggs and having lots of fun.


As we ran between hedges a glimpse of collaboration flashed before me (sadly) and it got me thinking about the process of egg hunts and how comparable it was to how we find, or don’t find, answers in LBG.


Starting the hunt


When we started the hunts we were given a map of the area that outlined the egg zones we’d be hunting in - of course the actual egg locations weren’t on there, we’d have to find them ourselves.


As we hunted through vegetation there were plenty of misses and plenty of false egg sightings with high hopes raised and dashed but we kept going, confident that more chocolate was out there!


We made a lot of progress at first but as our eggs increased the time between findings became longer and longer. We asked the staff if there were any more, at times different people pointed out areas that could be the right ones only to find they’d been looted already or they’d just say ‘sorry I didn’t put them out’. We kept going hoping for more until eventually we decided we’d got enough, or had enough, and it was time to get eating.


Hunting for information


So how does that compare to how we find answers in this business?


We start with our rough map, Interchange, bringing us through divisions and departments in the hope that the information is stored hierarchically and we already know under what team we’d find it. Just let an egg hunt, eggs locations change for each hunt and so do teams and structures, making finding the right team a real challenge.


We look around the teams we think might be right only to find the answers aren't there, so we try somewhere else with a trial and error approach and that doesn’t work out either.


We try asking other egg hunters, checking search for more the right answer. Loads of suggestions come back, we look into those and there’s similar things but not the egg were looking for.


So we approach the egg hunt staff, usually a mailbox for a team we don't know. We wait a few days to hear back only to be told that they don't know where the egg is but they know the egg layer.


We contact the egg layer who says they actually just planned the egg hunt laying. The actual layer is somewhere else and to ask the egg laying team if they know more.


We ask the egg laying team and finally find the layer and we find our egg - hooray! We scoff that egg straight away and don't tell anyone else that that's where the eggs are.


An answer found and a success for business? Yes, except for the amount of time and resources it’s taken to resolve it.


That's why we collaborate


We collaborate to avoid these problems by making what we do less hierarchical, more open and discoverable.


Instead of organizing information into hierarchies, it's organised into interests that we actually look for - Egg Hunt groups, not Zoo owners > Marketing teams > Activity teams > Egg Hunt setters > Egg hunt layers.

Instead of the information being buried, it's made open so others can discover it through search and self service the answer, saving everyone time.


And when the answer can't be found, it's open to others with similar interests to support it. They can point us in the right direction and to the people that know the answer.


That all saves time, energy and effort and is a cornerstone to why collaboration is so important. It cuts out the hunting and gets us to the outcome, fast. That makes us more agile, more responsive and ultimately more secure as businesses of the future.

The Movie: The Breakfast Club

The Lesson: You never know who you can learn from. 


When you’re on your Community, you are in a room with hundreds or thousands of people who have different knowledge and different expertise than you. It may not be immediately obvious who can help you, but with a Community, you can connect in ways that might surprise you.


Look for help in unlikely places. All profile information is searchable, as is all content on and uploaded to the Community, so when you are looking for expertise or information on a subject, check not only content results in your searches, but also people results as well. You can then use the direct message or @mention functionalities to reach out. Who knows? The expert you need may have been sitting two desks or two blocks away from you the whole time.


Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours, the Community Club


The Movie: Ferris Beuler’s Day Off

The Lesson: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.



The Activity Streams can be the most useful tools for you to keep your finger on the pulse of the whole Community, your topics of interest, and your personal connections, but only if you take a moment of your time to stop and look.


Take the convertible out for a spin. Search, discover, and follow people, places, content, and tags that you care about. Put some miles on that mouse! Don't worry, if you put the car in reverse, the miles will come off the odometer.

Be who you want to be. Use the Community as a platform to create a persona for yourself.  Be honest in all you write. The Community is an online tool where you can pen insights and responses that share your best opinions.  You too can be Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago.


The Movie: Ratatouille  

The Lesson: Anyone can cook.


In Ratatouille, Chef ___’s motto is that “anyone can cook,” and what Remmy, the main character, who happens to also be a rat, teaches us throughout the film is that this doesn’t necessarily mean that any Joe or Sally who picks up a skillet will be able to make a perfect filet, but rather that the most spectacular chefs could come from anywhere


Expand your Network.

  • The All Activity news stream is nice to check in on every once in a while because it shows you what’s happening throughout the Community, so you may stumble upon something relevant or interesting to you that you would not have found otherwise.
  • Pay some attention to the things your personal connections comment on and reply to. There's always room to grow your network within a Community and you may very well be just a few degrees of separation from a contact that has the answer to your question or a skill set you need to tap into.
  • If you are looking for an expert (the best soufflé maker in the company, for example), post your search to the entire community and to specific portions of the community (the Internal community, for example) through a question with relevant @mentions.

Find and Share Recipes in the Social Cookbook.

  • With Community comes the ability to have a voice and reach an expansive audience. You have stories, opinions, lessons, best practices, ideas, photos, jokes! Take the thoughts in your brain and put them on (virtual) paper. Think about when you got started in community and how amazing it was to learn from other master chefs. As you learn and grow, share your knowledge to the social cookbook. Ready to get started, learn about the JiveWorks Blogging Guidelines.

In the first two posts of this series [Using email to drive adoption & understand your people (pt.1) and Using email to drive adoption & understand your people (pt.2)] I looked at the inner workings of an email campaign to 1,000 people who'd been previously communicated to but hadn't registered on Hive. Their interactions would be tracked and their propensities to take action according to different messaging measured to discover the most effective ways to communicate collaboration.


In this final post of the series I'll dive into the results, what worked, what didn't, what people responded to and their backgrounds. This ones going to be good so read on! If you haven't read the first two posts yet I recommend going back to them first to give these results the proper context.


The results - a summary


People responded to...and didn't respond to...
  • Stories from real people
  • Value that affects them directly
  • Success stories
  • Answers to common objections
  • Urgency
  • Implications of missing out
  • That other teams were on the platform
  • Understanding how others are using it
  • Value that doesn’t affect them directly
Registrations...Sign up's for the quick starts...
  • Were highest from those directly affected
  • Increased as level increased
  • Decreased over the age of 50
  • Are slightly skewed towards males
  • Are lower for contractors
  • Were highest for real stories
  • Are more effective with banners
  • Are effective when aligned with successes
  • Are effective for onboarding


Digging into those


So let's look into those results a little. The expectation of trust being a key driver really showed in the results with response rates significantly higher for stories from real people converting the most colleagues overall. The sense of direct value was particularly prevalent in the results too. People responded to things that showed them direct value to what they do, day in, day out. This is the danger of trying to create too broad communities - if the community doesn't have clear value in the day to day it'll be far more difficult to drive engagement in the early stages.


One surprising area of the results was the lack of engagement with messages regarding missing out. Statements like '1,000 of your colleagues are already collaborating' didn't work. I'd track that back to the findings above again - if people don't see value to them they're not likely to get engaged. After all, they're getting on with their work fine as they are, why complicate things?


Another area that was really interesting was engagement went up as grades increased, which I hadn't expected. It seems defining ways of working for lower grades is absolutely crucial, probably because the lower you go the more process driven you can be and if something comes along which isn't part of your core role and not a process you have to follow it can be seen as optional and therefore overlooked.


Conversion rates were way lower for contractors in it was only in the final 'use it or lose it' email that they started converting. That makes sense as they've been brought in for a specific job in a specific way and they're here for a fixed period. Why invest in Hive if they're not directed to? It raises an important area for communications; if you have a large contractor population, you need to be more direct with your messaging.



And the emails?


What was even more powerful was the insights into each email and the propensities to respond. Let’s have at look at what worked best.


Day 1 – about me and my story


The beginning of the story, outlining my journey to a new way of working.


The email performed well with high levels of registrations and quick start take up. As the link for the quick start was at the bottom, the high performance means people were scrolling to the bottom of the story and showing high interest levels in the content.

The email attracted colleagues across all grades, converting higher (proportionally) as levels increased.



Day 2 – showing existing value


The day 2 email had stronger calls to action and promoted other teams working on the platform. However, despite its large banners and mentions of high volumes of people in their area already working on the platform, the email converted lowest overall and of those conversions, only attracting lower grade staff.Its performance suggests colleagues need actions or stories that they directly affect them and aren’t motivated to action by highlighting a lack of inaction.


It also shows that universal statements on how Hive can support them are unlikely to convert and more detail is needed.



Day 3 – giving back

The Day 3 email was about surfacing tips and solutions for day to day tasks that had come out of the community.It performed well with the highest number of registrations, likely due to its diverse and universally applicable content. Registrations came from across the grades with no specific grade converting higher.
The results also support conclusions from the day 2 email around the need for actions that specifically relate to the individual and their day to day.
Day 4 – Group 1 – for people pro collaboration
This email showcased successes across the platform and hinted urgency.It performed very well with the second highest registrations to date, likely due to a high interest level for content and multiple links to the platform with each case study.
Registrations spanned the level evenly but saw a good uplift from the higher grades who indicated a real interest in the content.Quick starts saw good uptake from low to middle level suggesting that direct examples are effective at inspiring the mid-grades to get involved with and learn more.



Day 4 – Group 2 – for people against collaboration


This email included strong messages on urgency and answers to common challenges to collaboration.


The email performed best out of all emails to date, probably due to its high urgency. Registrations spanned the level and saw good take up from higher grades and contractors which had been previously difficult to convert.


Lower grades were the least responsive, supporting the conclusion that the mid-grades are most responsive to direct examples. Despite the call to action being at the bottom of the email, the quick starts also saw good take-up, indicating a high level of readership for the content.



In conclusion


You made it to the end! I hope this study provides some insights into what can work effectively for you and areas to consider for communicating and inspiring collaboration.


For me, the most important part of beginning collaboration is the journey – understanding where people are coming and making no assumptions about how they’ll work in future. The best collaborative communications understand that people work differently, but also appreciate that collaboration may be something they do (or believe they do) already.


The definitions of collaboration vary and it’s not something you do for the sake of it. It’s got to add value for the individual and teams and that value has to be seen in a relevant way to inspire others to do the same. Generic, universally applicable statements don’t convert. People want to see how it’s going to change their working lives and why they should make a change – after all, they’ve made it this far without it…


Do these results match what you're seeing? What's different and how can we overcome objections to collaboration?


Jive Internal Communities Steven Rigby

In the first post of this series Using email to drive adoption & understand your people (pt.1) I discussed how I used an email marketing campaign sent to 1,000 people who had previously received communications about Hive but had not taken any action.


In it I discussed how the campaign would track their responses to discover their key objections for collaboration and what messages they responded to. The campaign converted 38% of the audience and showed just how effective trust is to bring people on the journey to better ways of working. If you haven't read part 1 make sure you do first!


In this post I'll look at how the campaign worked in detail, what emails were sent and how they were used to measure success.


Let’s get to it


The campaign was 4 emails across 5 days, one per day with a break before the last one – so that’s an email on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Each email also contained a second subscription link – a chance to opt-into a three day quick start campaign that would take them through the basics of getting started in the community and collaborating.


Here’s how they looked:


Day 1Day 2Day 3Day off

Day 4

(option 1)

Day 4

(option 2)

Story that endears the reader to the senderHow the platforms being used nowProviding value with tips to use nowGive the readers a break, no email todaySuccesses and how to take partAnswers to objections

Opt-in for a three day quick start guide


The emails in detail


Day 1 – starting the story

This first email would be coming out of nowhere for the recipient, so it was really important that it wasn’t just selling.

Instead it was an introduction – a story about me, the collaborative journey I’d been on and how it changed the way I worked for the better. It was there to help people get to know me, that I’d be talking to them this week, give them some background and establish trust. It was also designed to create intrigue for future action or immediate action from people that connected with me straight away.


An excerpt from the email

Hi [first name]. I’m [your name and job title]. I’d like to show you how our community has changed the way I work – and could do the same for you.


Back in the day


Before I worked on [our community] I was in the [team name and description of what you did] – and it wasn’t easy. What made it difficult was the way we operated. I couldn’t find the information I needed. Everything had a process and business areas didn’t talk to each other. I couldn’t see what was being done and all the hurdles stopped me from working effectively.


Day 2 – showing existing value


Day 2 continues the story. In the first email they discovered how collaboration can make work better. In day 2, I shared how it’s already making work better for their teams and how they’re missing out.


Changing behaviors towards collaboration is about showing value, so I didn’t just linking to the homepage. The call to action linked to a specific group relevant to the recipient that they see immediate value in.


An excerpt from the email

Yesterday I shared my journey to a better way of working through [our community]. Today I’d like to tell you about all the ways [our community] can make your work better!


It’s already started



Did you know that over [number of your people on the community] from [name of teams] colleagues are already working on [name of work]? They’re collaborating through a group called [your group name and link to it] to [purpose of your group].



Day 3 – giving back


By day 3 they’ve already heard from me twice and if they haven’t taken action already, they could be getting annoyed. So day 3 was about providing value by helping them with time and cost saving tips. Not tips how to use the platform, they’re not on it so they’re useless at this point. Instead, I used tips that applied to the work they’re doing now.


But… I’m not just giving them tips, I’m giving them tips that came from the community and collaboration, while at the same time introducing them to people they don’t know and creating valuable connections for the future.


An excerpt from the email


Yesterday we discovered your colleagues on [your community] and how they’re making work better.

Today in my penultimate email I’d like to share some fantastic tips from the Hive community that’s making their work easier!


Adding public holidays to your calendar

Add public holidays to your calendar in a few clicks!
Go to Options > Calendar > Add Holidays, and choose the countries that you are working with.
– by Norman Taylor –


Day 4 – time to take action


Day 4 is the final email and if they haven’t taken action yet it’s time for them to take action. Whether they’re deprioritising doing it or they’re against the whole concept, I wanted to urge them into action and find out why they haven’t taken it yet.


On day 4 I took the people that hadn’t acted yet and randomly sorted them into two groups, half receiving one email and half the other.


Group 1

Group 1’s email was targeted at people that are pro collaboration but aren’t convinced yet. It was designed to give them absolutely no doubt that there’s value in joining by providing them with a huge list of successes and links to find out more. Whatever their area and whatever they do, they’d have something that should interest them.


Group 2

Group 2’s email was targeted at people that are against collaboration, addressing key objections head on. Objections like why collaboration isn’t just a flash in the pan, why it’s supported by our leaders, how it aligns to our strategy and how it supports our business. It challenged their anti-collaborative behaviour directly and prompted them to get involved or tell us why they were against it.


An excerpt from the Group 1 email

It’s my last email today so I’d like to talk about all the amazing things happening in the community! With over [total] colleagues online, it’s no surprise that the community has seen great successes already – here’s some highlights…


Inspiring colleagues


[Our community] gives everyone the chance to share their thoughts and we’ve seen real success for leaders that have used it to communicate. [Leader in their area] shares his thoughts to his teams via his weekly blog and [another leader in their area] is very active, starting and getting involved in discussions with his teams.


Feedback from the top


When graduate [name] asked us if we attended training after school, she received a great response from the community and support from [leader] to talk to a group of apprentices about his own experiences.


An excerpt from the Group 2 email

It’s my last email today and your last chance to join – so what’s holding you back?

It’s tempting to keep putting it off, there’s lots of work to do and it’s not a priority. But here’s why you really need to try itand why it’s so important to our business.


Why it’s the real thing


[Our community] is supported by [our strategy] to help our business collaborate more effectively. There’s over [total] colleagues on now and more to come. In short? [Our community] is real and it’s coming to you. Collaboration isn’t a buzz word, it’s happening now and you’ve got to try it to experience it.


How it’s supported by our leaders



The entire leadership teamis on our community. Leaders like [X, Y, Z] regularly blog, share and input to discuss strategy and objectives.



The results


In the last post of this series I'll go through each of the emails and discuss exactly who responded to each of the emails and calls to action. There's loads of great insights including how old they were, what grade, whether they were permanent or contractors, whether they completed the quick starts, what worked and what didn't. Don't miss the final one, it's going to be good!


Your thoughts


What are the key drivers for collaboration in your business and what's holding people back? Share your stories in the comments.


Michelle Gantt Dina Vekaria-Patel Kim England Marie Badlam

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